You Are Not So Smart raises our awareness of the menace of Placebo Buttons. I’d always known a lot of crosswalk buttons don’t do anything, but the information about elevator “close door” buttons really hurt.
I hate to link to something as lowbrow as this, but I have to admit this page made me laugh more than anything else has all year: 30 Hilarious Autocorrect Struggles. I don’t even care if it’s real.
A couple different places are now saying they can alter crops to automatically fixate nitrogen. If true, it would reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizers which is good for the environment and great for billions of Third World farmers. The terms “world-changing” and “second Green Revolution” are being used. High end of estimates of benefit to the world economy in the hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars. Everyone seems to be doing exactly the right thing and throwing money at this idea.
Poverty in rural India is declining at an unprecedented rate.
Speaking of India, did you know Indian districts that elect Muslim (as opposed to Hindu) representatives tend to increase health and education outcomes in the districts they represent, including for non-Muslim constituents? This is so awkwardly out-of-left-field I can’t even tell if it’s politically incorrect or not.
A link that doesn’t have that problem: 11.8% of gender income gap apparently explained by menstruation, bizarre study says. Now I’m starting to wonder whether all those sarcastic feminist jokes about how we can’t have a female president because she would menstruate all over important legislation might not have just been ahead of their time.
The Guardian very kindly linked to my essay on scientism, and I guess that means I owe them one. So here is the Guardian’s new psychology blog, the groan-inducingly-named Head Quarters. Best of all, it’s co-written by Molly Crockett, my old high school science bowl teammate. You should trust everything she says.
So the good news is that this picture of Vikings attacking a Mars rover was taken without the use of any government funds. The bad news is that the investigation into whether the picture was taken with government funds cost somewhere between $40,000 and $600,000 in government funds. Penny wise and pound foolish? I, for one, demand the government fund an investigation to find out!
Speaking of gender gaps, a study on sentencing behavior finds that women receive prison sentences on average only about half as long as men, and that about half of that advantage is due solely to gender bias (rather than to a different pattern of offenses or different criminal history).
Collection Of Unusual Weather-Related Photos. Even if, like me, you think you’ve seen it all in terms of weather-related photos (the standard everyday lenticular clouds and mammatus formations most of these links end up as), you probably haven’t seen anything like these.
Dinner Specials Created In Honor Of Game Of Thrones Characters. Trigger warning for terrible puns.
I’m obviously an introvert, but it was hard not to cheer on this 15 Unmistakable Outrageously Secret Signs You’re An Extrovert article.
Move over evolutionary psychology, we have a new Least Romantic Explanation Ever For Human Romance.
Speaking of evolutionary psychology moving over, if you want to make a rational, well-founded, non-hysterical critique of evo psych ideas, this is the way to do it: Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans. If this is true, it seems hard to square with the idea that human sexual preferences are specific human adaptations, at least in the area of facial features that this study examined.
From Robin Hanson: people can determine who won music contests more accurately based on video-without-audio than on audio-without-video. This includes trained musicians and music contest judges. In other words, a whole lot of ability-to-win-music-contests seems to be looking good while you actually play whatever.
I want to make it clear that I only appreciate this story on an ironic level: Robot Programmed To Fall In Love With A Girl Goes Too Far.
Reddit comes through again with Scientists, What’s The Craziest Thing In Your Field That You Suspect Is True But Is Not Yet Fully Supported By Data? Especially interesting are the birth control, bacteriophage, Lorimer burst and sildenafil/obesity responses. Creepiest (and seriously, don’t read this if you’re easily creeped out) is the one on hemispherectomy.
You can write integers in base phi and get relatively short, terminating strings. You can even do math with them. It’s not obvious why you’d want to. But you can.
Good use of the Proving Too Much technique and some nice biting satire: Why We Need Minimum Price Laws Today.
Continuing on this month’s theme of extreme techno-optimism: nanocrystalline cellulose is the new wonder material, and it’s made of wood pulp. Imagine something that can do everything plastics do, but better, and it doesn’t require fossil fuels or do weird things to your childrens’ gender.
Normal saline, the mainstay of medical treatment everywhere, costs somewhere between 44 cents and $546 per bag.
1973: Girls are bad at math. 1993: Girls aren’t bad at math, they’re just culturally conditioned to get anxious about it. 2013: Girls aren’t culturally conditioned to get anxious about math, they’re just culturally conditioned to tell people that they’re culturally conditioned to get anxious about it. 2033: ???
The number of miles driven in cars in the US – total as well as per capita – has been declining since well before the start of the Great Recession and continues to decline.
The Patel Motel Cartel is the name given to the observation that 1/3 of motels in America are owned by someone with the last name “Patel”.
How hard can it be to make a pie chart? Apparently, pretty hard! From Matt Vana on Facebook: WTF Visualizations
Every year, a town in Sweden builds a giant wooden goat. Every year, it…no, just read Wikipedia’s Gavle Goat Timeline for yourself.