Planet Rationalist

April 26, 2015

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DTCA Forum - Response to the DTCB by Kevin Korb

The forum briefly introduced the Defence Trade Control Act and the amendments newly proposed by Ian Chubb's Steering Group (DTCB 2015) and how they will impact science & technology research...
From: Adam Ford
Views: 1
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Time: 15:03 More in Science & Technology

by Adam Ford at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 23:18 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Are we that different from (irrational) animals? – philosophy.stackexchange.com

Well, up to now I'm pretty sure I didn't find anyone who can ignore feelings. I do try my best since I do think that they are the irrational thing we have, but of course, I still have them. Fear, ...

by EnderEgg at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 22:45 Instapaperify

You Are Not So Smart

Contact: The power of disclosure to reduce prejudice, shift attitudes, and change minds forever

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.02.37 PM

The Topic: Contact

The Episode: Download – iTunesStitcherRSSSoundcloud

mindchangebulbs

This episode is sponsored by Wealthfront, the automated investment service that makes it easy to invest your money the right way. Visit this link to to get your first $10,000 managed for free.

Support the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

Can you change a person’s mind on a divisive social issue? For instance, let’s say you meet someone who is very opposed to same-sex marriage and has felt that way for years. In one conversation, could you flip his or her opinion in the other direction?

The latest science says…hold on to your socks…yes. But it will require two things: contact and disclosure.

In this episode you will about the contact hypothesis – a series of conditions required to reduce prejudice and change minds. Studied by sociologists, psychologists, and political scientists since the 1950s, the hypothesis has been incomplete – until now.

In the first half ...

by David McRaney at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:36 Instapaperify

Marginal Revolution: Science

Robot sentences to ponder

Harnessing high-powered computing, color sensors and small metal baskets attached to the robotic arms, the machine gently plucked ripe strawberries from below deep-green leaves, while mostly ignoring unripe fruit nearby.

Such tasks have long required the trained discernment and backbreaking effort of tens of thousands of relatively low-paid workers. But technological advances are making it possible for robots to handle the job, just as a shrinking supply of available fruit pickers has made the technology more financially attractive.

…Machines are doing more than picking produce. Altman Specialty Plants Inc., one of the country’s largest nurseries, has been using eight, squat robots for the past two years to ferry more than 1.2 million potted roses and other plants to new rows as they grow larger. The $25,000, self-driving machines have occasionally gotten stuck in mud, but they freed eight workers for other jobs and ultimately paid for themselves in 18 months, said Becky Drumright, Altman’s marketing director.

And we used to say that gardening was one of the hardest jobs to automate ...

Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:00 Instapaperify

The Rationalist Conspiracy

Theranos interview (2005)

An interesting May 2005 interview with Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the mysterious Theranos. Original audio here.

Dr. Moira Gunn: This is the Tech Nation Podcast from IT Conversations. The world we know is changing. This is BioTech Nation.

Dr. Moira Gunn: The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA has just reported that in 2004, over 400,000 Americans reported adverse drug reactions, and 100,000 Americans died. On the benign side, other research shows that 40% to 60% of all patients don’t benefit from the drugs they’re prescribed. I asked Elizabeth Holmes, the President and CEO of Theranos: why can’t we figure out who will have an adverse drug reaction, and why certain drugs aren’t going to work?

Elizabeth Holmes: I think that part of it has to do with the fact that there is no mechanism in place to deal with monitoring patients on an individualized basis today. When we began Theranos, what we focused on was creating a customized medicine tool that could be used in ...

by sandorzoo at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:49 Instapaperify

Uploads by YouTube Help

DTCA Forum - Kevin Korb - Intro and Overview of DTCA

The forum briefly introduced the Defence Trade Control Act and the amendments newly proposed by Ian Chubb's Steering Group (DTCB 2015) and how they will impact science & technology research...
From: Adam Ford
Views: 0
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Time: 18:09 More in Science & Technology

by Adam Ford at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:52 Instapaperify

DTCA Forum Carlo Kopp - Overview of DSGL

The forum briefly introduced the Defence Trade Control Act and the amendments newly proposed by Ian Chubb's Steering Group (DTCB 2015) and how they will impact science & technology research...
From: Adam Ford
Views: 1
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Time: 15:45 More in Science & Technology

by Adam Ford at Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:51 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

Andrew Gelman

This year’s Atlantic Causal Inference Conference: 20-21 May

Dylan Small writes:

The conference will take place May 20-21 (with a short course on May 19th) and the web site for the conference is here. The deadline for submitting a poster title for the poster session is this Friday. Junior researchers (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and assistant professors) whose poster demonstrates exceptional research will also be considered for the Thomas R. Ten Have Award, which recognizes “exceptionally creative or skillful research on causal inference.” The two award winners will be invited to speak at the 2016 Atlantic Causal Inference Conference.

We held the first conference in this series ten years ago at Columbia, and I’m glad to see it’s still doing well.

The post This year’s Atlantic Causal Inference Conference: 20-21 May appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:37 Instapaperify

DataGenetics

Geometry Puzzle (update)

Update on last weeks geometry puzzle using trigonometry.

Sun, 26 Apr 2015 00:00 Instapaperify

April 25, 2015

Overcoming Bias

Financial Status

At a finance conference last year, I learned this: Instead of saving money directly for their own retirement, many workers have their employers save for them. Those employers hire in-house specialists to pick which specialty consulting firms to hire. These consulting firms advise employers on which investment firms to use. And those investment firms pick actual productive enterprises in which to invest. All three of these intermediaries, i.e., employer, consultant, and investor, take a cut for their active management.

Even employees who invest for themselves tend to pick at least one high fee intermediary: an active-management investment firm. Few take the low cost option of just directly investing in a low-overhead index fund, as recommended by academics for a half-century.

I’ve given talks at many active-management investment firms over the years. They pay speakers very well. I’ve noticed that (like management consults) they tend to hire very visibly impressive people. They also give big investors a lot of personal quality time, to create personal relationships. Their top people seem better at making ...

by Robin Hanson at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:45 Instapaperify

Bulletproof

Dr. Trevor Cates: Hacking Dry Skin, Internal Health & The Glowing Skin Summit – #214

Why you should listen –  Dr. Trevor Cates comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss possible causes of dry skin, harmful synthetic fragrances, environmental toxins, and why sunblock isn’t as safe as you may think. Enjoy the show! Click here to download the mp3 of Dr. Trevor Cates: Hacking Your Dry Skin, Acne & Internal Health […]

The post Dr. Trevor Cates: Hacking Dry Skin, Internal Health & The Glowing Skin Summit – #214 appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Dave Asprey at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:00 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

“America’s Quack” strikes back

Wile E. Coyote or Dr. Henry Miller? You be the judge!

Wile E. Coyote or Dr. Henry Miller? You be the judge!

Those of you who read my not-so-super-secret other blog (or who follow the news) familiar with this, but I feel that what happened over the last couple of weeks with respect to a man to whom I like to refer as “America’s Quack” is worth posting right here, in modified form.

Last week, a group of ten doctors led by Dr. Henry Miller, most of whom were affiliated either with the Hoover Institution or the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)—or both—wrote a letter to Lee Goldman, MD, the Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University complaining that Dr. Mehmet Oz shouldn’t be faculty at Columbia University because of his “disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops” and “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.” The letter produced a ...

by David Gorski at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 16:30 Instapaperify

Improve Your Learning and Memory.

What Is the Optimal Spacing for Study?

We have all been told by teachers that learning occurs best when we spread it out over time, rather than trying to cram everything into our memory banks at one time. But what is the optimal spacing? There is no general consensus.
However we do know that immediately after a learning experience the memory of the event is extremely volatile and easily lost. It's like looking up a number in the phone book: if you think about something else at the same time you may have to look the number up again before you can dial it. School settings commonly create this problem. One learning object may be immediately followed by another, and the succession of such new information tends to erase the memory of the preceding ones.
Memory researchers have known for a long time that repeated retrieval enhances long-term retention. This happens because each time we retrieve a memory, it has to be reconsolidated and each such reconsolidation strengthens the memory. Though optimal spacing intervals have not been identified, research confirms the ...

by W. R. Klemm at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 15:29 Instapaperify

Dan Ariely

Ask Ariely: On Justifying Gadgets, Job Satisfaction, and Just Flowers

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 AskAriely@wsj.com.

______________________________________________________

Dear Dan,

I’m thinking about buying the new Apple Watch, but I’m sure if it is worth it. Any advice?

—Greg

I’m not sure I can be truly objective here: I just might want one, and if I suggest that you shouldn’t get one, how could I justify buying one for myself later?

So without wanting to limit my own future purchases, let’s more generally consider the question of how we figure out whether luxury items are worth the cost.

Let’s take a very different product, black pearls, as our example. When black pearls were first introduced to the market, nobody wanted them [for more about this story, see Predictably Irrational]. But then the famous jeweler Harry Winston placed black pearls in his ...

by danariely at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:37 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Questionnaire regarding the motivation to be physically active – cogsci.stackexchange.com

Does anyone know a questionnaire regarding the motivation to be physically active? That is, the motivation to move more (i.e. walk, cycle, run) and sit less on a daily basis.

by Ovib at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:07 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

Andrew Gelman

Statistical analysis on a dataset that consists of a population

This is an oldie but a goodie.

Donna Towns writes:

I am wondering if you could help me solve an ongoing debate?

My colleagues and I are discussing (disagreeing) on the ability of a researcher to analyze information on a population. My colleagues are sure that a researcher is unable to perform statistical analysis on a dataset that consists of a population, whereas I believe that statistical analysis is appropriate if you are testing future outcomes. For example, a group of inmates in a detention centre receive a new program. As it would contravene ethics, all offenders receive the program. Therefore, a researcher would need to compare a group of inmates prior to the introduction of the program. Assuming, or after confirm that these two populations are similar, are we able to apply statistical analysis to compare the outcomes of these to populations (such as time to return to detention)? If so, what would be the methodologies used? Do you happen to know of any articles that discuss this issue?

I replied with a link ...

Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:36 Instapaperify

mathbabe

Aunt Pythia’s advice

Aunt Pythia has barely recovered from her pastry indulgences of last weekend, and yet it is time to once again act the advice tailor and dispense terrible and ill-fitted advice pants (probably because of said pastry indulgences) to anyone who will listen.

Don’t ask her why, but Aunt Pythia is into the concept of a tailor who will do house calls this morning, especially if that tailor will deliberately make ugly clothes. It’s a weird metaphor which Aunt Pythia is just going with, so please join her on this bizarre wavelength. Here’s how she’s feeling:

Well, not ill-fitting like this, but I couldn't help it.

Well, not ill-fitting like this, but who could resist.

Are you here? Are you prepared? And moreover, do you merely have a grotesque and morbid curiosity about other people’s problems, or are you also prepared to order and be fitted for your very own terrible advice pants as well? If so, don’t forget to:

ask Aunt Pythia a question at the bottom of the page!

By the way, if you don’t know what ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:06 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

Cognitive lives scientific

CC Licensed Image by Flickr user Charly W. Karl. Click four source.The BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientific has recently profiled three four, count’em, three four, cognitive scientists.

Because the BBC find the internet confusing I’m just going to link straight to the mp3s to save you scrabbling about on their site.

The most recent profile you can grab as an mp3 was artificial intelligence and open data Nigel Shadbolt.

The next mp3 for your list is an interview with cognitive neuroscientist and teenage brain researcher Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.

And finally, grab the mp3 of the programme on spatial memory researcher and recent Nobel prize winner John O’Keefe.

UPDATE: Thanks to those nice folks on the Twitter who told me about another edition I missed. AI scientist Maggie Boden was also profiled and you can also grab that edition as an mp3.

That’s more than an hour an a half of pure cognitive science. Use carefully. Keep away from fire. Remember, the value of your investments may go down as well as up


by vaughanbell at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 11:45 Instapaperify

Spike activity 24-04-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

Prospect Magazine has a good article on early psychosis and young people who hear voices.

The cost of fame. The Message discusses the nefarious social effects of fame.

Neuroskeptic asks Where Are The Big Ideas in Neuroscience?

Emotional Intelligence Doesn’t Translate Across Borders. Essential piece from the Harvard Business Review.

The New Yorker has an excellent Oliver Sacks post-traumatic brain biography of actor Spalding Gray.

Can the Static-99 save us from sex offenders? BuzzFeed has an extended article on a widely used but perhaps over-trusted risk prediction tool in forensic psychology.

Neuroconscience has an excellent piece on current big trends in neuroscience.

Ritual cannibalism occurred in England 14,700 years ago reports Science News.


by vaughanbell at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 09:22 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Efficient learning strategies? – cogsci.stackexchange.com

When learning a new subject or a skill, is it more effective to break practice into small sub-skills and focus on them for months until they have been fully mastered, or to practice each small ...

by exploremind33 at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 08:32 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

A visual history of madness

The Paris Review has an extended and richly illustrated piece by historian Andrew Scull who tracks how madness has been visually depicted through the ages.

Scull is probably the most thorough and readable historian of madness since the death of the late, great Roy Porter, and this article is no exception.

Modern psychiatry seems determined to rob madness of its meanings, insisting that its depredations can be reduced to biology and nothing but biology. One must doubt it. The social and cultural dimensions of mental disorders, so indispensable a part of the story of madness and civilization over the centuries, are unlikely to melt away, or to prove no more than an epiphenomenal feature of so universal a feature of human existence. Madness indeed has its meanings, elusive and evanescent as our attempts to capture them have been.

By the way, most of the illustrations in the web article seem to be clickable for high resolution full screen versions, so you can see them in full detail.
 

Link to Madness and Meaning in Paris Review.


by vaughanbell at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 08:11 Instapaperify

Causal Analysis in Theory and Practice

Flowers of the First Law of Causal Inference (3)

Flower 3 — Generalizing experimental findings

Continuing our examination of “the flowers of the First Law” (see previous flowers here and here) this posting looks at one of the most crucial questions in causal inference: “How generalizable are our randomized clinical trials?” Readers of this blog would be delighted to learn that one of our flowers provides an elegant and rather general answer to this question. I will describe this answer in the context of transportability theory, and compare it to the way researchers have attempted to tackle the problem using the language of ignorability. We will see that ignorability-type assumptions are fairly limited, both in their ability to define conditions that permit generalizations, and in our ability to justify them in specific applications.

1. Transportability and Selection Bias
The problem of generalizing experimental findings from the trial sample to the population as a whole, also known as the problem of “sample selection-bias” (Heckman, 1979; Bareinboim et al., 2014), has received wide attention lately, as more researchers come to recognize this bias as a major threat ...

by eb at Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:50 Instapaperify

Fallacy Files

Wiki Watchee: The Persistence of Misinformation

One of the claims used in defense of the accuracy of "Wikipedia" is that misinformation inserted into the online "encyclopedia" is usually found and removed quickly, even in a matter of minutes. I've argued previously that this is an unjustified claim because the examples that can be pointed to are only those that have been found, which means that the sample we have is affected by survival bias....

Sat, 25 Apr 2015 03:00 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Scientists create the sensation of invisibility

Ph.D. student Zakaryah Abdulkarim, M.D., shows how to create the illusion of invisibility in the lab (photomontage) (credit: Staffan Larsson)

How would it feel to be invisible? Neuroscientists at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have found out. It can actually changes your physical stress response in challenging social situations, for example.

The history of literature features many well-known narrations of invisibility and its effect on the human mind, such as the myth of Gyges’ ring in Plato’s dialogue The Republic and the science fiction novel The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. Now it’s been studied in the lab.

The experiment

In an open-access article in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers describe the experiment. The participant is standing up and is wearing a set of head-mounted displays. She is asked to look down at her ody, but instead of her real body she sees empty space. Then the scientist touches the participant’s body in various locations with a large paintbrush while, with another paintbrush held in the other hand, exactly ...

Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:37 Instapaperify

April 24, 2015

Cal Newport » Blog

The Original Four Hour Workweek

The Four Hour Consensus

russell-400pxIn 2007, Tim Ferriss published a hit book that suggested “work,” in the traditional money-making sense of the term, could and should be reduced to as little as four hours per week — freeing time for more fulfilling pursuits.

Seventy-five years earlier, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, in an essay titled In Praise of Idleness, suggested this same number of working hours as a worthy goal, explaining…

In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving…Young writers will not be obliged to draw attention to themselves by sensational pot-boilers…Men who, in their professional work, have become interested in some phase of economics or government, will be able to develop their ideas…

Russell and Ferriss propose wildly different paths to this goal: while the former believed a radically reduced workweek requires socialism to realize, Ferriss argues that the productivity tools of the ...

by Study Hacks at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:01 Instapaperify

FORA.tv - Program Feed

Ellen McCarthy

Ellen McCarthy
It seemed like a turn of events that would only befall Bridget Jones or dominate a brunch sequence in a Sex and the City episode, but for reporter Ellen McCarthy, it was an ironic reality: on the same day The Washington Post hired her as the full-time weddings reporter, she and her longtime boyfriend broke up. And she was thirty at the time. In the years that followed, Ellen has covered more than 200 walks down the aisle. She has also talked to the pros, picking the brains of the matchmakers, sex therapists, psychologists, neurologists and philosophers who spend their days investigating what makes relationships work. In The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter's Notebook, Ellen explores the complete journey of our timeless quest for "The One," the Soul Mate, the Real Thing. Her collection of insights-on dating, commitment, breakups, weddings, and marriage-gives us a window into the mystery, the science, and the secrets of how we find love and make it last.
Date: Wed, 22 Apr ...

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 22:34 Instapaperify

Lifehacker

Start Overcoming Your Shyness by Dumping Your Self-Image

Being shy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’d like to overcome it, you have to start by ditching the labels and stigmas you’ve attached to yourself.

Read more...

by Patrick Allan at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 22:00 Instapaperify

Matt Ridley - Blog RSS

Only innovation can save us

My Times column argues that only high-tech innovation will give us the cash to fund our future, so why won’t Cameron or Miliband talk about it?

 

Fifty years ago yesterday, a young computer expert called Gordon Moore pointed out that the number of transistors on a silicon chip seemed to be doubling every year or two and that if this went on it would “lead to such wonders as home computers . . . and personal portable communications equipment”.

Today, for the cost of an hour of work on the average wage, you can buy about a trillion times as much computing power as you could when Moore wrote his article. The result has had a huge impact on our standard of living, indeed it is one of the biggest factors behind world economic growth in the past half century.

Back in the 1950s the American economist Robert Solow calculated that 87 per cent of economic growth came not from applying more capital or more labour, but from innovation making people more productive. It’s probably even ...

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:50 Instapaperify

io9

Scientists Mapped Activity In The Brain Of A Tinnitus Sufferer

Many people perceive a ringing in their ears when no sound source is present, a condition known as tinnitus. By mapping tinnitus inside the brain, scientists have shown just how complex these phantom sounds really are.

Read more...

by George Dvorsky at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:20 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

What is Mindfulness training and how can it boost productivity? – productivity.stackexchange.com

I hear Mindfulness training has many great effects for personal productivity. But what is it and how do you actually do it, if you want to get the results? And specifically what are those effects?

by Gruber at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:28 Instapaperify

FORA.tv - Program Feed

Gender and Poverty in the Face of Climate Change

Gender and Poverty in the Face of Climate Change
Topic: Ideas for solutions to inequities found in the quality of life for women and children and as a result of location and/or poverty Panelists:
  • MODERATOR: Tara Sonenshine, Planet Forward
  • Aviram Rozin, Sadhana Forest
  • Ram Fishman, GW
  • Imani M. Cheers, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, GWU
  • Eva Moss, Student, Sewanee: The University of the South

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 08:10:00 -0700
Location: Washington, D.C., Jack Morton Auditorium, GW Planet Forward
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2015/04/23/panel_the_story_of_gender_and_poverty_in_the_face_of_climate_change







Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:52 Instapaperify

Neurophilosophy | The Guardian

The Homer Simpson effect: forgetting to remember

New research suggests that the act of remembering causes forgetting of similar but irrelevant memories.

Homer Simpson wasn’t a neuroscientist, but he evidently had some insight into how the brain works. In one episode of the long-running series, he explains why education is wasted on him: “Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain,” he tells Marge. “Remember when I took that home wine-making course and I forgot how to drive?”

Researchers say they have now observed this Homer Simpson Effect* in the brain for the first time. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) combined with behavioural tests, they show that the retrieval of visual memories causes forgetting of related memory traces. The work, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggests that the act of remembering past experiences might hinder our ability to recall similar events, or perhaps make our memories of them completely inaccessible.

Related: Light switches memories on and off | Mo Costandi

Related: Human brain cells boost mouse memory | Mo Costandi

@mocost #homersimpsoneffect

Continue reading...

by Mo Costandi at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:00 Instapaperify

CONTRARY BRIN

What about Alien Life?

== Other types of life? ==

A theorized cell membrane, composed of smaller organic nitrogen compounds and capable of functioning in liquid methane temperatures of 292 degrees beneath zero, might be the basis for “living” cells on Titan. The analogue to Earthly, water based liposomes (the basis of our own cells), published in Science Advances, shows the exact same stability and flexibility that Earth's analogous liposome does.  One component - Acrylonitrile -- a colorless, poisonous, liquid organic compound utilized in the manufacture of acrylic fibers, resins and thermoplastics -- is present in Titan's atmosphere.

Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, has an underground ocean that contains more water than Earth's. As of now, scientists estimate the ocean is 10 times deeper than Earth's oceans and is buried under a 95-mile (150-kilometer) crust made up of mostly ice. Researchers found that Jupiter's own magnetic field interacts with Ganymede's, causing a rocking motion in the aurorae. This motion is reduced by magnetic friction applied by the presence of Ganymede's underground ocean.

Shelley Wright, an Assistant Professor ...

by David Brin at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:56 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

An instinct for fairness lurking within even the most competitive

It stings when life’s not fair – but what happens if it means we profit? As Tom Stafford writes, some people may perform unexpected self-sabotage.

Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behaviour at Emory University, is the unlikely star of a viral video. His academic’s physique, grey jumper and glasses aren’t the usual stuff of a YouTube sensation. But de Waal’s research with monkeys, and its implications for human nature, caught the imagination of millions of people.

It began with a TED talk in which de Waal showed the results of one experiment that involved paying two monkeys unequally (see video, below). Capuchin monkeys that lived together were taken to neighbouring cages and trained to hand over small stones in return for food rewards. The researchers found that a typical monkey would happily hand over stone after stone when it was rewarded for each exchange with a slice of cucumber.

But capuchin monkeys prefer grapes to cucumber slices. If the researchers paid one of the monkeys in grapes instead, the monkey ...

by tomstafford at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:35 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

io9

The Mushrooms You See In Every Children's Book Are Psychoactive

These adorable mushrooms are in every children’s book illustration. They’re so cute, with their bright red umbrellas and white spots! They’re also psychoactive. And toxic.

Read more...

by Esther Inglis-Arkell at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:30 Instapaperify

mathbabe

Driving While Black in the Bronx

This is the story of Q, a black man living in the Bronx, who kindly allowed me to interview him about his recent experience. The audio recording of my interview with him is available below as well.

Q was stopped in the Bronx driving a new car, the fourth time that week, by two rookie officers on foot. The officers told Q to “give me your fucking license,” and Q refused to produce his license, objecting to the tone of the officer’s request. When Q asked him why he was stopped, the officer told him that it was because of his tinted back windows, in spite of there being many other cars on the same block, and even next to him, with similarly tinted windows. Q decided to start recording the interaction on his phone after one of the cops used the n-word.

After a while seven cop cars came to the scene, and eventually a more polite policeman asked Q to produce his license, which he did. They brought him in, claiming they ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:09 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Ancient Origins of Modern Dietary Demons

glutenlie
There are few aspects of daily existence, particularly in modern society, that are more pervasive than advice on what we should eat. Everyone, including friends, family, strangers on Twitter and self-proclaimed experts in nutrition and health, seems to have an opinion on how to eat in order to improve and prolong our lives. Even legitimate organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of the population add to the cacophony of recommendations on diet.

Readers of Science-Based Medicine should be well aware of the current popularity of avoiding gluten, even absent the diagnosis of celiac disease or thoughtful evaluation for another related condition. Gluten, we are told by gurus and authors of books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, is the one true cause of a host of medical complaints, even autism. Avoid gluten at all costs, they say, and watch the pounds melt away or experience the clearing of your “brain fog.”

The resulting glut of glutenless products on the market may benefit the 1% of the population with celiac disease, or help to ease ...

by Clay Jones at Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:00 Instapaperify