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Jamil Zaki

Entries by Jamil Zaki

Failing to Understand the Social Sciences

(27) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 4:58 PM

Gary Gutting's recent piece in the New York Times "Opinionator" blog ("How Reliable are the Social Sciences?" May 17th, 2012) argues that fields such as economics, psychology, and sociology (1) fail to contribute "real" data of the kind produced by the natural sciences, (2) explain information that already...

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How Social Science Could Help Build a Better Kony Campaign

(8) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 8:12 PM

Co-written with Adam Waytz of the Kellogg School of Management

You've almost certainly seen Kony 2012, the arresting, flawlessly produced video released by the organization Invisible Children earlier this month. It has become one of the fastest-spreading media events in history, the most viral in a...

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Tom Coburn, Ignorance, And The Need For Scientific Communication

(32) Comments | Posted January 10, 2012 | 3:18 PM

Last year, Senator Tom Coburn published a report entitled "Under the Microscope," in which he criticized the National Science Foundation's (NSF) choices to fund any research he couldn't immediately understand as important. Coburn's report stands out for its willful ignorance. It caricatures research in a way only possible...

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Let's get amoebic: The charitable slime mold as a model for facing climate change

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2010 | 6:34 PM

A dirty, but heroic protozoan might be able to revamp our hopes in climate reform. But first, let's talk about viruses and a very Y2K view of our own species.

I recently decided to re-watch The Matrix to see if it would blow my mind as much as it...

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Play nice with the 2000s

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2010 | 12:54 PM

A friend of mine often argues that pop music has reached its lowest point in history, and that current billboard charts can't hope to compare to those from, say, the 1980s. A deluge of opinion articles suggest that lots of people feel the same way about the...

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Copenhagen and the Commons

(2) Comments | Posted December 28, 2009 | 7:37 PM

Reviews of this month's Copenhagen conference on climate change have ranged from nonplussed to fatalistic. Copenhagen has been called a "crime scene" and an "abject failure." A prominent undertone in this reaction is that such conferences will never work, because they are tragic in the old...

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Courage Contagion: Social Influence in Protests

(1) Comments | Posted June 29, 2009 | 6:43 PM

The last few weeks in Iran have reminded us of many things we'd rather not remember about governments, and of at least one thing that we should remember about people: they can stand up for their beliefs even when doing so poses great risk. Amid threats from Ayatollah Khamenei...

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Sci-Fi Morality: Could Aliens Save Us from Prejudice?

(6) Comments | Posted June 16, 2009 | 2:42 PM

The violence in Gaza earlier this year reminded us -- one more time -- of how deep the rancor between Israel and the Arab world can run. One of the truisms about this and other ethnic conflicts is that they are older than any one person. On that view, divisions...

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Empathy Fatigue and What the Press Can Do About It

(3) Comments | Posted May 7, 2009 | 6:15 PM

People are inherently generous. There's more than moral obligation at play when you donate money to the Red Cross after reading about victims of a disaster, or offer to help a friend move. Evidence from experimental psychology suggests overwhelmingly that we help each other not because of the insistence of...

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Obama and the Science of Altruism

(12) Comments | Posted January 26, 2009 | 5:55 PM

Last October, eight-year-old Missourian Karina Encarnacion wrote to then presidential candidate Barack Obama, offering him advice on the type of puppy he should get for his daughters, were he to be elected. In a surprise response, Mr. Obama offered Karina some pieces of advice for making her life more fulfilling....

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