This may be the most adorable article on Wikipedia: bubuti system: “The Bubuti system is the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights. Under the Bubuti System if someone is approached and says ‘I bubuti you for your shirt’, that person is obliged to give you their shirt. However the next day you can go to the person now wearing your shirt and say ‘I bubuti you for your lantern’, and now you have yourself a lantern.” But if you look at the sources, beyond the adorable exterior is a horrible reality. Apparently anyone being able to ask for and receive the property of anyone else works just as well as economists would predict.
If you want to know how the Supreme Court case on gay marriage is going, this “transcript” hits probably the perfect balance between hilarity and accuracy.
There are a lot of maps of hypothetical alternate divisions of the United States, but here’s a really cool idea I’d never thought about before: empirically determined economic regions of the US based on movement of dollar bills.
This Kickstarter-for-scientific-studies is the best idea since, well, the original Kickstarter: Microryza. You know those alternative medicine people who are always complaining about how ginger or cinnamon or something cures cancer, but the pharma companies won’t fund a study to look into it so they can’t prove it? If every one of them donates a couple of dollars to study it, that’s enough money for a study right there.
This story about the new SimCity seems unwilling-to-denounce-it-as-horrible enough that I suspect it might be some kind of paid shill for EA. But it’s a very very good paid shill, relating as it does the story of 6 teams of professional urban designers set head-to-head to play SimCity 6.
Florida DJs almost faced felony charges for claiming their city’s water system contained dihydrogen monoxide.
More proof that the science of psychology is just a big competition to see who can be more gratuitiously evil to research subjects: a replication of the Milgram experiment was performed making people give real electric shocks to a puppy. The listed results are confusing, but apparently women were much more willing to shock the puppy then men were?
More good controlled research on gender discrimination: scientists rate abstracts with male author names higher than abstracts with female author names. On the other hand, it also found the same thing all the other studies find: women are just as likely to do this as men. And although the report goes out of its way to obfuscate this, it sounds like they might have found the opposite pattern in subjects believed to be more stereotypically female. This seems to confirm my current pattern of thinking on gender issues, which is that they are real and important, but the standard narrative of “It’s all about men oppressing women” hides the fact that it’s more about both women and men working together to enforce norms that some areas should be male and others should be female. Which of course is pretty bad in itself.
I mentioned that I have trouble remembering how crazy the rest of the world is about polyamory, so as a reminder, here is a Reddit thread on whether people would let their SOs sleep with their celebrity crushes, assuming the opportunity became available.
I am very suspicious of their statistics, but I like the thought behind it: Science Heroes ranks scientists by how many lives they saved. They claim that twenty scientists have saved over a hundred million lives (although they give multiple people credit for the same discovery, which complicates things somewhat).
OH GOD YES: Sao Paulo bans all outdoor advertising. With before-and-after pictures of the city. WHY AREN’T WE ALL DOING THIS?
Person Who Thinks They Have Found The Neurological Correlate Of Consciousness Of The Day: Guilio Tononi.
An appropriately concise tourism guide to the 25 Least Visited Countries In The World. I have been to exactly zero of them, which makes me feel sad and inferior.
Reddit/r/worldnews has recently had a bit of a spat between people who think North Korea is tragic and people who think it is hilarious. I am sympathetic to both sides; they are certainly a nightmare and my heart aches for anyone who has to live there, but then again, there’s this North Korean threat against “Colorado Springs”.
Result of previous medical research: People in the Southern US are very fat! Results of more up-to-date medical research Everyone is very fat, and people in the Southern US are very honest!
If you haven’t read Wikipedia’s List of Shibboleths, do it now before the Belgians kill you for mispronouncing “shield”.
Someone has finally quantified how many lives nuclear power saves. Answer: About 70,000 per year, mostly through preventing the construction of coal power plants that cause lung disease. Over the last half-century of nuclear power it’s probably saved about 1.8 million lives. BUT WE STILL NEED TO CLOSE DOWN ALL NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE THE FUKUSHIMA ACCIDENT INJURED THIRTY SEVEN PEOPLE
Finally online college is starting to take off.
However, this article claims that despite the gloomy talk about young people’s debt levels, young people today actually have the lowest amount of debt in 20 years. It’s just that today’s debt is college loans as opposed to the houses and cars of the past, and this is probably economically healthier. Someone who actually understands economics, tell me why this is wrong, will you?
I’m a bit confused by this study – well, beyond the normal amount I’m confused by studies where I can’t access the full text. It seems to claim that going to a more selective college doesn’t help lifetime prospects, but going to a more expensive college does (and that this isn’t just a result of confounding with students’ social class). Anyone want to explain it to me?
I don’t usually link to random atheism blogs, but Dan Fincke has an unusually good piece (mostly the second half) about why atheists resent the concept of Hell. I would add to it that while healthy people are able to laugh it off, a lot of mental patients end up obsessively terrified of it. I don’t know whether in the absence of stories about Hell they would find something else to be obsessively terrified about, but Hell does seem to be a particularly nasty meme for them.
We’ve known for a while that sleep deprivation effectively treats depression, but it’s hard to maintain and not always that much better than being depressed. Now scientists want to make sleep deprivation in pill form.
TVTropes’ page on how lightning is used as a lazy plot device for causing random miraculous effects nevertheless links to this real-life article on how a blind man struck by lightning was suddenly able to see again.