Re: More LaCour

1

23 pages? With nothing to say (though I admit I merely skimmed) about the Science retraction regarding his lawyer's admission that the grants were a lie? Nothing about the source data?

But I did mostly skim -- well, and read the Abstract. He's really bulling through this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:07 PM
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He killed the blog to keep us from discussing this.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:11 PM
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Trying to keep any discussion focused on complicated statistical questions rather than "just made up massive chunks of his CV" is probably a good choice, tactically speaking. I don't think it'll work but transforming "wow he made shit up" into "complicated statistical controversy" is a good way to keep the destruction of his career at least a little more limited.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:30 PM
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O.K. This:

After data collection was completed in January 2014, the raw survey data obtained from Qualtrics was destroyed, as required by institutional policy, "Protecting Privacy and Maintaining Confidentiality in Research," which states, "Protocols should be designed to minimize the need to collect and maintain identifiable information about research participants. If possible, data should be collected anonymously or the identifiers should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible..."

isn't a good reply to "I lost the raw data" when you've only got two variables that you released.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:31 PM
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Yeah, this account at the LA Times does note that the 23-pager addresses the missing source data:

LaCour called his critics' behavior "unethical" and said he was unable to provide supporting evidence for his findings because survey data had to be destroyed to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of study participants, as required by UCLA.
"I take full responsibility for destroying data in the interest of institutional requirements," LaCour wrote.

I have to say, citing institutional policy is a good move in general when trying to find an acceptable way to say "No." (In this case, No to providing the raw data or the contact information of participants.)

I imagine we'll soon be hearing from UCLA whether their policy does indeed call for destroying all the raw fucking data. I doubt it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:45 PM
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I imagine we'll soon be hearing from UCLA whether their policy does indeed call for destroying all the raw fucking data. I doubt it.

His own quotation of university policy (assuming it's accurate) indicates that it doesn't:

If possible, data should be collected anonymously or the identifiers should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible..."

I'm pretty sure you can remove identifiers that would allow survey answers to be traced back to specific people without destroying all of the data. I'm sort of impressed by how determined he seems to brazen it out, given how red handed he's been caught.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:54 PM
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What about contracts and transactions with the survey company?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 12:59 PM
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I would expand on what AcademicLurker says. He's misreading the university policy. If it says, "If possible, data should be collected anonymously or the identifiers should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible..." then the word "destroyed" refers to "identifiers," not to "data."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:01 PM
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I would expand on what AcademicLurker says. He's misreading the university policy. If it says, "If possible, data should be collected anonymously or the identifiers should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible..." then the word "destroyed" refers to "identifiers," not to "data."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:01 PM
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I would expand on what AcademicLurker says. He's misreading the university policy. If it says, "If possible, data should be collected anonymously or the identifiers should be removed and destroyed as soon as possible..." then the word "destroyed" refers to "identifiers," not to "data."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:01 PM
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Indeed, apparently I would say it three times. What I tell you three times is true.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:01 PM
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slol!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:02 PM
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Hi there.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:02 PM
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As Jessie Singal points out in his latest piece, LaCour just ignores the fact that the survey company said it never worked with him, and the employee there he said he worked with doesnt exist. It's pretty much 23 pages of chaff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:03 PM
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As for destruction, he seems to gesture at an argument that the data was such (ip addresses, etc) that it wasn't possible to comply with the guidelines without deleting it all. That's not very convincing, but it's not a straight misreading of the policy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:09 PM
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I also like this, quoting from the LA Times piece:

In his response Friday, LaCour said that instead of paying cash to participants, he "raffled Apple computers, tablets and iPods to survey respondents as incentives. ... Some of the raffle prizes were purchased for a previous experiment I conducted."

Ha!

Man, he must have one hell of a good lawyer, to coach him on just how much to admit to, just how much to deny outright, and just how much to provide a plausible alternative explanation for.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:11 PM
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seems to gesture at an argument

Generous reading!


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:11 PM
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Also, come on. It doesn't matter if it was identified with IP addresses. You can strip out the identifiers.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:12 PM
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What I tell you three times is slol.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:18 PM
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It doesn't matter if it was identified with IP addresses. You can strip out the identifiers.

It was a very innovative study design. Participants were asked to indicate their views on same sex marriage solely using their IP addresses.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:19 PM
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Enter your IP address for "Yes" or your SSN for "No."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:24 PM
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Pretty much the best outcome LaCour can hope for at this point is to be murdered in some kind of senseless crime, so he'll be remembered with sympathy for that.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:42 PM
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Is it murder if you're literally asking for it?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 1:45 PM
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15: It's especially not convincing after earlier claims that the files were accidentally deleted. I wonder why he didn't ever put the two together. "I accidentally deleted the files while de-identifying the data" would have been better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:01 PM
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Maybe that's his next move.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:06 PM
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Right, but it really works much, much better if you start with that story.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:08 PM
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Still, he wrote like 50 manuscript pages. That's longer than any thing I've written.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:25 PM
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Not quite as long as my dissertation. But close.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:33 PM
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You probably didn't fake your dissertation, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:43 PM
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They say it's harder to write fiction than non-fiction.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:44 PM
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Math fiction seems like it would be very hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 3:59 PM
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I didn't have any data to fake.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 4:30 PM
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Whoa, on page 20 he admits that he "cannot rule out the possibility" that he mixed up simulated data and real data, meaning Broockman was right but the point is "largely moot" because the screwup is only in the supplemental data, not the main text.


Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 8:53 PM
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"The graph of the data was based on the real data, which are now lost. I accidentally claimed that the fake data, which resemble the real data in every way, were the real data."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 8:56 PM
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Reading to page 20 is impressive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-15 9:21 PM
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Let's take bets: who's going to implode faster? The Duggars or LaCour? Both of them are doubling down. We'll define implosion as LaCour losing his job at Princeton, and the Duggars losing their show.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:39 AM
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I'm wondering if he keeps his PhD. The job is obviously gone. The Dugger guy will do time, right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:44 AM
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I doubt it -- isn't everything from when he was fourteen? I have no idea what statutes of limitations are for this stuff (or the precise boundaries of what he's supposed to have done), but offhand I'd be very surprised by a prosecution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:47 AM
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Oh. I didn't know it was that far back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:51 AM
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Yeah, Silvana had a good post on FB being unhappy about the Duggar fuss. At the time, what he did was clearly mishandled, and more should have been done to protect his victims. But there's something really messed up about making a huge media fuss about a crime committed by a young teenager, and outing his victims as well, even if everyone involved is a horrifying hypocrite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:55 AM
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O.K. I'll go back to focusing on how riding a rollercoaster hurts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 9:58 AM
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If it's actually painful, I think you're doing it wrong. You should be inside the car, rather than clinging to the side.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 10:00 AM
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At least the line is slow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 10:03 AM
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the fake data, which resemble the real data in every way, were the real data.

Dude. That's deep.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 10:21 AM
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I think LaCour's out strategy is to become a vocal conservative: my real data showed the people opposed same-sex marriage but I knew that would be death in liberal academia so I destroyed the real data and made stuff up to show support for same sex marriage. This defense still begs questions about no records of the surveys, phony grants and teaching awards et al, but it's likely good enough for wingnut welfare and getting organized vocal support.

I'd be terrified to have any interaction with him. Schools where I've taught have been loaded with bad actors repeatedly doing nasty destructive stuff that would get them a punch in the face in other occupations, but mostly these were just selfish assholes exploting the system. LaCour's behavior has me looking at DSM for a diagnosis.


Posted by: No longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 10:27 AM
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40

I dunno. I mean, if this were an ordinary family, then probably. But these people are major political actors, using their "wholesome Christian family" routine to become regular and political celebrities. It's one thing to have poorly dealt with sexual abuse in your family, it's another thing to use a national platform to accuse gay people of sexually abusing children while protecting/ignoring your abusive son* at the expense of your own daughters, because you believe boys matter more. Hypocrisy does matter. I also think that it's important these things come out on the table, so people know what "family values" matter. The Christian Right should let voters know they're ok with spousal abuse, incest, molestation, adultery, and underage sex as long as you keep it on the DL and appear to have a Leave it to Beaver family, but they're not big on birth control, single moms, gay families, or women working outside the homes. Voters can make informed decisions accordingly.

*Clearly the Duggars have every right to want to protect and help Josh. They should have done so by getting him real psychological help and keeping him away from their underage daughters. It doesn't appear they did so. Their religious beliefs include teaching female victims of sexual abuse that they brought it upon themselves by tempting men, even as infants or very young toddlers.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 10:58 AM
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Clearly the Duggars have every right to want to protect and help Josh.

Totally narcissistic of me, but this sentence jarred me for a second. For the record I would like to state that I have never had any dealings with the Duggars.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:03 AM
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47

Yeah? I have this reaction whenever I hear my name not referring to me because it's uncommon. I thought people with common names were pretty inured to it, but maybe that's not the case?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:08 AM
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Don't worry, they'd throw you to the wolves without a second thought.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:09 AM
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I'm wondering if he [LaCour] keeps his PhD.

Which reminds me: has Lynn Vavreck had anything to say at all? Not that I've heard. At the very least, it would be on her (wouldn't it?) to ensure that her grad student advisees properly understand UCLA policy regarding destruction of identifying information in surveys. Musing about this last night, I wondered whether LaCour was going to be throwing her under the bus, as it were, by claiming at some point that My God! I totally misunderstood that policy, and thought it meant that I had to destroy the data itself altogether! My advisor never made it clear, you see.

Moby's 24.2 is more likely, though: "I accidentally deleted the files while de-identifying the data"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:15 AM
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48: It mostly only happens here. (Although there's only one other Josh at work so I get it a bit there too.)

Growing up in Moby's home state, though, my name was remarkably uncommon. Sufficiently so that people immediately twigged that I was Jewish based on it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:15 AM
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I grew up thinking it was an Evangelical Christian name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:21 AM
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I was sufficiently rural that it never really occurred to me that you were more likely to meet a Jew than a Hittite or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:22 AM
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I once knew an Is|aac Co|hen who was an Evangelical Christian. That really threw everyone for a loop.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:22 AM
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50. I think throwing your adviser under the bus, as effective as it might be as an excuse, would be something you'd hold off on doing until it was very, very clear your academic career was certainly very much over. (But at that point, why bother?) Even if further recommendations from your adviser weren't important (and unless that area is very, very different from a lot of other ones they are) it would be a big danger sign to any potential mentors.

Setting himself up for wingnut welfare is probably a good plan, though he doesn't seem to have started in on it yet. My guess is that he hasn't quite come to terms with the fact that there's no way to pull this one out and his academic career is probably over.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:27 AM
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Setting himself up for wingnut welfare is probably a good plan

I don't know: it's such a stretch from the fake survey results he was producing.

I've been reaching for, and failing to find in my memory banks, the name of that youngish guy maybe a year ago (?) who was making a name for himself in some think tank, who it turned out had done work in grad school arguing that African Americans are genetically inferior to whites. His grad work turned out to consist of a "dissertation" which was actually more of a master's thesis -- at Harvard? Kennedy School of Government, maybe? -- which, um, had not been particularly overseen by anyone there. His "advisers" were interrogated, and came up empty, more or less. There was a big hullabaloo at Harvard at the time, with the student body insisting that he be, what, stripped of his degree?

I don't know why this is so hazy for me: I can't remember what work the guy had recently produced that had made enough of a splash that his background was looked into.

In any event, that's the sort of thing I tend to think leads to the malefactor heading for the wingnut welfare. Not LaCour, so much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 11:55 AM
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56: I believe Jason Richwine is who you're thinking of.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:00 PM
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The immaculately named Jason Richwine, of the Heritage Foundation.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:04 PM
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Right! There we go -- thanks. Right, he'd argued that immigration policy should incorporate an IQ test. And as I puttered around in the kitchen just now, I recalled that it was the Heritage Foundation.

A primer for those of us who couldn't remember, alas.

What's Richwine up to these days, I wonder? I'm thinking that his sad tale is roughly similar to that of LaCour, at least in terms of the aspect that's most interesting to me: what gives with credentialing institutions that fail, utterly?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:20 PM
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Our phones just went crazy with flash flood warnings. Heebie, are we supposed to listen to that sort of thing? (We're near the top of a hill anyway.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:24 PM
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Depends on the credentialing of the meteorologist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:25 PM
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Richwine is writing for NRO. I'm shocked.

I don't see something like that in LaCour's future. What's he going to do, write for The Nation or something?

Maybe Psychology Today. Isn't that the magazine that harbors fools from time to time?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:31 PM
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60: so did mine but I'm on a bus in a tunnel to Logan. Not much I can do about it.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 12:51 PM
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Seems much more likely that LaCour winds up at some tech startup, since he has stats/programming skills, and no one there will care about the scandal.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:08 PM
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The leader of the movement the Duggars are in also recently got busted for sexual abuse.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:13 PM
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I had not been aware that the Duggars were so popular among the Republican candidates for president.

Several candidates had sought the famous family's favor, as evidenced by the photos (mostly from Josh Duggar's Twitter stream) of Duggar with Huckabee, Santorum, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker.

See, I really had never heard of these people -- the Duggars -- before this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:37 PM
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64: In my experience trying to sell out, which to be fair did not involve start-ups and was mostly before Tech Boom II (son of irrational exuberance), graduate school stats and programming skills wouldn't make for a great job candidate in other fields.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:39 PM
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His graphs are very pretty, and the job market is nuts these days. I'm sure he could get something.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:42 PM
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Maybe I should try to sell out again. I problem is that the work from my mini-sell out was so tedious.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:43 PM
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He'll do a TED talk.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 1:57 PM
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65 + 66 implies that Jeb Bush was busted for sexual abuse?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-31-15 2:06 PM
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38: The adults who protected him need to do time.

The advice that the Duggar family followed regarding how to deal with abuse is horrific in it's victim blaming. Just horrible, horrible stuff. These people are genuinely evil.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 1-15 8:26 AM
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Just curious, if someone is tried in adulthood for crimes committed when a minor, are they subject to all the privacy protections that minors get?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 1-15 10:19 AM
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This an interesting twist on the usual NYT style of asking non-involved researchers to comment on splashy papers:

The research grew out of the idea that cooking itself may have driven changes in human evolution, a hypothesis put forth by Richard Wrangham, an anthropologist at Harvard and several colleagues about 15 years ago in an article in Current Anthropology, and more recently in his book, "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human."...
Felix Warneken at Harvard and Alexandra G. Rosati, who is about to move from Yale to Harvard, both of whom study cognition, wanted to see if chimpanzees, which often serve as stand-ins for human ancestors, had the cognitive foundation that would prepare them to cook....
Dr. Warnaken and Dr. Rosati, who contributed equally to the research, spent parts of two years at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center, a sanctuary in the Republic of Congo and ran nine different experiments, judging different cognitive capacities. The two researchers are married to each other....
Other scientists praised the research, but the world of research on chimpanzee cognition is a small one, and many of the scientists know each other and have worked together. Brian Hare at Duke University was not involved in the research, but has worked with Dr. Warneken and was Dr. Rosati's Ph.D. adviser. Dr. Wrangell was his Ph.D. adviser....
Dr. Laurie Santos at Yale was not involved in this project, but was Dr. Rosati's postdoctoral adviser.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06- 2-15 6:55 PM
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