Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lazy Linking

"This is a news website article about a scientific finding"
  • Martin Robbins' absolutely wonderful parody of bad science reporting. I really can't recommend it enough. 
  • Also: read the superb comments (well, some of them at least - there are over 500). 
"An Ode to the Many Evolved Virtues of Human Semen"
  • Jesse Bering on the psychological effects of semen (mostly on women). He covers tons of fascinating research, including the finding that semen may have an anti-depressant effect. (Though, as this comment points out, there is a serious confound). 
  • Best line: “I’m not a medical doctor, but my testicles are licensed pharmaceutical suppliers”. (Said in jest, by the way). 
  • Anthropologist Pascal Boyer pwns lefty/po-mo academics. 
  • Pew surveys Americans about their knowledge of religion. Shocking ignorance found. (You can take a quiz featuring some of the questions in the survey. FWIW, I got 13 out of 15...)
  • Amazingly, only 85% of the respondents knew that an atheist is a person who doesn't believe in God. A finding consistent with the existence of 'atheists' who believe in God. (Yes, that is a contradiction in terms, but there you go).
"I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly"
  • I'm not linking to this for the content, but for George Monboit's wonderful demonstration that there is honor in saying "I was wrong". I've never been a fan of Monboit's, but his willingness to write this column certainly sways my opinion more to the positive side. 
  • Yes, says Ed Yong. They should (do their best to) side with truth
"Power Leads Us to Dehumanize Others"
  • BPS Research Digest reviews research that vindicates Lord Acton. (Not that there was much doubt to begin with). 
"Ratzinger is an Enemy of Humanity"
  • Richard Dawkins brilliantly responds to the Pope's deeply idiotic comment comparing atheists to Nazis. Read it. 
  • Excellent piece at Ars Technica by Chris Lee on the evils of confirmation bias - our tendency to see only what we expect to see. Lee looks at the topic through the lens of various scientific controversies, including Jacques Benveniste's 'water memory' nonsense. 
  • China's answer to Ben Goldacre, Fang Shimin, gets beaten up and threatened, apparently by plagiarists and/or charlatans who stand to lose from being exposed. Shocking. 
  • Another fascinating study covered by BPS Research Digest.
  • The researchers compared 'global' vs. 'local' thinking among "Dutch Conservative Calvinists (a form of Protestantism), Liberal Calvinists (who aren't so strict), Conservative Calvinists turned atheist and life-long atheists." 
  • The results were surprising: "the life-long atheists showed the strongest bias for the big picture, followed by the Liberal Calvinists, and then the Conservative Calvinists and the former Conservative Calvinists turned atheist. The latter two groups performed similarly suggesting that more than seven years without religious practice wasn't enough to remove the effects of the religion on a person's attentional mindset."
Heh / LOL / Wow

"The Real Stuff White People Like"
  • Absolutely fascinating analysis of 526,000 OkCupid profiles reveals the differences in tastes between White, Black and Asian males and females. 
  • The sample is unlikely to be representative, but it's interesting nonetheless. 
"The Data So Far"
  • Classic xkcd... (For xkcd n00bs: read the mouse-over text).
  • Astronomy porn at its finest. #7 and #11 are especially good.
  • Need I say more?

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