Study shows that banning bottled water on campuses just makes students switch to bottled soda, with obvious detrimental consequences to health and no decrease in bottle waste.
A couple of posts ago, I mocked the Muslim activist who claimed Mossad broke into his house and stole one of his shoes to creep him out. Jonathan Zhou corrects me and points out that this sort of thing is actually a known intelligence agency tactic.
A systematic review of all 55 medical conditions whose risks vary with your month of birth.
Popehat does some very impressive investigative reporting into the government trying to make a (literal) federal case out of random libertarian blog commenters criticizing a judge at Reason.com. A pretty good example of the abuses of power possible if laws about Internet threats are made too strict. Followups here, here, and here.
Probiotics watch: maybe eating fermented food decreases social anxiety?
Nevada enacts comprehensive school choice law. The experiment has begun.
Life imitating JRPGs – mysterious “time crystals” may hold the secret to outlasting entropy. No word on whether you have to get all seven, or whether they are hidden in temples themed around the seven elements. Some people on Tumblr try to help me understand the implications.
A while ago, I was getting the impression that the Mexican drug cartels were unstoppable and the Mexican government was too corrupt to be able to do anything about them. Now the cartels are almost all defeated or in retreat. What happened?
American Hippopotamus describes the 1910s plan by two larger-than-life Boer War guerilla-assassins to “turn American into a nation of hippo ranchers”. The story alone would be worth your time even if it wasn’t well-written, but it happens to be very possibly the best-written article I have ever read. Long, but also available on Kindle if wanted.
Program that teaches college women how to avoid rape may cut risk of rape in half as per new study.
This article on whether the US could replicate Scandinavia’s low poverty rate is interesting throughout, but what makes it for me is the claim that Swedes in the US have the same poverty rate as Swedes in Sweden [edit: possibly this is false?]. How much should we make of this?
Not only are we living in the future, but it’s exactly the future Philip K Dick told us to expect: “Abortion drone” to make first flight into Poland
I’d always heard the story “Iceland rejected fiscal austerity and did everything exactly the way the left wanted and did great.” Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowen say that actually Iceland had lots and lots of austerity.
I think it’s probably time to stop bothering Rachel Dolezal. She seems like a good example of a person who’s not hurting anyone, has some really weird problems she needs to sort out, but because she doesn’t fall into a designated “here are people we have agreed it’s not okay to mock” category we are mocking her. The psychoanalyst in me wants to say this is some kind of displacement where people who are upset they can’t get away with making fun of real black people suddenly see an apparent black person (and NAACP leader, no less!) lose their magical protection and become a valid target, and are now channeling years of pent-up rage at her. Anyway, not totally related, but an explanation of why this is not a good analogy for transgender.
Article originally reported as “no gender gap in tech salaries” gives a more nuanced description of their result. Summary: true based on sample of equally qualified people one year after graduation; no evidence whether or not it’s true in other situations. This article is also good example of “if you have data supporting a controversial point, ignorant people on Twitter will throw out some terms that sound statistics-y and bad, like ‘confounding’ or ‘cherry-picking’, then say you have now been debunked.”
Doctors with the highest ratings on those rate-your-doctor sites may deliver worse care than less-well-rated docs. Maybe you get higher ratings by giving patients what they want, which is usually amphetamines, narcotics, antibiotics, and unnecessary tests.
The time Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an article about Lord Byron’s divorce so controversial it caused a third of The Atlantic’s readership to cancel their subscriptions.
Alyssa Vance writes on Facebook about Ivy League colleges’ sketchy methods of soliciting alumni donations.
In a study of 20,000 people, an uncommon allele of the MAO-A gene may cause a sevenfold increased risk of violent criminal behavior, making it probably the strongest gene-crime link to date.
Previously on SSC links: if robots are taking our jobs, how come productivity numbers aren’t increasing? Now: okay, productivity numbers are increasing, but the robots still don’t seem to be taking our jobs.
A man angry at the German government for falsely imprisoning him is adopting a thousand children in order to make them German citizens and do his part to strain the welfare state. Apparently everything legally checks out and no one can stop him. Open borders advocates take note. [edit: old story, loophole since possibly closed?]
Anti-science-denial group Committee for Skeptical Inquiry wants to make a $25,000 bet with the global warming doubters at the Heartland Institute about future climate trends. While I totally approve of this strategy (“A bet is a tax on bullshit” – Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan), the exact terms seem kind of dumb – AFAIK, Heartland doesn’t believe that the Earth is not getting warmer, just that it’s not necessarily human-caused. Betting on next year’s temperature does nothing to settle that.
In the last links post, I mentioned a study that tried to use transgender people to test the sources of the gender gap. A new study from Brazil tries to do the same with race – Brazilians are frequently very multiracial, and different companies might classify the same employee differently. The study tries to match that with salaries – does a boss who thinks of an employee as white pay them more than their boss next year who thinks of them as black? They conclude that 40% of racial income gaps can be explained in that way, though of course it sounds like Brazil’s racial situation is different enough from America’s that it might not generalize.
Nothing sophisticated or intellectual about this one – just trucks driving off aircraft carriers. Wheeeee!
Some linguists talk of “the Anglic languages”, a language family including English and some of its weirder relatives and descendants that have evolved to the point of mutual intelligibility. You’ve probably heard of Scots, ie “the reason you can’t understand Robert Burns”. But did you know about Forth and Bargy?
Google’s neural nets can now amplify images without human guidance. And by amplify, they mean add shoggoths (warning: shoggoth). Also, this seems way too much like the visual effects of LSD to be a coincidence, and I look forward to neuroscientists explaining the exact connection.
A mildly interesting Wall Street Journal article on how jobs are staying open longer because employers can’t find qualified candidates also contains some surprising information – 5% of job interviews include an IQ test, and almost 20% include a personality test. I’m not sure how that meshes with our recent discussion of Griggs vs. US. I’m starting to think the importance of this case is overblown – the actual ruling specifically banned assessing qualifications based on IQ tests or on degree completion. Everyone does the latter, so why are we so sure this case is restricting people from doing the former?
Obvious once I heard it but something I never thought about it before – the Statue of Liberty is green because all old tarnished copper is green. When it was first built, it was, well, copper-colored. When it tarnished the government was supposed to raise money to fix it, but never got around to it. Now it’s impossible for me not to find the idea of the Statue of Liberty being green kind of hilarious.
California college professors told they can be disciplined or fired for committing “microaggressions” including “describing America as a melting pot” or saying that “I believe the most qualified person should get the job”. Assumed this was some kind of total fake, did some digging, still seems legit, but if anyone can find otherwise I will correct myself with apologies and relief. At least every time I see this sort of thing it’s in universities, suggesting the contagion is somewhat contained. [edit: a claim that this doesn’t matter much]
We already know that many medical studies and many psychological studies fail to replicate. What about economics studies? The necessary work is still being done, but the recent progress report suggests that about 66% of replication attempts completely fail to replicate the original finding, with another 12% partly failing to replicate and only 22% replicating completely. Possibly an argument for privileging theory more in the interminable Econ Theory Versus Empiricism Wars?
Contrary to some reports, nationwide gun violence and nationwide violence against police do not seem to have spiked after the latest round of police brutality stories and race riots.
This wins my prize for real case most like the sort of weird murder mysteries you see in books: A man is found dead in the desert with an obvious fatal gunshot wound. He has no enemies but recently suffered a major financial setback; everyone suspects he committed suicide and only wanted it to look like murder. However, this ruse is very convincing; no gun is found anywhere nearby. How did he shoot himself?
How long can a con man with no soccer talent whatsoever play soccer at the professional level before anybody catches on? How about twenty years?
IQ researcher, Ian Deary collaborator, and SSC victim Dr. Stuart Ritchie has written an introductory book on IQ and intelligence studies that looks pretty good. Not sure if the ambiguity of meaning in the subtitle is a horrible mistake or 100% deliberate.