The Supreme Court refuses to hear Troy Davis’s appeal

There are serious reasons for questioning the correctness of the guilty verdict Troy Davis received.  The Supreme Court’s decision means that the recanting witnesses cannot testify.  Amnesty International urges action.  There  are a few things  – easy to do in the age of the internet – that you can do that may make a big difference:

Counting the candidates’ words

James W Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas, counts words, or, more precisely, has a program that does that.   His blog, which focuses on the language of the leading candidates in the presidential race,  is full of interesting ideas about connections between words and character traits.  In the debates, who is the more complex thinker?  Whose language is more  personal?  And whose indicates deceptiveness?  The answers, and the reasons he has for them, are sometimes surprising.  Philosophers might find themselves worried about some of the analyses, but the project has a lot to say.

Pay Disparities and Sex/Gender Transitions

A recent study has found that:

women who become men (known as FTMs) do significantly better than men who become women (MTFs). MTFs in the study earned, on average, 32% less after they transitioned from male to female, even after the authors controlled for factors like education levels. FTMs earned an average of 1.5% more.

The study’s authors and the Time Magazine article reporting this take this to show the extent of discrimination in the workplace– of the most traditional sort (paying someone less money for the same work just because of their sex/gender). It’s a very interesting study, but I’d also like to know what those with greater knowledge than mine about trans issues make of it.

(Thanks to the FEAST mailing list for this one!)