Why You Should Never Trust a Data Scientist

“Pete Warden”:http://petewarden.com/2013/07/18/why-you-should-never-trust-a-data-scientist/ bq. The wonderful thing about being a data scientist is that I get all of the credibility of genuine science, with none of… Read More

The Political Science of PRISM and International Privacy

The “Financial Times”:http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dd7dd97c-eed5-11e2-b8ec-00144feabdc0.html has an editorial warning gravely that the European Union may overreact to the PRISM revelations. bq. If recent leaks about US internet… Read More

Autism and the social contagion of information

The news that Jenny McCarthy will become a co-host of TV discussion show _The View_ is “generating a lot of controversy”:http://www.businessinsider.com/jenny-mccarthy-the-view-autism-vaccines-controversial-quotes-2013-7 – people worry that… Read More

It’s possible indeed

“This”:http://meganmcardle.com/2013/07/12/why-i-think-the-gop-will-have-control-in-2017/, from Megan McArdle: bq. My assertion that there’s a 70% chance that the GOP controls White House, Senate, and House in 2017 has attracted… Read More

Violence as a Source of Trust in Mafia-type Organizations

Criminals have great difficulty in trusting each other – they often have conflicting interests (and may sometimes have incentives to inform on each other) but… Read More

Robert Putnam on funding the social sciences

In “Politico”:http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/political-science-research-offers-better-democracy-93970.html bq. This week, I was one of 12 Americans to receive a National Humanities Medal, based in part on research I began more… Read More

Distinguishing Offense from Defense in Cybersecurity

This _New York Times_ "article":http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/05/us/resume-shows-snowden-honed-hacking-skills.html?hp about Edward Snowden implicitly highlights the perceived dilemmas of US cybersecurity policy. bq. In 2010, while working for a National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden learned to be a hacker. He took a course that trains security professionals to think like hackers and understand their techniques, all with the intent of turning out “certified ethical hackers” who can better defend their employers’ networks. But the certification, listed on a résumé that Mr. Snowden later prepared, would also have given him some of the skills he needed to rummage undetected through N.S.A. computer systems and gather the highly classified surveillance documents that he leaked last month, security experts say. bq. Some intelligence experts say that the types of files he improperly downloaded at Booz Allen suggest that he had shifted to the offensive side of electronic spying or cyberwarfare, in which the N.S.A. examines other nations’ computer systems to steal information or to prepare attacks. The N.S.A.’s director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, has encouraged workers to try their skills both defensively and offensively, and moving to offense from defense is a common career pattern, officials say. Read More

How Cities Compete For Business

Local economic development theory argues that it’s usually a bad idea for cities to offer special incentives to try to attract businesses. These incentives weaken… Read More

Conservatives for Better Childcare

This bit in a “New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/world/europe/merkel-offers-her-election-manifesto.html about Angela Merkel’s election manifesto may seem a little strange to US observers. bq. Addressing some 600 representatives… Read More

Do Human Rights Treaties Work?

One of the weirder findings of the recent political science literature is that states which sign up to human rights treaties are _more_ likely, not… Read More