The Role of Motivated Reasoning in Partisanship

The other day I got into an argument. Nothing new there except maybe that it happened over Zoom instead of face-to-face. My opponent, a usually mild-mannered member of my church book club, was insisting that only a minor fringe of society believed in disbanding the police. I disagreed, and I was confident that I had enough evidence1 at my disposal to change his mind. After all, I had just seen three pieces of confirming evidence in the weeks running up to the book club meeting.

A Model for Beating Covid?

This week hundreds of universities across America are starting up their Fall semesters. Has there ever been a more challenging time to begin a semester? Maybe during the World Wars? Economic forecasts are dire. Protests continue in many places across the country in response to police actions. And then we have covid. Back in the innocent days of March when the University of Illinois moved to online instruction in response to the virus, I figured we’d have to do this for the rest of the semester, and then we’d spend the summer just laying low waiting for this whole thing to run its course.

Reflections on the First Year of a PhD Program

PhDs are kind of scary. I remember all the insecurities I had while debating whether I should go back to school. What was a 32 year old doing starting a PhD? Most people are younger than that when they finish! Would all the other students be 10 years younger than me? Would even the professors be younger? Was it selfish of me to make my spouse the breadwinner while I went back to the more carefree life of a student?

Starting an Academic Website

These days it seems like every academic has their own website. I am only in my second year as a PhD student, but our DGS emailed all the students encouraging us to build one. So here goes. Not having any programming background (besides R), I looked for the easiest option with the least work. I found it (quite be accident) when I stumbled across the book blogdown: Creating Websites with R Markdown.