Political scientist Michael Chwe (CASBS Fellow 2014-15), had a well deserved, if unexpected, period in the spotlight when a book he wrote 14 years ago, Rational Ritual, was chosen by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for his 2015 “A Year in Books” online book club. The choice of Chwe’s book followed the choice of another former fellow’s book - Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the following article, written for The Monkey Cage blog in The Washington Post, April 8, 2015, Chwe explains the thesis underlying his book and how it relates to the work he concentrated on at CASBS in the past year.
Mark Zuckerberg wants people to understand common knowledge. What’s commmon knowledge? By Michael Chwe
"A new study led by the University of Pennsylvania's Damon Centola [CASBS Felllow 2014-2015] provides a scientific explanation for how social conventions can emerge suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, with no external forces driving their creation. (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania)"
Canada's Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced the appointment of Heather Munroe-Blum as Chair of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), effective October 27, 2014.
Dr. Munroe-Blum has served on the Board of Directors of the CPPIB since 2011. Her appointment as Chair is for a three-year term ending on October 26, 2017. Dr. Munroe-Blum became the first woman to serve as Principal and Vice-Chancellor (President) of McGill University in 2003. She is a professor at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Principal Emerita, and is returning from a leave at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
"The year after temperatures rise, people are more likely to believe in global warming, says Jon Krosnick, a Stanford professor of communication and of political science. The latest polling shows that 73 percent of Americans believe global warming is real and 79 percent favor some sort of government intervention on the issue. But, only 49 percent favor mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by power plants."
The cover story of the May 18th New York Times Magazine "Who Gets to Graduate?" features the work of incoming fellow David Yeager and the Mindset Group.
"David Yeager, a 32-year-old assistant professor who is emerging as one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of education. In his research, Yeager is trying to answer the question that Laude wrestles with every day: How, precisely, do you motivate students to take the steps they need to take in order to succeed?"
It’s been trending among hipsters for some time, along with heavy-framed eyeglasses and vinyl records. But unlike those other what’s-old-is-new-again accessories, hookah smoking presents more danger – far more than users may realize.
As Blanc writes in his article for Psychology Today online, “…not only does smoking tobacco in a hookah provide for efficient nicotine delivery, this practice also leads to alarmingly high levels of carbon monoxide” – indeed, more than if they smoked cigarettes.
The reason: the technology design of a hookah, according to Blanc: a layer of burning charcoal rests above the tobacco, adding even more CO to the tobacco as it burns.
David Dunning’s work is featured in three articles across three different media this week: The Christian Science Monitor newspaper, The Atlantic magazine, and the Smart Planet blog. All cite the Dunning-Kruger effect, as it’s known: the tendency to overestimate one’s competence (and as it happens, the less competent someone is, the greater the likelihood of overestimating their abilities).
CASBS Fellow Steve Woolgar is one of the editors of the recently-released Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited. The original Representation in Scientific Practice, was published by the MIT Press in 1990, the work helped coalesce a long-standing interest in scientific visualization among historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science.