Category Archives: Uncategorized

Clever Graphic to Stop Public Urination – Yes, Urination

Let’s face it – us men are disgusting. So public policy experts are left to figure out how to keep us from behaving in our normally disgusting manner. Here’s one approach (thanks to Geoff Riley for bringing it to my … Continue reading

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Are Some Life Saving Treatments Overkill?

Thanks to the popularity of medical television shows, most people have witnessed hundreds of fictional cardiac arrests in their lifetime. In most of these scenes, the patient loses consciousness, and the medical team rushes to the bedside: “He’s in V-fib.” … Continue reading

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Health Insurance Prices Declining under Obamacare

One year does not a trend make, but it does look like prices for health insurance under Obamacare next year will decline, on average. Ezra Klein, over at, produced a nice picture of these prices: Who knows: in the … Continue reading

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Power of Analogy

From time to time in this blog, I take a moment to celebrate fine writing. Here is an example I came across in an article in Smithsonian magazine from May 2014. The author, Corey Powell , was trying to explain how astronomers … Continue reading

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Moderate Politicans: No Reason to Run for Office

A while back, my friend and colleague Brendan Nyhan  sent out a disturbing picture showing that moderate politicians, from both the Democratic and Republican parties, are less likely to run for seats in the House of Representatives than more extreme politicians: … Continue reading

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Something I Have in Common with Beethoven

Friends and family are painfully aware of how obsessed I have become with Beethoven lately. My plan is to have 10 of his piano sonatas in my brain and fingertips at any one time, ready to play by memory on … Continue reading

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Is [Your Favorite Politician Here] Narcissistic Enough to Be a Good President?

I expect we all agree that the presidency is not a job for a shrinking violet.  We acknowledge that a president without self-confidence would be a disaster in the making.  But just how confident do we want our president to … Continue reading

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Influencing Young Minds

I really like teaching Duke undergraduates. They are an ambitious and intelligent group. But sometimes their ambition and intelligence get in the way of creative thinking, especially in regards to careers. They all want to remain high achievers, so they … Continue reading

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Will Lowering The Price Of Genetic Testing Raise The Cost Of Medical Care?

The first time scientists sequenced a person’s entire genome, it took more than a decade and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently, such sequencing takes less than twenty-four hours and costs less than $5,000: To put that into perspective, … Continue reading

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Sagan the Quipster

In 1996, a man wrote to Carl Sagan asking him the distance to heaven. Sagan was a very public agnostic. He replied brilliantly: “Thanks for your letter. Nothing like the Christian notion of heaven has been found out to about … Continue reading

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