Live Blogging: the first 2016 U.S. Presidential debate

I’ll be live-blogging observations and thoughts on the back-and-forth between the two leading U.S. Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, during tonight’s first debate. This page should update as I post new entries. If not, refresh it.

I will be looking at the debate from the perspective of assessing arguments and thinking critically, and even scientifically:

  • What is the question?
  • What claims do the candidates make?
  • Are those claims backed by reliable evidence or based on fallacious thinking or weak-sense critical thinking and evidence?
  • What logical fallacies are in place?
    • Keep in mind, an “ad hominem” attack is not just an attack on the other candidate – an attack based on credible evidence is thus a valid, if aggressive, criticism; rather, an “ad hominem” attack is one that is based on something unrelated to the claim or assessment of the claim (e.g. personal appearance) or on evidence unrelated to the claim (“Congresswoman Soandso can’t balance a budget because her husband plays too much golf” – it might be true he plays too much golf, but that has nothing to do with balancing a budget).

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US Presidential Candidates on Science and Policy – Research and Climate Change

How will the aspirant presidential candidates handle long-term vs. short-term goals in scientific research and engineering? What are their thoughts on climate change and policy? Let's find out.
How will the aspirant presidential candidates handle long-term vs. short-term goals in scientific research and engineering? What are their thoughts on climate change and policy? Let’s find out.

Scientific American recently published the responses they received from many US President Candidates regarding questions on science and scientific matters. In this post, I apply the skills we expect from the practice of good argument and scientific thinking to assess the questions and the responses.

Let’s focus on the “Research” and “Climate Change” questions for this round.

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The Higgs Boson and the Bottom Quark

A candidate event from LHC Run 1 for the production of a Higgs and a Z boson; the Higgs is reconstructed as decaying into a pair of bottom quarks, while the Z boson decays into undetectable neutrinos. This event was recorded by the ATLAS Experiment.
A candidate event from LHC Run 1 for the production of a Higgs and a Z boson; the Higgs is reconstructed as decaying into a pair of bottom quarks, while the Z boson decays into undetectable neutrinos. This event was recorded by the ATLAS Experiment.

I thought it might be nice to reflect on the physics that I am most interested in understanding during this second run of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In this post, I will discuss the Higgs boson, its expected interaction with bottom quarks, and how we have come to understand this interaction (in part) during Runs 1 and 2 of the LHC. The Higgs Boson and the Bottom Quark have a close relationship. Whilethe bottom quark was found during the “glorious discovery period” of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Higgs boson was found in 2012, we have not yet a definitive direct measurement of the Higgs and Bottom Quark interaction. I am working with my colleagues to change that fact. But to understand where we are, it’s helpful to understand where it all comes from.

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US Presidential Candidates on Science and Policy – Innovation

What is Innovation? Is it something you can't define but you know it when you see it? Let's see how the candidates tried to define what is needed to keep innovation alive and thriving in the United States.
What is Innovation? Is it something you can’t define but you know it when you see it? Let’s see how the candidates tried to define what is needed to keep innovation alive and thriving in the United States.

Scientific American recently published the responses they received from many US President Candidates regarding questions on science and scientific matters. In this post, I apply the skills we expect from the practice of good argument and scientific thinking to assess the questions and the responses.

Let’s focus on the “Innovation” question for this round.

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