Planet Rationalist

August 30, 2014

Scientific American Podcast: 60-Second Mind

Talking to Strangers Makes You Happy

People who had to strike up conversations on a subway later reported feeling happier than those who didn’t. Christie Nicholson reports.

--

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 22:00 Instapaperify

There is some truth in that

Pritchard on pragmatics of knowledge ascriptions

I'm working on a review of Duncan Pritchard's book Epistemological Disjunctivism. I'll probably try out a few ideas here over the next couple of months. I want to start out by focusing on something from near the end of the book—§8 of Part III. Here, Duncan is trying to deal with what he considers to be a challenge to the particular form of neo-Moorean disjunctivist response to the skeptical paradox he's been developing. The salient element of the view is that, contrary to skeptical intuitions, one does typically know that e.g. one is related in the normal way to the world, rather than being a brain in a vat. This, even though one lacks the ability to discriminate perceptually between being related in the normal way to the world and being a brain in a vat.

The challenge Duncan considers in this section is that Moorean assertions like "I know I'm not a brain in a vat" seem conversationally inappropriate. As he puts it earlier in the book ...

by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 21:40 Instapaperify

Blog of the Long Now » Futures

We are Walking Rocks: Friends of the Pleistocene Explore the Geologic Now

Geopoetry Smudge Studio

In The Life and Death of Buildings: On Photography and Time Joel Smith writes:

Imagine making a picture using film so insensitive to light – so slow, in photographic parlance – that to burn an image onto it required an exposure of twenty-five centuries. Geologically speaking, the blink of an eye. The picture from that negative would reveal a world made of stone, and stone only. It would be a world where plants and people, seasons and civilizations, had come and gone, quite untouched, and unbothered, by mankind. And yet, here it is, a world, unmistakably shaped by human hands.

Perhaps one of humanity’s greatest weaknesses is that our power of imagination tends to be dwarfed by our power of transformation. Twenty-five centuries ago, Rome was little more than a small town; Confucius had just resigned from his government post; Olmec society had slid into decline; and none of the languages we speak today had yet evolved. Entire civilizations rise and fall within the blink of a geologic eye – and whether as cause or consequence, we ...

by Charlotte Hajer at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:55 Instapaperify


Use a “Before” Picture to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed By Any Project

Use a “Before” Picture to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed By Any Project

Working on a new project can be intimidating, especially when you see how far you still have to go. Try taking a picture when you start so you'll keep track of all you've accomplished.


by Dave Greenbaum at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:00 Instapaperify

The Daily Brain

Study: Fish Oil Prevents Brain Shrinkage and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

Three more cases of Alzheimer’s disease will have been diagnosed by the time you finish reading this article. More than 5 million people have Alzheimer’s in the United States alone (44 million worldwide), and the rate of new diagnosis is about one patient every minute, with no cure on the horizon. Now a new study adds evidence to the argument that fish oil supplementation could be one of the best preventives we have against the disease--at least for people not at genetic risk of developing it.

Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital studied three groups of older adults, ages 55-90, using neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) every six months. The group included 229 adults with no signs of the disease; 397 who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment; and 193 with Alzheimer’s. All participants were part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which began in 2003 and ended in 2010.

Results showed that adults taking fish oil, who had not yet developed Alzheimer’s, experienced significantly less cognitive ...

by David DiSalvo at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:17 Instapaperify

Improve Your Learning and Memory.

Handwritten Notes Lead to Better Learning

In response to the trend to abolish teaching of cursive in schools, about a year ago I posted an article on what I thought were the developmental benefits of handwriting ( That post has generated over 230 comments.

Now there is evidence that handwriting of lecture notes, compared to typing on a laptop, improves learning by college students. Following up on prior studies that indicated relative ineffectiveness of taking notes by laptop, researchers Pam Meuller and Daniel Oppenheimer provide clear evidence that handwritten note-taking produces better learning in college students.

They reported three experiments that compared the efficacy of college students taking notes by handwriting or with a lap top. Those who used handwritten notes that they studied later scored significantly higher than students using laptops, including fleet typists who took vastly more copious notes. Handwriters took fewer notes overall with less verbatim recording. There are many possible explanations, beginning with the "less is more" idea in which too much information produces cognitive overload. Notably, when the typing ...

by W. R. Klemm at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:32 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

On deck this month

Bad Statistics: Ignore or Call Out?

Questions about “Too Good to Be True”

I disagree with Alan Turing and Daniel Kahneman regarding the strength of statistical evidence

Why isn’t replication required before publication in top journals?

Confirmationist and falsificationist paradigms of science

How does inference for next year’s data differ from inference for unobserved data from the current year?

Likelihood from quantiles?

My talk with David Schiminovich this Wed noon: “The Birth of the Universe and the Fate of the Earth: One Trillion UV Photons Meet Stan”

Suspicious graph purporting to show “percentage of slaves or serfs in the world”

“It’s as if you went into a bathroom in a bar and saw a guy pissing on his shoes, and instead of thinking he has some problem with his aim, you suppose he has a positive utility for getting his shoes wet”

One-tailed or two-tailed

What is the purpose of a poem?

He just ordered a translation from Diederik Stapel

Six quotes from Kaiser Fung

More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers ...

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:00 Instapaperify


Aunt Pythia’s advice: the nerdy edition

Aunt Pythia is ginormously and ridonkulously excited to be here. She just got back from a nifty bike ride to the other side of the Hudson and took this picture of this amazing city on this amazing day:


The bike traffic on the GWB is not too bad at 7:10am.

OK, so full disclosure. Aunt Pythia kind of blew her load, so to speak, on the sex questions last week, so she’s making do with coyly answering nerdy questions. Because that’s what we got.

I hope you enjoy her efforts, and even if you despise them – especially if you despise them – don’t forget to:

please think of something to ask Aunt Pythia at the bottom of the page!

By the way, if you don’t know what the hell Aunt Pythia is talking about, go here for past advice columns and here for an explanation of the name Pythia.


Hi Aunt Pythia,

I’m a math student at MIT, where you did a postdoc. I’m also into computers, and am ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:11 Instapaperify


h+ Magazine

Transhumanist Science Fiction: The Most Important Genre The World Has Ever Seen? (An Interview with David Simpson)


David Simpson profile imageScience fiction has been part of creative literature for several centuries, with the genre having come into modern form in the early 19th century. Unbeknownst to the casual reader perhaps, the role of science fiction in society has changed to some extent over this period of time, with new styles, mediums and subgenres developing, each with differing goals and appeals.

Exploring possible future technologies and their implications is only one aspect of the science fiction genre, but in regards to this facet writer and futurist Dr. Thomas Lombardo has said that science fiction speaks to the total person about the future, believing that it resonates with all the fundamental dimensions of the human mind and human experience. While science fiction fans may immediately grasp this sentiment and concur, I think it begs the question: why, if it does indeed address human identity in a deep and holistic way, has the genre (in written form in particular) always been somewhat of a marginalized interest? I dont believe there is an easy answer to this question ...

by Peter Rothman at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00 Instapaperify

Dan Ariely

Ask Ariely: On Mandatory Meetings, the Meaning of Free Will, and Macroeconomist Musings

Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to


Dear Dan,

I’ve been recently been promoted, and I now receive all sorts of requests for activities that have little to do with my love for my job. I recognize the importance of doing things for coworkers and the organization as a whole, but these other activities are taking up too much of my time and making it impossible for me to do my job. How can I set my priorities better? 


Ah yes—the perils of success. Promotions usually sound good, but once we get them, we realize that they come with extra demands and annoyances.  We also don’t seem to remember this lesson from promotion to promotion, so every time, we’re surprised when we discover those extra obligations.

Here’s how I suspect ...

by Dan Ariely at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:02 Instapaperify

Neurophilosophy | The Guardian

Meet the mother and father of cognitive neuroscience | Mo Costandi

Independently and almost single-handedly, husband and wife Uta and Chris Frith have transformed the way we view autism and schizophrenia.

Chris Frith sits at the kitchen table in his northwest London home, cutting slices of smoked salmon into irregularly-shaped pieces and then placing them in a meticulous tiling pattern onto pieces of buttered brown bread. It is, according to his wife Uta, the kind of obsessive, repetitive behaviour that is characteristic of children with autism.

There are people with perfectly normal personality variants who behave in an autistic-like way, says Uta, hovering behind him as she prepares a pot of tea. There was a time when autism was under-diagnosed and we wanted to raise awareness of it. Now, it has gone the other way these people are diagnosing themselves, and Im worried about over-extension of the diagnosis.

Continue reading...

by Mo Costandi at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:30 Instapaperify

Slate Star Codex

Michigan Meetup 9/7

There will be a Michigan rationalist/LW/SSC meetup at my house, halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor, on Sunday, September 7th at 2 PM. You can find my address and directions here. If you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Topic will be “We Should Really Get Formal Topics For These Things One Of These Days”

Our special guest will be Miranda (Swimmer963 on LW), sometime CFAR coordinator and generally cool person.

by Scott Alexander at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 05:21 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

A torrent of accidental poems

CC Licensed photo by Flickr user Jonathan Reyes. Click for source.Neurology journal Neurocase has an interesting study of a women who started compulsively writing poetry after having brief epileptic amnesia treated with the anti-seizure drug lamotrigine.

A 76-year-old woman reported having a poor memory and short periods of disorientation and was eventually diagnosed with transient epileptic amnesia – brief recurrent seizures that lead to short periods where affected people can’t lay down new memories.

Several months after starting lamotrigine [a common and widely used anti-seizure drug], the patient suddenly began to write original verse. Whereas poetry had never previously been among her pastimes, she now produced copious short poems (around 10–15 each day) on quotidian topics such as housework or about the act of versifying itself and sometimes expressing her opinions or regret about past events. These poems often had a wistful or pessimistic nature but did not have a moral or religious focus. Her husband characterized them as “doggerel” because they were generally rhyming and often featured puns and other wordplay.

My poems roams,
They has no homes
Yours’, also, tours,
And never ...

by vaughanbell at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 03:27 Instapaperify

h+ Magazine

VIdeo Friday: Watson Discovery Advisor Launch

Cognition computing and cognition as a service is here. Read more about it while watching an inspirational video. Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 5.47.00 PM

“In the fight against cancer, Watson helped identify new target proteins in a matter of weeks, not years, to accelerate the discovery of new treatments. In other industries as well–finance, retail, government, manufacturing, energy, education–Watson is forging new partnerships between humans and computers to enhance, scale and accelerate human expertise. For years, cognitive computing represented the potential for surprising new discoveries. Suddenly, with Watson, it’s the reality. Learn more at Join the conversation at #IBMWatson.”

“Discovery Advisor accelerates your research and unlocks patterns across all types of data so your organization can discover with precision.”   Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 5.48.28 PM

Watson harnesses your data

Discovery Advisor marries both your proprietary and external research data within your domain so that your research draws from the most relevant material.

Watson learns

Once your data has been integrated, it’s time for Watson to learn. Work with IBM to train Watson Discovery Advisor in cycles. Watson also ingests new information ...

by Peter Rothman at Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:56 Instapaperify

August 29, 2014


7 Rules That Keep My Life Simple

By Leo Babauta

I enjoy creating a few simple rules to live by that take away some of the overwhelming decision making we need to make every day.

Pre-think these decisions, formulate them into rules, and then just follow them, freeing your brain for more important decisions.

Why should we need to give so much thought to what we’ll wear and eat, how we’ll exercise and handle email, when these are things we do every single day?

So I’ve been crafting a few rules that keep my life simple, so I don’t need to think about the little things so much.

These rules change, depending on my life circumstances — what I’m working on, where I am, what else is going on, etc.

And I don’t get mad at myself if I need to bend a rule now and then … but try to stick with them as a general principle.

So here are the rules that have been working for me lately:

  1. Clear my email inbox every Friday. I generally ...

by zenhabits at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 23:08 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Children with autism learn imitative behavior from socially assistive robot

Representation of the ‘copycat game’ interaction between the child subject and the Nao robot. Using data from a Kinect sensor (shown here), USC Interaction Lab software compares the distances between human and robot joints to measure pose accuracy. (Credit: USC Viterbi)

Humanoid robots could help autistic children practice imitation behavior, according to USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers, based on a new study.

They examined how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) react to humanoid robots that provide “graded cueing” — an occupational therapy technique that shapes behavior by providing increasingly specific cues, or prompts, to help a person learn new or lost skills.

An imitation game

They divided a group of 12 high-functioning children with ASD into two groups, one experimental and one control. Each child then played an imitation game (“copycat”) with a Nao robot that asked the child to imitate 25 different arm poses.

“So if a child with autism is at recess with friends, and some kids are playing Red Light/Green Light, the child might look at the game and say ...

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:16 Instapaperify

h+ Magazine

The Return of Radical Empiricism


“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” So wrote Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason, one of the most influential philosophy books of all time. Kant is also the philosopher credited for finally overcoming the opposition between empiricism and rationalism in epistemology, as he realized that neither position, by itself, is sufficient to account for human knowledge.Kant was notoriously awoken from what he termed his “dogmatic slumber” [1] by reading David Hume, who had written in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:“All the objects of human reason or enquiry may naturally be divided into two kinds, to wit, Relations of Ideas, and Matters of fact. Of the first kind are the sciences of Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic … [which are] discoverable by the mere operation of thought … Matters of fact, which are the second object of human reason, are not ascertained in the same manner; nor is our evidence of their truth, however great, of a like nature ...

by Peter Rothman at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:12 Instapaperify

Ulterior Motives

Saving Face by Using Ambiguous Language

When we use language, it seems so easy to understand what other people are saying that it is hard to appreciate the complexity of the act of carrying on a conversation. Obviously, we miscommunicate at times, but most of the time, we do a good job of understanding what other people mean and making ourselves understood.

read more

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:48 Instapaperify

The Bulletproof Executive

Nina Teicholz on Saturated Fats & the Soft Science on Fat – #149

Nina Teicholz is an investigative journalist and author of the New York Times Best-Selling Book, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. She is a well-respected food and nutrition writer that has contributed to publications such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Economist, and Men’s […]

by Dave Asprey at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:43 Instapaperify


Citizen Power - Part II: Those Cop-Cameras...

Continuing our series on co-veillance, sousveillance and general citizen empowerment, on our streets... last time we discussed our right and ability to use new instrumentalities to expand our ability to view, record and hold others accountable, with the cameras in our pockets.

Now -- the other side of this accountability equation. 

Some ideas seem far-out "scifi"... until suddenly they become mainstream.  In the wake of the recent Ferguson, Missouri riots, a petition asking for a "Mike Brown Law" that would require all state, county, and local police to wear cameras. has achieved almost 150,000 signatures. Last August, a federal judge called for the NYPD to wear such cameras when she ruled that the department's stop-and-frisk policy violated people's constitutional rights. But as A.J. Vicens discusses in Mother Jones: "Putting Body Cameras on Cops Is Hardly a Cure-All for Abuses."

Meanwhile, Taser International (TASR), which makes the most widely used police body cameras, increased its bookings for its video unit almost twofold last quarter, signing deals with the police departments of Winston-Salem, N ...

by David Brin at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:41 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Improving memory with transcranial magnetic stimulation

Using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus (credit: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)

Northwestern Medicine researchers have discovered that using high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to indirectly stimulate the hippocampus portion of the brain (which is involved in forming memories) improves long-term memory.

The discovery opens up interesting new possibilities for treating memory impairments caused by conditions such as stroke, early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and cardiac arrest — along with the memory problems that occur in aging.

“We show for the first time that you can specifically change memory functions of the brain in adults without surgery or drugs, which have not proven effective,” said senior author Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This noninvasive stimulation improves the ability to learn new things. It has tremendous potential for treating memory disorders.”

The study was published today (August 29) in Science.

The study is also the first to demonstrate that remembering events requires a collection of many brain regions ...

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:12 Instapaperify


Citizen Power - Part I: using our cell cameras for safety and freedom

If you push long and hard enough for something that is logical and needed, a time may come when it finally happens! At which point – pretty often – you may have no idea whether your efforts made a difference. Perhaps other, influential people saw the same facts and drew similar, logical conclusions! Here is my own latest example:

“Qualcomm and other wireless companies have been working on a new cellular standard—a set of technical procedures that ensures devices can “talk” to one another—that will keep the lines open if the network fails. The Proximity Services, or so-called LTE Direct, standard will be approved by the end of the year.”

This technology, which would allow our pocket radios to pass along at-minimum basic text messages, on a peer-to-peer basis (P2P), even when the cell system is down, would seem to be the obvious backup mode that we all might rely upon, in emergencies. Indeed, failure of cell service badly exacerbated the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina and Tsunami Fukushima. I have been hectoring folks about this ...

by David Brin at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:13 Instapaperify

h+ Magazine

Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (new book)

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.55.11 AM

An exciting new book by h+ Magazine author and contributor, David Roden.

We imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0.

Posthuman Life argues that the enhancement debate projects a human face onto an empty screen. We do not know what will happen and, not being posthuman, cannot anticipate how posthumans will assess the world. If a posthuman future will not necessarily be informed by our kind of subjectivity or morality the limits of our current knowledge must inform any ethical or political assessment of that future. Posthuman Life develops a critical metaphysics of posthuman succession and argues that only a truly speculative posthumanism can support an ethics that meets the challenge of the transformative potential ...

by H+ Magazine at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:08 Instapaperify


6 Coffee Alternatives That Are Better for Productivity

Designed by Claire Jones for the Noun Project

Designed by Claire Jones for the Noun Project

Regardless of where you fall on the “is coffee good or bad for you” debate, there will come a workday when you can barely keep your head up at your desk, and coffee is not an option. Maybe you’ve already had two or three cups with no real effect, or maybe you’ve been trying to quit but still haven’t found a good alternative yet.

As part of Fast Company‘s “Coffee Week” coverage, Lisa Evans offers a number (6 in all) of other options. Here’s a few of our favorites: 

Green Tea: This beverage has become known as the healthiest coffee alternative thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants and its link to lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Green tea does contain caffeine, but a smaller amount than your regular cup of coffee, so you don’t end up with the same jittery side effects. Not only can green tea boost mental alertness, studies show it can also make ...

by behanceteam at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:00 Instapaperify


Write Down Every Time You Spend Money to Trick Yourself to Save More

Write Down Every Time You Spend Money to Trick Yourself to Save More

Saving money isn't easy; in fact, we're wired not to do it . So little mental tricks like forcing yourself to document when you spend money could handily prevent you from overspending.


by Melanie Pinola at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:34 Instapaperify

Cal Newport » Blog

Deep Habits: Pursue Clarity Before Pursuing Results


Shallow September

I track my deep work hours using a weekly tally, so I have a good sense of how my commitment to depth varies over time. A trend I’ve noticed is that my deep work rate hits a low point around this time of year.

The obvious explanation is that the start of the fall semester adds extra time constraints. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. My deep work tends to increase as the fall continues, even though my teaching commitments also increase during this period (i.e., once there are problem sets and exams to grade).

In thinking about this mystery I’ve begun to better understand a crucial but often ignored aspect of working deeply on important things: the necessity of clarity.

My Research Cycle

In my life as a distributed algorithm researcher, I experience a rapid-fire set of important research deadlines that begin in the late winter and end mid summer. If all goes well, this period clears out my research larder, leaving me, by mid-July ...

by Study Hacks at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:31 Instapaperify



The bad teacher conspiracy

Any time I see an article about the evaluation system for teachers in New York State, I wince. People get it wrong so very often. Yesterday’s New York Times article written by Elizabeth Harris was even worse than usual.

First, her wording. She mentioned a severe drop in student reading and math proficiency rates statewide and attributed it to a change in the test to the Common Core, which she described as “more rigorous.”

The truth is closer to “students were tested on stuff that wasn’t in their curriculum.” And as you can imagine, if you are tested on stuff you didn’t learn, your score will go down (the Common Core has been plagued by a terrible roll-out, and the timing of this test is Exhibit A). Wording like this matters, because Harris is setting up her reader to attribute the falling scores to bad teachers.

Harris ends her piece with a reference to a teacher-tenure lawsuit: ‘In one of those cases, filed in Albany in July, court documents contrasted the high ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:18 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

A Touch to Fear: Chiropractic and the Newborn Baby

A significant part of my job as a pediatric hospitalist involves caring for newborns. It is arguably the best thing that I get to do as a physician, even if I do at times prefer the increased intellectual stimulation of the ill hospitalized child. While seeing newborns, I am almost always surrounded by happy and appreciative parents, grandparents and whoever else is invited to meet and greet the new arrival because the babies are almost always healthy. In fact, and not that I really care (sniff, sniff), the parents of newborns are with rare exception the only caregivers that ever thank me at discharge.

Unfortunately, sometimes I am called upon to assist babies that are having difficulty transitioning into the outside world for a variety of reasons. These reasons can range from the fairly minor and transient to the catastrophic. And despite our advances in the understanding of neonatal pathophysiology and in medical technology, there remain newborn infants that cannot be saved or ...

by Clay Jones at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00 Instapaperify

Language Log » Psychology of language

Needs more sexting

Today's xkcd:

I'm not sure what "another study" refers to in this case.

The mouseover title suggests a future research program in computational humanistic educational psychology:

I'd like to find a corpus of writing writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (e.g. handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher's 7th grade class every year)–and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. I've heard the idea that exposure to all this amateur peer practice is hurting us, but I'd bet on the generation that conducts the bulk of their social lives via the written word over the generation that occasionally wrote book reports and letters to grandma once a year, any day.

I suspect that children's letters to the president have always been heavily edited by adults. But modulo difficulties about selecting comparable samples across time, it might be possible to use the historical archive of ETS essays.

Some previous LLOG coverage of ...

by Mark Liberman at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:51 Instapaperify

Uploads by Adam Ford

Peter Singer - Effective Altruism, an Introduction

Peter Singer on Effective Altruism & Cause Prioritization - this is a short from a longer interview I did recently with Peter Singer - the longer form is forthcoming! Effective altruism is...
From: Adam Ford
Views: 65
2 ratings
Time: 04:39 More in Science & Technology

by Adam Ford at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:39 Instapaperify

Uploads by Julia Galef

Know the brain you have to get the brain you want

Julia talks about how to use your biases to de-bias yourself. (Note: The specific applications I'm talking about in this video, of the commitment/consistency effects and social proof, haven't...
Views: 759
107 ratings
Time: 02:32 More in Education

by Julia Galef at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:07 Instapaperify


This Is Your Brain On Coffee

The latest episode from Mitchell Moffat and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE is on the brain-boosting effects of coffee and the mechanisms of caffeine addiction. Plus, Moffatt and Brown take a crack at the age old question (no, not that one ): how much caffeine is too much?


by Robbie Gonzalez at Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:00 Instapaperify

August 28, 2014

Andrew Gelman

When we talk about the “file drawer,” let’s not assume that an experiment can easily be characterized as producing strong, mixed, or weak results

Neil Malhotra:

I thought you might be interested in our paper [the paper is by Annie Franco, Neil Malhotra, and Gabor Simonovits, and the link is to a news article by Jeffrey Mervis], forthcoming in Science, about publication bias in the social sciences given your interest and work on research transparency.

Basic summary: We examined studies conducted as part of the Time-sharing Experiments in the Social Science (TESS) program, where: (1) we have a known population of conducted studies (some published, some unpublished); and (2) all studies exceed a quality threshold as they go through peer review. We found that having null results made experiments 40 percentage points less likely to be published and 60 percentage points less likely to even be written up.

My reply:

Here’s a funny bit from the news article: “Stanford political economist Neil Malhotra and two of his graduate students . . .” You know you’ve hit the big time when you’re the only author who gets mentioned in the news story!

More seriously, this is great stuff. I would ...

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:52 Instapaperify


You Might Enjoy an Experience More the Longer You Have to Wait for It

You Might Enjoy an Experience More the Longer You Have to Wait for It

Most people believe buying experiences instead of possessions will bring you more satisfaction in the long run. Well you should start planning now for an experience way down the road, because a recent study suggests that the longer you have to wait for it, the more you'll enjoy it.


by Patrick Allan at Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:00 Instapaperify

The Bulletproof Executive

Activate Your Flow State at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference

Imagine this… You’re at the 2014 Bulletproof (second annual) Biohacking Conference and you’re asking yourself these questions: Should I put myself in a flow state? …or should I experience a pulsed electromagnetic frequency device and watch my muscles twitch from just a magnet? Do I want to spend the next 15 minutes with light sound goggles […]

by Dave Asprey at Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:56 Instapaperify - Program Feed

Robert Wood: Robotic Insects

Robert Wood: Robotic Insects
Electrical engineer Robert Wood leads a team at Harvard University that invents and develops entirely new classes of microrobots poised to play a transformative role in medicine, search-and-rescue missions, and agriculture.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:53 Instapaperify

Sanga Moses: Using Waste to Fuel Africa

Sanga Moses: Using Waste to Fuel Africa
Social entrepreneur and National Geographic Explorer Sanga Moses' vision of providing Africa with clean and inexpensive cooking energy is not only helping the environment, but is also empowering his fellow Africans who play an important role in his innovative business.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:49 Instapaperify

Shivani Bhalla: Securing a Future for Lions

Shivani Bhalla: Securing a Future for Lions
Conservation biologist Shivani Bhalla is recruiting Kenyan warriors to safeguard the future of the country's rapidly declining lion population.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion:

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:45 Instapaperify