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Archive for February 4th, 2008

Caltech student Virgil Griffith downloaded, using facebook, the ten most popular books in each college, and correlated it with the average SAT score of the students in that college. The results are funny and interesting. Of course, it is not a scientific survey and not meant to be taken too seriously. 

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Google News has been feeding me a new headline everyday about Shah Rukh’s abs. Today we are informed that Neha Dhupia gives full marks to them.

Personally though, I’d prefer to gaze at Neha’s any day.

nehadhupia3.jpg srk-without-shirt-om-shanti-om.jpg

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Libertarianism has an obvious moral appeal to those who value freedom (and I believe most of us do). However libertarian policies also often have huge political, economic and social advantages which while not obvious at first glance are nevertheless apparent to those who are have studied the matter in some depth. Thus, I have often wondered why so many academics tend to be left-wing (and not libertarian).

Ilya Somin, in a fine post on Volokh, argues that most academics, while usually very knowledgable and intelligent in their field of expertise, do not possess a corresponding degree of high political knowledge. Indeed, as Somin has discussed in a series of earlier posts, academia is for various reasons a highly unrepresentative sample of well-informed voters.

Moreover this lack of knowledge is not the only negative effect of rational political ignorance. There is also what Bryan Caplan calls rational irrationality, whereby “citizens tend to discount information that goes against their preexisting views”. Somin believes that this phenomenon may afflict academics to a greater extent than the general population; for academics – even those who are not that well-informed on political and socio-economic matters – are usually more emotionally committed to their views than the common man.

Somin also notes the work of political scientist Scott Althaus, who demonstrated that, controlling for other demographic variables, increased knowledge does tend to make people more libertarian.

Click here for the entire post.

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