Feminine and unapologetic

I started crying while doing the dishes last week. Domestic weeping of this kind used to be rarer for me before the Trump election, but I am afraid it is all too common now since, like everyone else, I listen to the news while I do housework. In this case, for once, it was happy […]

Conversation with Adam Rogers: DARPians and the Social Science Problem

Ann:  Please meet Adam Rogers. He wrote a story about DARPA looking for solutions to the credibility problems of social science, only what I’m calling “solutions to credibility problems,” he called bullshit detection. First, social science’s credibility problems.  Here’s the way I said it in 2015: Start with any question involving human behavior or motivation and […]

The Placebo Test

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to a number of groups about the power of belief in medicine as a part of promoting my book, Suggestible You. It’s been a fascinating process and I’ve loved hearing about people’s individual experience with placebos, self-healing and alternative medicine. But I often asked a simple question: what […]

In Defense of the Antivaxxer

I am a man of science. Okay, perhaps not of science, but certainly near it. I’m science adjacent. But regardless, I consider myself to be bound, in the end, by logic and facts. As such, I like to think that I eschew my beliefs for what the facts tell me. As a very young man, I was […]

Motherhood Week: Making Friends With Mister P.

My eight-year-old daughter is a fourth-generation perfectionist. In my family, the trait is matrilineal, so I know from firsthand experience that it has a few advantages. My daughter is likely to pay her bills on time and use semicolons correctly. She will not be intimidated by details. She will have a certain baseline competence that will make her […]

The Community Listservs of the People of LWON

  Emily Underwood, Friend of LWON, posted on Facebook a collection of topics from her community listserv. Lions (mountain lions) Free blue heeler Sick chicken Ann doesn’t know exactly where Emily lives but it sure isn’t Baltimore.  Ann’s community listserv looks more like this. 2nd Quarterly Citizen’s Decision-Making Training (formerly known as “Shoot Don’t Shoot”) […]

On Competence

As human civilization becomes ever more technologically complex, the average competence of each person declines. When a society operates using a suite of technologies that a single adult can learn in his or her lifetime—building a house from scratch, farming, spinning cotton, making medicines, having babies, hunting, fishing, singing and dancing—then it is possible to […]