How empathy intensifies political polarization

Nov 09 2019
There are people who believe that the political polarization now afflicting the United States might finally start to subside if Americans of both parties could somehow become more empathetic. If you’re one of these people, the American Political Science

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Virality and virulence

Oct 19 2019
This week I was reminded anew of the promise and peril of tweeting right after your morning coffee. And in the process I was reminded (not that I really needed it) of Twitter’s tribal nature. 

On Friday morning, just as the caffe

NBA’s China Syndrome

Oct 12 2019
This was a tough week for San Francisco Warriors coach Steve Kerr. It all started when the General Manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protestors. The Chinese government—and lots of Chinese people—didn’t like that one

How virtue signaling saved my dog’s life

Sep 28 2019

Plant-based game theory

Sep 21 2019
Sunflowers, believe it or not, play non-zero-sum games with one another—and do so with impressive skill! At least, that’s one reading of a study published this week in the

On attribution error

Sep 21 2019
[Excerpted from 'How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America' by Robert Wright, published in Wired, Oct 8, 2017]

In a context of intense tribalism, attribution error works like this: If people we identify as members of our tribe

Worse and worse

Jul 19 2019
Remind me to never again ask this question: “How could things possibly get any worse?” This week showed us that things can always get worse. You can have a president who has played on bigotry and xenophobia in various disgusting ways but at least has

Ironic tribalism

Jun 07 2019
Last weekend I attended my college reunion, as I do every five years. There are lots of things to do at a college reunion. Such as: put a positive spin on the last five years of your life, then do that again, then do that again.

Plus, r

Abortion down south

May 17 2019
This week’s passage in Alabama of the most severe anti-abortion law in recent American history triggered a flashback. I was back in my sophomore history class at Douglas MacArthur High School in San Antonio. There, at the front of the class, wearing cow

To boldly go where no cliché has gone before

May 03 2019
In keeping with my long history of taking courageous positions, I opined in last week’s newsletter that hatred is a bad thing. Now MRN reader Jane is asking whether I could develop that observation into something that is, you know, actually of use

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