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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

obama-outfitted-podium-toptop_storyFor those of you who haven’t discovered the sheer comic brilliance of The Onion, please check out “America’s Finest News Source” now. Wait, not now. First finish reading!

So this week’s top story, titled “Obama outfitted with 238 motion capture sensors for 3-D record of presidency,” chronicles the excitement felt by area historians on how they can capture the president’s every “landmark” move: (more…)

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Trust this week’s Economist to seamlessly link animal behavior to the political decision-making process (for the record, I have been spotted waxing poetic about The Economist’s cutting insight, breath-taking worldliness, and amazing dry wit). If you have a minute, check out Decisions, Decisions, an article in their Science and Technology section.

The article essentially synthesizes a few recent scientific experiments with appetizing social animals like worker bees, cockroaches, and ants, and briefly discusses potential implications on political bodies like the European Parliament. It’s fascinating, really — across these species, scientists have found that the best decisions are made by a group of independently-formed opinions, and that leaders heavily rely on trust from all those “below” (in terms of social hierarchy). An imposed decision from a singular source, regardless of how informed s/he may be, has not proven to be as powerful as a group of moderately-informed bodies. Sorry, Chavez.

None of this is particularly revolutionary in the world of politics (does ancient Greece ring a bell?), but I like the reminder that independent opinion formation is an indispensable element of the democratic process. And that democratic decisions can be made and inculcated into a group even during the implementation process.

I’m curious to know how — if at all — these theories can be baked into Obama’s economic stimulus plan, which, last I heard, wasn’t receiving quite as much Republican support as the Dems envisioned. And how (again, if at all) these theories can be used to give the UN a bit more bite. Ideas, anyone?

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