Psychology

Massey College Junior Fellow Hadiya Roderique just had a piece published about her experience of being black in Canada’s legal profession: Black on Bay Street: Hadiya Roderique had it all. But still could not fit in.

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Perhaps every boom is expected to last forever. Every boom contains within it some skewed logic in which the impossible growth and rapidly amassed wealth undergo a transition from fantastically fluid to some simulacrum of a solid state. The careening boom logic becomes the norm. Luck becomes a strain of genius, and opportunism starts to […]

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I’ve written elsewhere about how The Economist doesn’t understand climate change. In their science section and the occasional editorial they stress the need for massive and urgent action, but their thinking is not joined up. Their general editorial stance remains that economic growth is the greatest good, every new fossil fuel discovery is a boon, […]

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Astrology maddens me, especially when generally sensible people treat is as harmless fun. Back in 2006, I said: “astrology is utter nonsense, and … human life in general would be better if everyone could completely and finally reject it as bunk”. I just learned another way in which the practice goes beyond being a harmless […]

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I suppose it’s at least as old as the letter, but communications anxiety (COMANX) has some notable features. Whenever one feels it is possible that a psychologically difficult message will arrive via any medium — whether it’s by mail, telephone, email, text, or Facebook — it sets up the mind to be constantly apprehensive. Every […]

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Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]

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The often-excellent NPR Planet Money podcast (which ran an earlier episode about “Freeway” Rick) had two notably engaging recent segments. One included an interesting account of the data-analysis-decision-action cycle in intelligence work, specifically when deciding if an assailant is an enemy counterintelligence agent or drug-addled mugger. The other discussed policy and incentive problems in the […]

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One way in which the lives of contemporary urban dwellers must differ from those of most people in the 250,000 years of anatomically modern human history is in not knowing our neighbours. In a small settlement in a time before widespread travel and privacy, you would probably know everybody. Now, many of us couldn’t pick […]

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George Monbiot’s career advice for aspiring journalists may apply at least as much to civil servants and academics: You want to be free? Then first you must learn to be captive. The advisers say that a career path like this is essential if you don’t want to fall into the “trap” of specialisation: that is […]

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“Nothing sways them from the habit—not illness, not the sacrifice of love and relationships, not the loss of all earthly goods, not the crushing of their dignity, not the fear of dying. The drive is that relentless… If human life was so simple that people learned from negative consequences, well then human history would be […]

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