Planet Rationalist

September 16, 2014

Portfolio Investing Blog: Portfolioist » Behavioral Finance

Am I Saving Enough in an Emergency Fund?

This is the third installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health.

DebtSurveys of consumer finances often conclude that American households have far too little—if any—emergency savings.  In a 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), 25% of Americans surveyed indicated that they had no way to come up with $2,000 within 30 days to cover an emergency—and an additional 19% concluded that they could only do so by selling or pawning their possessions or resorting to payday lenders.  The NBER study refers to such households as financially fragile.  In a 2013 survey, the Federal Reserve Board found that only 48% of people were confident that they could easily access $400 in an emergency.

A commonly-cited goal for emergency savings is to have six months of living expenses available on short notice. But the 2013 Fed survey found that 64% of people aged 45-59 and 42% of people aged 60+ had less than three months of living expenses available in the event of ...

by Geoff Considine at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:23 Instapaperify



Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm

Here’s what I’ve spent the last couple of days doing: alternatively reading Christian Rudder’s new book Dataclysm and proofreading a report by AAPOR which discusses the benefits, dangers, and ethics of using big data, which is mostly “found” data originally meant for some other purpose, as a replacement for public surveys, with their carefully constructed data collection processes and informed consent. The AAPOR folk have asked me to provide tangible examples of the dangers of using big data to infer things about public opinion, and I am tempted to simply ask them all to read Dataclysm as exhibit A.

Rudder is a co-founder of OKCupid, an online dating site. His book mainly pertains to how people search for love and sex online, and how they represent themselves in their profiles.

Here’s something that I will mention for context into his data explorations: Rudder likes to crudely provoke, as he displayed when he wrote this recent post explaining how OKCupid experiments on users. He enjoys playing the part of the somewhat creepy ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:22 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

The Genetics of the Schizophrenias

A new study sheds further light on the genetic basis of the group of psychiatric disorders known collectively as schizophrenia. Further, the study (actually a collection of four studies) takes a new approach that might prove generally useful in associating genetic variation with disease risk, even beyond psychiatry.


In popular culture the term “schizophrenic” is often used to mean split personality or multiple personality, but this has never been the actual definition of the term. I’m not sure what the origin of this misconception is. The word “schizophrenia” does mean “split mind” but refers to mental illness characterized by disordered or delusional thinking. The “split” is between reality and mental function.

For at least several decades it has been clear that schizophrenia is not one discrete disorder, but rather it is a set of similar disorders. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions (persistent false beliefs that do not have a cultural cause), impaired reality testing, bizarre thoughts and behaviors, often but not always paranoid in nature, a disconnection between thoughts and emotions, and lack of ...

by Steven Novella at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:22 Instapaperify

Scientific American Content: Mind Matters

How Smiling Can Backfire

You may fool others, but it is hard to fool yourself  

--

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:45 Instapaperify


The Single-Most Powerful Attribute All Geniuses Share

Creativity pie chart by James Clear

Creativity pie chart by James Clear

What separates the likes of Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, or Pablo Picasso from the rest of us? Over at Entrepreneur, James Clear argues it comes down to pure grit:

How do creative geniuses come ups with great ideas? They work and edit and rewrite and retry and pull out their genius through sheer force of will and perseverance. They earn the chance to be lucky because they keep showing up…

No single act will uncover more creative powers than forcing yourself to create consistently….For you, it might mean singing a song over and over until it sounds right. Or programming a piece of software until all the bugs are out, taking portraits of your friends until the lighting is perfect, or caring for the customers you serve until you know them better than they know themselves.

It might seem like an unfortunate answer, nobody wants to hear that the best way to do anything is to “work for it,” but the advice also shines as a reminder ...

by Tanner Christensen at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:00 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

The Human Mold: Another Example of Self-Deception

This cover picture is scientifically inaccurate. See explanation below.

This cover picture is scientifically inaccurate. See explanation below.

José Jarimba believes that our bodies are physically molded into an asymmetric form by our mothers’ sleeping positions during pregnancy, that this has lifelong adverse impacts on health, and that shoe inserts can eliminate pain and other health problems by realigning the body. This is a silly untested hypothesis by a single individual. As such, it would be too minor to merit mention on SBM; but it is worth analyzing as a teaching opportunity. Jarimba attempts to bypass the scientific process; he provides a prime example of self-deception, confirmation bias, scientific ignorance, and the “Unpersuadables” I recently wrote about.

Much of alternative medicine originated with a “lone genius” who had an epiphany, thought he had discovered something no one had ever noticed before, extrapolated from a single observation to construct an elaborate theory that promised to explain all or most human ills, and began treating patients without any attempt to test his hypotheses using the scientific method. Some of them were uneducated laymen, others were scientifically ...

by Harriet Hall at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 07:00 Instapaperify

Peter McGraw

The Boulder Bookstore likes the Humor Code

Tonight, Joel Warner and I are headed to the Boulder (Bubble) for an event at the Boulder Bookstore on Pearl Street. We will be talking about our adventures, with a little help from comedians Kristin Rand and Troy Walker.

7:30 pm, Tuesday September 16th. Boulder Bookstore; 11th and Pearl Street

Vouchers to attend are $5 and are good for $5 off the author’s featured book or a purchase the day of the event. Vouchers can be purchased in advance, over the phone, or at the door. Readers Guild Members can reserve seats for any in-store event.

We hope you can make it. After party to be announced at the event.


The post The Boulder Bookstore likes the Humor Code appeared first on Peter McGraw.

by Peter McGraw at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:01 Instapaperify

Slate Star Codex

[Ozy] A Response to Spandrell

[Content note: Gender, relationships, sexuality. Some sexually explicit content. Discussion without endorsement of various forms of transphobia, homophobia, et cetera. Ozy wishes you to know they wrote this in a very timely manner after Spandrell's original post and I just took forever to publish it.]

I made fun of this post on my tumblr and then Scott requested I actually argue with it.

First, let’s address the issue of homosexuality. Spandrell argues that “There’s no way on earth that a condition that makes you lose attraction towards the opposite sex is going to survive natural selection.” On the contrary, there is a lot of animal homosexuality. The linked book contains much fascinating information, such as the fact that animal sexuality has been documented in almost 500 species and that, in one study, ninety percent of observed giraffe sex was between two males. I am not sure why animal homosexuality is so common: I am not an evolutionary biologist myself. But it suggests that the simplistic model in which fucking something other than ...

by Ozy Frantz at Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:59 Instapaperify

September 15, 2014 - Program Feed

Nizar Ibrahim: Lost Giant of the Sahara

Nizar Ibrahim: Lost Giant of the Sahara
Paleontologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Nizar Ibrahim weaves together clues from the Cretaceous period, Nazi Germany, and present-day Africa to track down a massive and bizarre dinosaur dubbed Spinosaurus.
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:50 Instapaperify

Maritza Morales Casanova: The New Noah's Ark

Maritza Morales Casanova: The New Noah's Ark
Environmentalist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Maritza Morales Casanova is revolutionizing environmental education in her native Mexico, teaching children the conservation and leadership skills they need to be agents of change.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:41 Instapaperify

Kendra McSweeney: Drugs, Destruction, and Deforestation

Kendra McSweeney: Drugs, Destruction, and Deforestation
National Geographic grantee Kendra McSweeney explores how the illicit traffic of cocaine through Central America's most biodiverse forests is wreaking social and ecological havoc on the region.
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:29 Instapaperify

Xiaolin Zheng: Solar Stickers to Power the World

Xiaolin Zheng: Solar Stickers to Power the World
Xiaolin Zheng is a nanoscientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose inventions are on the leading edge of a solar power revolution that could allow people to harness sustainable energy like never before.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:16 Instapaperify

The Stolen Birds of Brazil

The Stolen Birds of Brazil
Every year, poachers remove 38 million animals from natural habitats in Brazil to supply the illegal wildlife trade. Conservation biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Juliana Machado Ferreira is fighting back against this devastating trade through science, politics, and education.
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:05 Instapaperify

Concerted Efforts Needed to Boost US Economy

Concerted Efforts Needed to Boost US Economy
In its latest assessment of the U.S. economy, the IMF says that the U.S. recovery is gathering steam but managing the exit from zero interest rates and boosting potential growth remain top priorities.
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:29 Instapaperify

La recuperación mundial necesita políticas de respaldo

La recuperación mundial necesita políticas de respaldo
Según la actualización del informe Perspectivas de la economía mundial, la recuperación mundial ha seguido su curso, pero a ritmo desigual, y persisten los riesgos. Es necesario mantener políticas de respaldo para lograr una recuperación más sólida.
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:28 Instapaperify

IMF 2014 Review of the UK Economy

IMF 2014 Review of the UK Economy
In its annual review of the UK economy, the IMF assesses the strength of the recovery in the country and discusses the main risks on the horizon: a weak productivity growth and high housing prices.
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:20 Instapaperify

Global Recovery in Need of Policy Support

Global Recovery in Need of Policy Support
The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook Update says that the global recovery has continued but at an uneven pace, and that downside risks remain. Continued policy efforts are needed to secure a more robust recovery.
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , International Monetary Fund
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:49 Instapaperify


Get to the Root of Problems with a Fishbone Diagram

When you encounter a problem, the most effective method of solving it is by getting to the root cause. You can create a fishbone diagram to help yourself determine that.


by Patrick Allan at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:30 Instapaperify


Hello world!

WordPress へようこそ。これは最初の投稿です。編集もしくは削除してブログを始めてください !

by master1 at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:51 Instapaperify

Scott H Young

How to Increase Your Ability to Focus

This is the first day in a one-week, free, rapid-learning bootcamp. Every day, for the next seven days, I’m going to be sending a new email with a strategy you can use to learn more effectively.

However, this first email is the only one I’m making publicly available on the blog. What’s more, once the bootcamp is over, there will be no archive of the content, and you have to wait until next year, when I do a new one.

If you’re interested in getting the free bootcamp emails, sign up for the newsletter. If you’re already on my newsletter, you don’t have to do anything to get the emails, you’ll get them automatically.

After the week is over, I’m going to temporarily reopen Learning on Steroids for new students. Learning on Steroids is a program I run with the goal of teaching you new learning skills and changing your studying habits permanently, so you can do better in school, advance in your career and train yourself ...

by Scott Young at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:06 Instapaperify


Fights over legroom in the skies... and deficits in free fall

 ==Airline Deterioration==
airline-eliteTensions -even outright fights- about legroom and cattle-car treatment on airlines have reached a point that any sensible person would have predicted. (I did.) Violent interactions, frustration, pain and rising, seething anger.
What to do? Picket the carriers?
Naw. Any (metaphorical) torch and pitchfork mobs should head instead for the charter and corporate jets, which are obscenely subsidized, instead of taxed as luxuries. 

See: Airline Deterioration and the New Elite.
Stop the new White Flight! Tax the hell out of luxury-air and chase the rich back onto First Class, where they belong! And with only twice our comforts and legroom… okay, limit it to (tops) 3x.
first-class-airThe crux to remember: all forms of transportation degrade and collapse, when they are abandoned by the rich. Let em be rich! But they should fly with us. Then watch air travel get better again.
(This is what the Tea Party would be railing about if it were honest populism, instead of howling after the Export Import Bank, at the command of the Koch Brothers. A made-up ...

by David Brin at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:04 Instapaperify


A Brief Guide to Overcoming Instant Gratification

By Leo Babauta

It’s no secret that we live in the Age of Instant gratification.

That’s not news. But Paul Roberts has written an excellent essay at The American Scholar looking at the breadth of this phenomena on our society — it’s a must read.

A sample quote from Roberts’ essay:

‘The notion of future consequences, so essential to our development as functional citizens, as adults, is relegated to the background, inviting us to remain in a state of permanent childhood.’

And while he concludes that we need to change as a society, not just individuals, I’d like to show a path for individual change that might highlight a larger path for us as a whole.

This is a personal guide to overcoming the instant gratification to which we’ve all grown accustomed.

Why? What’s wrong with instant gratification — isn’t it true that You Only Live Once and that Life is Meant to Be Enjoyed?

Yes, life is meant to be enjoyed, but perhaps not wasted. Let’s take a ...

by zenhabits at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:24 Instapaperify

You Are Not So Smart

YANSS Podcast 032 – Seeing willpower as powered by a battery that must be recharged

The Topic: Ego Depletion

The Episode: DownloadiTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

Stains the dog abstains from cupcakes on "It's Me or The Dog" on Animal Planet

Stains the dog abstains from cupcakes on “It’s Me or The Dog” on Animal Planet

One of my favorite tropes in fiction is the idea of the perfect thinker – the person who has shed all the baggage of being an emotional human being and could enjoy the freedom and glory of pure logic, if only he or she could feel joy.

Spock, Data, Seven of Nine, Sherlock Holmes, Mordin Solus, Austin James, The T-1000 – there are so many variations of the idea. In each fictional world, these beings accomplish amazing feats thanks to possessing cold reason devoid of all those squishy feelings. Not being very good at telling jokes or hanging out at parties are among their only weaknesses.

It’s a nice fantasy, to imagine without emotions one could become super-rational and thus achieve things other people could not. It suggests that we often see emotion as a weakness, that many people wish they could be more Spockish. But the work of ...

by David McRaney at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:18 Instapaperify - Program Feed

Case Study: Idit Harel, Founder and CEO, Globaloria

Case Study: Idit Harel, Founder and CEO, Globaloria
  • Moderated by: Steve Clemons
  • Idit Harel, Founder and CEO, Globaloria

Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:05:00 -0700
Location: Washington, D.C., Gallup Building, Atlantic
Program and discussion:

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:13 Instapaperify


Molly Crabapple: Make a Career That Fits You

crabapple black

In a time when old institutions are restructuring or collapsing, artist and writer Molly Crabapple urges individuals not to change who they are to be “professionally viable.” There is no longer a system you can enter and be set until retirement. Instead, she suggests creating a career unique to you.

…focus in on your weirdness, your passions, and your f***ed-up damage, and be yourself as truly as you can. Express that with as much craft, discipline, and rigor as you can; work as hard as you can to build a career out of that, and then you’ll create a career that you love and that’s true to yourself, as opposed to doing what you think other people want and burning yourself out when you’re older.

Don’t change who you are to fit the work out there — find that work that fits you.


by Stephanie Kaptein at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:00 Instapaperify

80,000 Hours

Lots of new content released to the site

We’ve recently expanded our research page into a series of ten, supported by sixteen career profiles. In total, we’ve released around 30,000 words of new content.

We provide an overview of everything on the getting started page.

After that, the three most important pages are:

  1. Top careers: Lists the most promising careers from among the careers we’ve investigated so far.
  2. How to choose: A step-by-step process to make your next career decision.
  3. Our framework: A checklist of criteria to use to compare your individual options in terms of how much difference you can make.

Some other important pages include:

  • Top strategies: A list of strategies you can take to make a difference (skill build, experiment with your options, do research, earning to give, advocacy, work at effective organisations, entrepreneurship).
  • Cause selection: A framework for comparing causes, and our list of top causes.
  • Personal fit: A step-by-step process for finding a career that fits, and our views on ‘do what you’re passionate about’.
  • Job satisfaction: How to assess jobs in terms ...

by Benjamin Todd at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:04 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Only two months until Skepticon

I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but I will be speaking at Skepticon in November. (Holy crap, that’s just over two months away. I’d better get my talk ready. It’ll be about the central dogma of alternative medicine. Or some such medically-related topic.) In any case, now’s crunch time, the time of year when Skepticon’s fundraising needs to go into high gear, given that the bills are coming due for the conference.

So give. Give until it hurts. Or buy swag. Or both. And if you’re planning on going, register now instead of later. You’ll be glad you did.

by David Gorski at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:00 Instapaperify

80,000 Hours

Update: How to choose a career

One of our key new pages is ‘how to choose’ – a step-by-step process for making your next career decision. It explains how to tie all of our information together to make a rational next decision, and is based on the process we use in coaching and workshops.

In summary, recommend writing out answers to the following questions:

  • Next decision(s): What’s the next one or two key decisions you need to make?
  • Initial list of options for next steps: What options are you choosing between at your next decision(s)?
  • Your vision: What roles and causes are you interested in pursuing medium-term? Check our strategies and cause selection page for ideas.
  • Your criteria: What factors are important for your next decision? Check our framework for ideas.
  • Additional options: What other options can you think of? Check our top rated careers for ideas.
  • Discarded options: Which options can you quickly discard? Aim to get down to a list of the best three to five.
  • More analysis needed?: If you’ve got plenty of time, pursue ...

by Benjamin Todd at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:01 Instapaperify


How to Solve the "Where Should We Eat?" Argument Once and For All

How to Solve the "Where Should We Eat?" Argument Once and For All

It's a timeless, exhausting, and frustrating struggle. You're with a friend or your significant other and you're both so hungry you start to wonder what the other person would taste like with a little ranch. Before resorting to murder and cannibalism, try one of these tricks.


by Patrick Allan at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:00 Instapaperify

Notes from the PA Longevity Prize

Last week I had the opportunity (thanks Alton!) to attend the launch event for the Palo Alto Longevity Prize. In short, it’s a $1m prize for substantial progress on “hacking the code of aging”. The Washington Post has more.

$1m is not a lot of money for this. But the hope is that by explicitly saying: “We want people to hack aging, and we will give anyone who does it a prestigious prize” it may attract key scientists already working on this, and also help legitimize the background assumption that aging *is* a disease which *should* be cured.

I have a lot of sympathy with this (h/t Nick Bostrom’s The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant). I also see how curing aging could cause deep social problems. Some remarks I made in a facebook discussion:

I’m actually a little skeptical about the social effects of indefinite lifespan. Max Planck’s notion that “science advances one funeral at a time” is witty, yes, but I think it also largely rings true.

I think we ...

by MJ at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:59 Instapaperify


99U Podcast: Gabe Weinberg on Getting Traction

As a maker, you’d probably much rather be creating than selling.

But, as we all know, marketing your work is just as important as making it. So how can we make sure our project or business doesn’t launch as a dud? In this 99U Podcast episode we chat with DuckDuckGo founder Gabe Weinberg about how to grow your business. Weinberg also was the founder of The Names Database and is an active angel investor. Other things we cover:

  • The 19 “traction channels” you can test to see what works for you.
  • A framework to make marketing part of your workflow and not just an afterthought.
  • The mistakes that Gabe made in launching DuckDuckGo.

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes // RSS

Or, listen below:

99U Podcast 6: Gabe Weinberg (runtime: 25 mins)


by behanceteam at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:23 Instapaperify

PsyBlog Science

Oxytocin: "the biological basis for the golden rule"


Here's the transcript at Medium of a deeply fascinating Aspen Ideas lecture by neuroeconomist Paul Zak, author of The Moral Molecule, about the chemical reason why the vast majority of us feel good helping others. Those who don't? Psychopaths, mostly.

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:45 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

On deck this week

Mon: More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers

Tues: They know my email but they don’t know me

Wed: What do you do to visualize uncertainty?

Thurs: Sokal: “science is not merely a bag of clever tricks . . . Rather, the natural sciences are nothing more or less than one particular application — albeit an unusually successful one — of a more general rationalist worldview”

Fri: Question about data mining bias in finance

Sat: Estimating discontinuity in slope of a response function

Sun: I can’t think of a good title for this one.

The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:00 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

Stem Cell Transplant First

NeurologicaBlog is very meta. I like to not only communicate science, but explore how best to communicate science, including thinking about how to communicate the need to think about thinking. (Cue the endless meta-regression.)

For example, there is often much to criticize about how science news is reported in the general media. Part of the problem is that science mostly advances by accumulating baby steps.  Baby steps, however, don’t always make for compelling headlines, and so every advance becomes a “breakthrough,” every mystery has scientists “baffled,” and every study may some day lead to the cure for cancer, rid us of the common cold, or produce a piece of technology similar to that found in popular science fiction.

Part of the challenge of being a skeptical science communicator is to convey simultaneously the deserved awe of cool science, including the potential implications of genuine advances, while also discussing the need for caution in interpreting results, and essentially throwing a wet blanket on premature hype. It can be a delicate balancing act.

I had all ...

by Steven Novella at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:21 Instapaperify


Public Speaking 101: Focus on Your Topic & the Words Will Come

Icon by Martin Smith from The Noun Project

Icon by Martin Smith from The Noun Project

A study from last year confirmed that many people find public speaking to be more anxiety-inducing than death.  As such, when practicing for client pitches, boardrooms and the stage, we often nervously prioritize style over substance by focusing on how to say things (your tone, pace, gestures, etc.) rather than what to say.

John Coleman suggests that we reverse our approach by focusing on what to say, not how to say it:

Focus on memorizing key stories and statistics, rather than practicing our delivery. If you spend your time on how to say something perfectly, you’ll stumble through those phrasings, and you’ll forget all the details that can make them come alive. Or worse, you’ll slavishly read from a PowerPoint or document rather than hitting the high points fluidly with your audience. If you know your topic, the words will come.

Trust your knowledge of the subject matter. Pick your key points and let the words find themselves.


by Hamza Khan at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:00 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Now you can work in your sleep

(Credit: iStock)

Parts of your brain continue to function when you’re sleeping, researchers at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and the University of Cambridge have discovered.

They recorded the EEG (brain waves) of human participants while they were awake after they were instructed to classify spoken words as either animals or objects by pressing a button, using the right hand for animals and the left hand for objects.

Once the participants were asleep, the testing continued, but with an entirely new list of words to ensure that responses would require the extraction of word meaning rather than a simpler pairing between stimulus and response. The researchers’ observations of brain activity showed that the participants continued to respond accurately to the words (although more slowly) as they slept.

The study also extends earlier work on subliminal processing by showing that speech processing and other complex tasks “can be done not only without being aware of what you perceive, but [also] without being aware at all.” Sid Kouider of Ecole Normale Supérieure suspects that such unconscious ...

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:05 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Medicine past, present, and future: Star Trek versus Dr. Kildare and The Knick


I’ve been a big Star Trek fan ever since I first discovered reruns of the original Star Trek episodes in the 1970s, having been too young (but not by much!) to have caught the show during its original 1966-1969 run. True, my interest waxed and waned through the years—for instance, I loved Star Trek: The Next Generation, while Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager pretty much left me cold—but even now I still find myself liking the rebooted movie series. In the original series, my favorite characters tended to alternate between Spock, the Vulcan first officer and science officer on the Enterprise, and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the ship’s chief medical officer. I sometimes wonder if my love of these two characters had anything to do with my becoming a doctor and researcher myself. It probably did.

One aspect of all the Trek shows that always interested me was its portrayal of medicine in the 23rd and 24th centuries. After all, what doctor wouldn’t like to have a device ...

by David Gorski at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:24 Instapaperify


Climate: Have we reached the tipping point?

With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, some community leaders — even in Red States — have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: Just change the subject. See: Red State Cities Find Euphemisms to Prepare for Global Warming.

==Denialism continues== 
OCEAN-ACIDIFICATIONWhen you encounter anti-science climate denialists, say two words -- "Ocean... acidification." It is clearly and unambiguously happening. It is clearly dangerous and harmful. And it cannot possibly have any other cause than increased absorbed CO2 from human activity.
Every Distraction-Gambit concocted by AEI and Heritage Foundation and Fox - at the behest of coal barons and middle eastern petro princes - falls apart. Not sunspots nor "faked hockey sticks" nor any of the other incantations will work, this time.
Watch! As your crazy uncle suddenly points to the left and yells: "squirrel!"
But you can come back with another word. "TWODA"... or Things We Ought to be Doing Anyway.... All sorts of moderate, reasonable ...

by David Brin at Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:06 Instapaperify