We should have paid attention in math class | Utterly Moderate podcast

We know times are tough right now in this country. Mass shootings have rocked us once again. Inflation is high and economic troubles loom. A series of Supreme Court decisions have left you either elated or saddened depending upon your point of view. American democracy faces a five-alarm fire—each passing week we find out just how close we were to losing our democracy, and how little stands in the way of a successful coup in the future.

So what is the path forward?

Do we take all of this as a sign of impending decline and brace ourselves for the end of the great American experiment?

Or do we treat this as an inflection point where we realize what a great country this is, how very much we have to lose, and decide to get back to the basics and ideals that have stood the test of time, such as honesty, truth, civility, democracy, and so forth?

This country has done so many great things and has the potential to do so much more if we can come together, heal what has been damaged, and emerge a stronger society on the other side.

Such a vision should give us hope and optimism this July 4th.

It will not be easy and it will not be quick, but it is necessary and it is achievable.

Now on to the show. . .

Segment 1: We Should Have Paid Attention in Math Class

In segment one of this Utterly Moderate episode, host Lawrence Eppard is joined by James Zimring, a professor in the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, to discuss his new book, Partial Truths: How Fractions Distort Our Thinking. Here is an excerpt from the book’s description:

“A fast-food chain once tried to compete with McDonald’s quarter-pounder by introducing a third-pound hamburger―only for it to flop when consumers thought a third pound was less than a quarter pound because three is less than four. . . James C. Zimring argues that many of the mistakes that the human mind consistently makes boil down to misperceiving fractions. We see slews of statistics that are essentially fractions, such as percentages, probabilities, frequencies, and rates, and we tend to misinterpret them. . . Blending key scientific research in cognitive psychology with accessible real-life examples, Partial Truths helps readers spot the fallacies lurking in everyday information, from politics to the criminal justice system, from religion to science, from business strategies to New Age culture.”

Segment 2: A New Resource for Fighting Misinformation

(segment starts around the 50-minute mark)

In the second segment we are joined by Arjun Moorthy, co-founder of The Factual, a website that uses an innovative method to help determine whether news sources are credible or not: artificial intelligence.

He talks about the work that they do at The Factual and the importance of news literacy in modern America.

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