The Psychology That Leads People to Vote for Extremists & Autocrats: The Theory of Cognitive Closure

in PoliticsPsychology | November 30th, 2016.

There's a political disconnect in the United States. We have two political parties, each now living in its own reality and working with its own set of facts. The common ground between them? Next to none.

How to explain this disconnect? Maybe the answer lies in the theory of “cognitive closure”–a theory first worked out by social psychologist Arie Kruglanski back in 1989.

“People’s politics are driven by their psychological needs,” Kruglanski explains in the short documentary above. “People who are anxious because of the uncertainty that surrounds them are going to be attracted to messages that offer certainty.”

He sips a soda, then continues, “The need for closure is the need for certainty, to have clear cut knowledge. You feel that you need to stop processing too much information, to stop listening to a variety of viewpoints, and zero in on what appears to be, to you, the truth.” “The need for closure tricks your mind to believe you have the truth, even though you haven’t examined the evidence very carefully.” And that, unfortunately, can be very dangerous.

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FINLAND: Local Basic Income test implementation is being considered in Finland

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Published on June 6th, BasicIncome.org by Andre Coelho

Local Finnish authorities at Åland, a Swedish speaking archipelago between Finland and Sweden mainland, are considering, within their territory, the creation of a special fiscal zone where basic income-like social experiments could be performed. The Åland Office of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland presently manages conditional basic income benefits for locals, but could be on the brink of taking the next bold step of turning these benefit schemes entirely unconditional.

The recently elected Center Party, which is presently the most represented party in the Finnish Parliament and supporter of Basic Income, is willing to regionally experiment its implementation. That is why Sonja Nordenswan, activist in basic income support group BINK – basinkomst Åland (Åland basic income), is confident about the possibilities of this government actually moving forward with this projet.

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Bernie Sanders May Run for President in 2016

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Americans are ready for a populist message like his, senator says

- by Common Dreams staff

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) told his hometown paper Friday that he is considering making a run for President in 2016.

The Burlington (VT) Free Press reports that Sanders may run if no one else with progressive views takes the plunge.

It is essential, he said, to have someone in the 2016 presidential campaign who is willing to take on Wall Street, address the “collapse” of the middle class, tackle the spread of poverty and fiercely oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Also, addressing global warming needs to be a top priority, not an afterthought, Sanders said.

“Under normal times, it’s fine, you have a moderate Democrat running, a moderate Republican running,” Sanders said. “These are not normal times. The United States right now is in the middle of a severe crisis and you have to call it what it is.”

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Energy Efficient Process Discovered to Turn Seawater into Freshwater

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Published by Nathan August on EcoWatch.com (here)

Seawater desalination with nothing more than a small electrical field? A simple new method of creating freshwater from seawater—that uses far less energy than conventional methods do—has just been developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany.

A prototype “water chip” developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with a startup company. Photo Credit: University of Texas at Austin

The new method—electrochemically mediated seawater desalination—uses no membranes, is considerably simpler than conventional methods, and is so low-energy that it can be performed with the energy provided by store-bought batteries. Those are big improvements on all fronts—if the process can be adequately scaled up, it’s a potentially revolutionary development. Freshwater scarcity is expected to become a significant problem in many regions of the world in the coming decades, but as it stands now, saltwater desalination isn’t particularly economical … A cheaper, simpler method than those currently available would be of great use—one which could be used on larger scales than simple solar stills are.

The new method/technology is patent-pending and is currently in commercial development by startup company Okeanos Technologies.

“The availability of water for drinking and crop irrigation is one of the most basic requirements for maintaining and improving human health,” said Richard Crooks of The University of Texas at Austin. “Seawater desalination is one way to address this need, but most current methods for desalinating water rely on expensive and easily contaminated membranes. The membrane-free method we’ve developed still needs to be refined and scaled up, but if we can succeed at that, then one day it might be possible to provide fresh water on a massive scale using a simple, even portable, system.”

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Innovation in renewable-energy technologies is booming

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New study shows that research investments and growing markets have fueled a huge rise in new patents

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- The number of patents issued for renewable-energy technologies has risen sharply over the last decade, according to new research from MIT and the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). The study shows that investments in research and development, as well as in the growth of markets for these products, have helped to spur this dramatic growth in innovation.

"We were quite surprised," says Jessika Trancik, an assistant professor of engineering systems at MIT and a co-author of the new report, published in the journal PLoS ONE. Trancik -- working with Luís Bettencourt of SFI and graduate student Jasleen Kaur from Indiana University -- created a database of energy-related patents issued in more than 100 countries between 1970 and 2009, using keyword searches of the patents themselves, rather than the classifications assigned by patent offices. In all, the team examined more than 73,000 patents issued for energy-related technologies.

This database "gives you a view into innovation activity -- who's doing it, and where," Trancik says. Further statistical analysis, she says, showed a clear correlation between this rise in patents and prior investments in R&D, along with growth in the markets for such renewable technologies.

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