How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed By Science – by Eric Barker   12:01 AM ET


 You write a to-do list… but then you don’t follow through.

And this happens again and again and again. Seriously, what’s the problem?

Why are we so good at thinking of what to do but so terrible at actually doing those things?

The problem is you’re skipping an essential step. Here’s what it is…

The Mistake Every Productivity System Makes

Productivity systems rarely take emotions into account. Andfeelings are a fundamental and unavoidable part of why humans do what they do.

We can’t ignore our emotions. Because of the way our brains are structured, when thought and feelings compete, feelings almost always win.

And we can’t fight our feelings. Research shows this just makes them stronger.

Via The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking:

…when experimental subjects are told of an unhappy event, but then instructed to try not to feel sad about it, they end up feeling worse than people who are informed of the event, but given no instructions about how to feel. In another study, when patients who were suffering from panic disorders listened to relaxation tapes, their hearts beat faster than patients who listened to audiobooks with no explicitly ‘relaxing’ content. Bereaved people who make the most effort to avoid feeling grief, research suggests, take the longest to recover from their loss. Our efforts at mental suppression fail in the sexual arena, too: people instructed not to think about sex exhibit greater arousal, as measured by the electrical conductivity of their skin, than those not instructed to suppress such thoughts.

So what does the unavoidable power of feelings mean for motivation?

In their book SwitchChip and Dan Heath say that emotions are an essential part of executing any plan:

Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people (or yourself) feel something.

We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act.

So if you’ve got the thinking part out of the way – how do you rile up those emotions and get things done? Here are three steps:

1) Get Positive

When do we procrastinate the most? When we’re in a bad mood.

Via Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess:

So procrastination is a mood-management technique, albeit (like eating or taking drugs) a shortsighted one. But we’re most prone to it when we think it will actually help… Well, far and away the most procrastination occurred among the bad-mood students who believed their mood could be changed and who had access to fun distractions.

Meanwhile, research shows happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.

What does the military teach recruits in order to mentally toughen them up? No, it’s not hand-to-hand combat.

It’s optimism. So how do you get optimistic if you’re not feeling it?

Monitor the progress you’re making and celebrate it.Harvard’s Teresa Amabile‘s research found that nothing is more motivating than progress.

Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work:

This pattern is what we call the progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress—setbacks in the work. We consider this to be a fundamental management principle: facilitating progress is the most effective way for managers to influence inner work life.

(More on how to get happier here.)

Okay, so negativity isn’t making you procrastinate and holding you back. But what’s going to drive you forward?

Read the rest of the list here:

http://time.com/2933971/how-to-motivate-yourself-3-steps-backed-by-science/

 

Suarez apologizes for biting Ivanovic Updated May 21, 2014 7:00 PM ET    


Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at Jun 30, 2014 4.20

LIVERPOOL, England (AP)

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez apologized Sunday for his ”inexcusable” behavior after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday, while manager Brendan Rodgers called the incident ”unacceptable.”

Suarez netted a last-gasp equalizer to secure a point for Liverpool but his performance was overshadowed by a previous incident where he clearly dug his teeth into Ivanovic’s arm in the Chelsea area, shortly after having given away a penalty at the other end for a handball.

”I’m sad for what happened this afternoon, I apologize (to) Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour,” Suarez said on Twitter. ”I’m so sorry about it!!”

Minutes later, Liverpool issued a statement on its website with another apology, along with harshly worded criticism from club officials.

”His behavior is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down,” Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said in the statement. ”We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA.”

Rodgers initially refused to comment on the incident after the game, but joined in the criticism after watching replays from the game.

”Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this,” Rodgers said.

Suarez has a history of misconduct and was banned for seven matches in 2010 for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in the Dutch league, earning him the nickname ”Cannibal of Ajax.”

Suarez was suspended for eight games in December 2011 for making racist insults to Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.

Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Gordon Taylor also criticized Suarez.

”It is very depressing and embarrassing that it should happen,” he told BBC Sports. ”If it wasn’t for all the controversies he’s been involved in he would be a more highly regarded player. Players are role models and are highly rewarded. This sets such a bad example.”

In the Liverpool statement, Suarez said he had tried to contact Ivanovic to ”speak to him personally.”

”I apologize also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down,” Suarez was quoted as saying.

 

http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/premierleague/story/luis-suarez-apologizes-for-biting-invanovic-in-liverpool-chelsea-game-042113

If you think Monday’s decision won’t affect you, you haven’t been paying attention – KATIE MCDONOUGH


Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling

SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn't a "limited" ruling

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and deny its employees comprehensive health insurance because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Analysis of the case has so far called this a limited ruling because it only applies to closely held corporations and “only” impacts contraceptive coverage. But this framing completely ignores the fact that more than 90 percent of corporations in the United States are closely held, and that the court just effectively ruled that it’s fine for employers to discriminate against half of the labor force. There’s nothing limited about it. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her powerful dissent, far from being narrow in its ruling, the high court just “ventured into a minefield.”

So what does the decision actually mean? In the immediate term, it means that women who work at Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are paying for health coverage (insurance is part of their compensation package, it’s not some gift bestowed upon them by their bosses) that their employers have decided that they can’t have. That’s really what this comes down to in the most blunt terms imaginable. The religious owners of these companies havemedically inaccurate ideas about contraception and abortion, and they now get to impose those ideas on the the people who work for them. In the majority opinion, five male justices argued that the Department of Health and Human Services can fill in the gaps in coverage created by this ruling by including for-profit companies in the accommodation system created for religious nonprofits and other explicitly faith-based organizations. Women’s health, it seems, has become someone else’s problem.

This is certainly bad news for the women who work at both of these places, but it’s bad news for the rest of us, too. The ruling sends a strong message that women’s health and women’s rights — as individuals and employees — do not matter as much as so-called religious liberty. It also shows once again that medically inaccurate ideas about healthcare can dictate the terms of a debate and ultimately win the day. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito argued that contesting Hobby Lobby’s claim that contraception is the same thing as abortion — an idea that has been refuted time and again by medical providers and associations — “in effect tells the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed.”



And as Ginsburg alluded to in her dissent, the decision opens the door to other sweeping forms of discrimination. While Hobby Lobby based its claim in its apparent objection to four forms of emergency contraception (contraception that the company covered without issue prior to the new healthcare law), other companies challenging the requirement object to all forms of contraception. Those beliefs are just as sincerely held, and just as dangerous to women’s health. The legal precedent now tips in their favor.

The opinion also raises the question of whose religious beliefs matter. Conservatives are hailing this as a victory for freedom of religion, but what about the religious employees at Hobby Lobby who don’t share the views of the Green family? The Greens’ profoundly unscientific and extreme views about contraception are not even universally accepted among Christians. Where’s their religious liberty in this? And for the women whose religious liberty is freedom from religion? Where are they in this opinion? “The Court puts claims of corporations over those of its employees and allows a corporation’s owners to override the Federal rights of its employees, many of whom have a different set of religious beliefs,” Ginsburg wrote in her dissent.

And this is one of the ways that the framing of this case has been off from the start. The lawyers for Hobby Lobby presented the legal challenge as though it were the religious lobby versus the reproductive rights lobby, and many in the media accepted these terms. But religious people use contraception — including emergency contraception. People of faith also have a major stake in keeping employers from imposing religious views on employees. The fault lines in the case have never been as clean as some would like you to believe.

To sum it up, five male justices ruled that thousands of female employees should rightfully be subjected to the whims of their employers. That women can be denied a benefit that they already pay for and is guaranteed by federal law. That contraception is not essential healthcare. That corporations can pray. That the corporate veil can be manipulated to suit the needs of the corporation. That bosses can cynically choose à la carte what laws they want to comply with and which laws they do not. Each specific finding opens a door to a new form of discrimination and unprecedented corporate power. If you think this ruling won’t affect you, you haven’t been paying attention. If you think these corporations are going to stop at birth control, you’re kidding yourself.

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/30/there_was_nothing_limited_about_scotus_hobby_lobby_ruling_why_it_matters_for_everyone/

Meet The Newest American Running Mate: The Rifle – by JOHN BURNETT June 30, 2014 3:25 AM ET


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a rifle on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference earlier this year.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a rifle on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference earlier this year.

Susan Walsh/AP

This political primary season has seen an unprecedented use of guns to get votes. Republican hopefuls across the country are appearing in political ads firing guns and holding political events around firearms.

Texas State Sen. Donna Campbell won the Republican nomination in her party. In one of her ads, she’s seen firing a gun at a target as a narrator lauds her for reducing “the time it takes to obtain a concealed carry license, so more law abiding Texans could exercise their constitutional rights to defend themselves.”

In another, candidate Matt Rosendale shoots a rifle at an imaginary government drone — though it did not help him snatch the nomination for a Montana congressional seat.

And in a now-classic ad, Will Brooke, a candidate for Alabama’s 6th congressional district, sets up a one-foot-thick copy of the Affordable Care Act for target practice. Then he starts blasting away.

YouTube

“We’re down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects — the Second Amendment and see how much damage we can do to this copy of Obamacare,” he says.

Though Brooke did considerable damage to a publication from the Government Printing Office, he lost the Republican primary.

Guns are powerful political symbols this year because the gun rights crowd is on high alert. After mass shootings in the last two years in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., they believe the Obama administration wants to come for their guns. Conservative candidates have piled on.

In Texas, GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst – who ran for renomination and lost — had a poster that said, “Come and take it,” superimposed on a rifle.

Even Wendy Davis, the liberal Democrat running for governor of Texas, had to come out and say she’s for open carry of handguns.

David Dewhurst, who sought another term as lieutenant governor of Texas, lost in  a runoff.

David Dewhurst, who sought another term as lieutenant governor of Texas, lost in a runoff.

 

Blacks to Thad Cochran: You owe us – By ANNA PALMER and LAUREN FRENCH | 6/29/14 5:22 PM EDT


Thad Cochran is pictured. | Getty

Cochran asked for a favor and now his new supporters are plotting how to cash it in. | Getty

Close

Thad Cochran won a primary runoff by turning out the black vote. Now they are asking — what are you going to do for us?

Already the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are talking about what they want Cochran to do. The wish list is fulling up with ideas like maintaining funding for food stamps, beefing up programs that help poor blacks in Mississippi and even supporting the Voting Rights Act.

“Absolutely we have expectations,’’ Rep Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), said in an interview.

(Also on POLITICO: Dems’ best shot in Mississippi)

And while Cochran beat back a tea party challenger by reminding voters, particularly black voters, that he brings home the federal bucks, the policy asks are far more liberal than much of what the moderate Republican has championed in his four decades in office.

But that’s the Washington game. Cochran asked for a favor and now his new supporters are plotting how to cash it in.

“My hat is off to Sen. Cochran for being as desperate as he was, to actually go out and up front got out and ask for those votes,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). ” Those votes were delivered and I’m hopeful he will be responsible and responsive to the voters that pushed him over the top.”

(Also on POLITICO: McDaniel digs in)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) agreed that Cochran has an opportunity to support the black community.

“What I hope happens is that he comes to the realization that African Americans are the reason I have this final six years and therefore I’m going to try and be more responsible than I have been,” Cleaver said.

Their sentiment was echoed around the capitol and in Mississippi following Cochran’s win over tea party favorite Chris McDaniel, fueled by surge in black voters in the Mississippi Delta. Turnout increased overall in Mississippi for the runoff, but counties that are majority black like Jefferson County saw voters came to the polls in record numbers.

Article continues:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/thad-cochran-mississippi-election-2014-black-vote-108411.html?hp=f2

ISIS Risks Everything to Declare a Caliphate – J.M. Berger WORLD NEWS 06.29.14


After months of gaining territory, weapons, and cash, ISIS is putting its global credibility on the line in a play that could backfire spectacularly.

On Sunday morning, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, or ISIL, if you must) pronounced the reformation of the caliphate—the historical Islamic state that once stretched over much of the modern-day Muslim world—with ISIS emir Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the man in charge.

It’s arguably the boldest move yet by the group, which renamed itself simply The Islamic State. But if ISIS isn’t careful, this could be the moment when all of its gains in Iraq and Syria are squandered; when would-be allies are alienated; and when the group’s critics within the jihadi community were proven right all along.

In the statement—released in Arabic, English, German, French, and Russian—ISIS claimed that it had fulfilled all the legal requirements for the caliphate and that all existing jihadi groups and indeed all Muslims around the world were religiously obligated to swear loyalty to the new Caliph Ibrahim (using the name provided by ISIS in the course of proving that Baghdadi has the required lineage for the title).

Prior to this pronouncement, my assessment was that there was almost no way ISIS could exit June in worse shape than it entered the month, and that still holds. But July is beginning to look like an open question. ISIS, an al Qaeda breakaway group, had made a bold move to seize territory in Iraq that had resulted in tremendous gains in both equipment and money. Even if it lost all of the territory it gained in June, it would still retain many of those spoils, with new clout, status and physical assets to compete with the other jihadi groups operating in Syria and near the Iraq border.

The declaration of the caliphate is a massive gamble that puts many of these gains at risk, although the potential benefits are also substantial. Here’s a quick rundown of the moving parts:

The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats – | By David Freeman Posted: 06/25/2014 2:59 pm EDT Updated: 06/26/2014 3:59 pm EDT


Memo: From Nick Hanauer
To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

Here’s what I say to you: You’re living in a dream world. What everyone wants to believe is that when things reach a tipping point and go from being merely crappy for the masses to dangerous and socially destabilizing, that we’re somehow going to know about that shift ahead of time. Any student of history knows that’s not the way it happens. Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us.

***

The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.

The States With The Most Gun Violence 24/7 Wall St. – Posted: 06/29/2014 12:22 pm EDT Updated: 06/29/2014 2:59 pm EDT


As mass shootings continue to appear in the news, many Americans and state leaders are asking how to address the problem without restricting constitutional rights.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the number of gun-related fatalities — including homicides, suicides, and accidents — in each state. The frequency of firearm-related deaths varies widely across the U.S. Firearms were associated with just 3.0 deaths per 100,000 residents in Rhode Island in 2011, the lowest gun-related fatality rate of any state. Louisiana, on the other hand, reported 18.8 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 residents, the most of any state. 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 states with the highest gun-related death rates.

Click here to see the states with the most gun violence.

Suicide is the leading cause of gun-related deaths across the nation in recent years. Of the 32,351 firearm deaths in 2011, nearly 20,000 were suicides. In all but one state with the most gun-related deaths, suicide accounted for the majority of fatalities. Six states — Alaska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas, and New Mexico — reported more than 10.0 firearm-related suicides per 100,000 residents, versus the national rate of 6.2.

24/7 Wall St. discussed the CDC’s figures with John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank. Roman explained the probability of accidents, suicides, and domestic violence goes up in homes with guns. Americans are “three times more likely to have a suicide in a home with a gun than [they] are in a home without a gun.”

According to Roman, “The overwhelming trend is that strong gun law states have seen dramatic declines in violence. Weak gun law states have not seen the same decline.” While stricter gun laws lead to less violence, Roman noted, this relationship is not exactly straightforward, because people may purchase a gun in one state and bring it into another. “As long as there are weak gun law states, even strong gun law states will see gun violence.”

Federal law controls some aspects of firearm regulation, but for the most part, state legislatures choose to what extent firearms are governed. None of the states with the most gun violence require permits to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. Meanwhile, most of the states with the lowest rates of gun deaths require a permit to purchase a handgun.

In a number of these states homicide and violent crime rates were also particularly high. Gun-related homicide rates in all but three of the 10 states with the most firearm death rates were above the national rate of 3.6 homicides per 100,000 residents. Louisiana, the only state on this list where homicide accounted for more gun-related deaths than suicides, reported 9.4 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2011, more than in any other state.

Although not necessarily gun related, violent crime, overall, was higher in many of these states. Seven states reported at least 420 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2011, versus the national rate of just 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 residents that year. There were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, second only to Tennessee. Some specific crimes were even more likely in many of these states. Six of the 10 states reported more than 3,500 incidents of property crime per 100,00 residents, for example, versus a national rate of just 2,908.

According to Roman, politics and culture often influence gun ownership. In fact, a majority of the states with the most deaths from guns are politically conservative. They are also states with residents that tend to be comfortable with carrying and owning guns.

Economic factors also appear to be related to firearm death rates. The poverty rate in seven of the 10 states with the most gun violence was above the national rate of 15.9%. New Mexico and Mississippi, the states with the first and second highest poverty rates in the nation of more than 20%, were among the states with the most gun violence.

Educational attainment rates also tended to be lower in states with the most gun violence. The percentage of residents who had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2012 was lower than the national rate in all of the 10 states with the most gun violence.

Based on CDC data, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the most firearm-related deaths in 2011, including suicides, homicides, and accidents.Firearm death rates represent the CDC”s age-adjusted figures, to avoid distortion in states with large populations of young people. We also considered 2012 data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) on the time between a gun’s purchase and its involvement in a crime. Violent crime data are for 2011 and are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report. Poverty and income figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. Information on firearm policies for each state are from the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action.

These are the states with the most gun violence, according to 24/7 Wall St.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/29/states-gun-violence_n_5541292.html

How the Iraq War Launched the Modern Era of Political BS – —By Chris Mooney | Wed Jun. 25, 2014 6:00 AM EDT


Factual divides over whether Iraq had WMD, and whether Saddam was working with Osama, set the stage for today’s battles over reality.

Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney 

That queasy sensation of déjà vu you’re experiencing is understandable. With Iraq back in the news, and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol on TV sounding off about the situation, there’s every reason to worry that a new wave of misinformation is on the way.

There is no debate that the Iraq War was sold to the American public with a collection of claims that ended up being proved false. Iraq was said to have weapons of mass destruction, but this wasn’t the case. Advocates for the war insinuated that Saddam Hussein was colluding with Al Qaeda and was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks. That, too, was false.

Yet many Americans (and some of their leaders) still believe this stuff. It’s a tragedy, but it’s also a kind of natural experiment in misinformation, its origins, and its consequences. And since 2003 social scientists, psychologists, and pollsters have been busy examining why false beliefs like these are embraced even in the face of irrefutable evidence—and what impact this sort of disinformation has on American political discourse.

An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector taking samples at an Iraqi factory in 2002 IAEA/Wikimedia Commons

The resulting research shows that the Iraq War looks like an early version of a current phenomenon: the right wing rooting its stances in simple untruths about the world (see climate change). So here’s a quick trip through some of the ground-breaking scholarship on how the Iraq war polarized the US public over the acceptance of basic facts:

The role of Fox News. In a pioneering study that laid the groundwork for much future work, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland used a series of post-Iraq War polls (conducted from June through September in 2003) to analyze the the preponderance of false beliefs about the war. The study first defined three clear falsehoods: (1) real evidence linking Iraq and Al Qaeda had been uncovered; (2) WMD had been discovered in Iraq following the US invasion; and (3) global public opinion was in favor of the US invasion. Then, it examined the likelihood of holding such incorrect beliefs based upon a person’s political party affiliation and habits of news consumption.

Fox viewers led the way in embracing these false assertions, with 80 percent of them believing at least one of the three. For consumers of both NPR and PBS, in contrast, only 23 percent believed one or more of these pro-war myths.

Sure enough, Fox viewers led the way in embracing these false assertions, with 80 percent of them believing at least one of the three. Seventy-one percent of CBS viewers also held one of these three false beliefs. For consumers of NPR and PBS, only 23 percent believed one or more of these pro-war myths. Notably, Republicans and supporters of George W. Bush had a much higher level of belief in these falsehoods. So what caused these misperceptions to exist? Republican ideological allegiance likely led to an initial belief in these misrepresentations, but then Fox watching bolstered these views. For Democrats, too, watching Fox worsened their misperceptions.

 

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/iraq-war-wmds-saddam-political-unreason

Newfound Alien Planet ‘Gliese 832c’ May Be Able To Support Life – Space.com | By Mike Wall Posted: 06/27/2014 9:13 am EDT


Potentially habitable Super-Earth Gliese 832 c appears in an artist's conception against a background of a stellar nebula.

A newfound alien world might be able to support life — and it’s just a stone’s throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things.

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exoplanet in the star Gliese 832’s “habitable zone” — the just-right range of distances that could allow liquid water to exist on a world’s surface. The planet, known as Gliese 832c, lies just 16 light-years from Earth. (For perspective, the Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light-years wide; the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light-years away.)

Gliese 832c is a “super-Earth” at least five times as massive as our planet, and it zips around its host star every 36 days. But that host star is a red dwarf that’s much dimmer and cooler than our sun, so Gliese 832c receives about as much stellar energy as Earth does, despite orbiting much closer to its parent, researchers said. [10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life]

Indeed, Gliese 832c is one of the three most Earth-like exoplanets yet discovered according to a commonly used metric, said Abel Mendez Torres, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.

“The Earth Similarity Index (ESI) of Gliese 832c (ESI = 0.81) is comparable to Gliese 667Cc (ESI = 0.84) and Kepler-62e (ESI = 0.83),” Mendez wrote in a blog post today (June 25). (A perfect “Earth twin” would have an ESI of 1.)

“This makes Gliese 832c one of the top three most Earth-like planets according to the ESI (i.e., with respect to Earth’s stellar flux and mass) and the closest one to Earth of all three — a prime object for follow-up observations,” he added.

A team led by Robert Wittenmyer, of the University of New South Wales in Australia, discovered Gliese 832c by noticing the tiny wobbles the planet’s gravity induces in the motion of its host star.

gliese 832c

This artist’s illustration compares the size of potentially habitable exoplanet Gliese 832c to that of Earth. The exoplanet may be larger if composed of gas/ice.

They spotted these wobbles in data gathered by three separate instruments — the University College London Echelle Spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Australia, the Carnegie Planet Finder Spectrograph on the Magellan II telescope in Chile and the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph, which is part of the European Southern Observatory’s 11.8-foot (3.6 meters) telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Gliese 832c is the second planet to be discovered around the star Gliese 832. The other one, Gliese 832b, was found in 2009; it’s a gas giant that circles much farther out, taking about nine years to complete one orbit.

“So far, the two planets of Gliese 832 are a scaled-down version of our own solar system, with an inner, potentially Earth-like planet and an outer, Jupiter-like giant planet,” Mendez wrote.

However, it’s unclear at the moment just how much Gliese 832c resembles Earth. Indeed, its discoverers think the newfound world may be more similar to scorching-hot Venus, with a thick atmosphere that has led to a runaway greenhouse effect.

“Given the large mass of the planet, it seems likely that it would possess a massive atmosphere, which may well render the planet inhospitable,” Wittenmyer and his team wrote in their paper, which has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. “Indeed, it is perhaps more likely that GJ [Gliese] 832c is a ‘super-Venus,’ featuring significant greenhouse forcing.”

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/27/alien-planet-life-gliese-832c_n_5536601.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

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