Book Review: How Bias Warps Criminal Justice

Research shows that, when we are presented with information, our minds are often busy “bending the facts, sawing off inconvenient corners, and tossing away contradictory information so that everything can be fit into our ready-made boxes,” he writes. Unfortunately, this can lead to some very bad outcomes.

Source: How Bias Warps Criminal Justice

I have spoken before about errors in thinking. I liked how this talks about how our thoughts have no bearing on reality. I see this everyday when I help people. They have cute ideas of cause and effect with computers. For example, one person said that as long as she is in a good mood the computer is in a good mood. Of course the computer doesn’t care what your mood is, but I am not going to argue with that idea.

What is also striking is how honest and real the conclusions are. I like books that challenge my assumptions and this will challenge many people’s assumptions. I hope that it will be read because it has many interesting and valuable things to say. For example it talks about how many innocent people get caught up in the crime system, and that it doesn’t help the guilty ones. That we need to reform the system because it is ineffective in what it has been asked to do.

It is crazy isn’t it? We treat people in a way that doesn’t give them the opportunity to show their innocence or help themselves. Search YouTube for John Oliver’s discussion of lawyers and that your income determines your future. He said that 95% of people who have a public defender plead guilty. Isn’t that amazing? How can that be fair? Why didn’t someone do something before now? I had no idea of that kind of statistic. We don’t realize how ignorant we are until we learn something.

I once said to someone “I was pretty ignorant as a kid.” She laughed and said “Well that’s the best time to be ignorant.” The stages of our live give us opportunity to grow, and fortunately many of us do grow. I am glad to live in this time where we have a chance to address some of these inequalities. Aren’t you?

Why are cheap iTunes cards for sale?

Source: Inside the Shady World of Cheap iTunes Gift Cards – StumbleUpon

I always wondered about those places that offered to sell a $200 iTunes gift card for a ridiculous low price. It seemed to me to be shady, so I avoided it. However the author of this article did it, and tried to share the research that he found. It wasn’t much.

Basically the bottom line is that since it is just a code it is untraceable by the end-user. I don’t like supporting anything that feels illegal. There are plenty of legal things have terrible consequences like diamond mining, so we don’t need to add misery to the world to save a few bucks.

What seems very selfish to me is that the people who I have seen are the most stingy are the richest. Very few people are like Warren Buffet who has given away so much to charity. Those are people who are singularly good people. They could surround themselves in whatever fantasy they wish, but the fact that Mr. Buffet drives a normal car and lives in a humble home is just an incredible message on the value of money.

Sometimes the most effective actions are concrete behavior that people do. Words are so easy to say when someone is insincere. What is moving is when people live out their values by acting on what they believe. To me, not adding to crime is the first test of being a responsible and rational consumer.