Video: Luntz Focus Group on Palin

A few things are interesting about this clip showing a focus group run by Frank Luntz with Minnesota voters on behalf of the AARP. First, when Luntz asks the participants to name the first things that come to mind about Palin, you notice that no one mentions issues or her stand on them whether it is climate change, abortion, stem cell research, taxes etc.

Instead, with the miserly public, the first thing that comes to mind are aspects of her personal narrative and identity. Moreover, the metaphors and frame devices that have dominated the campaign to date are applied to Palin to make sense of her choice. As one focus group participant says: "She's not ready for the 3AM phone call."

As another female participant who was leaning towards McCain says: "Raising five kids in the White House, if need be....she's a mother than not a president."

Second, as is clear from this focus group, the celebrity of Palin and her influence on independent voters is not a slam dunk. In fact, as recent polls show, Palin if anything is a base mobilizer on the right and the left, and her impact on undecideds remains unclear.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

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34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
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How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.

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  • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
  • When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
  • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.