Planet Rationalist

September 02, 2015

The GiveWell Blog »

History of philanthropy case study: the impact of philanthropy on the passage of the Affordable Care Act

Benjamin Soskis, who has been working for us on our history of philanthropy project, has completed a case study of philanthropy’s impact on the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The case study focuses first on the Atlantic Philanthropies’ funding of Health Care for America Now! (HCAN), as well as on HCAN’s activities and impact. The second part of the study surveys the activities of other funders involved in health care reform, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund.

The case study concludes that, as a whole, philanthropic spending had a critical, though not necessarily easily quantifiable, role in the passage of the ACA. In the following passage, Dr. Soskis quotes HCAN’s Doneg McDonough:

“There’s just no way health reform would have passed without the [philanthropically funded] outside efforts going on. No question about it. Beyond that, it gets a little fuzzy. How much of an impact did [any particular intervention] have and which things actually were critical to making the ...

by Milan at Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:40 Instapaperify

Bulletproof

Rick Hanson: Forgetfulness, Mindfulness Techniques & Hardwiring Happiness – #243

Why you should listen –  Rick Hanson comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss how to get the best out of meaningful experiences, practicing mindfulness, understanding what happiness really is and how to own it. Enjoy the show! Click here to download the mp3 of Rick Hanson: Forgetfulness, Mindfulness Techniques & Hardwiring Happiness – #243 Rick Hanson, […]

The post Rick Hanson: Forgetfulness, Mindfulness Techniques & Hardwiring Happiness – #243 appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Dave Asprey at Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:00 Instapaperify

99u

How To Write an “About Me” Page That Gets You Hired

About pages are hard. You have one page to summarize who you are, what you do, and how you’re different in a clear, concise, and confident way. No big deal! Just tell us why you matter in two to five paragraphs, without bragging.

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who enjoys this process. Even if you’re comfortable writing about yourself, it’s hard to know where to start or what to leave out. You know yourself better than anyone, but that only seems to make it worse.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to help all sorts of people get their websites into shape. I’ve taught workshops on honest marketing and developing portfolios, and I co-wrote a book about writing useful, friendly content. Whenever About pages come up, these are the tips I share:

  • Write to your dream audience.
  • Highlight the kind of work you want to be doing.
  • Tell the truth in your own voice.
  • Read it aloud to make sure it sounds like you.
  • Treat ...

by The 99U Team at Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:19 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

mathbabe

The Continuing War on Teachers

We all know about the achievement gap, whereby poor kids don’t do as well on standardized tests as rich kids. It’s big and it’s growing. Logically speaking, we might try to solve it – to close the achievement gap – by lowering inequality. But that’s a hard thing to do, politically. It would require things like higher taxes and better minimum wages and stronger safety nets.

So instead, politicians everywhere have decided to simply assign blame to the school teachers who the last people to be seen with poor kids before they take the standardized tests.

If you watched the Republican debate, you might have seen Chris Christie emphatically suggest that the teachers’ union should be punched in the face. He’s willing to repeat that:

Speaking of getting rid of teacher unions, that’s exactly what they did in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, 10 years ago. And the results are mixed:

I googled for "new orleans charter school performance"

I googled for “new orleans charter school performance”

In Washington D.C., they hired School Chancellor Michelle Rhee to fix ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:01 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Older people in Germany and England getting smarter, but not fitter

(credit: iStock)

People over age 50 are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past — a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, according to a new study published in an open-access paper in the journal PLOS ONE. But the study also showed that average physical health of the older population has declined.

The study, by researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, relied on representative survey data from Germany that measured cognitive processing speed, physical fitness, and mental health in 2006 and again in 2012.

It found that cognitive test scores increased significantly within the six-year period (for men and women and at all ages from 50 to 90 years), while physical functioning and mental health declined, especially for low-educated men aged 50–64. The survey data was representative of the non-institutionalized German population, mentally and physically able to participate in the tests.

Cognition normally begins to decline with age, and ...

Wed, 02 Sep 2015 01:33 Instapaperify

DataGenetics

Anti Counterfeit Measures

Interesting patterns printed on most banknotes to deter counterfeiting.

Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:00 Instapaperify

September 01, 2015

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Role of hormones in behaviour – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I have a very basic understanding of how hormones affect behavior. Especially for Ex: when it comes to sexuality and motivation, I learnt from some sources(friends ans interesting conversations) that ...

by GRK at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 21:05 Instapaperify

Psych Your Mind

Teaching Undergrads vs. MBAs: Four Observations

Hello and sorry I've been away from blogging for so long! I ended up switching departments and jobs--now I work at Yale University at the School of Management. As you might imagine, a lot of things have changed as a result of the move. What I'd like to do today is to briefly summarize what stuck out to me as the main differences between teaching undergraduate psychology majors and first year MBAs.

A note of caution before we dive in: I've only spent about 27 hours teaching MBAs and three years teaching psychology undergraduates, so it's possible that I know little to nothing about teaching BOTH groups. Also, the undergraduates and MBAs experienced different courses and come from different universities, so the differences I observed might not reflect MBA/undergrad distinctions. What is reported here is simply one person's observations from a relatively short time period.

Read More->

by Michael Kraus at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:59 Instapaperify

zen habits

The Daybreak: Make an Important Goal Happen with a Morning Habit

By Leo Babauta

The sun begins to come up, and the first rays of light begin to shine upon this fresh day.

What do you do with this time?

The most important thing.

If you have a project you want to happen (let’s say you want to write a book), this is the time to form a habit that will make that project happen. A morning writing habit will get the book done. Simply wishing for the book to get written, or saying you’ll do it “someday,” doesn’t make it happen.

If it’s important, you’ll make a morning habit of it:

  • If you want to lose weight, create a morning walking habit. Or morning strength training. Or a healthy breakfast with fruits and veggies.
  • If you want to start a new business, create a morning session where you work on it every morning.
  • If you want to become more mindful during your day, create a morning meditation habit.
  • If you want to work on your relationship with your spouse, have ...

by zenhabits at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:26 Instapaperify

Ulterior Motives

How Do People’s Values Change as They Get Older?

At any given moment in your life, you have a set of values that guide your actions at an abstract level. As an academic psychologist, for example, I value knowledge, and spend a lot of time pursuing it. Success has also been a value for me, and so I have devoted time to my career. My values are not shared by everyone.

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:24 Instapaperify

Scott H Young

How Much Stress Do You Need for Success?

A lot of anxiety in life is both unwanted and involuntary.

Often when I have an early morning flight, I can’t sleep deeply. The worry about sleeping through my alarm clock has me waking up involuntarily, every hour or so. Even when I should have enough sleep to feel rested, I wake up groggy.

I try to tell myself that the alarm clock will go off, I’ve never slept through it before, so get some high-quality sleep now before you can’t on a big flight. But somehow that line of reasoning rarely changes anything.

Anxiety doesn’t even have to be about a specific problem. I sometimes worry about being wrong in my writing. Advocating something which I later discover is wrong, or actually harmful. Perhaps even being called out by a higher source of expertise for charlatanism because I could have known better had I only done my research correctly.

I can tell myself that what matters isn’t being perfect about picking the right ideas to believe in, but being ...

by Scott Young at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:43 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

99u

The Right Way to Do Collaborative Design: How to Avoid Designing by Committee

IDEO founder Tim Brown once said, “Design is everywhere, inevitably everyone is a designer.” And it’s a viewpoint that designers are hearing with increasing frequency; because if you’re a problem solver, you’re a designer, right? Not necessarily.

Brown didn’t mean that everyone is a professional designer: someone who can make decisions from expertise and experience. Everyone can participate in the design process, but that doesn’t necessarily make that person a designer. This also does not mean you, the designer, must exclude them, but you shouldn’t allow them to drive the design process either.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can avoid design by committee while still maintaining a collaborative design process, something we use a lot at UXPin, a collaborative design platform with a 40-something person team of designers, developers and marketers split between the U.S. and Poland.

Traditionally, a design process enables a designer or design team to quickly move from idea to finalized product. And when we talk about “design ...

by The 99U Team at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:10 Instapaperify

Use The Right Work Tool For The Right Purpose

drills

No matter your field, your communication style, or your organizational habits, you’re likely bound to the holy quartet of organizational work tools: email, conference call, chat, and calendar. On Blinkist’s blog Page 19, Caitlin Schiller diagnoses a lot of the wasted time and unproductiveness that plagues the modern working world as misuse of said work tools. Consider the common problems of workplace chat that likely plague you, as they do all modern professionals at one time or another:

The main problem with office chat is that people feel freer to write off-the-cuff questions because they’re not technically interrupting—the recipient can still choose whether or not to respond. The thing is, we’re reactive creatures, and we feel that we need to stop what we’re doing and attend to the people who ping us. Even though your intention with getting in touch by chat is to be unobtrusive, you have little control over whether your colleague’s work is interrupted. If she sees a message notification, chances are she’ll look ...

by Allison at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:04 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

Stan attribution

logo_textbottom

I worry that I get too much credit for Stan. So let me clarify. I didn’t write Stan. Stan is written in C++, and I’ve never in my life written a line of C, or C+, or C++, or C+++, or C-, or any of these things.

Here’s a quick description of what we’ve all done, listed in order of joining the development team.

• Andrew Gelman (Columbia University)
chief of staff, chief of marketing, chief of fundraising, chief of modeling, chief of training, max marginal likelihood, expectation propagation, posterior analysis, R, founder

• Bob Carpenter (Columbia University)
language design, parsing, code generation, autodiff, templating, ODEs, probability functions, con- straint transforms, manual, web design / maintenance, fundraising, support, training, C++, founder

• Matt Hoffman (Adobe Creative Technologies Lab)
NUTS, adaptation, autodiff, memory management, (re)parameterization, C++, founder

• Daniel Lee (Columbia University)
chief of engineering, CmdStan (founder), builds, continuous integration, testing, templates, ODEs, autodiff, posterior analysis, probability functions, error handling, refactoring, C++, training

• Ben Goodrich (Columbia University)
RStan, multivariate probability functions, matrix algebra, (re)parameterization, constraint ...

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:08 Instapaperify

Language Log » Psychology of language

Unselfishlessly

From Stan Carey:

There are surprisingly many instances of unselfishlessly Out There. Presumably these are a sort of blend of unselfishly and selflessly, with (un)selfishness cheering from the sidelines, and the spirit of misnegation brooding over all.

 

by Mark Liberman at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:20 Instapaperify

Scientific American Content: Mind Matters

How Come Some People Believe in the Paranormal?

Those who favor Bigfoot, UFOs and ghosts share a thinking style

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:15 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

Sleep and Health

Getting sufficient sleep is very important to overall health. It is an often overlooked aspect of health. I frequently have patients with multiple complaints who inform me, only when asked, that they have terrible sleep. They did not make the connection between their sleep and their symptoms, however.

Good sleep has been tied to longevity. A review of studies found that getting <6 hours of sleep on average per night was associated with a 12% increased risk of death. The same review found that getting >9 hours of sleep a night was associated with a 30% increased risk of death.

It is difficult to determine cause and effects with these studies. Sleep may simply be a marker for other health variables. People who sleep over 9 hours, for example, may do so because they are unhealthy for other reasons.

Even still, it is plausible that lack of sleep is stressful to the system, especially brain function, and therefore sleep disorders should be identified and treated. Don’t overlook the importance of good sleep.

A recent ...

by Steven Novella at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:40 Instapaperify

mathbabe

Litigation finance: a terrible idea

I watch my share of bad commercials on TV. I don’t have cable but I have an antenna so I can receive some free TV stations, including one that is clearly meant for senior citizens called CoziTV. Cozi regularly has marathons of Murder She Wrote, Magnum P.I., Hart to Hart, and Fantasy Island, all shows that I somehow can’t stop watching, partly I think because I get so much confirmation from them about how awful my childhood was.

Anyhoo, back to the commercials. I couldn’t help notice a proliferation of ads for help with a medical condition called “transvaginal mesh injury.” Basically the ads were asking whether the viewer had such a problem, and whether they’d like to perhaps talk to a lawyer at this free phone number. Pretty much every other ad was about this condition, so it seemed like a pretty big deal, at least for the intended audience of old ladies.

Well, I didn’t pay much attention to it, until I came across this fascinating Reuters ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:18 Instapaperify

The Work of Michael Shermer

Forensic Pseudoscience

How trustworthy are DNA and other crime scene tests?
magazine cover

The criminal justice system has a problem, and its name is forensics. This was the message I heard at the Forensic Science Research Evaluation Workshop held May 26–27 at the AAAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. I spoke about pseudoscience but then listened in dismay at how the many fields in the forensic sciences that I assumed were reliable (DNA, fingerprints, and so on) in fact employ unreliable or untested techniques and show inconsistencies between evaluators of evidence.

The conference was organized in response to a 2009 publication by the National Research Council entitled Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, which the U.S. Congress commissioned when it became clear that DNA was the only (barely) reliable forensic science. The report concluded that “the forensic science system, encompassing both research and practice, has serious problems that can only be addressed by a national commitment to overhaul the current structure that supports the forensic science community in this country.” Among the areas ...

by Skeptic Webmaster at Tue, 01 Sep 2015 07:00 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

TSC 2016 The Science of Consciousness

The Science of Consciousness (TSC) 2016 Conference is jointly sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, and the Center for Consciousness Science at the University of Michigan. Some 700 people are expected for a week-long program of plenary and concurrent talk sessions, posters, art/tech demos, pre-conference workshops, recreation and social events including a welcome reception, conference barbecue and square dance, the traditional Poetry Slam/Zombie Blues/talent show, and closing “End-of-Consciousness” party.

Themes and topics will include:

  • Three Roads to Consciousness: GW, PC and HOT
  • Moving From Correlates to Causes of Consciousness
  • Machine Consciousness and Artificial Intelligence
  • Origin and Evolution of Life and Consciousness
  • Quantum Brain Biology
  • Transcranial Brain Stimulation
  • The “Pribram Session” — Levels, Scale and Content of Consciousness
  • Mechanisms of Anesthesia and Psychoactive Drugs
  • Virtual Reality
  • Consciousness and Collapse of the Wavefunction
  • End-of-life Brain Activity

Plenary speakers will include:

  • Gyorgy Buzsaki, NYU Neuroscience Institute, New York
  • Stanislas Dehaene, INSERM-CEA, Paris
  • Stuart Kauffman, University of Calgary, Alberta
  • Anil K. Seth, University of Sussex, Brighton
  • Aaron Schurger, Ecole Polytechnique Federale ...

Tue, 01 Sep 2015 01:01 Instapaperify

August 31, 2015

Lifehacker

Cut Back on Your Before-Bed Smartphone Addiction With This Exercise

If you want to wean yourself off of the need to look at your phone before bed, some deliberate practice ignoring notifications during the day might help.

Read more...

by Patrick Allan at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 22:00 Instapaperify

mathbabe

The inevitability of sexual assault

Whose fault is it when a woman gets sexually assaulted? For most people I interact with, the answer seems obvious: the assailant is at fault. Otherwise we’re blaming the victim.

In spite of that commonsense logic, though, there seems to be a sustained argument on the other side of the debate, and not only from right-wing talk radio. For example, over on the Guardian there’s quite a discussion about how The Pretenders star Chrissie Hynde blames herself for previous sexual assault, with the following excerpt pretty much summing up her position:

She said: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges … those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.

“You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive.”

In Bangladesh, we similarly see arguments for why people ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 18:32 Instapaperify

Art Markman, PhD

Why Do People Gamble Too Much?


I grew up in Central New Jersey.  When I was about 10, the state legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City, making it the only place on the East Coast of the US at that time where people could gamble legally.  I have some relatives who live near Atlantic City.  There are lots of cheap buses to get there from all over the New York and New Jersey area, and so I would hop on with all of the gamblers to go visit family.  The ride down was always tense with anticipation, but the ride back had lots of tired and dejected gamblers.  I always felt like many of those people on the bus with me had real gambling problems.

What exactly is it that drives people to gamble too much? 

Intuitively, it seems like there are two possibilities.  One is that people with gambling problems are focused on the thrill of gambling.  When you walk through a casino, there are lights and bells and the sounds of people winning money.  There must be a real ...

by Art Markman at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:35 Instapaperify

BoingBoing.net Science

Psychological disorder causes you to hallucinate your doppelgänger

da02-web

In the book The Man Who Wasn't There, Anil Ananthaswamy explores mysteries of self, including the weirdness of autoscopic phenomena, a kind of hallucination in which you are convinced that you are having an out-of-body experience or face to face with your non-existent twin. From a BBC feature based on one of the book chapters:

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Chris may offer the most startling account. His brother, David, had died of AIDS a few months previous to this strange episode. It was early in the morning. Chris got off the bed, stood up, and walked toward the end of the bed, where there was a dresser. He stretched and turned around and got the fright of his life.

“The shock was electric,” Chris recalled. “Because I was still lying in the bed sleeping, and it was very clearly me lying there sleeping, my first thought was that I had died. I’m dead and this is the first step. I was just gasping. My head was spinning, trying to get a grip on things.”

And then the ...

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:18 Instapaperify

FORA.tv - Program Feed

Sara Seager: Other Earths. Other Life.

Sara Seager: Other Earths. Other Life.

We are one tool away from learning which distant planets already have life on them and which might be welcoming to life.

MIT Planetary Scientist Sara Seager is working on the tool. She is chair of the NASA team developing a "Starshade" that would allow a relatively rudimentary space telescope to observe Earth-size planets directly, which would yield atmospheric analysis, which would determine a planet’s life-worthiness.

Despite 1,000-plus exoplanet discoveries by the Kepler spacecraft and the hundreds more expected from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite after 2017, neither instrument can make detailed observation of the atmosphere of small rocky planets, because each star’s brilliance overwhelms direct study of the rocky motes that might harbor life. A Starshade cures that.

A former MacArthur Fellow, Seager is author of Exoplanet Atmospheres(02010) and an astrophysics professor at MIT. Her maxim: "For exoplanets, anything is possible under the laws of physics and chemistry."


Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2015 19:00:00 -0700
Location: San Francisco, CA, SFJAZZ Center, Long ...

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:59 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

Constructing an informative prior using meta-analysis

Chris Guure writes:

I am trying to construct an informative prior by synthesizing or collecting some information from literature (meta-analysis) and then to apply that to a real data set (it is longitudinal data) for over 20 years follow-up.

In constructing the prior using the meta-analysis data, the issue of publication bias came up. I have tried looking to see if there is any literature on this but it seems almost all the articles on Bayesian meta-analysis do not actually account for this issue apart from one (Givens, Smith and Tweedie 1997).

My thinking was that I could assume a data augmentation approach by fitting a joint model with the assumption that the observed data are normally distributed and the unobserved studies probably exist but not included in my studies and can be thought of to be missing data (missing not at random or non-ignorable missingness). This way a Bernoulli distribution could be used to account for the missingness.

But according to Lesaffre and Lawson 2012, pp. 196; in hierarchical models, the data augmentation approach ...

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:29 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Reference request: the necessity of constraints in learning – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I've read theoretical papers on why constraints are a necessary part of any learning system. The papers were aimed at human learning. I'm having trouble finding relevant references now. What papers ...

by Josh at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:01 Instapaperify

Bulletproof

The MTHFR Gene Mutation And How To Rewire Your Genetics

Have you heard about the MTHFR gene mutation? If not, don’t worry…it’s relatively new, and it’s mostly just cutting edge functional medicine and anti-aging physicians who talk about it. Researchers link it to an increased susceptibility to heart disease, colon cancer, stroke, recurrent miscarriage, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression [2,3]. 40% of people have it [4] […]

The post The MTHFR Gene Mutation And How To Rewire Your Genetics appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Dave Asprey at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:00 Instapaperify

Friendly Atheist» Pseudoscience

Did a New Official UK Report Really Say That Police Should Consult Psychics?

It would certainly seem so, judging by newspaper coverage of the UK College of Policing draft report proposing new standards for police.

FBI consultant and former TV psychic Patrick Jane suspects a psychic tipster is really the murderer on The Mentalist series finale

The Independent in the UK ran the initial story with the headline “Detectives investigating missing persons cases ‘should consider the advice of psychics’, says College of Policing.” The opening sentence read “Detectives investigating missing persons cases should consider tips from people claiming to have supernatural abilities, according to new proposals from the College of Policing.”

That certainly sounds like the College wants detectives thinking, Hmm, forget Sherlock, I’d better send for psychics to get the expert help I need on this tough case! The paper goes so far as to report that experts want psychics taken seriously — as long as there’s no financial conflict of interest: “Before taking clairvoyants seriously, ‘the motive of the individual should always be ascertained, especially where financial gain is included.’”

So, the message is that ...

by Bo Gardiner at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:00 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

Andrew Gelman

Uri Simonsohn warns us not to be falsely reassured

tongs

I agree with Uri Simonsohn that you don’t learn much by looking at the distribution of all the p-values that have appeared in some literature. Uri explains:

Most p-values reported in most papers are irrelevant for the strategic behavior of interest.

Covariates, manipulation checks, main effects in studies testing interactions, etc. Including them we underestimate p-hacking and we overestimate the evidential value of data. Analyzing all p-values asks a different question, a less sensible one. Instead of “Do researchers p-hack what they study?” we ask “Do researchers p-hack everything?”

He demonstrates with an example and summarizes:

Looking at all p-values is falsely reassuring.

I agree and will just add two comments:

1. I prefer the phrase “garden of forking paths” because I think the term “p-hacking” suggests intentionality or even cheating. Indeed, in the quoted passage above, Simonsohn refers to “strategic behavior.” I have not doubt that some strategic behavior and even outright cheating goes on, but I like to emphasize that the garden of forking paths can occur even when a researcher does ...

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:52 Instapaperify

Overcoming Bias

If Post Filter, We Are Alone

Me four years ago:

Imagine that over the entire past and future history of our galaxy, human-level life would be expected to arise spontaneously on about one hundred planets. At least it would if those planets were not disturbed by outsiders. Imagine also that, once life on a planet reaches a human level, it is likely to quickly (e.g., within a million years) expand to permanently colonize the galaxy. And imagine life rarely crosses between galaxies. In this case we should expect Earth to be one of the first few habitable planets created, since otherwise Earth would likely have already been colonized by outsiders. In fact, we should expect Earth to sit near the one percentile rank in the galactic time distribution of habitable planets – only ~1% of such planets would form earlier. …

If we can calculate the actual time distribution of habitable planets in our galaxy, we can then use Earth’s percentile rank in that time distribution to estimate the number of would-produce-human-level-life planets in our galaxy! Or at least the number ...

by Robin Hanson at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:15 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

On deck this week

Mon: Constructing an informative prior using meta-analysis

Tues: Stan attribution

Wed: Cannabis/IQ follow-up: Same old story

Thurs: Defining conditional probability

Fri: In defense of endless arguments

Sat: Emails I never finished reading

Sun: BREAKING . . . Sepp Blatter accepted $2M payoff from Dennis Hastert

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

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:00 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

The Reproducibility Problem

A recent massive study attempting to replicate 100 published studies in psychology has been getting a lot of attention, deservedly so. Much of the coverage has been fairly good, actually – probably because the results are rather wonky. Many have been quick to point out that “science isn’t broken” while others ask, “is science broken?”

While many, including the authors, express surprise at the results of the study, I was not surprised at all. The results support what I have been saying in this blog and at SBM for years – we need to take replication more seriously.

Here are the results of the study:

We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects (Mr = .197, SD = .257) were half the magnitude of original effects (Mr = .403, SD = .188), representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had significant results (p < .05). Thirty-six percent of replications had significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval ...

by Steven Novella at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:02 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

How to retain information in Long term memory? – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I read a lot of books, magazines, articles all of the day. I read for at least 40 hours a week , but i am facing memory problems. When asked a certain question, i am not able to recall the ...

by memory at Mon, 31 Aug 2015 09:16 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Speech-classifier program is better at predicting psychosis than psychiatrists

This image shows discrimination between at-risk youths who transitioned to psychosis (red) and those who did not (blue). The polyhedron contains all the at-risk youth who did NOT develop psychosis (blue). All of the at-risk youth who DID later develop psychosis (red) are outside the polyhedron. Thus the speech classifier had 100 percent discrimination or accuracy. The speech classifier consisted of “minimum semantic coherence” (the flow of meaning from one sentence to the next), and indices of reduced complexity of speech, including phrase length and decreased use of “determiner” pronouns (“that,” “what,” “whatever,” “which,” and “whichever”). (credit: Cheryl Corcoran et al./NPJ Schizophrenia/Columbia University Medical Center)

An automated speech analysis program correctly differentiated between at-risk young people who developed psychosis over a later two-and-a-half year period and those who did not.

In a proof-of-principle study, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center found that the computerized analysis provided a more accurate classification than clinical ratings.  The study was published Wednesday Aug. 26 ...

Mon, 31 Aug 2015 07:27 Instapaperify

August 30, 2015

Life by Experimentation

Music and the Brain | The Best Books (Roundup)

This post contains a collection of quotations from some excellent books. You can find other roundups of the best books about different fascinating topics in the Best Books and Quotations section. If you have the Kindle app, the Location links at the end of each quotation will take you straight to the relevant section.

When I was first preparing for my quest to learn music, I started by reading several books on neuroscience and music. The following three books are the most insightful which I encountered, and helped me to understand how music and the brain work together.

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin

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Creativity in Music

Most artists describe their work as experiments—part of a series of efforts designed to explore a common concern or to establish a viewpoint. Location: 108

The Devil’s Interval

This [special musical] interval was considered so dissonant that it must have been the work of Lucifer, and so the church named it Diabolus in musica. It was pitch that had the medieval church ...

by Zane Claes at Sun, 30 Aug 2015 21:53 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

How to avoid laziness? – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I'm a computer programmer, I was in very critical stage of laziness. I having some family problems in my childhood, I was also very bad in my studies even i think that "I need to study well and get ...

by sijo vijayan at Sun, 30 Aug 2015 19:27 Instapaperify