What We’re Following
Enforcement Customs: Amid new deportation directives, undocumented immigrants and refugees who have lived in the United States for decades describe a climate of increasing fear. Activists’ and politicians’ recent calls to “abolish ICE” point to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement whose systemic flaws are seemingly impossible to fix. Franklin Foer explores the inner workings of ICE, and what the election of Donald Trump set in motion within the agency.
All the President’s Tweets: Over the weekend, Trump attempted to defend his son Donald Trump Jr.’s June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower—but may instead have acknowledged potential crimes. He also doubled down on describing the press as “the Enemy of the People,” claiming that the news media can cause wars—a claim that history doesn’t bear out.
Women’s Health: A new analysis of records from Florida emergency rooms finds that women are more likely to die from heart attacks when treated by male doctors—but that male doctors do better at treating women when more of their colleagues are female. And while bed rest is one of the most common treatments for pregnant women—prescribed to about 20 percent of patients, by up to 95 percent of obstetricians—it has few proven benefits for many of the conditions it’s supposed to address.
Ben Yagoda on the many ways the human mind can fool itself:
The gambler’s fallacy makes us absolutely certain that, if a coin has landed heads up five times in a row, it’s more likely to land tails up the sixth time. In fact, the odds are still 50-50. Optimism bias leads us to consistently underestimate the costs and the duration of basically every project we undertake … [Confirmation bias] leads us to look for evidence confirming what we already think or suspect, to view facts and ideas we encounter as further confirmation, and to discount or ignore any piece of evidence that seems to support an alternate view. Confirmation bias shows up most blatantly in our current political divide, where each side seems unable to allow that the other side is right about anything.
Confirmation bias plays out in lots of other circumstances, sometimes with terrible consequences.
Keep reading, as Yagoda investigates whether humans can overcome their cognitive biases.
On this day in 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. In our July 1995 issue, Thomas Powers took stock of the consequences:
The atomic bombs that destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki … were followed in a matter of days by the complete surrender of the Japanese empire and military forces, with only the barest fig leaf of a condition—an American promise not to molest the Emperor. What more could one ask from an act of war? But the two bombs each killed at least 50,000 people and perhaps as many as 100,000. Numerous attempts have been made to estimate the death toll, counting not only those who died on the first day and over the following week or two but also the thousands who died later of cancers thought to have been caused by radiation … However many died, the victims were overwhelming civilians, primarily the old, the young, and women; and all the belligerents formally took the position that the killing of civilians violated both the laws of war and common precepts of humanity …
Was it right?
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