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Academic gullibility: Researchers prove how easy it is to fool editors and peer reviewers

By Yascha Mounk Over the past 12 months, three scholars — James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian — wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions, and tried to get them placed in high-profile journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies. Their success rate was remarkable: […]

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Why are we so good at killing our houseplants?

By Charlotte Mendelson For most of us, apartment dwellers and city types, houseplants are an admission of defeat. We look wistfully at plants in the supermarket—tendrils and fronds, furry flaps, spines and holes and soft neon shoots—persuading ourselves that they might bring us comfort. Is the particularly unusual leaf structure of a tapioca plant a […]

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Why social media is so awful and why its managers want to keep it that way

By Mark O’Connell Twitter, as everyone knows, is Hell. Its most hellish aspect is a twofold, self-reinforcing contradiction: you know that you could leave at any time and you know that you will not. (Its pleasures, in this sense, are largely masochistic.) My relationship with the Web site, which has, for years now, been the […]

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Down with the uplifters!

By H.L. Mencken Of all the varieties of men, the one who is least comprehensible to me is the fellow who immolates himself on the altar of what he conceives to be the public interest – in other words, the reformer, the uplifter, the man, so called, of public spirit. What I am chiefly unable […]

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Letter to an Ecuadorian friend in Vilcabamba

By Viktoria Vidali Dear Rosa, It has now been over two years since we waved goodbye outside our apartment where we lived next to you and Juan on the horse-trodden streets of Vilcabamba. We all cried then. Aldo, though very weak, had reassured me that he could make the long trip from Quito to San […]

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The illogic of immortality

By Paul Sagar The finale of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) sees the quest for the Holy Grail reach a dramatic conclusion. The film’s villain – the Nazi collaborator and artifact hunter Walter Donovan – knows that drinking from the sacred goblet will bring him eternal life. But from a table […]

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Chevron turns the tables, sues Ecuador for violation of bilateral investment treaty

By Michael Krauss What is going on here? Why has Chevron sued Ecuador? This column has exhaustively detailed the tragedy of the suit against Chevron. This is the petroleum company’s counter-attack. Herewith a primer on the international arbitration proceeding pursuant to the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which entered into force in 1997. What is […]

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Who needs democracy when you have artificial intelligence? China shows how it’s done

By Christina Larson In 1955, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov published a short story about an experiment in “electronic democracy,” in which a single citizen, selected to represent an entire population, responded to questions generated by a computer named Multivac. The machine took this data and calculated the results of an election that therefore never […]

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Undermining mining: Cuenca court ruling could prove an economic blow to Ecuador’s economy

By Ramiro Crespo Ecuador’s difficult path towards becoming a responsible mining economy has once again taken a stumble. Courts in Cuenca have stopped development of the Río Blanco project, a gold mine nearing completion owned by Chinese mining company Junefield. The rulings have received support from Cuenca’s mayor, Marcelo Cabrera, and umbrella indigenous organization CONAIE. […]

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Is the mainstream media telling the truth about Nicaragua? This journalist says no

Editor’s note: The following is a partial transcript of an interview with journalist Max Blumenthal on the podcast “Unauthorized Disclosure,” hosted by Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola. Blumenthal is the author of books and articles about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in which he sides strongly with the Palestinians. He is also a […]

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