Weekly Newsletter

April 19, 2015

Politics

Clinton Begins the 2016 Campaign, And It’s a Toss-Up
Nate Silver, renowned election results predictor and sports statistician, speculates on the likelihood of a Hilary Clinton victory in 2016, taking into account different scenarios and opposing candidates. I really enjoy Nate Silver’s logical, data-driven approach to prediction.

Dolphins

Dolphin Intelligence
The author of Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer, explores the fascinating world of dolphin intelligence. Foer takes a cautiously optimistic approach to the field, speaking with multiple scientists about the prospects and obstacles of communicating with dolphins.

Psychology

Does sugar help you focus?
A much-needed takedown of the idea that an individual’s willpower is inherently tied to their blood sugar. I’ve been skeptical of this idea from the beginning as it goes against anecdotal and intuitive reasoning. If individuals needed sugar to maintain willpower, what would cultures that eat virtually no sugar do? Were our pre-sugar packet ancestors doomed to weakness due to their lack of easy access to refined sugar? The image that comes to mind is that of Socrates and Plato having a famous dialogue and then pausing for a quick sugar break. I also think this illustrates two oft-ignored confounding factors in psychology - intent and belief. These factors, although not easily quantifiable, have measurable effects on psychological results, as this study’s results show.

Interview

Glenn Beck on the Tim Ferriss Podcast
Although I’m risking any credibility I had as the creator of this newsletter, I’m including this interview nonetheless. Tim Ferriss captures the reasons behind my inclusion of this, when he says::

“The goal of my blog and podcast is to push you outside of your comfort zone and force you to question assumptions. This is why I invite divergent thinkers and world-class performers who often disagree. I might interview Tony Robbins and then Matt Mullenweg. Or I might have a long chat with Sam Harris, PhD, and later invite a seemingly opposite guest like…”

Although I don’t get to interview world-class performers (yet!), this applies just as much to my newsletter as it does to his blog. After listening to this interview, I was surprised by how much I had gained. I hope you will at least give the interview a chance before making assumptions about it.

Other Contributions

U.S. Military Should Stay Home: America, Not Iran, Is Biggest Threat to Mideast Stability (Mark Malina)
Argues that U.S. government officials’ rhetoric about Iran obscures the issue and ignores the reality of the situation – one in which U.S. and Saudi intervention trumps Irani intervention and contributes more to the destabilization of the region. Reading this article and doing some subsequent research seriously affected my view on the issue, a rare achievement for a political piece.

What India Can Teach Us About Islam and Assimilation (Mark Malina)
An interesting counter-perspective on Muslims in Western societies.

the dichotomy of good men: an analytical approach towards understanding the passivity of men within the fraternity system (David Wylie)
This piece pushes a troubling and controversial viewpoint on men, but one that I think is argued with force and thought-provoking. It’s written by a recent Dartmouth graduate.

Necessarily the News (David Wylie)
Discusses the controversy surrounding Trevor Noah, the replacement for John Stewart on The Daily Show. Explores how John Stewart became a fixture of American liberal news media. I agreed with the author’s points about John Stewart’s role in the media, but didn’t totally understand his critique of American satire, perhaps because I fall into the group of “bros” who enjoy both Jimmy Fallon and Judd Apatow.

Discussion, links, and tweets

I'm a software developer currently working at UberEats. I keep a low social media presence, but, if you enjoy what I have to say or want to rant at me, you should email me at stephenmalina@gmail.com. If you're interested in what I'm currently programming, check out my Github. I occasionally rant on Twitter as well.