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In Praise of Civility. Data Storytelling: Separating Fiction From Facts. Data is playing a larger role in day-to-day business conversations than ever before. The ability to communicate with data is now a necessity for business leaders, frontline employees, and everybody in between. People who may have easily avoided discussing data in the past are finding numbers being thrust upon them. When data is a foreign language to you, it can be frustrating to not understand what’s being said or be able to use it effectively in communications with others.

Not being conversant or fluent in data is quickly becoming a liability in today’s fast-moving data economy. Fortunately, we can turn to a timeless, highly effective form of communication—storytelling—but with a modern data twist. Now instead of illustrations, pictures or film, we can communicate with data by bringing stories to life with compelling data visualizations. Even though the field of data storytelling is still relatively new and uncharted, it has become a hot topic in both analytics and business circles. A New Look at a Great Egalitarian. In our deeply unequal times, historian Edward O’Donnell reminds us, the life of the 19th century’s most important critic of concentrated wealth remains as relevant as ever. Henry George, the 19th century’s most celebrated egalitarian, and his new biographer, historian Edward O’Donnell Back in America’s original Gilded Age, in the decades right after the Civil War, no American spoke and wrote more compellingly against the nation’s growing inequality than Henry George, a Philadelphia-born journalist whose writing career initially took off in San Francisco.

George’s immensely popular 1879 book, Progress and Poverty, sold millions of copies, and the reform plan he championed — what become known as the “single tax,” a levy to prevent landowners from deriving any profit from mere ownership — captivated a significant chunk of his generation. In 1897, at George’s death, over 100,000 people walked past his coffin in New York’s Grand Central Station. What can we today learn from George’s life?

Many in Nation Tired of Explaining Things to Idiots. MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report)—Many Americans are tired of explaining things to idiots, particularly when the things in question are so painfully obvious, a new poll indicates. According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, while millions have been vexed for some time by their failure to explain incredibly basic information to dolts, that frustration has now reached a breaking point. Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins.

Coming in a close second, statistical proof that gun control has reduced gun deaths in countries around the world is something that a significant number of those polled have given up attempting to break down for morons.

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The American Dream. Cops. The Shirk Report – Volume 179. Finally I Hear a Politician Explain My Country Just the Way I Understand It. "America is not some fragile thing. " Words to live by. I've been in transit or offline all of today and didn't see President Obama's Selma speech in real time. I'm catching up with it now, very late at night, and had a reaction different from the good job/bad job assessment I can't help giving (as a one-time speechwriter) to most political discourse.

I thought this was a very good job, in written presentation and in delivery, as far as I can judge via YouTube. But for me that takes second place to my overwhelming reaction of gratitude: for once, a public figure expressing exactly how I feel. I think this speech (official text here) will move to the front of the public statements by which Obama hopes to be remembered in the long run. Obama's career-making speech at the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston, which I happened to be in the hall to witness, was unforgettable political theater, the obvious arrival of a star, but its text is not, in fact, that impressive on re-reading. And:

Daily Kos :: News Community Action. Transcript: Read Full Text of President Barack Obama’s Speech in Selma | TIME. It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes. Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind.

A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ... What America Needs to Tell Obama. ‘Normal America’ Is Not A Small Town Of White People. Earlier this week, Jim VandeHei, a former executive editor of Politico, wrote an op-ed article for The Wall Street Journal accusing the Washington political establishment of being out of touch with “normal America.” “Normal America is right that Establishment America has grown fat, lazy, conventional and deserving of radical disruption,” he wrote, citing his regular visits to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Lincoln, Maine, as his credentials of normality.

More Economics It’s a familiar accusation in a year in which most presidential candidates are trying to pretend they have nothing to do with the coastal elite, and after one — Ted Cruz — spent weeks attacking “New York values.” Even PBS, a standard-bearer of the media elite, recently featured a quiz designed to assess in-touchness with “mainstream American culture” with questions about fishing, pickup trucks and living in a small town. We all, of course, have our own notions of what real America looks like. Study: People with mental illnesses rarely commit violent acts. BALTIMORE, June 7 (UPI) -- Despite media reference to people accused of committing violent crimes having mental illnesses, most people with the type of psychological conditions the reports mention are not generally violent, according to a recent study. Researchers at John Hopkins University found in a review a large sample of two decades worth of media reports on mental health and mass shootings that the reports rarely talked about successful treatment of patients, in addition to linking mental health to violence far more often than appears to be necessary.

The negative stories have added to fears of people with mental illness and reinforce social fears about people who have depression, schizophrenia, anxiety or other conditions. If more media reports included references to successful treatment of patients and depictions of patients were more realistic, the researchers suggest misperceptions about these patients may be reduced. "Anyone who kills people is not mentally healthy. The Books That Changed Our Approach to the Outdoors. Parable of the Polygons - a playable post on the shape of society.

This is a story of how harmless choices can make a harmful world. These little cuties are 50% Triangles, 50% Squares, and 100% slightly shapist. But only slightly! In fact, every polygon prefers being in a diverse crowd: You can only move them if they're unhappy with their immediate neighborhood. Once they're OK where they are, you can't move them until they're unhappy with their neighbors again. “I wanna move if less than 1/3 of my neighbors are like me.” Harmless, right? Drag & drop unhappy polygons until nobody is unhappy: (just move them to random empty spots. don't think too much about it.)

And... our shape society becomes super segregated. Sometimes a neighborhood just becomes square, and it's not their fault if no triangles wanna stick around. In this next bit, unhappy shapes automatically move to random empty spots. Run this simulation a few times. what happens? What's up with that? Small individual bias can lead to large collective bias. Equality is an unstable equilibrium. Woah. Bill Moyers. Reviews are mixed on the “winner” of Thursday night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan – predictably, reactions are split along party and ideological lines – and we won’t fully know what effect it had on the polls, if any, for a few days. But from a purely strategic point of view, Biden came out ahead by doing what he had to do – reestablishing some credibility for the Barack Obama White House and defibrillating Democrats and progressives who a week ago lay prostrate after the president’s less-than-stellar performance during his first encounter with Mitt Romney.

As Benjy Sarlin wrote at the website Talking Points Memo, shortly after the conclusion of the Biden-Ryan vice presidential debate: “Before the Obama campaign could steal away Mitt Romney’s supporters or lock down undecideds, it had to reassure its own supporters after last week’s uninspiring debate performance from President Obama. “However, he won’t have relieved Mr. Smithsonian.

It was the end of term at Kirkkojarvi Comprehensive School in Espoo, a sprawling suburb west of Helsinki, when Kari Louhivuori, a veteran teacher and the school’s principal, decided to try something extreme—by Finnish standards. One of his sixth-grade students, a Kosovo-Albanian boy, had drifted far off the learning grid, resisting his teacher’s best efforts. The school’s team of special educators—including a social worker, a nurse and a psychologist—convinced Louhivuori that laziness was not to blame. So he decided to hold the boy back a year, a measure so rare in Finland it’s practically obsolete. Finland has vastly improved in reading, math and science literacy over the past decade in large part because its teachers are trusted to do whatever it takes to turn young lives around.

This 13-year-old, Besart Kabashi, received something akin to royal tutoring. Years later, a 20-year-old Besart showed up at Kirkkojarvi’s Christmas party with a bottle of Cognac and a big grin. Your Evolved Intuitions. Part of the sequence: Rationality and Philosophy We have already examined one source of our intuitions: attribute substitution heuristics. Today we examine a second source of our intuitions: biological evolution. Evolutionary psychology Evolutionary psychology1 has been covered on Less Wrong many times before, but let's review anyway. Lions walk on four legs and hunt for food. Certain evolved psychological mechanisms in humans are part of what makes us like each other and not like lions, skunks, and spiders. These mechanisms evolved to solve specific adaptive problems.

An an example of evolutionary psychology at work, consider the 'hunter-gatherer hypothesis' that men evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in hunting, while women evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in gathering.6 This hypothesis leads to a list of bold predictions. And as it turns out, all these predictions are correct.7 (And no, evolutionary psychologists do not only offer 'postdictions' or 'just so' stories. Notes. World hunger can't be solved with more food - The Drum Opinion. Find More Stories World hunger can't be solved with more food Olivier De Schutter It is tempting to see the fight against hunger and malnutrition as a rare point of consensus amid an otherwise conflicted international agenda. The issue is seen as above politics, merely a question of technical adjustments: producing more food and getting it to the deficit areas.

Yet this is a fundamental misconception. Across the globe, many governments are struggling to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. In February 2011, the World Bank Group estimated that since June 2010 an additional 44 million people have been driven into poverty. However, a number of countries - including Bangladesh, Brazil, Malawi, Mozambique and Peru - have managed to defy the trend by significantly reducing hunger and malnutrition within their borders. What has allowed these countries to succeed where others have failed? Email Share x del.icio.us Digg Kwoff. 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America. Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him.

You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him. This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy: You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up?

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Why one lesson of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ will touch adults so much more deeply than kids. Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Anger (voice of Lewis Black) guide 11-year-old Riley from Headquarters, the control center inside her mind. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Disney/Pixar As people get older, their emotions get more complex. Joyful memories of childhood become tinged with loss and nostalgia. Pixar, the animation studio owned by Disney, is famous for crafting movies that capture that complex mix of emotions.

The animated movie of the summer, "Inside Out," does more than capture these emotions -- its plot actually revolves around them. This idea is one that the adults in the audience will relate to better than the kids they are accompanying. One of the main lessons of "Inside Out" is about how contradictory emotions can work in concert. Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Wonkbook newsletter.