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March 22, 2013

And Now, Let’s Welcome Our Techno-Feminist-Theologian-Evaluator…

Often, it seems the entire world loves those TED talks.  We’ve even featured a few of them on “So What?” ‘cause, well, they can be incredibly interesting and insightful.  This week, though, we just had to take our shiny, new TED-O-MATIC for a spin, courtesy of Vanity Fair.  We must admit there’s more than a kernel of truth to Bruce Feirstein’s “art of faux profundity.”  Actually, step #9 may strike a chord: we think of it as a cautionary tale—especially for qualitative evaluators tempted to over-interpret our data…

Watch Out for that Glob of Fat!

Those of you in Boston may be familiar with this image: a teenager lifts a bottle of soda to her mouth to take that first gulp, but all of the sudden she’s smacked in the face by some (really disgusting) globs of fat.  These ads are part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Fatsmack campaign, which attempts to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks by youth.  Using this campaign as a launching pad, The Atlantic’s Jason Hayes asks, a bit more broadly: what does it take for a health campaign to stick?  How can insights from social psychology help us in this effort to change behaviors for the better?

Missed Opportunity

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said something just a tad inflammatory—that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its reenactments perpetuate “racial entitlements.”  Sure, it shouldn’t come as a surprise from the notoriously outspoken Scalia; but we should all be concerned about the absence of substantive debate over the meaning and implications of his comments.  Doug Gould called this out for what it is: a missed opportunity to educate the public.  And he challenges advocates to do better by mobilizing their constituencies and holding folks accountable for what they say.  Speak truth to power and ignorance.