May 03, 2017

WE MAKE OUR OWN REALITY: CONSEQUENCES OF THE RISE OF NICHE MEDIA

I recently read an interesting opinion piece from Tom Nichols about Americans seem to be unable to talk to each other about politics or current events. The title of the MarketWatch.com article, sums up the starting point of his analysis: “Americans are now utterly intolerant of ever being told they’re wrong about almost anything“. Nichols […]

April 28, 2017

Base Instinct: Do Trump’s Poll Numbers Support the Conclusion that his base is holding?

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll on President Trump’s performance contained one startling takeaway. Most of the numbers were in line with sentiment about Trump before and since he’s become President. His job approval rating is 42%. His ratings on judgment, honesty-trustworthiness, and personality-temperament remain low, in the 38-41% range. (Democrats and Republicans both looked […]

April 26, 2017

Charles Murray at Middlebury College: Don’t Shoot the Messenger – or the Message!

In a well-publicized incident in March, a campus protest erupted into violence at Middlebury College in Vermont. Although author and political scientist Charles Murray had been invited to speak at a faculty-moderated student forum, other students, faculty, and alumni unsuccessfully tried to disinvite him. When he appeared, protestors shouted him down and kept him from speaking. He […]

December 29, 2016

Trump’s Cabinet Choices: Aggressive is Hard to Play Against

President-elect Donald Trump has now announced almost all of his choices for Cabinet positions. By any definition, many of his choices are much more aggressive than those of his predecessors. There are few “safe” or “compromise” picks among the appointees. Many, if not most, of Trump’s cabinet  choices would be expected to draw fire and […]

November 04, 2016

Trump Might Be Smarter Than You Think

Philip Bump of the Washington Post wrote a piece published Saturday morning asking “Why was Donald Trump campaigning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania?” It’s an interesting question, given the obvious things pointed out in the article: Trump trails in Pennsylvania by 6 points”, and there are “currently 10 states where the contest is closer than Pennsylvania.” Swinging […]

November 01, 2016

Nate Silver on Prediction

With the election two weeks away, it’s difficult to focus on anything else. In addition to daily election news, there are dozens of fresh polls – national polls, state polls, Senate-race polls. It’s a flood of information and a puzzle to figure out what it all means. Nate Silver, of fivethirtyeight.com, is a master of […]

October 19, 2016

Hank Azaria and Annie Duke Host Sold Out Poker Ball

Philadelphia – On October 8, 2016, educational nonprofit How I Decide held its inaugural Poker Ball at The Union League in Center City. The one-of-a-kind event, which raised over $225,000.00 to support How I Decide’s programming, was hosted by actor Hank Azaria and Annie Duke, a World Series of Poker Champion and How I Decide […]

October 01, 2016

When Our Plans Don’t Work Out in the Grocery Line

Earlier this month, the New York Times featured an interesting article titled “How to Pick the Fastest Lane in the Supermarket.” You will be amazed at the depth and sophistication of research on grocery lines. For example, MIT professor Richard Larson (“who is considered the foremost expert on queues”) calculated that we spend 37 billion […]

September 22, 2016

Mistaking Odds for Wrong When the Underdog wins

Mistaking Odds for Wrong When the Underdog wins: Alan Dershowitz, the famous lawyer and law professor, is clearly a super-smart guy. He recently wrote an article in the Boston Globe, picked up by RealClearPolitics.com, titled “Why It’s Impossible to Predict This Election.” In supporting his argument, he used the surprise result of Great Britain voting […]

September 08, 2016

Making Better Predictions by Keeping It Simple

A few days ago, I heard a story on NPR.com that offered a great tip about making predictions. I strongly recommend that you listen to the story, “Want to Make Better Predictions? Researchers Explore How.” In under three minutes, it provides valuable insights into predictions and acting on them. Shankar Vedantam, host of the Hidden […]