The resident faculty left a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide outside the mail room door. We hope it was a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, addisnana shared The Hardware Store Hug in Midday Matinee and winterbanyan reported on Comparing Biodiversity Loss to Climate Change in Our Earth.

On Tuesday, Smartypants asked Can the Country Afford a Chameleon President? in Morning Feature, the Squirrel explored Conservatism, Religion, Society, and Data in Furthermore!, readers collaborated on Tuesday’s Tale: Mother’s Day Breakfast in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan noted the Surprising Effects of Chile Earthquake in Our Earth.

On Wednesday, Smartypants countered the Media: “This Is a Close Race, Dammit!” meme in Morning Feature, the Squirrel observed The Desperate Stand of the Right Wing in Furthermore!, addisnana shared a story of Herb(s) in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan showed the Transgenerational Effect of Antibiotics in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we explored Why Words Matter: “Marriage Equality” vs. “Same Sex Marriage” in Morning Feature, triciawyse shared Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan noted Diversity Key to Productive Vegetation in Our Earth.

On Friday, we discussed Mitt Romney and Dark Rites of Passage in Morning Feature, triciawyse brought us Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan reported on the Speed of Glaciers and Sea Level Rise in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we offered The Speech Mitt Romney Won’t Give in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked Do You Feel Gayer? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive brought us Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, winterbanyan told A Tale of Two Opossums in Midday Matinee, we chuckled at Silly Sunday: Mother’s Day Edition in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves the copy of Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide left outside the mail room door by the resident faculty, as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

The staff felt confident that the resident faculty do not anticipate a zombie apocalypse, for several reasons. First, the resident faculty have not stocked up on survival gear, unless you count their wine cellar library requests. Second, the faculty senate authorized construction of the new Venerable Hall – which is now finished except for the painting and decorating – and we doubt that project would have been approved if the resident faculty expected a zombie attack.

Most importantly, as Chef noted, the resident faculty know the difference between fact and fiction. While zombie mythology has roots in odd historical facts, those events have natural causes and there is no evidence that zombies exist. We noted an odd scratching sound while she explained this, and this prompted a discussion of the common scene in horror movies where a character confidently declares there is Nothing To Worry About … just before the Nothing To Worry About attacks.

“Sowwee,” Pootie the Precious texted from her litter box on her iHazPhone. “Iz jus me. An pleez kleen in heer. kthxbai.”

“Besides,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor offered, “zombies eat brains and … well … we are talking about the resident faculty, after all….”

“That’s it!” the Squirrel texted on his Blewberry.

The rest of the staff knew better than to interrupt the Squirrel while he’s running down a clue, so Chef made more coffee and the Professor of Astrology Janitor took care of Pootie the Precious’ request. By the time he had refilled and leveled her litter – whereupon she promptly rearranged it – the Squirrel was sure he’d found the answer.

“The key was brains, fact, and fiction,” he texted. “The resident faculty will discuss The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality.”

Science journalist Chris Mooney brings together a wealth of research on the psychological and cognitive differences between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not that liberals are smart and conservatives are stupid – or vice-versa – nor that Democrats and Republicans are mirror images who cling to ideological positions with equal stubbornness. Rather, Mooney’s research shows that Democrats and Republicans differ on core personality traits that cause us to think in very different ways … and that education, logic, and facts are not enough to bridge the gulf. To discover what can work to build political consensus, we must first understand what doesn’t work, and why.

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Happy Monday!