“This is how progress is made”

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Some words to live by from a recent Irish Times article, The way we argue now:

Combating motivated reasoning is exceptionally difficult, as it is often an evolved mechanism of “protecting” ourselves from the distress of cognitive dissonance. Perhaps rather than view conflicting concepts with apprehension, we should regard it with the exhilaration of discovery. Continue reading

Newsweek and the mysterious case of Putin’s ‘disappearing’ ex-wife

​So there I was, Saturday morning, reading The Top Secret Family Life of Vladimir Putin on Newsweek and I’m thinking wow, this is interesting, as one would be.
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Until I came across this line:
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“After the divorce, all mention of Lyudmila [Putin's ex-wife] was erased from the Kremlin website…”

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So at this point I’m thinking to myself well, that’s very strange…maybe I’ll go and check it out.

(You see, I’m just really sick of reading things in respectable publications that turn out to be categorically untrue, so I figured I should just check.) Continue reading

Obama: “Russia doesn’t make anything” (and other inaccuracies)

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So, Obama was at it again. In a recent interview with The Economist, he decided to offer some really helpful personal insights on Russia, which are certain to help cool diplomatic tensions. Or not. You can decide for yourself:

“It’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything.”

“Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking.”

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Trip to Warsaw, Poland (picture post)

Everyone I’ve heard discussing Poland always seems to say “Krakow is nicer”. I visited both Warsaw and Krakow, and ended up preferring Warsaw. They’re both gorgeous, but it was the Old Town in Warsaw that sealed the deal.

I approached the Old Town from Krakowskie Przedmieście, which is one of the most prestigious streets in the capital and it is pristine and such a nice walk, filled with gorgeous hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes and churches.

As I got to the end and saw the Old Town come into view, I felt like I was walking into a fairytale.

About 85% of the town was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II. After the war, the town was restored almost completely to what it is today.

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MH17: The blame game continues, but where is the evidence?

Here’s the thing about MH17: there’s still no real proof of who did it.

Well, unless you’re counting the secret “evidence” the US supposedly had approximately three seconds after it happened.

If this evidence is as “overwhelming” as we’re told, where is it?

Well, let’s see.

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Flight MH17 and the Russian-American blame game

People stand next to the wreckages of th...People stand next to the wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17, 2014. Pro-Russian rebels fighting central Kiev authorities claimed on Thursday that the Malaysian airline that crashed in Ukraine had been shot down by a Ukrainian jet. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGETDOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

With the Americans jumping to blame the Russians, and the Russians jumping to blame the Ukrainians for the MH17 disaster, it’s pretty tempting to pick a side and move on, but the more I watch the news coverage of all this, the more I’m struck by just how much both sides have begun to propagandise the incident, with complete disregard for the fact that no one actually knows anything.

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