Columns

Column: Falling for Bogus Psychological Research

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Almost three years ago, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman penned an open letter to researchers working on “social priming,” the study of how thoughts and environmental cues can change later, mostly unrelated behaviors. After highlighting a series of embarrassing revelations, ranging from outright fraud to unreproducible results, he warned: “For all these reasons, right or wrong, your field is now the poster child for doubts about the integrity of psychological …

Column: Clinton Will Get the Nomination, Unless ...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Washington Unless she’s indicted, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. That kind of sentence is rarely written about a major presidential candidate. But I don’t see a realistic third alternative (except for one long-shot, below). Clinton is now hostage to the various investigations — the FBI, Congress, the courts — of her …

Column: Will We Let Tragedy Divide Us?

Friday, September 4, 2015

San Francisco We have a choice to make. We can look at both violence and racism as scourges that all of us must join together to fight. Or we can turn the issues of crime and policing into fodder for racial and political division. In principle, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize two truths. Too many young African-Americans have been killed in confrontations …

Column: Julian Bond Knew the Value of Keeping the Faith

Monday, August 24, 2015

Combing through the many tributes that have appeared since Julian Bond’s death, I was struck by one photograph in particular. A young Julian is standing beside a seated Paul Robeson. The giant of a man — scholar, athlete, singer, actor and civil rights activist, who was blacklisted during …

Column: Loss Aversion Frames the Iran Deal Debate

Monday, August 24, 2015

Of all the findings in behavioral science, the most significant may be “loss aversion,” the idea that people dislike losses a lot more than they like equivalent gains. Loss aversion can create big trouble for businesses and investors. And it can badly confuse political debate — as it …

Column: Yoga Is Much Misunderstood

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Yoga has become more popular in the United States in recent years, with the number of people taking part in the discipline almost doubling between 2002 and 2012. Today, nearly 10 percent of Americans have tried it, and …

Column: Article on Amazon Workplace Culture Presented a Rorschach Test

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It was last weekend’s great litmus test. After reading Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld’s epic New York Times account of what it’s like to work at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, were you appalled or impressed? Would you never …

Column: Summer’s Lease Hath All Too Short a Date, But It Is Renewable

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A friend of mine recently said that it seemed like I’d had a good summer, and I did, but the word had made me sad. Like most Midwesterners who endure brutal winters, I never want summer to end. This time of year, after the sunflowers have bloomed and …

Column: The Fed Is Running Big Risks and Ought to Be Audit Thoroughly

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The U.S. Federal Reserve has grown massively in recent years. Since the 2008 financial crisis, it has increased its balance sheet from less than $1 trillion to an incredible $4.4 trillion. Given this sharp increase in the Fed’s risk, it’s reasonable that the Fed should be audited more …

Column: A Cinderella Story That Traversed a Slippery Slope

Saturday, August 22, 2015

When I was a student in England I walked almost everywhere. Everywhere I couldn’t reach by walking, I reached by bicycle. Cinderella I wasn’t; glass shoes would not have withstood the mileage. At Cambridge University, my college was up a steep hill. New Hall was a modernist building …

Columnist: Walker’s Health Plan Is Good Unless You Need Insurance

Friday, August 21, 2015

When I first heard that a new repeal-and-replace-Obamacare plan was coming from Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin currently posing as a candidate for president, I set a challenge for myself. I wrote down every provision I expected to find in the plan, sealed the list in …

Column: Move to End Birthright Citizenship May Doom the GOP in 2016

Friday, August 21, 2015

It may not seem like it, but this week has seen the most significant development yet in the immigration debate’s role in the 2016 election. I’d go even further — it’s possible that the entire presidential election just got decided. Is that an overstatement? Maybe. But hear me …

Column: The Shift to Renewable Energy Must Account for the Huge Costs

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If promises matter, it’s been a very good stretch for renewable power. At the end of July, Hillary Clinton said that as president she would aim to get 33 percent of U.S. electricity from renewable sources by 2027 — up from about 13 percent today (half of it …