If The Machines Are Taking Our Jobs, They Are Hiding It From The Bureau Of Labor Statistics. An argument that the ‘rise of the robots’ can’t be behind stagnant employment numbers, because increasing the amount of work done by robots would make productivity-per-human go up, and it isn’t.
The Kosher Light Switch claims that after you flip it, the light will come on, but that your flipping it doesn’t cause the light to come on, thus making it compliant with complicated Jewish ritual laws. Needless to say, this seems to depend on an interpretation of causation which is not entirely…what’s the word…kosher.
I said a while ago I thought that “affirmative consent” laws wouldn’t matter one way or the other since situations where people pressed cases based on them were unliikely to come up. I seem to have been wrong – in a recent case in Brandeis, a man was found in violation of affirmative consent laws because during the course of a two year romantic relationship, he occasionally kissed his partner goodbye in the morning without asking permission first. I’d like to blame this one on Feminism Gone Too Far, but since both parties were gay men we guys have nobody to blame but ourselves here.
The worst method of transliterating the Qiang language gives us such lovely words as “eazheabeageyegeaiju”, “gganpaeidubugeisdu”, and “chegvchagvchegvchagvlahva”. Anyone want to play a game of Terrible Qiang Transliteration Scrabble?
Be Careful Studying Discrimination Using Names. I talked about this briefly when comparing the two recent Women In STEM studies – calling one candidate “John” and the other “Jennifer” introduced a whole host of possible confounds beyond just gender. The article points out that articles which try to prove white-black discrimination by comparing “John” to “Jamal” have the same problem – Jamal isn’t just a black name, it’s a poor black name, and a fairer comparison would be a poor white name like Billy Bob. Features a pretty good reply by Women In STEM paper author Corinne Moss-Racusin, and a less good reply by the guy who wrote the John-Jamal paper.
Dodging Abilify is about the contortions some mental health patients have to go through to prevent their doctors from inappropriately prescribing latest Exciting-New-Marketing-Campaign-Drug Abilify to them. The writer may or may not be pleased to know that when Abilify goes generic in the near future, all of a sudden all of these prescriptions will stop and people will start pushing brexipiprazole instead.
South Dakota’s new ad campaign (h/t Heidi): look, lots of people want to go to Mars, but South Dakota is less inhospitable than Mars, so come to South Dakota instead. Key slogan: “If you’re someone that’s really introverted, it might not be that bad.”
The politics behind the recent campaign against Dr. Oz, and why it might have played right into his hands.
Student Course Evaluations Get An F. Professors whom students rate worst are precisely those professors whose students get the best grades in future courses, suggesting these evaluations are negatively correlated with teaching quality. Very relevant to our recent discussion on psych drugs, hopefully not relevant to past discussions on democracy!
Marijuana probably exacerbates psychosis because of its main chemical constituent THC. But a different marijuana chemical, cannabidiol, might actually a potent antipsychotic. And more evidence for same.
Dutch people swear using diseases. I bet doctors must win all verbal duels in the Netherlands.
An intervention meant to raise kindergarteners’ tolerance of disabled people by teaching them a curriculum about how great it was to have disabled friends actually lowered their tolerance of the disabled compared to a control curriculum where they learned science stuff. Researchers theorized that the science stuff made them work together in groups with other children (including disabled ones) for a practical goal rather than rubbing their noses in the difference.
A new study finds homeopathy and Prozac both outperform placebo by the same amount in treating postmenopausal depression. Ars Technica thinks it knows why the study found such a counterintuitive finding, but check the comments for why their deconstruction seems a bit premature. Overall I think both those defending the integrity of the trial and those attacking it have some good points, but the problem is that if this experiment had done anything other than propose homeopathy worked, it would never have gotten this level of scrutiny and any flaws it might or might not have would just have been allowed to pass.
This is Steven King-level creepy: Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers.
Nostalgebraist, a very interesting guy who hangs around rationalist Tumblr, is writing fiction I’ve been enjoying a lot. His completed work, Floornight, asks – what happens if we discover the soul is real, but operates more like a quantum object than a classical object, and also some people go to study it in a giant dome in the middle of the sea surrounded by alien ghosts which is part of a plot by parallel universes to fight a war based on differing interpretations of measure? His current work-in-progress, The Northern Caves, is even better.
Somebody actually does the full scientific study and determines that atheists are no more angry than the general population. I predicted this result here two years ago.
Kazakh leader apologizes for winning election with 97.7% of the vote, saying “it would have looked undemocratic to intervene to make the victory more modest”.
Polygamists are four times more likely to get heart disease than monogamists after everything else is controlled for, which to me probably means they think they controlled for everything else but they didn’t.
First results from psychology’s largest reproducibility test: by strict criteria, only 39% of published studies replicate; by looser criteria, 63% do.
Speaking of which, you remember that study on how reading problems in a hard-to-read font makes you think about them more rationally? Totally failed to replicate multiple times, now abandoned.
A new paper finds that telling people that everyone stereotypes just makes them stereotype more.
A new paper finds black mayors (relative to white mayors) improve position of blacks (relative to whites) in cities where they are elected.
Genetic influence on political beliefs. Everything is some typical combination of heredity and nonshared environment except which party you belong to, which is mostly shared environment. In other words, you come up with your opinions on your own, then ignore them and vote for whoever your parents voted for.
John Boehner was wrong when he said we as a nation spend more money on antacids than we do on politics, but he was surprisingly close – within a factor of three or so.
A Redditor lists facts and fictions about the new spaceship drives that claim to use weird physics. Apparently if they work they will Change Everything Forever, including land transportation. But smart people are very skeptical.
Razib Khan finds that, contrary to the stereotypes, more intelligent and more liberal people are more likely to believe in free speech.
Drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy may double your baby’s risk of childhood obesity
Killing Hitler With Praise And Fire is a Choose Your Own Adventure book about a time traveler trying to assassinate the Fuhrer without messing history up too atrociously.