Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lazy Linking

Some stuff that may (or may not) Be Of Interest....

"Letting Go: What Should Medicine Do When It Can't Save Your Life"
  • If you haven't yet read Atul Gawande's riveting, humane, insightful and magisterial New Yorker piece, do so now. 
  • Then read Ed Yong's analysis of Gawande's writing techniques. 

  • Jerry Coyne's most excellent response to Phil Plait's much-discussed "Don't Be A Dick" speech. See also: Richard Dawkins' comment on that post, PZ Myers' takedown and Daniel Loxton's spirited defense (featuring references to actual scientific research!!). 

"The Ten Commandments of Science Journalism"
  • Excellent.
  • "Each time a journalist writes “just a theory” or “only a theory” or “merely a theory” — or insinuates pseudoscience (astrology, parapsychology, acupuncture, etc.) is a scientific theory — I cry. And Carl Sagan rolls over in his grave. And a furious hobgoblin emerges from some deep crevasse to defecate on concepts such as gravity, electromagnetism, plate tectonics, evolution, antibiotic resistance and so on."
  • Via Ed Yong.
  • Premiere quackery-smacker Ben Goldacre (again) catches the media being irresponsible (again). Cue lesson on the evidentiary status of anecdotes (something I have written about myself).

    • Johann Hari: exactly right. There are few things in the world that would yield society as large an immediate gain as the decriminalization of drugs. This is how to do it.

        • Erm... the title says it all. What do you want from me??

          • Another Hari piece. Despite what some scientifically illiterate people may think, the science is beyond question at this point. 
          • Note: Hari attributes the calving of a giant ice island off Petermann Glacier to global warming, but this is  premature

          • The Hauser misconduct case continues to unfold. Bad, very bad.

          • PZ Myers absolutely nails Kurzweil's silliness. Kurzweil responds (badly) and PZ responds to the response. Steven Novella also wades into the debate.
          • Takeaway: Kurzweil doesn't understand the brain. 

            • Finally the difference between farther and further makes sense! Also... please people, don't say "beg the question" when you mean "raise the question". Srsly. 

              • Yes, really. Even more evidence that drinking copious amounts of alcohol is good for you... 

                "Malaria, Sea Grapes, and Kidney Stones: A Tale of Parasites Lost"
                • The most excellent Carl Zimmer writing excellently about a parasite that decided to forgo a life of crime... 
                • Ok, "decided" and "crime". 

                "Why I Quit Chiropractic"
                • Not only is (straight) chiropractic sheer pseudoscience, some chiropractic schools mercilessly exploit their students (while teaching them to exploit patients).   

                • Wikipedia in all its glory. 

                • There are some real gems here. I learnt, among other things, that God has a "Holy, Righteous Penis," that apes do not exist, and that women subconsciously want to be hit and told to shut up. 

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