[Epistemic status: I have not independently verified each link. On average, about two of the links in each links post end up to be wrong or misleading, as found by commenters. I correct these as I see them, but can’t guarantee I will have caught them all by the time you read this.]
Hell’s bells are real and located 100 feet under the surface of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Before we had the austere classical goddess Columbia, personifications of the Americas including a tradition of portraying the continent as a naked woman riding an alligator.
New malaria control plan: genetically engineer a fungus to kill mosquitoes.
An underappreciated perspective: separating immigrant families at the border is actually really bad.
Related: regardless of your position on immigration, detaining suspected illegal immigrants until their trial is not a necessary part of the system and suffers from the same considerations as bail in general. Most actionable option for individuals is to help pay immigrants’ bail – if you want to donate money, you can support the org making it happen or contribute to the a bail fund directly.
Ken Gillman argues that our concept of the MAOI diet is outdated, because food products have much less tyramine now than in the 1960s.
One medical finding you don’t want showing up in your lab results: death crystals. Yes, they are green and mysterious.
r/TheMotte book reviews: First Blood, aka Rambo.
A good overview of the debate around in what sense algorithms are or aren’t racially biased. Article concludes both positions are true in a sense, but I think it underemphasizes that it’s impossible to create an unbiased algorithm by these definitions.
How are changes in the entertainment industry causing both the Golden Age Of TV and the Dark Age Of Unoriginal Movies?
In 1835, the UK banned bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and a-bunch-of-other-animals-baiting. But, crucially, not rats. Thus the inevitable rise of rat-baiting, where spectators placed bets on how quickly a dog could kill rats, if thrown into a rat-filled ring. The sport’s greatest champion: Tiny The Wonder, a 5.5 lb terrier who was able to kill 200 rats in one hour.
BoingBoing: “One of the arguments against hate-speech laws is that once the state starts dividing expression into ‘allowed’ and ‘prohibited,’ the ‘prohibited’ category tends to grow…” – proposed French hate speech law now bans “stigmatizing agricultural activities”, ie criticizing factory farming.
Palm Pilot founder turned neuroscience researcher Jeff Hawkins has a good explanation on the grid cell system brains use to represent space, a claim that abstract ideas are represented by a grid cell system in conceptspace, and very optimistic predictions about neuromorphic AI.
Pablo Escobar’s brother claims Elon Musk stole his flamethrower design, says that he planned to use flamethrower to set stacks of money on fire to rub in how rich he is. “He” meaning Pablo Escobar’s brother, not Elon Musk. But only because Elon Musk didn’t think of it.
Genetics study: Anorexia not just a psychiatric disorder, it is also metabolic. I’ve been saying this must be true for years (1, 2).
New study of 5,000 students finds no impact of growth mindset. I want credit for predicting this one too.
Prevalence-induced concept change in human judgment – somebody linked this as the scientific-study version of Against Lie Inflation and The Whole City Is Center.
Can a smart benevolent dictator make an outsized positive impact in their country’s economy? Little evidence for this: new study finds that the economy goes up during a dictators’ regime only as often as chance, but goes down during regimes much more often.
Very large study of gender transition, including almost 7000 people presenting to a gender clinic in the Netherlands, finds various interesting things – including that fewer than 1% of people who get gonadectomy end up regretting it.
Related: OurWorldInData on per capita caloric intake through the ages.
Rosalind Arden: “Personal statements do not predict performance at university [and] should be dropped.” I had a brief feeling of confusion at seeing someone hold non-SAT college admission factors to standards anywhere near the ones we hold the SAT to.
Related: Charles Murray wants to abolish the SAT I
How to automatically and objectively detect gerrymandering – one possibility is to see whether a real districting scheme produces outcomes way at the tails of a set of randomly generated districting schemes.
Did you know: Ross Perot’s son was the first person to circumnavigate the world by helicopter.
Some of the best-known scientists on both sides of the innate gender differences debate, including Cordelia Fine and Marco del Giudice, debate on Psychology Today (link goes to the latest anti-innate-differences piece, click through to get context and the other side). Didn’t find it very helpful, in that both sides mostly agree on the evidence, but still plan to pitch it to the public in opposite ways. I know who I think is being more honest, but I don’t think this kind of debate will shed much extra light for most people who already get the basic dynamic.
Related: survey of gender stereotypes over time. Divides them into “communal” (eg caring), “agentic” (eg ambitious), and “competent” (eg intelligent). Usual stereotype that women are more communal and men more agentic is increasing. People believed men were more competent in the 1940s, reached parity about 1960, and now women are winning by a 4:1 ratio.
New study argues e-cigarettes increase heart attack risk; Reason writes about a letter from concerned scientists and statisticians who find the study is so badly done that it unintentionally claims vaping defies the laws of time and space – ie using an e-cigarette increases your past heart attack risk just as much as it increases your future risk. Imagine a world where this kind of thing gets caught by the Journal Of The American Heart Association before they publish a paper, rather than having to get signal-boosted by a random webzine.
Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of Britain, so let’s celebrate by revisiting his greatest moment: this interview last month where the interviewer asked what he does to relax, and Johnson replies that he paints old wooden crates to look like buses. Is this a real hobby, a bizarre lie, or a 12-dimensional chess move?
Paige Harden: how does childhood adversity cause health problems later in life? Probably not through cortisol.
The GAO has released a report on causes of cost overruns in infrastructure. The infrastructure cost overrun blogosphere is not impressed. Eric Goldwyn and Alon Levy are doing their own research project and looking for sponsors.
The Costs Of Reliability. Why is it easier to do things for fun than for a job, and what are the implications?
A group on Open Psychometrics have gotten 50,000+ people to take some birth-order related questions; they match most of the rest of the literature (but not me) in reporting real but very small birth effects in favor of more independence and intellectual curiosity from firstborns. No word yet as to whether they find it resets after seven years.
Did you know: the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order who crusaded beside the Knights Templar, were briefly a major 20th century European air power.