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Why CNN is awful: part 2.

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This page dates from 2005. Still up.

even as late as the nineteen-twenties, Italians and Italian-Americans were often considered “other” by much of the rest of the country. In fact, many people subscribed to what criminologists call the alien conspiracy theory of organized crime—the idea, as Finckenauer puts it, that “Southern Italians came to us with evil intent to create criminal enterprise on our shores.” (Today, Donald Trump advances a similar theory about immigrants from south of the border.)

(via Why Do We Admire Mobsters? - The New Yorker)

Worth a read.

An apparent lull in the recent rate of global warming that has been widely accepted as fact is actually an artifact arising from faulty statistical methods, Stanford scientists say.

“By using both datasets, nobody can claim that we made up a new statistical technique in order to get a certain result,” said Rajaratnam, who is also a fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

(via Global warming ‘hiatus’ never happened, Stanford scientists say | EurekAlert! Science News)

You could use a billion data sets and the climate change denial machine would still ignore the findings and claim it’s a hoax.

if you could preserve only one single sentence, I would push for: ‘The natural world is not governed by whimsical gods, but is essentially mechanical and can therefore be understood and then predicted by people, using careful observation, experimentation, and measurement, and importantly by testing your explanations to try to refute them.’ It’s this reiterative process of refinement that sets science apart from any other system for explaining how the world works.

Buzzfeed: I Asked 12 Scientists: What Is The One Fact Humanity Needs To Know?

That’s a pretty good one sentence description of the scientific method,

In this climate, women made great spies precisely because of the way 19th-century society underestimated them. During the Civil War, they “were able to take society’s ideas about the weakness of womanhood and brilliantly exploit them,” Abbott says. “Women were always supposed to be the victims of war, not the perpetrators. One of my favorite quotes in the book is from a Lincoln official, who was completely flummoxed when he said, ‘What are we going to do with these fashionable women spies?’ The idea that women are not only capable of treasonous activity, but they are also capable of executing it more deftly than men was something that had never occurred to these men.

After 150 years, America is still haunted by the ghosts of its Civil War, whose story has been romanticized for so long it’s hard to keep …

(via Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War)

Something to keep in mind when reading articles about women in spec-ops units. If only we had an enemy that underestimated women to the point where women would walk around hidden in plain sight.

Development is happening quickly, though not as quickly as megacities grew in China. Of 50 economic zones planned nine years ago, only six have been built. Developers are struggling to adapt to the differences in various African cultures and differences in governance. “I think from Chinese point of view, the biggest danger is corruption in African countries,” says Hulshof. “But another problem they will run into is democracy … which makes it more difficult to develop in the top-down way that Chinese companies are used to. If people own land, you can’t just kick them out.”

A photo investigation of the Chinese-sponsored apartments, highways, factoriesand even entire citiesthat are sprouting up in Africa at an astounding…

(via In Africa, Chinese Developers Are Building A Mini-China)

Worth a read.

The Bush administration’s enormous national security failure, in one tweet:

You see in Bush’s conduct and Cornyn’s tweet a persistent unwillingness to recognize the existence of disparate forces in the world. Al-Qaeda merges alternately with Saddam Hussein or the regime in Iran in a hazy muddle of “Muslims behaving badly.” It’s a deeply flawed analysis of the world and it’s one of the main reasons it took so long for bin Laden to be brought to justice.