November 30th, 2011

News

Lying politicians, politicizing economics, and naming autism

SOME NEWS:
* "The world's major central banks unveiled a new strategy Wednesday morning to create a wall of money to try to prevent Europe’s financial woes from undermining the stability of the global banking system." (Bonus five things to know about the deal.)
* Dan Froomkin asks: what should reporters do when politicians lie?
* Good read: how politics has invaded the science of economics.
* Oh, wow. The virus that infected the drone fleet? Totally came from Mafia Wars.
* Unsurprisingly, the ban on earmarks is largely ignored.
* Poverty hits a new low in, uh, Latin America.
* Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik ruled insane by Norwegian court.
* Courtesy shibakiei: how do you refer to someone with autism?
* The conservative case for Romney (over Gingrich.)

Ayatollah

as noted by Mr. Minchin

"The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it's up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. And the way that you win isn't through supernatural powers, or even through fighting. The way that you win is by doing the most dangerous thing that any person being lied to by someone in power can do: You think.

"But it's not just that the crooks in Scooby-Doo are liars; nobody ever shows up to bilk someone out of their life savings by pretending to be a Nigerian prince or something. It's always phantasms and Frankensteins, and there's a very good reason for that. The bad guys in Scooby-Doo prey on superstition, because that's the one thing that an otherwise rational person doesn't really think through. It's based on belief, not evidence, which is a crucial element for the show. If, for example, someone knocks on your door and claims to be a police officer, you're going to want to see a badge because that's the tangible evidence that you've come to expect to prove their claim. If, however, you hold the belief that the old run-down theater has a phantom in the basement, then the existence of that phantom himself -- or at least a reasonably convincing costume -- is all the evidence that you need to believe that you were right all along. The bad guys are just reinforcing a belief that the other characters already have, and that they don't need any evidence before because it's based in superstition, not reason."