- The Economist reviews research that used the venerable Wason selection task to reveal psychopaths seem unable to understand social contracts. This suggests (albeit weakly) that psychopathy is a frequency-dependent adaptation.
- A Time magazine profile of the courageous James Onen, head of Freethought Kampala, an organization dedicated to science and reason in a highly superstitious country.
- Disturbing Chronicle of Higher Education profile of an 'academic mercenary' paid to write essays and other academic work for students. Scary stuff.
- It seems to me that there is little academics themselves can do about this problem. If I suspect a student has paid someone to do her work for her, then what? I... hack her email account? The only long-term solution, it seems to me, is to criminalize the companies that provide these services - after all, they're arguably committing (or at least abetting) fraud. When the companies' records are seized, guilty students should be tracked down and punished. Degrees should be withdrawn, etc. I'm not saying this will solve the problem completely, but it'll at least lessen it, and provide some deterrent.
- The subtitle says it all: "a study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating".
"This Is Your Brain on Metaphors"
- Fallacies categorized and their family relationships mapped. Good stuff.
- Robert Sapolsky does great work, and this piece is as good evidence of that as any. He reviews a bunch of research which demonstrates that the brain conflates the literal and metaphorical. That is, certain 'higher' mental functions (like morality) is simply bolted onto 'lower' mental functions (like disgust).
- "Nelson Mandela was wrong when he advised, “Don’t talk to their minds; talk to their hearts.” He meant talk to their insulas and cingulate cortices and all those other confused brain regions, because that confusion could help make for a better world."
- What's the harm? This. This is the harm.
"Not so fast... What's so premature about premature ejaculation?"
- Quacks + poachers = rhinos in trouble.
- Jesse Bering strikes again. Premature ejaculation from an evolutionary perspective... Be sure to read the incisive comments.
"What’s In Placebos?"
- Apparently placebos are not all alike. Steven Novella covers the fascinating details and discusses the consequences.
- It's not exactly surprising that an atheist is unwelcome in the West Bank, but (1) it's still lametable that he isn't but (2) heartening that he exists at all.
- Sample: symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride...
- The fascinating story of Gary Kasparov's epic game against the rest of the world (well, a huge number of chess players who collaborated online). Kasparov called it "the greatest game in the history of chess".
- This is written by Ben Goldacre. Go, read.
- Go on, what are you waiting for? You know you want to...
- Life covers a batty attempt to defeat Hitler... with witchcraft.
- Another Economist piece, this time a review of the book A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment. According to the review, the book is the story of the salon presided over by the (unjustly forgotten - but not by me) Baron d'Holbach.
"The Fascinating Story of the Twins Who Share Brains, Thoughts, and Senses"Pretty / WOW / heh
- The most interesting conjoined twins since Chang and Eng Bunker. Truly remarkable story.
"'Dance Your Ph.D. 2010' Winner Announced"
- This is just wonderful. Watch the video, srsly.
- Must see gorgeousness from Big Picture.
"Wildlife through the lens""The Difference Between Jesus and Zombies"
- Beautiful wildlife photography.
- Sci-fi author John Scalzi rips into Ayn Rand. Hilarity results.