Did you know England has one of the highest rates of tornadoes per unit area of anywhere in the world?
Why do some schools produce a disproportionate share of math competition winners? May not just be student characteristics.
My post The Control Group Is Out Of Control, as well as some of the Less Wrong posts that inspired it, has gotten cited in a recent preprint article, A Skeptical Eye On Psi, on what psi can teach us about the replication crisis. One of the authors is someone I previously yelled at, so I like to think all of that yelling is having a positive effect.
The Prescription Drug vs. Tolkien Elf Quiz. I am a doctor and Silmarillion fan, and I still only got 93%.
A study from Sweden (it’s always Sweden) does really good work examining the effect of education on IQ. It takes an increase in mandatory Swedish schooling length which was rolled out randomly at different times in different districts, and finds that the districts where people got more schooling have higher IQ; in particular, an extra year of education increases permanent IQ by 0.75 points. I was previously ambivalent about this, but this is a really strong study and I guess I have to endorse it now (though it’s hard to say how g-loaded it is or how linear it is). Also of note; the extra schooling permanently harmed emotional control ability by 0.5 points on a scale identical to IQ (mean 100, SD 15). This is of course the opposite of past studies suggest that education does not improve IQ but does help non-cognitive factors. But this study was an extra year tacked on to the end of education, whereas earlier ones have been measuring extra education tacked on to the beginning, or just making the whole educational process more efficient. Still weird, but again, this is a good experiment (EDIT: This might not be on g)
Did you know: Russian author Sergey Lukyanenko (of Night Watch fame) wrote a series of sci-fi novels set in the Master of Orion universe.
In my review of Age of Em, I said we were very far away from being able to simulate human brains, and sure enough just a few days later Derek Lowe wrote the fascinating Simulating The Brain? Let’s Try Donkey Kong First. Brain simulation proponents hope that without really understanding the brain we can make simple models of each part and how they connect to other parts and produce things that replicate that activity. But we can test these techniques right now on a much simpler and more accessible object – an old video game microprocessor – and they’re not good enough to do anything useful. See also Simulating The Brain. Sure Thing.
A post-mortem of the National Childrens’ Study, which was supposed to be a gold standard for gathering data on early childhood risk, but fell apart because of politics and administrative incompetence.
80,000 Hours’ career guide for people who hate career guides. Lots of statistics on how often each job-search strategy succeeds and fails.
The Devil With Hitler was a 1940s US wartime propaganda film in which Hell wants Hitler to take over from Satan, and Satan has to trick Hitler into performing a good deed to win his position back.
Related: “The present U.S. official position seems to be that Satan may exist and, if so, might be found in New Hampshire.”
In the game of callout culture, either you win or you die.
Pssst, wanna buy a 92-house town in a National Radio Silence Zone? Only $1 million!
Related: Craigslist for 20 foot trebuchet
Google’s Larry Page has a flying car startup – and a second, competing flying car startup just to motivate the first one. Or at least he had them before someone wrote this article. I don’t know, if somebody says they’re going to give us flying cars but they might stop if it becomes public, I would think twice before publicizing it. And here’s a profile of the flying car design itself.
If Greece was the least neoliberal economy in the developed world, is it fair to blame its failures on neoliberalism?
Rate of innovation in Norway halved after law changed to give universities more of a share of professors’ discoveries.
Motherboard has an article about how censorship on Reddit – it points out that Reddit moderators heavy-handedly censored discussion of the Orlando shooting in unspecified ways, then goes on to condemn it for Donald Trump memes and anti-Hillary conspiracy theories. But it never mentions the whole point of the story it’s reporting about – that Reddit actually censored any information that the shooter was Middle Eastern or motivated by Islamic terrorism. I’m less worried about Reddit censorship (which eventually lifted) than I am about Motherboard’s own distorted reporting which somehow turns a story about excessive political correctness into bashing Reddit for being right-wing.
30% of people would choose to be the other gender if reincarnated, no difference between men and women.
ScienceNews: Bayesian reasoning implicated on some mental disorders. If you’re interested, I wrote a Less Wrong post on this kind of thing back in 2012.
One estimate says that millions of Russians were fooled by a TV documentary claiming that Lenin was a mushroom. Here’s a paper with a little more information than the wiki article. Key quote: “One of the top regional functionaries stated that ‘Lenin could not have been a mushroom’ because ‘a mammal cannot be a plant.'”
Despite the interest in assault rifles when discussing gun violence, Alex Tabarrok finds that rifles as a category account for only 3% of all gun deaths, and fewer total murders than knives, bare hands, or blunt weapons. The real problem is with handguns, which cause about 20x more deaths than all rifles, assault or otherwise.
New study: schools giving out condoms increases teen births. This is just one study about one specific type of situation, and I can think of a few other studies contradicting it, so I won’t quite retract my previous position that the existence of contraceptives probably lowers unplanned pregnancy. But I’m sure glad I’m not the people who were arguing that the position was so stupid that nobody really held it and it was just an excuse for hating women.
Study of 50,000 people who underwent surgery for obesity finds that they have mortality rates only about 30% of those of similar peers who did not have surgery for obesity. Obesity surgery is a really serious operation, and a lot of doctors are scared of it because the side effects might be worse than the disease, but I think this provides very strong evidence that it is very much worth it. I don’t know whether we should lower the threshhold for who gets obesity surgery or not based on these data.