A Guardian series examines Kern County, California, where police have killed more people per capita than anywhere else in the US this year
“Challenge accepted, Dr. Carson.”
Trevor Noah on Monday decided to take a closer look at GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s assertion that the media is vetting his background more intensely than it did for President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
Republican candidates have spent a great deal of time so far in this election cycle criticizing the media for liberal bias — from critiquing the way debates have been moderated to complaining about being treated “unfairly” by the media — and Carson has been no exception to this trend. In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Carson claimed that the media is investigating his past with more fervor than any other presidential candidate in prior elections.
“I have not seen that with anyone else,” Carson told NBC’s Chris Jansing. “If you can show me where that’s happened with someone else, I’ll will take that statement back.”
“Challenge accepted, Dr. Carson,” Noah said on “The Daily Show,” before showing a montage of news clips from the 2008 election cycle in which the media exhaustedly vetted then-Senator Obama’s background — going so far as to question whether he was really a U.S. citizen.
“Yeah, so they vetted Obama to the point where they questioned that he was a legitimate natural-born American citizen,” Noah said. “But at least no one ever accused Obama of not stabbing a guy.”
“I don’t see what all those environmentalists are worried about,” sneers your Great Uncle Joe. “Carbon dioxide is harmless, and great for plants!”
Okay. Take a deep breath. If you’re not careful, comments like this can result in dinner-table screaming matches. Luckily, we have a secret weapon: A flowchart that will help you calmly slay even the most outlandish and annoying of climate-denying arguments:
In an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ last season, Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons, tries to talk his friend Leonard out of having surgery by demonstrating his probability of dying if things go wrong. PHOTO: MICHAEL YARISH/WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
“The Big Bang Theory,” the CBS sitcom about a pair of socially awkward physicists from the California Institute of Technology, their egghead friends, and the one normal person they socialize with, has serious geek cred.
But what casual viewers may not realize is the lengths to which producers have gone to ensure that the whiteboard equations and physics jokes that make up the witty banter between nerdy roommates Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter are scientifically accurate.
A lot of the humor is over the heads of the general audience. But there are jokes inside of jokes, and for those who recognize the science, they’re hilarious. The show takes this stuff so seriously that it employs a UCLA physics professor to make sure it gets it right.
Case in point: In a 2009 episode, “The Jiminy Conjecture,” Sheldon and Howard heard a chirp and then argued over which variety of cricket made the sound.
On the whiteboard in the background is Dolbear’s law, which states the relationship between the air temperature and the rate at which crickets chirp.
“I went to a Dolbear presentation at Tufts, and they talked about this, in like 1989,” says one high-profile fan of the show, Seamus Blackley, one of the creators of Microsoft’s original Xbox game console. “I remembered it!”
“Once I realized what was going on, it was awesome,” added Mr. Blackley, who is also trained in physics. “It’s the No. 1 show, and it has actual physics in it.”
Fifteen Republican presidential candidates. Two debates. Here’s POLITICO’s analysis of where the Republican field stretched the truth, steered around some inconvenient facts, or just plain got it wrong.
Source: The POLITICO Wrongometer
The scientific consensus behind man-made global warming is overwhelming: multiple studies have noted a 97 percent consensus among climate scientists that the Earth is warming and human activities are primarily responsible. Scientists are as sure that global warming is real — and driven by human activity — as they are that smoking cigarettes leads to lung cancer.
But what if all of those scientists are wrong? What if the tiny sliver of scientists that don’t believe global warming is happening, or that human activities are causing it — that two to three percent of climate contrarians — are right?
That’s the hypothetical question that a new study, authored by Rasmus Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, and John Cook, sought to answer. Published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the study examined 38 recent examples of contrarian climate research — published research that takes a position on anthropogenic climate change but doesn’t attribute it to human activity — and tried to replicate the results of those studies. The studies weren’t selected randomly — according to lead author Rasmus Benestad, the studies selected were highly visible contrarian studies that had all arrived at a different conclusion than consensus climate studies. The question the researchers wanted to know was — why?
“Our selection suited this purpose as it would be harder to spot flaws in papers following the mainstream ideas. The chance of finding errors among the outliers is higher than from more mainstream papers,” Benestad wrote at RealClimate. “Our hypothesis was that the chosen contrarian paper was valid, and our approach was to try to falsify this hypothesis by repeating the work with a critical eye.”
It didn’t go well for the contrarian studies.
As Mitt Romney and Barack Obama vied for the Oval Office back in 2012, the U.S. teetered on the edge of another recession. And no one knew about it until now.
The Labor Department on Thursday released the country’s gross domestic product results for the second quarter. The economy expanded a modest 2.3 percent in April, May and June of 2015 after a meager 0.6 percent uptick in the first quarter. While the headline numbers fell short of analysts’ expectations, it was the revisions to previous years’ data that were arguably the most intriguing.
“The revisions show a recovery from the Great Recession that has been lackluster,” Gus Faucher, senior macroeconomist at PNC Financial Services Group, wrote in a research note Thursday. “This included a small downward revision to growth in 2012 (2.3 percent to 2.2 percent), a big downward revision to growth in 2013 (2.2 percent to 1.5 percent), and no revision to growth in 2014 (2.4 percent).”
The Bureau of Economic Analysis spent the last few months updating its seasonal adjustment methodology, allowing it to tweak GDP releases as far back as 2011. A series of weaker-than-expected first quarter GDP reports over the last several years led the bureau in May to start looking into potential flaws in its calculations.
Those revisions were published Thursday and likely weren’t what Americans wanted to see. For five consecutive quarters (or 15 months) in 2012 and 2013, the U.S. economy’s growth rate fell short of the country’s benchmark 2 percent. Over that five-quarter window beginning in April 2012, the economy averaged only 1.1 percent growth per quarter.
But in the third and fourth quarters of 2012, when America was in the throes of a political battle for the White House, the U.S. economy almost plunged off the deep end. The economy expanded only 0.5 percent in the third quarter and 0.1 percent in the fourth. Though the fourth quarter’s 0.1 percent growth was unrevised from previous reports, the third quarter’s GDP was originally thought to have clocked in at a much stronger 2.8 percent.
Coates objects to the cliché that blacks have to be “twice as good.” It’s closer to the truth that they, like all Americans, are in a much better position to succeed if they honor certain basic norms: graduate from high school; get a full-time job; don’t have a child before age 21 and get married before childbearing. Among the people who do these things, according to the research of Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, about 75 percent attain the middle class, broadly defined.
Conservatives like Rick Santorum have taken to using this factoid as definitive proof that structural factors behind poverty don’t matter, that people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and government action to help marginalized people is unnecessary. It does not prove that at all. If anything, it’s a useful reminder of the fact that poverty is mainly a problem of systemic failure, not personal failure.
The stat comes from a 2009 book by Haskins and Sawhill called Creating an Opportunity Society. Haskins and Sawhill analyzed income data from 2007 and broke down households based on whether the head of household followed three norms:
- They work full-time.
- They graduated high school.
- They waited until they were married and at least 21 to have a child.
They found that only 2 percent of persons in families that followed all three norms were poor, whereas 76 percent of persons in families that followed none were poor, and 73.8 percent of those who followed all three were at least middle-class: