Distribution of Popular Vote Difference by State is Strongly Bimodal

The histogram of the distribution of popular vote differences by state is strongly bimodal. Obama states on the right. (Data from David Wasserman @Redistrict as of Nov 28, 2012). This suggests that

  • there are not many real ‘tipping point’ states
  • A remarkably stable baseline as starting point for future elections
  • Red states (left) and Blue states (right) are really different groups

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Is Mainstream Neuroscience to Blame?

In Today’s NY Times Alyissa Quart has an op ed Neuroscience Under Attach, saying, roughly, that Neuroscientists are selling themselves too broadly, giving simplistic answers to human behavior.

Three comments:
1. This is strange on the Op Ed page of the NY Times, which is responsible for lots of irresponsible Neuroscience. Much more than the Times’s Science Times section.
2. Most of the over-the-top pop Neuroscience is written by non-scientists and poor science journalists. For example: Naomi Wolf. Ms Wolfe’s book Vagina was reviewed not once, but twice (she got a do-over after the first unfavorable review). Actual neuroscientists, (and bona fide science writers) who write popular accounts of brain science they have difficulty getting books reviewed.
3. Much of the criticism of Neuroscience coverage comes from Neuroscientist complaining about popularizations, rather than the other way around. Many of the entries in the blogs Ms Quart cites are from Neuroscientists.