Month: July 2016

Hillary’s speech, a sign of trouble?

By Robert J. Garrison

Day four grade: C-

Overall DNC convention grade: B

The last day of the DNC was filled with bad headlines, boos and a year old nagging cough for the Democratic nominee.

First, many in the media were doing their best to lower the bar for Hillary’s speech. They all said that she couldn’t possibly do as good of a job as Michelle and Barak Obama or even Joe Biden.

Second, the news broke that hackers not only grabbed emails but also voice mails from the DNC office. And just as it seemed it couldn’t get any worse, news broke that Hillary’s campaign was hacked as well! This whole DNC convention as been filled with bad optics and distractions.

Leaders in the DNC have tried their best to build unity in the party but the Bernie supporters aren’t having any of it. They did their best to make their feelings not only heard but also seen! Add this tweet pic:

The Bernie supporters protested both inside and outside of the area. They also booed anyone they disagreed with, including President Obama and especially Hillary!

Not only were the Bernie people heard but so was Hillary or should I say her cough. Someone give that woman a Ricola! This has been a problem for Hillary going back to the beginning of the primaries last year. While the coughing or clearing of her throat every couple of minutes was not the only problem Hillary’s address had, it was also rather bland and low energy.

In fact the only high energy during the speech came from the Bernie supporters on the floor. However the loud energy by the Bernie supporters apparently couldn’t keep Hilary’s husband Former President Bill Clinton from falling asleep during her speech.

Khizr M. Khan

This speech overshadowed every speech last night. Mr. And Mrs. Khan are parents of Capt. Humayun Khan. They were there to address Trump’s Muslim ban policy. They stated that if the ban was in effect, it would have prevented them from coming into the US and denying their son, a brave and loyal military man, from serving. To be fair Trump has not called for a permanent ban, only a temporary one until the United States government can get a better process of screening those coming in, which on its face sounds reasonable but we shall see how that plays out.

Anyway back to the speech…The climax of the speech is when he pulled out of his pocket a copy of the constitution. He stated the ban was unconstitutional and Trump could borrow his copy of the constitution if he needed it. The crowd erupted in applause. It was an emotional moment that connected with the crowd and with those at home.

The last couple of days of patriotic rhetoric and how America is and always will be a great superpower of the world, is just the Democratic party trying to contrast the campaign message of “Make America Great Again” of their opponent, Donald Trump.

Should a few days of patriotic rhetoric of “America is great!” and a few nice words about the founding fathers at the DNC give us amnesia? For decades the Democratic party has criticized all the ills of America and how the Democratic party will change America. Also they labeled the founding fathers as white racist slave owners that should not be looked up to. Some in the media ate up the patriotic rhetoric but will the rest of America, especially Independents? I am not so sure.

Also the ratings are in and its a mixture of good news, bad news.

The Good News

The DNC beat the RNC in overall ratings. I’m sure that the musical entertainment had something to do with this. The DNC’s musical talent of Paul Simon, Alica Keyes, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz and many others was by far better than the RNC’s, who decided to just have G.E. Smith and the SLN band.

Also the DNC videos were very well produced and polished. They also used a lot more videos at the DNC than the RNC.

The Bad News

When the two candidates went head to head, Trump beat Hillary by more than a million viewers. Also the day after, political buzz seemed to be higher for Trump than Hillary. Hillary’s campaign was hacked.

Hillary’s numbers continue to drop! This is something that should never happen during a candidates convention! I am sure that Hillary will get some kind of convention bounce but just how much will it be, and for how long can she hold on to it, remains to be seen.

Rest assured it will be a tough, long and nasty 3 months. Will America be able to tolerate these two candidates that they really don’t like for much longer? Or will we see third-party candidates, Libertarian Party Gary Johnson and Green Party Jill Stein finally start to gain traction? I hope so. In a Representative Republic (The United States is NOT a democracy) it is ALWAYS better to have more voices and opinions in elections.


Robert J. Garrison is a political and religious contributor for The Systems Scientist


  1. if you liked this article, please do share it on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, Tumblr, or Pinterest. The share buttons are just below.
  2. If you are new here, you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. The links are at the top right corner of this page.
  3. And please do not forget to comment below. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Either way, we would love to hear your feedback.
  4. And lastly, do not forget to check out our other articles and of course our bloggers. 

Caricature by DonkeyHotey


Copyright ©2016 – The Systems Scientist


South Dakota scores lowest unemployment rate for June 2016

By Economic Editor

Once again, South Dakota scored the lowest unemployment rate for June for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. South Dakota also had the lowest unemployment rate for the month of May as well at 2.5 percent. As for the other states in the top 10 for May, New Hampshire finished second and Nebraska finished third.

Unemployment Rates for States
Monthly Rankings
Seasonally Adjusted
June 2016p
Rank State Rate
3   NEBRASKA 3.0
4   VERMONT 3.2
6   HAWAII 3.3
7   COLORADO 3.7
7   IDAHO 3.7
7   MAINE 3.7
7   VIRGINIA 3.7

However, North Dakota moved up from fifth to fourth, although its unemployment rate remained the same at 3.2 percent. And Vermont remained at the fourth spot, although its rate dropped from 3.1 percent in May to 3.2 percent in June.

In addition, Hawai’i, Colorado, Idaho, and Maine all remained in the top 10; whereas, Virginia moved into the top 10 and Kansas moved out of the top 10, although Kansas’ unemployment rate only dropped 0.1 percent from 3.7 percent for the month of May to 3.8 percent for the month of June.

As for those states that finished at the bottom, Washington, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Alaska, and the District of Columbia all finished in the bottom 10. The state with the worst unemployment rate for June was Alaska at 6.7 percent. Alaska also finished with the worst unemployment rate of 6.7 percent in May as well.


In fact, there was no change from May to June in regards to states moving out of and into the bottom 10 states with the worst unemployment rates. The same nine states including the District of Columbia all remained nestled at the bottom.

What is the unemployment rate? Well it is the percent of those who do not participate (those registered as employed and unemployed) in the work force. Mathematically, it is the labor force minus the number of employed, divided by the labor force, and multiplied by 100 percent.

Or another way to look at how one can obtain the unemployment rate is by taking the number of unemployed, dividing that number by the labor force, and then multiplying that decimal number by 100 percent. Here’s a visual.

unemployment rate

What does this mean for South Dakota? This means that it has the lowest number of unemployed workers with respect to its total labor force. However, this doesn’t take into account workers not participating (those not registered or qualified for unemployment) in the market place; or at the very least those workers that aren’t counted by traditional Bureau of Labor Statistics means.



  1. if you liked this article, please do share it on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, Tumblr, or Pinterest. The share buttons are just below.
  2. If you are new here, you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. The links are at the top right corner of this page.
  3. And please do not forget to comment below. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Either way, we would love to hear your feedback.
  4. And lastly, do not forget to check out our other articles and of course our bloggers. 


Photo Credit: Andrew Wiseman

Photo Explanation: Wilson building is home to the District of Columbia city council and mayor

Copyright ©2016 – The Systems Scientist

NASA Blog: Astronauts Train For Future Missions in Atlantic

By Monica Edwards

A group of astronauts, engineers and scientists ventured to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on July 21 to prepare for future deep space missions and the journey to Mars. Isolation at the bottom of the ocean simulates life and work for astronauts in microgravity, making the 16-day mission an analog for future space exploration. They will test tools and techniques for future spaceflight and will conduct simulated spacewalks outside of their undersea habitat, Aquarius.

Inside Aquarius, the international crew will conduct a variety of research and operations studies, such as testing a mini DNA sequencer that NASA astronaut Kate Rubins also will be testing aboard the International Space Station, and a telemedicine device that will be used for future space applications. During their simulated spacewalks, the crew will collect samples for marine biology and geology studies, test software for managing operations, and participate in a coral restoration project. Throughout many of these tasks, the mission will also test communications delays similar to those that would be encountered on a mission to Mars.

“NEEMO 21 astronauts and crew will pioneer complex tasks on the seafloor utilizing the most advanced underwater navigation and science tools which are methodically choreographed to mimic a Mars exploration traverse,” NEEMO Project Lead Bill Todd said. “Equipment can fail, communication can be challenging and tasks can take longer than expected. Other tasks go just as planned. All cases are equally beneficial. It’s how we learn and how we are able to assemble all of this together so that someday we’re prepared for the unexpected when we are living on and traversing the Martian surface.”

NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman will command the first eight days of the NEEMO 21 mission. Wiseman flew in space as part of Expedition 40/41 in 2014, spending 166 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. Wiseman was a naval aviator and test pilot prior to joining NASA in 2009.

NASA Astronaut Megan McArthur will command the second half of NEEMO 21, and will live in the habitat for the entire 16-day mission. McArthur flew on the STS-125 shuttle mission in 2009, and has served as a Mission Control spacecraft communicator for both space shuttle and space station missions. Prior to joining NASA, McArthur obtained a doctorate in oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Joining McArthur for the entire 16 days is ESA (European Space Agency) Astronaut Matthias Maurer. For the first eight days, Marc O’Griofa, chief medical and technology officer for Noninvasive Medical Technologies Inc., also will join Wiseman, McArthur and Mauerer. For the second half of the mission, McArthur and Mauerer will be joined by Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition Research Scientist Dawn Kernagis and Naval Postgraduate School Researcher Noel Du Toit.

The NEEMO crew and two professional habitat technicians will live 60 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida International University’s Aquarius Reef Base undersea research habitat 6.2 miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. NEEMO 21 is supported by the Human Health and Performance Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with funding from ESA and partnerships with the Naval Postgraduate School, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Vega Telehealth, TeloRegen, and Johns Hopkins.

For more information about NEEMO, the crews and links to follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter, visit:

For more information on other analog missions NASA is conducting, go

Image Credit: NASA/Karl Shreeves

Image explanation: Pictured at the end of Mission Day 1 are the NEEMO 21 aquanauts, clockwise from top: Matthias Maurer (ESA), Marc O Griofa (Teloregen/VEGA/AirDocs), NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Dawn Kernagis (Institute for Human & Machine Cognition), and Noel Du Toit (Naval Postgraduate School). Inside the Aquarius habitat are Florida International University Habitat Technicians Hank Stark (left) and Sean Moore (right).What do the bottom of a blue ocean and the surface of a Red Planet have in common? Both are extreme environments.

Source: Deep Sea for Deep Space: NASA Astronauts Train For Future Missions | AnaBlogs: Blogs from Analog Missions

Is our Milky Way galaxy a zombie, already dead and we don’t know it?

By Kevin Schawinski

Like a zombie, the Milky Way galaxy may already be dead but it still keeps going. Our galactic neighbor Andromeda almost certainly expired a few billion years ago, but only recently started showing outward signs of its demise.

Galaxies seem to be able to “perish” – that is, stop turning gas into new stars – via two very different pathways, driven by very different processes. Galaxies like the Milky Way and Andromeda do so very, very slowly over billions of years.

How and why galaxies “quench” their star formation and change their morphology, or shape, is one of the big questions in extragalactic astrophysics. We may now be on the brink of being able to piece together how it happens. And part of the thanks goes to citizen scientists who combed through millions of galactic images to classify what’s out there.

Galaxies grow by making new stars

Galaxies are dynamic systems that continually accrete gas and convert some of it into stars.

Like people, galaxies need food. In the case of galaxies, that “food” is a supply of fresh hydrogen gas from the cosmic web, the filaments and halos of dark matter that make up the largest structures in the universe. As this gas cools and falls into dark matter halos, it turns into a disk that then can cool even further and eventually fragment into stars.

As stars age and die, they can return some of that gas back into the galaxy either via winds from stars or by going supernova. As massive stars die in such explosions, they heat the gas around them and prevent it from cooling down quite so fast. They provide what astronomers call “feedback”: star formation in galaxies is thus a self-regulated process. The heat from dying stars means cosmic gas doesn’t cool into new stars as readily, which ultimately puts a brake on how many new stars can form.

Most of these star-forming galaxies are disk- or spiral-shaped, like our Milky Way.

Left: a spiral galaxy ablaze in the blue light of young stars from ongoing star formation; right: an elliptical galaxy bathed in the red light of old stars.
Sloan Digital Sky Survey, CC BY-NC

But there’s another kind of galaxy that has a very different shape, or morphology, in astronomer-parlance. These massive elliptical galaxies tend to look spheroidal or football-shaped. They’re not nearly so active – they’ve lost their supply of gas and therefore have ceased forming new stars. Their stars move on far more unordered orbits, giving them their bulkier, rounder shape.

These elliptical galaxies differ in two major ways: they no longer form stars and they have a different shape. Something pretty dramatic must have happened to them to produce such profound changes. What?

Blue=young and red=old?

The basic division of galaxies into star-forming spiral galaxies blazing in the blue light of massive, young and short-lived stars, on the one hand, and quiescent ellipticals bathed in the warm glow of ancient low-mass stars, on the other, goes back to early galaxy surveys of the 20th century.

But, once modern surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) began to record hundreds of thousands of galaxies, objects started emerging that didn’t quite fit into those two broad categories.

A significant number of red, quiescent galaxies aren’t elliptical in shape at all, but retain roughly a disk shape. Somehow, these galaxies stopped forming stars without dramatically changing their structure.

At the same time, blue elliptical galaxies started to surface. Their structure is similar to that of “red and dead” ellipticals, but they shine in the bright blue light of young stars, indicating that star formation is still ongoing in them.

How do these two oddballs – the red spirals and the blue ellipticals – fit into our picture of galaxy evolution?

Galaxy Zoo allows citizen scientists to classify galaxies.
Screenshot by Kevin Schawinski, CC BY-ND

Send in the citizen scientists

As a graduate student in Oxford, I was looking for some of these oddball galaxies. I was particularly interested in the blue ellipticals and any clues they contained about the formation of elliptical galaxies in general.

At one point, I spent a whole week going through almost 50,000 galaxies from SDSS by eye, as none of the available algorithms for classifying galaxy shape was as good as I needed it to be. I found quite a few blue ellipticals, but the value of classifying all of the roughly one million galaxies in SDSS with human eyes quickly became apparent. Of course, going through a million galaxies by myself wasn’t possible.

A short time later, a group of collaborators and I launched and invited members of the public – citizen scientists – to participate in astrophysics research. When you logged on to Galaxy Zoo, you’d be shown an image of a galaxy and a set of buttons corresponding to possible classifications, and a tutorial to help you recognize the different classes.

By the time we stopped recording classifications from a quarter-million people, each of the one million galaxies on Galaxy Zoo had been classified over 70 times, giving me reliable, human classifications of galaxy shape, including a measure of uncertainty. Did 65 out of 70 citizen scientists agree that this galaxy is an elliptical? Good! If there’s no agreement at all, that’s information too.

Tapping into the “wisdom of the crowd” effect coupled with the unparalleled human ability for pattern recognition helped sort through a million galaxies and unearthed many of the less common blue ellipticals and red spirals for us to study.

The galaxy color-mass diagram. Blue, star-forming galaxies are at the bottom, in the blue cloud. Red, quiescent galaxies are at the top, in the red sequence. The ‘green valley’ is the transition zone in between.
Schawinski+14, CC BY-ND

Unwittingly living in the green valley?

The crossroads of galaxy evolution is a place called the “green valley.” This may sound scenic, but refers to the population between the blue star-forming galaxies (the “blue cloud”) and the red, passively evolving galaxies (the “red sequence”). Galaxies with “green” or intermediate colors should be those galaxies in which star formation is in the process of turning off, but which still have some ongoing star formation – indicating the process only shut down a short while ago, perhaps a few hundred million years.

As a curious aside, the origin of the term “green valley” may actually go back to a talk given at the University of Arizona on galaxy evolution where, when the speaker described the galaxy color-mass diagram, a member of the audience called out: “the green valley, where galaxies go to die!” Green Valley, Arizona, is a retirement community just outside of the university’s hometown, Tucson.

For our project, the really exciting moment came when we looked at the rate at which various galaxies were dying. We found the slowly dying ones are the spirals and the rapidly dying ones are the ellipticals. There must be two fundamentally different evolutionary pathways that lead to quenching in galaxies. When we explored these two scenarios – dying slowly, and dying quickly – it became obvious that these two pathways have to be tied to the gas supply that fuels star formation in the first place.

Imagine a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way merrily converting gas to stars as new gas keeps flowing in. Then something happens that turns off that supply of fresh outside gas: perhaps the galaxy fell into a massive cluster of galaxies where the hot intra-cluster gas cuts off fresh gas from the outside, or perhaps the dark matter halo of the galaxy grew so much that gas falling into it gets shock heated to such a high temperature that it cannot cool down within the age of the universe. In any case, the spiral galaxy is now left with just the gas it has in its reservoir.

Since these reservoirs can be enormous, and the conversion of gas to stars is a very slow process, our spiral galaxy could go on for quite a while looking “alive” with new stars, while the actual rate of star formation declines over several billion years. The glacial slowness of using up the remaining gas reservoir means that by the time we realize that a galaxy is in terminal decline, the “trigger moment” occurred billions of years ago.

A Hubble image of part of the Andromeda galaxy, which like our Milky Way may be a galactic zombie.
NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler, CC BY

The Andromeda galaxy, our nearest massive spiral galaxy, is in the green valley and likely began its decline eons ago: it is a zombie galaxy, according to our latest research. It’s dead, but keeps on moving, still producing stars, but at a diminished rate compared to what it should if it were still a normal star-forming galaxy. Working out whether the Milky Way is in the green valley – in the process of shutting down – is much more challenging, as we are in the Milky Way and cannot easily measure its integrated properties the way we can for distant galaxies.

Even with the more uncertain data, it looks like the Milky Way is just at the edge, ready to tumble into the green valley. It’s entirely possible that the Milky Way galaxy is a zombie, having died a billion years ago.

The Conversation

Kevin Schawinski, Assistant Professor of Galaxy & Black Hole Astrophysics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Header Photo: NGC 3810 (captured by the Hubble Space Telescope)

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Uncle Joe steals the show at the DNC

By Robert J. Garrison

Convention Grade: B-/C+

Theme: Working Together

Well the day started off with a bang. Donald Trump stole the spotlight by holding a press conference and answering questions for an hour. Trump as always said something that was just off the beaten path. He encouraged a foreign government to launch a cyber attack on his political opponent, Hillary Clinton!

It was such an outrageous statement that Trump’s VP, Mike Pence released a statement right after the press conference to clean up the unprecedented remark.

The hacking of the DNC came to light yet again. Wikileak’s released 29 voice mails that were obtained by hackers. As an American I find this highly disturbing. Just how much information did the hackers obtain? This issue has defiantly shed light on how warfare is evolving in the 21st century. Warfare is now more than just missiles, bombs, tanks, ships and battle plans; it is now about computers and hacking.

Now while this is a huge issue, we will most likely only hear from one candidate on hacking and cyber warfare – Donald Trump. Hillary will most likely not talk about it because of her own email scandal, so most likely we will hear from Hillary’s supporters about the issue. This was not the only disturbing thing that happened during 3rd the day of the Democratic convention.

Now before I get into the first thing that I found disturbing, I must make this disclosure:

I am a moderate kind of guy that leans more times to the right than the left. Noticed I said more right than left which means I don’t believe that one party holds the mantle of truth or has all the best ideas. Now with that said, for me life begins at conception, for example. I am NOT calling for an outlawing of abortion. I just believe that life is precious and should be cared for after the moment the sperm enters the egg. Now on to the DNC.

Ilyse Hogue

The first troubling thing that happen was the remarks by Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. (watch the full video here) This was the first time ever at any political convention where someone talked about their abortion. She went on to tell the crowd how she got pregnant, even though she didn’t want to have a child because it wasn’t the right time for her so she terminated the pregnancy.

The fact that the crowd cheered at the mention of her getting the procedure not because of a health issue but because someone just didn’t feel they wanted a child right now, just rubbed me the wrong way. It just came off as so self-centered that someone, who would eventually want children would end a pregnancy not because of a health issue but because they didn’t feel it was the right time to have a child. That was the first disturbing thing that happened last night on to the second one.

Leon Panetta

The second incident that happen at the 3rd day of the DNC was the booing of Former Secretary of Defense and stronger supporter Leon Panetta. Due to the recent terror attacks in Europe the last couple of days, the Secretary felt the need to talk about terrorism in his speech. Well the crowd didn’t want to hear about it. The crowd started to boo him when he suggested we fight terrorism (watch video here).

I understand being anti-war and I respect that position; however, these are evil people who won’t think twice about killing you or your family at the drop of a hat. We must take the fight to them and stopped them at all costs to prevent them from spreading their hate and killing innocent people.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg was the New York city mayor from 2002-2013. Mayor Bloomberg was the counter New York city mayor to Rudy Giuliani who spoke at the RNC. I’ve heard of dueling banjos but not dueling former mayors. It is interesting that they would have a mayor that flirted with the idea of a third-party run. Yet Hillary’s drive to do anything to attack her opponent led her to have Mayor Bloomberg speak at the convention.

Mayor Bloomberg’s attack on Trump was scathing. He called on democrats to put aside their differences and be unified to defeat a “dangerous demagogue”. He went on to talk about Hillary’s ability to work with both parties to get things done. He then went on to tell the crowd that he was a New Yorker and he can spot a con when he sees one, alluding to Trump being a con man.

He pointed out how Trumps actions didn’t match up with his rhetoric on the campaign trail. He ended his speech by calling on those to unify not under party loyalty but under love for America by voting for a sane and competent candidate.

Joe Biden 

Vice President Joe Biden came out to the Rocky theme…so that was cool. The thing with Vice President Biden is that you never know if he is going to give a good speech or shot himself in the foot by saying something off the wall. With that said, I felt that Biden’s speech was the best speech of the night. It was positive, uplifting and patriotic. This was so needed at this convention or any other convention for that matter.

He pulled on the heart-strings of the crowd by speaking of his late son Beau. It was the death of his son that greatly impacted VP Biden so much that he sat out of the 2016 primaries even though people were urging him to get into the fight.

He then went on to give an inspiring tone by telling the stories of people who embodied the unbreakable spirit that is inside all Americans. It was a touching and heartfelt moment that allow him to connect with people in the crowd and those watching. He even got them to chat “Not a clue!” due to his comments about the middle class and Donald not having a clue about the middle class.

He then pivoted to a more serious demeanor by pointing out Trump’s inexperience to be president and how that inexperience will make America less safe not more safe. He ended his speech by rallying the crowd by listing all the great things about America and talking about the strengths of its citizens. He was truly in rare form. He wasn’t just speaking to the crowd at the convention, he was speaking to the independents that were watching, which you saw little of at the RNC.

Tim Kaine

Vice President Biden really raised the bar high for the night’s speeches. Poor Senator Kaine didn’t have a chance. It’s always hard to follow a great speech but it seemed even harder for Kaine whose speech came off as drab, boring and sometimes just outright pandering to Latinos.

I know Hillary picked the Senator from Virginia because of his ability to speak Spanish and his missionary work in Honduras as a way for the campaign to connect with the Latino demographic. Hillary is focusing on Florida with Kaine as the VP nominee, because she sure didn’t do it for his speaking ability. It almost turned out to be a Spanish lesson from Rosetta Stone. Kaine’s speech was the total opposite of what Biden’s speech was.

President Barak Obama

The convention was running very behind and late. and to top it off, they showed a very long video about the Obama presidency. I mean it went on for almost 10 minutes! President Obama’s speech seem more about cementing his legacy than it was about Hillary. That’s not to say that he didn’t say good things about her. He did. He touched on her vast experience, her passion and her coolness under pressure and how that helped him be a better president.

However, Obama did mention himself over 100 times in his 45 minute speech that was supposed to be about nominating Hillary Clinton. The moment of the speech was when people in the crowd began to boo for some reason or another, in which Obama encouraged the crowd, “Don’t boo, vote!” That I thought was a great comeback.

Other than that it was a rather boring speech and since it was already late, it seemed to drag on and on. It wasn’t one of his better speeches for sure.

Who would’ve thought that Biden would have had the best speech of the night and of the convention, in my opinion. His speech I think had people wishing that he would’ve gotten in the race, which in the opinion of this writer would have been a good thing. Not only that but I believe that he would be killing Trump in the polls and giving the Democratic party a better chance of winning in November. Of course that’s if he didn’t pull a Biden by saying something totally off the wall and become a laughing-stock.


Robert J. Garrison is a political and religious contributor for The Systems Scientist


  1. if you liked this article, please do share it on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, Tumblr, or Pinterest. The share buttons are just below.
  2. If you are new here, you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. The links are at the top right corner of this page.
  3. And please do not forget to comment below. Did you love it? Did you hate it? Either way, we would love to hear your feedback.
  4. And lastly, do not forget to check out our other articles and of course our bloggers. 

Caricature by DonkeyHotey


Copyright ©2016 – The Systems Scientist

The science behind Hillary Clinton’s problems with trust

By Jillian Jordan and David Rand

Large swaths of the American public want Donald J. Trump to be their president – maybe even a majority, according to an analysis from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight in late July.

Many people – Democrats and Republicans alike – find this shocking.

Trump made his name as the “You’re fired” guy. He has never held political office, has arguably failed to generate concrete or realistic policy proposals, regularly changes his positions on issues and consistently gets the facts wrong.

This stands in sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton, who has served as secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady of the United States. In his endorsement of her, Barack Obama described Clinton as the most qualified presidential nominee in U.S. history. Presumably experience with, and knowledge of, the system and issues are qualities that make for a good president – so why is this race even close?

How to build trust

Research, including new work from our Human Cooperation Laboratory at Yale, suggests Trump may be successful precisely because of his hotheadedness and lack of carefully thought-out proposals. Being seen as uncalculating can make people trust you.

Hillary Clinton is the opposite of hotheaded. She is careful and calculating – which, despite being a strong asset in actually carrying out the duties of public office, has become a liability in her presidential campaign by undermining the public’s trust in her.

In a recent paper, we found that if you take an action that people like, you come off as much more trustworthy if you decide to act without doing a careful cost-benefit analysis first: Individuals who calculate seem liable to sell out when the price is right.

What’s more, the desire to appear trustworthy motivated participants to act without too much forethought.

Our research didn’t focus on perceptions of politicians, but rather looked at behavior in a more abstract context. We conducted a series of experiments involving economic decisions between anonymous strangers on the internet. Our goal was to create a scenario that would capture the classic trade-off between self-interest and helping others. This is something that comes up in a lot in politics, but also in all sorts of social interactions, such as in our relationships with friends, coworkers and lovers.

Our experiments occur in two stages, with participants assigned to specific roles.

Help Game


In the Helping Game stage, “Helpers” are given some money and have the opportunity to give some of it away to benefit another participant.

The second participant is a total stranger who is assigned to the “Recipient” role, and not given any money.

Helpers know that helping the Recipient out will come at a cost – sacrificing a predetermined, but undisclosed, amount of money.

We then give Helpers a choice. They can decide whether to help the Recipient without “looking” at the cost (i.e., without knowing how much money they’ll be giving away). Or, they can choose to find out how much money they’ll be giving away and only then decide whether to help.


Trust Game

Next, in the Trust Game stage, Helpers engage in a new interaction with a third participant. This person is called the “Truster.” The Truster learns about how the Helper behaved in the first interaction, and then uses it to decide how much the Helper can be trusted.

To measure trust, we give the Truster 30 cents. He then chooses how much to keep and how much to “invest” in the Helper.

Any money he invests gets tripled and given to the Helper. The Helper then chooses how to divide the proceeds of the investment.

Under these rules, investing is productive, because it makes the pot grow larger. But investing pays off for the Truster only if the Helper is trustworthy, and returns enough money to make the Truster a profit.

For example, if the Truster invests all 30 cents, that amount is tripled and the Helper gets 90 cents. If the Helper is trustworthy and returns half, they both end up with 45 cents: more than the Truster started with.

However, the Helper may decide to keep all 90 cents and return nothing. In this case, the Truster ends up with zero and is worse off than when he started.

So the Truster bases his decision of how much to invest in the Helper on how trustworthy he thinks she will be in the face of a temptation to be selfish – that is, how much he trusts her.

We found that Helpers who agree to help the Recipient without “looking” at the cost are trusted more by Trusters. Moreover, they really are more trustworthy. These “uncalculating Helpers” actually return more money to Trusters in the face of the temptation to keep it all for themselves.

Somebody is watching you

We also found that Helpers are motivated by concerns about their reputation.

For half of participants, there were reputational consequences of calculating: The Truster was told whether the Helper looked at the cost before deciding whether to help – and thus Helpers could lose “trust points” by calculating. For the other half of participants, Trusters found out only whether Helpers helped, but not whether they looked at the cost. Our results showed that Helpers were less likely to look at the cost when they knew it would have reputational consequences.

This result suggests that people do not make uncalculating decisions only because they cannot be bothered to put in the effort to calculate. Whether this strategy is conscious or not, uncalculating decisions can also be a way to signal to others that you can be trusted.

Uncalculating cooperation in daily life

Our studies demonstrate that there are reputation benefits to seeming principled and uncalculating.

This conclusion likely applies broadly to social relationships with friends, colleagues, neighbors and lovers. For example, it may shed light on why a good friend is someone who helps you out, no questions asked – and not someone who carefully tracks favors and remembers exactly how much you owe.

It may also reveal an unexpected reason for the popularity of rigid ethical guidelines in philosophical and religious traditions. Committing to standards like the golden rule can make you more popular.

To trust Trump or Clinton?

Our studies may also help to shed light on Trump’s appeal. One of his greatest advantages appears to be the authenticity that he conveys with his emotionally charged behavior.

But it’s important to understand uncalculated decisions will benefit your reputation only if the actions you end up taking are perceived positively. In our experiments, Helpers who decided not to help without calculating the costs seemed especially untrustworthy – presumably because they seemed committed to be selfish no matter what. Similarly, Trump’s impulsiveness may be a plus for those people who support his values, but a huge turnoff to those who do not.

In contrast, Clinton’s persona is often unattractive even to those who support her values – because it suggests that she may not stand by those values when the cost is too high. This may shed light on why she does not inspire more enthusiasm among some liberals, despite her experience and progressive record.

However, there’s an important nuance to what it means to be “calculating.” One sense of “calculating” is self-interested: Before you agree to adhere to your ethical principles, or to sacrifice for others, you consider the costs and benefits to yourself – and you follow through with doing the “right” thing only if you conclude that it will be best for you.

Another way to be “calculating” is to carefully consider what’s right for others. Instead of acting on her gut, a policymaker could conduct a complex analysis to figure out the best way to implement a policy to maximize its benefit to the population.

Our theory and experiments apply only to the first sense of “calculating”: They suggest that engaging in self-interested calculations is what undermines trust.

But in what sense is Trump uncalculating – and in what sense is Clinton calculating?

Of course, there’s room for debate, but a common argument in support of Clinton is that her calculations reflect her ability to effectively play the game to deliver the most progressive policies possible, given the constraints of our two-party system.

To win, Clinton needs to convince voters that her calculations have their best interests at heart – a major goal of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

The Conversation

Jillian Jordan, Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology, Yale University and David Rand, Associate Professor of Psychology, Economics, Cognitive Science and Management, Yale University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

NASA Blog: New Heart and DNA Research Benefiting Health

By Mark Garcia

New science unloaded from the latest SpaceX Dragon to visit the International Space Station is under way. The variety of new and ongoing space research is designed to benefit life on Earth and astronauts on long duration missions.

Astronaut Kate Rubins, a biological researcher on Earth, is lifting her science expertise to new heights today setting up a microscope in space for the first time. The new microscope will observe heart cells to help doctors understand how the human heart adapts in space and improve crew health.

Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi checked the habitat for the Mouse Epigenetics experiment today. That study is researching how microgravity alters the gene expression in mice and DNA in their offspring.

Commander Jeff Williams joined cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin for ultrasound scans today to investigate how fluids shift from the lower body to the upper body. The study is exploring how these fluid shifts affect fluid pressure in an astronaut’s head and eyes potentially affecting vision.

Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Anatoly Ivanishin partnered together for a study of the upper body that observes changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The research explores breathing and blood pressure in microgravity to maintain the health of crews living in space.

Source: New Heart and DNA Research in Space Benefiting Health | Space Station

Credit: NASA TV

Photo explanation: Astronaut Kate Rubins works to set up a new microscope for the Heart Cells study.