Shalom Belfast

This documentary, made by a Jewish-Israeli living in Northern Ireland, is a remarkable collection of perspectives on conflict and identity. Ithamar Handelman Smith begins by investigating Unionist culture to find out why they identify so strongly with Israel. He finds it is because of their right-wing nationalism, and the similarity they see between criticism of […]

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Confirmation Bias and the Ultimate Attribution Error

Confirmation bias is the tendency to privilege content which affirms existing views over content which challenges them. The Ultimate Attribution error is the tendency to attribute personality based explanations to the negative behaviors of outgroup members, and situational based explanations to their positive behavior. And vice-versa, it is the tendency to attribute situational based explanations to […]

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The Value of Loyalty

Loyalty gets a bad wrap today amongst those who fancy themselves leftists. It sounds old-world, it is associated with Monarchism and maintaining the status quo at all costs. And it’s true that loyalty is a conservative value – if you want to keep things the same and maintain existing categories, it’s important not to turn […]

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Honesty and the Confirmation Bias

An issue that comes up consistently in discussions of the unprecedented ability of the internet to spread political information to users, is the question of whether this actually improves the quality of public discourse, or whether it is simply an avenue for people who already believe X to find many arguments and facts in support of X, […]

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Julian Assange on Crowd Sourcing, Values and Journalism

This morning I was watching a panel discussion from the Logan Symposium at UC Berkley, (in six parts, find part 1 here). The panel is interesting in general, especially because it includes both Assange’s activist position, and more traditional journalistic opinions. But what stood out for me were Assange’s comments on why Cablegate was being pursued differently […]

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Sanity Restored?

This past weekend I travelled with 20 new friends, mostly from my housemate’s NGO “Operation Groundswell“, to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington DC. You can see my photos here. The trip itself was quite an adventure – friday morning we left, were interrogated at the border, went to a new england […]

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de Sousa on Emotional Truth

Ronald de Sousa‘s “Emotional Truth” seeks to expand the realm of truth from its restriction to belief and belief-like states to include emotions and emotional states. On DeSousa’s view, an emotion can be “true”, or “false”, but not in the sense of being “flat-out” true or false, rather in some matter of degree. To use […]

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