Daily Archives: October 15, 2009

Silence = Death

I have been to Uganda a number times, but only illegally or by accident, in which case I was in the remote bush, or in transit, stopping at Entebbe Airport, so I can’t say that I know much, directly, about the culture there. However, I have spent months in Kenya and years in Zaire/Congo, and a little time in Tanzania and Rwanda, so I’ve kinda got Uganda surrounded. I can tell you that the political culture and government of Zaire/Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are very, very different from one another. At the same time, all of these countries have certain commonalities that are relevant to the present discussion, and I’d bet money that these extend to some degree into Uganda. They are:
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What is Wrong with the American System of Education?

Roughly half of the people in the United States reject one or more fundamental tenets of science (most commonly evolution), while a larger percent, perhaps more than 80 percent depending on how we measure, would fail a basic science test. A strong majority of those American citizens who would claim to have strong feelings about one or more science policy issues such as climate change, stem cell research, or nuclear power either know very little about the relevant science or are so badly informed regarding the science that their knowledge is not merely insufficient, but is actually opposite what is generally accepted by experts in the area. Most Americans would prefer to make science related decisions on the basis of political affiliations (while at the same time often claiming to not be affiliated with a particular party, and to be ‘independent’ ‘thinkers’) than on the basis of scientifically demonstrable realities. This is true even to the extent that it is possible to predict a person’s likely stance on a scientific issue on the basis of their politics than on the basis of their own economic self-interest or concern about personal or family health and safety. Hmmmm.
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Culture Shapes How We Look at Faces

Constructivism. Determinism. It is all a bunch of hooey.

ResearchBlogging.orgA recent paper published by PLoS (Culture Shapes How We Look at Faces) throws a sopping wet blanket on widely held deterministic models of human behavior. In addition, the work underscores the sometimes spooky cultural differences that can emerge in how people see things, even how people think.

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