Tag Archives: decision

Decision Anticipated



The Supreme Court of the US is expected to release its decision on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges very soon. This case, as summarized on the SCOTUSBlog, asks:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

It does so in order to decide, specifically, if James Obergefell, who married his partner of 20 years, John Arthur, can be listed as a spouse on Mr. Arthur’s death certificate (Arthur died of ALS). The two were married in Maryland, but were residents of Ohio, where same sex marriage is not recognized.

For a description of the case in plain English, visit the SCOTUS Blog.

The decision is expected late this month.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Making decisions from limited data


Daniel Kahneman was profiled on NPR’s Science Friday Desktop Diaries segment last week. In this segment Flora Lichtman interviews scientist / researchers and used desktop trinkets to get a personal view of the human being behind the science. Daniel Kahneman, who won the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in psychiatry including 1974’s Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases published in Science, which helped establish an understanding of people’s predictable irrationality (sounds like another book I enjoyed) in decision making stemming from the belief that severely limited data can provide predictive power. In his own words, he describes this as, “regressive prediction, that is that people make absurdly, extreme predictions on the basis of very weak evidence. If I tell you about this graduating senior and I call her Julie that she read at age four. And I ask you what’s a GPA? You have an answer. An answer comes to mind. I mean, you know, that’s ridiculous. And somehow, it’s a very narrow range of answers, and it’s that sort of answer that comes to everybody’s minds.”

I was struck by something in that and have been trying to find some data on it for a couple hours. The problem is that I’m not sure how to search for it. What I want to know is, ‘is this really so ridiculous?’ That is, has anyone ever gotten data on this? And if so, do we know that it doesn’t correlate?

Because if it does, maybe we (all humans, apparently) are not so silly for believing this. His assumption only makes sense if he is sure that what we are jumping to a conclusion about it wrong. If it’s right, maybe the connection isn’t so spurious.

Perhaps I am making too much out of a short remark, but it did interest me to know whether or not there has been data collected that could answer this question at all. 

My wife has recommended his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, to me several times. Perhaps I should pick it up. 

Please, if you know of any data about this one question (reading age vs academic success) please forward it to me here and I will take a look at it. Or, better yet, write it up on your own blog and we can link to one another.Image

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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


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