We need more doctors and scientists in Congress. But not Dr. Oz.

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Dr. Oz, the cardiothoracic surgeon and TV personality, is running for an open US Senate seat in Pennsylvania. He’d be one of the worst possible choices, because his “medical recommendations” are generally bullshit. Members of Congress need to discern the truth, not make it up. What’s wrong with Dr. Oz? Dr. Oz is a famous … Continued

A quick reminder

Please take the fast survey about the meaning of self-defense. I have 50 responses so far. I can’t publish the results until I get to 100. Readers are finding it fascinating so far. And I’d love to hear from you.

The murder quiz: what is self-defense?

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A jury found Kyle Rittenhouse, the young man who shot three people and killed two of them in Kenosha, Wisconsin, not guilty of murder. Regardless of the circumstances and the behavior of the judge and prosecutors, at some fundamental level, this is not surprising: Rittenhouse felt his life was threatened, and said he acted in … Continued

Facebook is purging face recognition. Here’s why I don’t trust it.

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For a decade, Facebook (now known as Meta) used facial recognition to tag millions of photos with the identities of the people in them. Now the company says it’s ceasing the algorithm and deleting a billion face prints. Here’s why I don’t trust them. This is a fraught moment for Meta/Facebook, given the leaked documents … Continued

Alec Baldwin’s gun and the problem of causality

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“Why” questions never have a satisfying answer, because everything is connected. We know that Alec Baldwin picked up a period-appropriate gun that was supposed to be a prop on the set of the western “Rust” and accidentally shot and killed his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded his director Joel Souza. Why? It’s natural to ask … Continued

A tax on the stupid

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Donald Trump thinks you’re very dim. When I was a graduate student in the mathematics department at MIT, I heard this saying: Gambling is a tax on the stupid. Unless you have an actual edge (like a card counter), the house always wins. There is no system that will beat the house. You might win, … Continued