Planet Rationalist

March 03, 2015


Your “Just For Fun” Projects Are What Sets You Apart

By Chi Birmingham

By Chi Birmingham

Commercial and editorial photographer Thomas Dagg uses his personal projects to showcase his style of shooting and differentiate himself from others in his industry. In an interview with Explore Create Repeat, he explains the freedom that comes with full creative control and pure expression:

Personal projects are what I live for. I can’t explain the hunger I have to create. It’s just there, gnawing at the back of my mind. If I have any free time, you can bet that in some shape or form, my mind is focusing on a personal project. Commissioned work can be really fun with the right people, especially if you’re hired specifically for your own style of shooting and thinking, but completely personal work is just pure expression. I think it’s the one way you can really show who you are — it’s what separates you from other shooters. There are a lot of photographers who can take a beautiful image, so creative work helps you define yourself as an individual and ...

by Stephanie Kaptein at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00 Instapaperify

Scientific American Content: Mind Matters

Why People ‘Fly from Facts’

Research shows the appeal of untestable beliefs, and how it leads to a polarized society

--

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

Downsides of being a convincing liar

People who take shortcuts can trick themselves into believing they are smarter than they are, says Tom Stafford, and it comes back to bite them.

Honesty may be the best policy, but lying has its merits – even when we are deceiving ourselves. Numerous studies have shown that those who are practised in the art of self-deception might be more successful in the spheres of sport and business. They might even be happier than people who are always true to themselves. But is there ever a downside to believing our own lies?

An ingenious study by Zoe Chance of Yale University tested the idea, by watching what happens when people cheat on tests.

Chance and colleagues ran experiments which involved asking students to answer IQ and general knowledge questions. Half the participants were given a copy of the test paper which had – apparently in error – been printed with the answers listed at the bottom. This meant they had to resist the temptation to check or improve their answers against the real answers as they went along ...

by tomstafford at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:31 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

IOM Recommends Replacing CFS with SEID

Exertion intolerance

Exertion intolerance

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a controversial diagnosis that has also been called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS), post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVS), chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), Iceland disease, “yuppie flu,” and many other names. A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM)  says that none of those names really fit the disease and recommends it be re-named systemic exertion intolerance disease or SEID.

ME/CFS is thought to affect as many as 2.5 million Americans. The cause remains unknown, but in many cases it appears to have been “triggered by an infection or other prodromal event, such as immunization, anesthetics, physical trauma, exposure to environmental pollutants, chemicals and heavy meals, and rarely blood transfusions.” Some doctors question its very existence and interpret the symptoms as imaginary or psychological.

The IOM examines the evidence base

At the request of several government agencies including the NIH and the FDA, the IOM convened a committee of 15 experts to examine the evidence base for ME/CFS. They reviewed over 9000 published ...

by Harriet Hall at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:00 Instapaperify


What elites DO to us is more important than what they know

Again and again we see what works... and what almost-never works.  So why is the utterly futile prescription almost always the one promoted by security and privacy "experts," by pundits of all stripes and by supposed defenders of freedom and privacy?

Two Philadelphia cops accused of savagely beating a man without provocation and then lying about it have been indicted following a thorough investigation — by the victim's girlfriend. “After Najee Rivera was given a beating that left him with a fractured bone in his face and one eye swollen shut, girlfriend Dina Scannapieco canvassed businesses in the area and found security footage that led to Rivera's exoneration on charges of assault and resisting arrest and to the arrest of the two officers involved.”

The lesson? Again and again, twits declare that the only way to save freedom and privacy is to pass laws restricting information flows, and then trusting elites to enforce or obey those laws. 

“Brin is naive!” they declare “to imagine that *increased* information flow can ever hold elites accountable or ...

by David Brin at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:52 Instapaperify

Life by Experimentation

My Quest to Learn Music


An Audacious Goal

My goal is to compose and produce a song (with my own vocals and an instrument) within 12 months, starting from musical scratch.


There. I said it. I’ve flip-flopped on this more than a few times in the past couple months. Finally I decided that I simply had to do it. Music has been a gaping hole in my experience of life for far too long. I can name songs and artists I like, but I can’t tell you why. I’ve always been curious about those of you drawn to music. Some people describe it with such eloquence and beauty:

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

- Plato


Wow. Some people are pulled so deep into the music it seems to change them in an elemental way. I’ve met people who are happy anywhere in the world as long as they have a guitar and others for ...

by Zane Claes at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:28 Instapaperify

The Psy-Fi Blog

I Don't Know What I Like (And I Don't Know What It's Worth, Either)


One of the fundamental axioms of economics is that we know what we like: we have preferences, they're consistent across time and they can be revealed by careful experimentation. This, of course, is utter nonsense. Yet it's not just a guiding principle of economics but is also a rough and ready rule we live our lives by. We make decisions and then we justify them, after the event, because to do otherwise would make a mockery of our choices.

But because we do actually make decisions we must, in a sense, really know what we like, even if we're habitually inconsistent. Unfortunately, outside of our own specialised areas of expertise we don't know how to absolutely value things and all too often we assign a value based on entirely superfluous data intermingled with a bit of relative valuation, reckoning that a Porsche 911 Carrera is worth more than a child's teddy bear. We exhibit coherence but in an arbitrary fashion - a behavior known, rather unoriginally, as coherent arbitrariness.

Teddy ...

by timarr at Tue, 03 Mar 2015 06:00 Instapaperify

March 02, 2015 - Program Feed

Risk Takers: Archaeology From Space

Risk Takers: Archaeology From Space
Space archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow Sarah Parcak is using cutting-edge technology in the sky to unearth underground secrets from ancient Roman civilizations. But it was her initial failures that led to some of Parcak's most remarkable finds.
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:55 Instapaperify

Oil Ahead

Oil Ahead
With gas prices plummeting and support growing for a reduction on fossil fuels, what does the future hold for the oil industry? Must they adapt or perish? Lou Allstadt, Member, Citizens Climate Lobby; Former Executive Vice President, Mobil Oil Angus Gillespie, Vice President for CO2, Shell Oil Company Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:00:00 -0800
Location: , , Climate One
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:44 Instapaperify


How To Download Podcasts and Subscribe To Bulletproof Radio

Are you new to Bulletproof Radio, or new to downloading podcasts in general?  Either way – welcome! Lots of people ask me the best way to subscribe to all the new Bulletproof Radio episodes right when they come out, or how to download older episodes.  This post lays out all your options for listening to both new […]

The post How To Download Podcasts and Subscribe To Bulletproof Radio appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Jagna Larson at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:44 Instapaperify

Less Wrong

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

Submitted by Vaniver • 4 votes • 22 comments

Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:38 Instapaperify

Announcing the Complice Less Wrong Study Hall

Submitted by malcolmocean • 41 votes • 7 comments

(If you're familiar with the backstory of the LWSH, you can skip to paragraph 5. If you just want the link to the chat, click here: LWSH on Complice)

The Less Wrong Study Hall was created as a tinychat room in March 2013, following Mqrius and ShannonFriedman's desire to create a virtual context for productivity. In retrospect, I think it's hilarious that a bunch of the comments ended up being a discussion of whether LW had the numbers to get a room that consistently had someone in it. The funny part is that they were based around the assumption that people would spend about 1h/day in it.

Once it was created, it was so effective that people started spending their entire day doing pomodoros (with 32minsWork+8minsBreak) in the LWSH and now often even stay logged in while doing chores away from their computers, just for cadence of focus and the sense of company. So there's almost always someone there, and often 5-10 ...

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:37 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

Introducing shinyStan


As a project for Andrew’s Statistical Communication and Graphics graduate course at Columbia, a few of us (Michael Andreae, Yuanjun Gao, Dongying Song, and I) had the goal of giving RStan’s print and plot functions a makeover. We ended up getting a bit carried away and instead we designed a graphical user interface for interactively exploring virtually any Bayesian model fit using a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm.

The result is shinyStan, a package for R and an app powered by Shiny. The full version of shinyStan v1.0.0 can be downloaded as an R package from the Stan Development Team GitHub page here, and we have a demo up online here.  If you’re not an R user, we’re working on a full online version of shinyStan too.



For me, there are two primary motivations behind shinyStan:

1) Interactive visual model exploration
  • Immediate, informative, customizable visual and numerical summaries of model parameters and convergence diagnostics for MCMC simulations.
  • Good defaults with many opportunities for customization.
2) Convenient saving and sharing ...

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 22:30 Instapaperify


Stop Yourself from Crying with a Quick Pinch

There is nothing wrong with crying, but that doesn't mean you want to do it in every situation. If you need to compose yourself quickly, a quick pinch in a couple places on your body might help you refocus and stop the waterworks.


by Patrick Allan at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:30 Instapaperify

zen habits

Pare Down with the Declutter Habit

By Leo Babauta

It’s a fact of life that without constant vigilance, clutter creeps up in our lives, accumulating into piles and closets and drawers and shelves so that it can overwhelm us.

One of the best things I’ve done is simplify my life and pare down the clutter.

How do you pare down when you’re overwhelmed by the piles? Where do you start?

As with anything, you should start small, and start simply.

Just pick one spot. Spend 10 minutes. Make a dent in the piles.

And one spot at a time, one day at a time, create a zone of zero clutter that expands to cover your entire life.

Create the declutter habit, and your life will gradually become simpler.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create space. The declutter habit doesn’t need to take up a lot of space in your day — you don’t need to devote an hour to it — but you still need to make the space. Just 10 minutes a day, but when will ...

by zenhabits at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:53 Instapaperify


From near to far, amazing things are everywhere...

What a year! So far, we've had a landing on a comet, great results from Mars, many more exoplanets zeroing in on "goldilocks" zones... and now, across the next few months, NASA spacecraft close in on the two most wondrous and fabled dwarf planets...

First up -- Ceres: NASA's Dawn spacecraft - after probing the giant asteroid Vesta - is getting super close to its planned orbit of the dwarf planet Ceres -- due to arrive March 6. The "white dot" mystery grows. But I am especially interested in whether our probe finds evidence of a liquid sea under the thick, icy crust.  If so, it will prove the "roofed water worlds" don't need the tug of a nearby planet, in order to heat and melt subsurface water.  It will change our notions of the abundance of liquid water in the universe.

And...the New Horizon spacecraft is closing in on Pluto. Nine years after its launch, New Horizons will achieve closest approach on July 14, 2015, collecting data on the surface and atmosphere of the ...

by David Brin at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:52 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

Rembrandt van Rijn (2) vs. Bertrand Russell

For yesterday, the most perceptive comment came from Slugger:

Rabbit Angstrom is a perfect example of the life that the Buddha warns against. He is a creature of animal passions who never gains any enlightenment.

In any case, I think we can all agree that Buddha is a far more interesting person than Updike. But, following the rules of the contest, we’re going with the best comment, which comes from Ethan:

Updike. We could ask him to talk to the title “Stan fans spark Bayes craze.” Buddha might just meditate silently for the whole hour.

Bonus points for bringing in Stan and baseball.


Today, the ultimate Dutch master is up against the ultimate rationalist. Rembrandt will paint the portrait of anyone who doesn’t paint himself.

I gotta say, this is one rough pairing. Who wouldn’t want to see Rembrandt do a quick painting demonstration? But, Russell must have been a great lecturer, witty and deep and he could even do math! I have a feeling that Rembrandt was a nicer guy (it ...

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:00 Instapaperify - Program Feed

President's Forum with Nicholas Kristof

President's Forum with Nicholas Kristof
NEW YORK, February 26, 2015 - New York Times columnist and social activist Nicholas Kristof joins Asia Society President Josette Sheeran for a wide-ranging discussion on topics such as China, journalism, advocacy, and philanthropy. (1 hr., 35 min.)
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:00:00 -0800
Location: New York, NY, , Asia Society
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:03 Instapaperify

Security in Northeast Asia

Security in Northeast Asia
NEW YORK, February 25, 2014 - Victor Cha, Evans J.R. Revere, and Hitoshi Tanaka discuss whether and how Japan, South Korea, and the United States might be able to cooperate more successfully on crucial northeast Asian regional issues in light of historical grievances and territorial disputes. Barbara Demick moderates the conversation. (1 hr., 20 min.)
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 02:00:00 -0800
Location: New York, NY, , Asia Society
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:03 Instapaperify

The Other China, with Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma

The Other China, with Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma
NEW YORK, February 18, 2015 - Writers Michael Meyer and Ian Buruma engage in a discussion centered on Meyer's new book, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China, which combines immersion journalism, memoir, and historical research to create a portrait of the momentous changes underway in China's often-overlooked countryside. Presented by ChinaFile, the online magazine of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. (1 hr., 8 min.)
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 02:00:00 -0800
Location: New York, NY, , Asia Society
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:03 Instapaperify

Kevin Rudd in Conversation with Charlie Rose

Kevin Rudd in Conversation with Charlie Rose
NEW YORK, February 17, 2015 - President of the Asia Society Policy Institute Kevin Rudd is joined by journalist Charlie Rose for a talk on the future of Asia, China, and the world in which Rudd offers his perspectives on how Asian countries and leaders can confront common challenges. (1 hr., 20 min.)
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2015 02:00:00 -0800
Location: New York, NY, , Asia Society
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:03 Instapaperify

Point of Inquiry

False Memories Creating False Criminals, with Dr. Julia Shaw

Memory is remarkably fallible, as we often frustrate ourselves with how certain we are about where we left our car keys only to realize how entirely wrong we were. But could it be that our memories are so easily corrupted that we could be led to believe we’ve committed crimes that never happened? (And while we’re at it, could Brian Williams have sincerely believed that he had been under attack in that helicopter?)

This week on Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein talks to Dr. Julia Shaw, a forensic psychology lecturer and false memory researcher. Dr. Shaw recently conducted a study in which she found that 70 percent of college-age students were convinced that they had committed a crime that never actually took place. By mixing actual facts with misinformation, in as little as 3 hours of friendly conversation, students not only admitted to committing these fictional crimes, they went as far as to recall details of their manufactured experience. Shaw suggests that these results have alarming implications for the way we conduct criminal ...

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:01 Instapaperify

Scott H Young

Watch us Speak all Four Languages in Three Minutes

As a wrap-up to our Year Without English project, Vat and I had a quick conversation in all four languages we learned during the trip (Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and Korean).

You can now watch all our videos on our YouTube channel, including all four mini-documentaries and the longer interviews we held in each language.

Edit: Apparently the embed for this video is sometimes cutting off the subtitles. I’ve found reloading the resolution fixes the problem, but if you can’t get the subtitles to work, they work on YouTube.

Learn Faster, Achieve More
Get the ideas I don't share on the blog. Join my private newsletter and I'll give you my free rapid-learning ebook.

by Scott Young at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:17 Instapaperify - Program Feed

Liberals Are Stifling Intellectual Diversity On Campus

Liberals Are Stifling Intellectual Diversity On Campus
What is college for? For many, it's a time for personal and intellectual growth, to meet new people, and to explore ideas and philosophies that challenge their beliefs. Or is it? Recent cancellations of conservative speakers, rescinded honorary degrees, and scrutiny of certain campus groups have heightened perceptions that there is pervasive liberal intolerance on campuses. Are liberals shutting down speech and debate on campus? Or is this theory a myth, based on the preponderance of liberals at universities rather than intentionally discriminatory actions?
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:00:00 -0800
Location: Washington, D.C., George Washington University, Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates
Program and discussion:

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:13 Instapaperify

Overcoming Bias

Growth Could Slow

Human history has seen accelerating growth, via a sequence of faster growth modes. First humans grew faster than other primates, then farmers grew faster than foragers, and recently industry has grown faster than farming. Most likely, another even faster growth mode lies ahead. But it is worth remembering that this need not happen. For a very concrete historical analogue, the Cambrian Explosion of multi-cellular life seems to have resulted from an accelerating series of key transitions. But then around 520 million years ago, after life had explored most multi-cellular variations, change slowed way down:

In just a few tens of millions of years – a geological instant – almost every major animal group we know made its first appearance in the fossil record, and the ecology of the planet was transformed forever. …

Scientists have struggled to explain what sparked this sudden burst of innovation. Until recently, most efforts tried to find a single trigger, but over the past year or two, a different explanation has begun to emerge. The Cambrian explosion appears to have been life’s ...

by Robin Hanson at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00 Instapaperify


How To Download Podcasts and Subscribe To Bulletproof Radio

Are you new to Bulletproof Radio, or new to downloading podcasts in general?  Either way – welcome! Lots of people ask me the best way to subscribe to all the new Bulletproof Radio episodes right when they come out, or how to download older episodes.  This post lays out all your options for listening to both new […]

The post How To Download Podcasts and Subscribe To Bulletproof Radio appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Dave Asprey at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:00 Instapaperify


How to Charm Someone You've Never Met Before

When you meet new people, you want to make a good impression and come across as likable as possible . If turning on the charm is something you struggle with, here are the most important tips and tricks for charming the pants off of someone you haven't met.


by Patrick Allan at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:00 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

What hypothesis testing is all about. (Hint: It’s not what you think.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 10.17.55 PM

I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again.

The conventional view:

Hyp testing is all about rejection. The idea is that if you reject the null hyp at the 5% level, you have a win, you have learned that a certain null model is false and science has progressed, either in the glamorous “scientific revolution” sense that you’ve rejected a central pillar of science-as-we-know-it and are forcing a radical re-evaluation of how we think about the world (those are the accomplishments of Kepler, Curie, Einstein, and . . . Daryl Bem), or in the more usual “normal science” sense in which a statistically significant finding is a small brick in the grand cathedral of science (or a stall in the scientific bazaar, whatever, I don’t give a damn what you call it), a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, all-in-a-day’s-work kind of thing, a “necessary murder” as Auden notoriously put it (and for which was slammed by Orwell, a lesser poet put a greater political scientist), a small bit of solid knowledge in our otherwise uncertain world ...

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:00 Instapaperify


Art Markman, PhD

People Who Lack Self-Control Value Others Who Have It

Willpower is a notoriously fickle thing.  Some days, you can withstand even the fiercest temptation.  On other days, you can be distracted from your goals by almost anything.  There are clear differences between people as well.  Some people maintain a single-minded focus on their goals, while others give in to the slightest enticement.

What can you do in those situations in which your willpower is going to let you down?  At those times, it can be helpful to cling to the people around you who are good at resisting temptation.  You can draw strength from other people. 

An article by Catherine Shea, Erin Davisson, and Grainne Fitzsimons in the June, 2013 issue of Psychological Sciencesuggests that people with low self-control naturally value the self-control in other people. 

In one study, the researchers manipulated people’s self-control resources using an ego depletion task.  Some participants had to perform a moderately difficult self-control task.  They watched a video and had to evaluate a character on the video.  During the video, words flashed on the task.  The ...

by Art Markman at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:32 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

On deck this week

Mon: What hypothesis testing is all about. (Hint: It’s not what you think.)

Rembrandt van Rijn (2) vs. Betrand Russell

Tues: One simple trick to make Stan run faster

George Carlin (2) vs. Barbara Kruger

Wed: I actually think this infographic is ok

Bernard-Henry Levy (3) vs. Jacques Derrida

Thurs: Defaults, once set, are hard to change.

Judy Garland (4) vs. Al Sharpton

Fri: “The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail”

John Waters (1) vs. Bono

Sat: “With that assurance, a scientist can report his or her work to the public, and the public can trust the work.”

Plato (1) vs. Mark Twain (4)

Sun: Causal Impact from Google

Mary Baker Eddy vs. Mohammad (2)

No “On deck this month” this month because I don’t know what all the seminar-speaker matchups are gonna be. I’ll tell you, though, we have some excellent posts in the regular series. So stay tuned!

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

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

Google Wants to Ranks Websites for Trustworthiness

I like this idea, but it is certainly bold and needs some careful thought. Google wants to rank websites according to how trustworthy their factual statements are.

Google undoubtedly is a cornerstone of the internet, which itself is now a cornerstone of our civilization. We are rapidly evolving to having a worldwide network of shared human knowledge and communication. The internet is now the dominant medium of human ideas.

Google is not just a search engine – it is the dominant portal to this information. This makes Google rank a vital statistic for any website. In fact, there is an entire industry, search engine optimization (SEO), dedicated to improving one’s Google ranking.

Google’s big innovation, and the one that launched them to the top of the heap, was to rank websites according to the number and quality of incoming links. This turned out to be a useful proxy, and serves to reward users with a helpful ranking of the websites they are searching for. Specifically, it is not easy to game the system. You ...

by Steven Novella at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:04 Instapaperify


Two articles on understanding statistical error

Today I want to share two articles today which call on the public to try to understand scientific error at a deeper level than we do now.

First, an academic journal called Basic and Applied Social Psychology (BASP) has decided to ban articles using p-values. This was written up in Nature news (hat tip Nikki Leger) with an excellent discussion of the good and bad things that might result. On the one hand, p-values are thoroughly gamed and too easy to achieve with repetitive testing, resulting in a corpus that is skewed towards such testing situations. On the other hand, if you get rid of p-values you have to replace them with something to give you an idea of whether a statistical result is interesting. Of course there are plenty others out there, but they too may quickly become gamed.

Second, The Big Story has an in-depth article on evidence-based sentencing and paroling models and what can go wrong there (hat tip Auros Harman). They focus on the fact that the people filling out the ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:17 Instapaperify


Stop Having One-Hour Meetings

By Xavier Mula

By Xavier Mula

Venture capitalist Brad Feld refuses to acquiesce to the typical one-hour meeting block. He’s found that meetings tend to fill up whatever amount of time you’ve allotted for them, thereby decreasing the productivity factor:

If you schedule a meeting for an hour, it’s remarkable to me how often it takes an hour, even when it doesn’t need to. Three hour board meetings, especially when board members have traveled to them, take – wait for the drum roll – three hours.

Just because your Outlook calendar defaults to one-hour meeting invitations, or the precedent in your organization is to meet for an hour at a time, doesn’t mean you can’t question the status quo. In an age when we’re overloaded with information and our time is more valuable than ever, unnecessarily long meetings are the biggest time-suck.

Feld now schedules all his commitments in 30-minute increments:

I’ve tried it all. 60 minutes. 15 minutes. 5 minutes. 45 minutes. 37 minutes. The only thing that I’ve found ...

by Allison Stadd at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:00 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

The scientist as problem solver

97px-Herbert_simon_red_completeStart the week with one of the founding fathers of cognitive science: in ‘The scientist as problem solver‘, Herb Simon (1916-2001) gives a short retrospective of his scientific career.

To tell the story of the research he has done, he advances a thesis: “The Scientist is a problem solver. If the thesis is true, then we can dispense with a theory of scientific discovery – the processes of discovery are just applications of the processes of problem solving.”. Quite aside from the usefulness of this perspective, the paper is an reminder of intoxicating possibility of integration across the physical, biological and social sciences: Simon worked on economics, management theory, complex systems and artificial intelligence as well as what we’d call now cognitive psychology.

He uses his own work on designing problem solving algorithms to reflect on how he – and other scientists – can and should make scientific progress. Towards the end he expresses what would be regarded as heresy in many experimentally orientated psychology departments. He suggests that many of his most productive investigations lacked a ...

by tomstafford at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:17 Instapaperify

Dresden Codak

Dark Science #41 - The Parade of Progress

Dark Science #41 - The Parade of Progress

Great news! Thanks to my amazing Patreon supporters, I can now offer a regular schedule for Dresden Codak! Look for the next page in exactly two weeks, and every other week from then on!


by Aaron at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:00 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

The Gerson protocol, cancer, and the death of Jess Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior”

The Wellness Warrior website now redirects to this photo.

The Wellness Warrior website now redirects to this photo.

Less than four days ago, a young Australian woman died of a very rare type of cancer. Most of my American and probably many of my European readers have never heard of her, but in Australia she had become quite famous over the last seven years as a major proponent of “natural health.” Her name was Jess Ainscough, but, like a certain American woman who has become famous for promoting dubious science, she was better known by her “brand” name. That brand name was The Wellness Warrior.

I first encountered Ms. Ainscough about a year and a half ago and have been intermittently following her career ever since. I’ve even blogged about her three or four times during that period over at my not-so-super-secret other blog. However, for whatever reason, even though it was my intent to write about her here on Science-Based Medicine, I never got around to it. Her death prodded me to write now, because her tale is a cautionary one important ...

by David Gorski at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:01 Instapaperify

Psych Your Mind

SPSP 2015: Actually Predicting the Future

In regression (a common statistical practice used in social science research) we often attempt to predict the outcome of a given dependent measure (the DV) based on what we know about other measured variables theoretically related to the DV (the IVs). This common regression method has one problem though: We are predicting values for data that we have already collected. What if we were to engage in actual prediction? That is, what if we attempted to predict the values of a DV that is unknown? How might we do this and what would be the benefit?

This was a fascinating talk presented by Liz Page-Gould of the University of Toronto at the Future of Social Psychology Symposium!

Read More->

by Michael Kraus at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:29 Instapaperify

SPSP 2015: Status Shapes Preferences for Redistribution

A lot of people think about political ideology as a powerful causal force that influences the structure of our society and our respective positions within it. In the politics and inequality symposium Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her colleagues examined political ideology from a different perspective: Instead of shaping the structure of society, does political ideology arise from our position within that structure? That is, do we create our political beliefs strategically in order to justify our own lives and the lives of those around us?
Read More->

by Michael Kraus at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:28 Instapaperify

Uploads by Adam Ford

Future Day Online - Aubrey de Grey, James Hughes, George Dvorsky and Ben Goertzel - hosted by Ada...

Prominent futurists +Aubrey de Grey (SENS), +Benjamin Goertzel (OpenCog), +George Dvorsky (i09) and +James Hughes (IEET) will be joining Adam Ford for an online miniconf on Future Day...
From: Adam Ford
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by Adam Ford at Mon, 02 Mar 2015 01:02 Instapaperify