Tuesday, March 27, 2012

RE: Patt Morrison for Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1-3 p.m.





1:07 – 1:36  OPEN


1:41 – 1:53

Haircuts, quick sandwiches, and bare knees – all proof that the economy is on the rise?

Before you get upset about twiddling your thumbs for a while at a place like Subway, consider this: that long wait for your sandwich might just mean the economy is picking up. According to some economists, when times are bad, skilled workers take just about any job, and that includes spreading condiments and flipping burgers. Just like a groundhog supposedly knows that winter will last longer based on its shadow, the world of economics is full of macroeconomic indicators located where science meets intuition (or superstition). Besides sandwiches, more haircuts and more spending on men’s underwear means things are looking up – Alan Greenspan famously believes that extra boxers and briefs are one of the first places where men cut back during a recession. Then there is the Hemline Indicator, proposed by University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor George Taylor and tested this year by Business Insider magazine. (In case you’re wondering, BI reported that hemlines are on the rise, and thus the economy should be, too.) Of course, if you really want to know how the nation is recovering, there’s always Google.  How many searches for “unemployment benefits” do you think its search engine has seen since 2008?



Justin Wolfers, visiting professor of Economics, Princeton University and Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School


2:08 – 2:20

U.S. Navy developing soldiers’ ‘spidey sense’ intuition for combat missions
If you’ve ever felt a tingling sensation seconds before something really bad happened, then you know exactly what it is the United States Navy has begun researching. After many troops who served in Iraq and in Afghanistan reported experiencing an unexplained feeling of danger moments before they encountered an enemy attack or ran into an improvised explosive device, the Navy is attempting to precisely identify and utilize this intuitive human ability. Through a program called Enhancing Intuitive Decision Making Through Implicit Learning, the Navy will be allocating $3.85 million over four years for researching the phenomenon. Proposals for the project will be submitted on April, 15, 2012 and the endeavor is attracting executives from dozens of advanced technology companies. Research findings will reportedly be used to improve and implement soldiers’ “sixth sense” for use during combat and other military missions. Could this research be profoundly insightful or is an inefficient use of money?

Representative from the Office of Naval Research
Cognitive psychologist or neuroscientist from UCLA
Don Tucker, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon


2:27 – 2:39  OPEN



The hockey stick and the climate wars

Picture a hockey stick lying on its side, the shaft to the left, the blade rising sharply on the right.  The left side stretches back about a thousand years – the right shows the recent past. That’s the “hockey stick” reference coined by climatologist Jerry Mahlman, following the 2001 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to describe the sharp upturn of the earth’s temperature in the 20th century – in other words, global warming.  Since then, the Hockey Stick has been the central icon of the battle over climate change within the scientific and political communities – who often find themselves in polar opposition over the topic. Has worldwide human activity brought on by the industrial age led to raised CO2 levels, the proliferation of greenhouse gas, melting ice floes and the threat of extinction?  Or is the Hockey Stick theory a hoax, a cause célèbre held up by environmental extremists to support government regulations on the oil and energy industries?  In his new book, Michael Mann, lead author on the scientific paper that introduced the infamous symbol (for which his team received a Nobel Peace Prize), explores the controversy and unravels the political and market influences behind the denial of what, he believes, is irrefutable scientific fact.  Can the scientific community ever find middle ground?  Is global warming for real?  If so, can it be reversed?


Guests: Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State University and director of Penn State Earth System Science Center and author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines” (Columbia University Press)







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