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

The U.S. government’s Climate Assessment gets off to a poor start

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Last week the U.S. Federal Government issued its fourth report on the Climate, as mandated every four years since 1990. Despite its being released on the day after Thanksgiving, it got plenty of airplay. But the report itself could do a lot better job of summarizing its pointed conclusions in a way that anyone, even … Continued

The bad faith lesson of Donald Trump at the New York Times

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Donald Trump’s latest statements at the New York Times demonstrated an amazing “flexibility” (in other words, he changed long-held positions). If you were scared of Trump’s rhetoric, perhaps this encouraged you. But once you understand the dangers of negotiating in bad faith, your optimism will evaporate. What is bad faith? In a negotiation, each side … Continued

Strange potential consequences of a Donald Trump presidency

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I have consistently criticized — and ridiculed — Donald Trump. Now he will be president. Stop crying or cheering for a minute, and consider what might happen next. I have. Like a true analyst, I put emotion aside and make some sober predictions. At the heart of this analysis: Donald Trump is no Republican, and owes nobody anything. … Continued

Game theory reveals a chilling reason for denying climate change

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Fixing the climate has a cost. So does failing to fix it. Both costs are huge, but if you believe that climate change is a real phenomenon, then the human and economic costs of inaction are staggering. What justifies failing to act? My analysis reveals that the explanation that many Republicans stand behind — that climate change … Continued