Planet Rationalist

May 26, 2015

FORA.tv - Program Feed

We Are What We Eat: Bolivia

We Are What We Eat: Bolivia
(Part 3 of 7) Photographer Matthieu Paley journeys to the Bolivian Amazon where getting a meal is a family affair for the Tsimane people, as children often scavenge for food and gut hunted animals.
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2015 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2015/04/15/We_Are_What_We_Eat_Bolivia







Tue, 26 May 2015 23:45 Instapaperify

We Are What We Eat: Greenland

We Are What We Eat: Greenland
(Part 2 of 7) The Inuit of Greenland have survived for generations eating almost nothing but meat. Photographer Matthieu Paley captures the bloody job of securing a meal in this remote territory.
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2015 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2015/04/15/We_Are_What_We_Eat_Greenland







Tue, 26 May 2015 23:35 Instapaperify

We Are What We Eat: Afghanistan

We Are What We Eat: Afghanistan
(Part 1 of 7) Join photographer Matthieu Paley in the mountains of Afghanistan where no crops grow, the journey to get flour takes days, and goat eyes are on the menu.
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2015 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2015/04/15/We_Are_What_We_Eat_Afghanistan







Tue, 26 May 2015 23:25 Instapaperify

Monster Fish

Monster Fish
Zeb Hogan, star of Nat Geo WILD's series Monster Fish, takes you on a fishing trip like you've never experienced, traveling the globe in search of aquatic behemoths.
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , National Geographic Live
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2015/03/26/Monster_Fish







Tue, 26 May 2015 23:15 Instapaperify

Kate Bolick

Kate Bolick
Journalist Kate Bolick's 2011 Atlantic cover story, "All the Single Ladies," sparked a heated debate on modern notions of romance, family, career, and success. The story, drawing more than one million readers, put forth the statistic that 50% of the adult population is single (compared with 33 percent in 1950)-and that percentage is likely to keep growing. In Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own, Bolick goes beyond the statistics and uses her personal experiences to explore why she, and more than 100 million American women, remains unmarried today. Exploring why others fear a life she has come to relish, Bolick highlights the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single and also pulls back the curtain on pioneering, unmarried women across the centuries. She examines the need to build our lives on our own terms, by our own rules, and with our own ideas of family. Bolick also raises the question of what women living their adult lives alone (if only for a time) means for society. While a life lived ...

Tue, 26 May 2015 22:54 Instapaperify

Do they mean us? International views on Britain

Do they mean us? International views on Britain
There was a time when Britannia ruled the waves and the sun never set on the Empire. But times change. Now there are regular, angst-ridden debates about 'British identity'. The rise of UKIP-with its Euroscepticism and anti-immigration policies-suggests we've turned inwards. Yet some imperial arrogance remains: we claim our military is the 'best in the world' and enjoy our permanent seat on the UN Security Council. But how does the rest of the world see us today? Together with the Foreign Press Association, a group of journalists who report on Britain for their respective countries, discuss how the world sees Britain. Filmed at the Battle of Ideas the speakers are illuminating. The chair is Bruno Waterfield
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , Institute of Ideas
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2014/10/19/Do_they_mean_us_International_views_on_Britain







Tue, 26 May 2015 22:11 Instapaperify

Lifehacker

Persuade People to Complete Tasks with Personalized Sticky Notes

Whether you’re delegating tasks, asking for a favor, or telling your kids to do their chores, a sticky note can make all the difference in convincing them to follow through.

Read more...

by Patrick Allan at Tue, 26 May 2015 22:00 Instapaperify

FORA.tv - Program Feed

What do animals know?

What do animals know?
In 2012, prominent cognitive neuroscientists gathered at Cambridge University to affirm the contemporary prejudice that human intelligence is merely a higher functioning brain activity on a continuous spectrum of animal minds. The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness claims: 'The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness.' This discussion presents some surprising insights into the intelligent behaviours of some animals and explains why animals nonetheless, remain no match for humans. Filmed at the Battle of Ideas Festival.
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , Institute of Ideas
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2014/10/19/What_do_animals_know







Tue, 26 May 2015 21:26 Instapaperify

Judgement by our peers: is the jury out?

Judgement by our peers: is the jury out?
Most people see trial by jury as a cornerstone of Western justice. But in this storming Battle of Ideas debate belief in the jury is on the line and audience members are clearly not sold on their importance for democracy. Are juries falling out of favour because judges are more reliable decision takers or is this one more example of contempt for our peers and a preference for unaccountable so called experts? A must see debate worth sharing.
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 03:00:00 -0700
Location: , , Institute of Ideas
Program and discussion: http://fora.tv/2014/10/18/Judgement_by_our_peers_is_the_jury_out







Tue, 26 May 2015 20:46 Instapaperify

The GiveWell Blog »

GiveWell summer fellowship

We’re planning to host a one week fellowship this summer at our office in San Francisco for students more than a year away from graduation (e.g., first years or sophomores in college), who would be ineligible for our Summer Research Analyst position.

We expect to have 4-8 fellows, who will spend a week doing standard GiveWell work, getting to know staff, and getting a feel for GiveWell and Open Philanthropy research.

For more, see our page with details and application instructions.

by Elie at Tue, 26 May 2015 20:32 Instapaperify

Bulletproof

Dr. John Gray: Addiction, Sexuality, & ADD – #222

Why you should listen – Best selling author of the wildly successful book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss causes and natural remedies for ADD, flow states and addiction, gender differences in relationships, and Taoist principles of sexuality. Enjoy the show!  Click here to download […]

The post Dr. John Gray: Addiction, Sexuality, & ADD – #222 appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Peter Bauman at Tue, 26 May 2015 19:00 Instapaperify

Scott H Young

You Don’t Pay Enough for Information

Some time ago, I read a forum discussion involving one student asking for advice about getting into grad school. One of the commenters gave an unusual piece of advice: before you commit to a university, a lab, or even grad school itself, do one year as a paid research assistant.

It’s unusual advice because most people wouldn’t consider it. Why spend a year as a research assistant which won’t count towards completing a degree?

The answer is information. This person didn’t know what they wanted, so doing a test year will give information as to whether or not the person actually likes doing research.

Personally, I’m not familiar enough with success criteria in academia to comment on whether this research assistant strategy is underused. Perhaps some of the more experienced readers can comment on whether the signalling pros and cons might outweigh the information advantage.

Nonetheless, it strikes me as an interesting example of paying for information. In this case the information isn’t a book or seminar, but information ...

by Scott Young at Tue, 26 May 2015 17:19 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

Point of Inquiry

Michael Specter on the Gluten-Free Fad

This week on Point of Inquiry, Lindsay Beyerstein is joined by renowned journalist Michael Specter, a staff writer for The New Yorker, to talk about the subject of his award-winning story, “Against the Grain: Should You Go Gluten-Free?” 

The trend of gluten-rejection is growing despite the fact that foregoing gluten has zero health benefits, unless you’re among the 1% of the population with celiac disease. Specter explains how the misinformation about gluten has gotten to this point, and what a health diets should actually look like.  

 Michael Specter will also be speaking at CFI’s Reason for Change conference June 11-15 in Buffalo, New York. If you’d like to see Michael Specter and Lindsay Beyerstein in person, make sure you go to ReasonforChange.org to register today!

Tue, 26 May 2015 16:39 Instapaperify

Bulletproof

Infrared Sauna Benefits: Detox and Energize From the Inside-Out

In today’s uber busy, 24/7 world, you might find yourself feeling less Bulletproof than you’d like some days. I have a busy travel schedule that includes lots of time spent on airplanes, which are full of toxic chemicals, bad air, and questionable food. Diesel increases the toxic burden on the body too. If you’ve ever felt run-down, […]

The post Infrared Sauna Benefits: Detox and Energize From the Inside-Out appeared first on Bulletproof.

by Dave Asprey at Tue, 26 May 2015 16:00 Instapaperify

zen habits

The Place Where You Are

By Leo Babauta

We rush through our days with so much to do, so much we should be doing, so much we’re missing out on … but how often do we stop to appreciate the place where we are right now?

I don’t mean to focus on the journey, because that’s many different places … but instead to focus on where you are at this particular time. The physical place you’re in, the emotional state you’re in, the phase you are in life.

Pause for a moment, right now, to notice where you are.

What is it like? What is the light like? What about the sounds, the smells, the feelings your body is feeling, the people around you? What is your state of mind? What are you worried about, joyful about? What is stopping you from appreciating this moment?

Find something to be grateful about where you are: if you’re around someone you love, enjoy that. If you’re doing something that makes the world a better place, be happy ...

by zenhabits at Tue, 26 May 2015 15:58 Instapaperify

Lifehacker

Don't Stop at Plan B: Have a "Plan Z" for Your Life

We all have a plan A for life, and maybe even a plan B. But knowing what your “Plan Z”, or last resort option, can help motivate you to go after what you really want from life.

Read more...

by Heather Yamada-Hosley at Tue, 26 May 2015 14:00 Instapaperify

Art Markman, PhD

Psychology Commencement Address 2015 at the University of Texas

I had the honor of giving the commencement address to the Psychology students at the University of Texas in 2015.  Here are my remarks.


Graduates, family and friends, faculty, Dean Flores.  I am honored to be speaking at today’s commencement.  Before I get started, I want you to take a second to drink this moment in.  In the rush of events this weekend, you run the risk of having your memory for the graduation feel like a blur.  So, just enjoy this feeling.  Feel the pride of your family and friends.  Bask in the glow of your accomplishment.  

Today, you are graduates in Psychology at the University of Texas.  At this time of transition, you are leaving the familiarity of the routine of the university for the uncertainty of the next phase of your life.  You might be worried about how your work here has prepared you to join the broader world.  You may not realize it, but as a result of your education, you are uniquely qualified to make the world around you ...

by Art Markman at Tue, 26 May 2015 13:19 Instapaperify

mathbabe

Algorithms And Accountability Of Those Who Deploy Them

Slate recently published a piece entitled You Can’t Handle the (Algorithmic) Truth, written by Adam Elkus, a Ph.D. student in computational social science at George Mason University (hat tip Chris Wiggins).

In it, Elkus criticizes those who criticize unaccountable algorithms. He suggests that algorithms are simply the natural placeholders of bureaucracy, and we should aim our hatred at bureaucracy instead of algorithms. In his conclusion he goes further in defending the machines:

If computers implementing some larger social value, preference, or structure we take for granted offends us, perhaps we should do something about the value, preference, or structure that motivates the algorithm. After all, algorithms can be reprogrammed. It is much harder—but not impossible—to recode social systems and institutions than computers. Perhaps the humans who refuse to act for what they believe in while raising fear about computers are the real ones responsible for the decline of our agency, choice, and control—not the machines. They just can’t handle the (algorithmic) truth.

I’ve read this paragraph a few ...

by Cathy O'Neil, mathbabe at Tue, 26 May 2015 12:33 Instapaperify

NeuroLogica Blog

The Implications of Online Time-lapse

This is very cool – programmers have created a process with which they scour the internet for photographs. They then categorize them by subject matter, and then select groups of photos that are essentially of the same subject over different periods of time. They crop, color correct, and adjust each photo so that it matches a master, and put them together to create a time-lapse video.

The result is thousands of time-lapse videos that might have taken years to otherwise create.

This is a fun demonstration of two technological trends that are worth pondering. The first is the absolute explosion in digital data, including photographs and video. One estimate is that there were 880 billion photos uploaded in 2014. There are 27,800 photos uploaded to Instagram alone every minute. This is partly due to the smartphone revolution – a large portion of the population in developed nations walk around with a camera on them at all times.

Those cameras are getting better, which is good because they are becoming the primary camera that people use to ...

by Steven Novella at Tue, 26 May 2015 12:06 Instapaperify

Scientific American Content: Mind Matters

How Smart Should the President Be?

A historical analysis suggests a link between IQ and performance

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Tue, 26 May 2015 11:15 Instapaperify

99U

Every Project Needs Three Plans: An Upside, Regular, and Downside

by Yuda KP

by Yuda KP

At the precipice of a new project, is it possible to mitigate most of the predicted risks? Just how far into the future can you accurately plan ahead? Failure to visualize the divergent possible outcomes of a project will reduce your chance of starting off on the right foot. Not being able to visualize success will impact your ability to inspire your team. And not being able to visualize failure will diminish your team’s confidence. 

Before you start your next project, you should know what you’re getting yourself into by conducting a sort of “pre-mortem.” Author Ben Casnocha spent 10,000 hours with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (whom he later co-wrote The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age with), and discovered that when you align around three simple scenarios, as a team, you can calibrate your expectations and invest accordingly. 

Upside: If everything clicks and you even get a bit lucky, what’s the likely outcome of your project? World domination? A successful product launch? A bestselling book? If ...

by Hamza Khan at Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Escharotic Treatment for Cervical Dysplasia: A New Incarnation of Black Salve?

Flowers of the bloodroot plant, Sanguinaria canadensis.  You're welcome, I could have used a very different image (warning: gross bordering on horrifying).

Flowers of the bloodroot plant, Sanguinaria canadensis. You’re welcome, I could have used a very different image (warning: gross bordering on horrifying; click on image to see it).

Cervical dysplasia is a precancerous condition picked up by Pap smears. It is most often caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Mild cases may resolve spontaneously and can be followed by observation with frequent Pap smears, but cervical dysplasia can progress to cancer. The standard treatment is to remove the abnormal cells with a cone biopsy (using a knife) or a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) using a wire loop heated by electricity. Those procedures not only treat the disease, but they provide a pathology specimen that can be examined to rule out more serious or invasive disease. Both LEEP and cone biopsy are 85-90% effective in removing all the abnormal cells. If cancer is suspected, a cone biopsy is preferable because LEEP may damage the edges of the specimen and make it more difficult to interpret. Otherwise, LEEP is often preferred because it is less ...

by Harriet Hall at Tue, 26 May 2015 07:00 Instapaperify

As in 2014, “right-to-try” laws continue to metastasize in 2015, part 2

When I wrote a week ago about the sham that is “right-to-try”, one criticism (among many) that I made of these misguided, profoundly patient-unfriendly laws was that I have as yet been unable to find a single example of a patient who has managed to obtain access to an experimental therapeutic through such a law, much less been helped by it. So-called “right-to-try” laws, of course, claim to provide a mechanism by which patients with terminal illnesses can obtain access to experimental therapeutics not yet approved by the FDA but still in clinical trials. They are, as I’ve pointed out, a cruel sham, placebo legislation that makes lawmakers feel as though they’ve done something good but do nothing of substance for patients while providing them with false hope. The federal government through the FDA controls drug approval, which means that states can’t compel a drug company to provide a drug to a patient, and most drug companies would not want to risk jeopardizing approval of their drug, which is what could happen ...

by David Gorski at Tue, 26 May 2015 06:55 Instapaperify

CONTRARY BRIN

Salvaging a Sane "Indispensable" American Involvement with the World

We are hearing the word "indispensable" a lot, in conversations about the role of the United States in an ever-changing world.  A word almost as misused as the phrase "American Exceptionalism" as a way to create false dichotomies and substitute reflex for thought. 

I’ll get to dissecting some of this flawed analysis of foreign policy in a sec.  But first –

== Doubling down on insane delusions ==

Well, Republicans are nothing, if not consistent. Having doubled down on “Supply Side” fantasies for 30 years, they relentlessly promise that every new tax cut for the rich will “pay for itself and erase federal deficits,” after the rich use each new largesse we pour unto them, to invest in productive enterprises. 

Ah, but then how inconvenient is it to the narrative, that they never did that thing? Instead, as Adam Smith himself said of the “rentier caste,” they almost always pour any excess funds into rent-seeking and asset bubbles.  (Techie billionaires are, of course an exception: but they tend to be democrats and urge credits for RandD, not ...

by David Brin at Tue, 26 May 2015 05:09 Instapaperify

Dan Ariely

Reader Response: Day 11

This reader got lucky after reading Irrationally Yours. Maybe you can get lucky too!

Irrationally Yours,

Dan Ariely


by danariely at Tue, 26 May 2015 05:00 Instapaperify

Fallacy Files

Food is a Fallacy

"Slate" had an article about a month ago, but which I just discovered, on the fallacious thinking behind food fads. Here's a taste....

Tue, 26 May 2015 05:00 Instapaperify

Dan Ariely

Review of Irrationally yours (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

`IRRATIONALLY YOURS’ DELIVERS CLEVER ADVICE WRAPPED IN HUMOR
BY CHRISTINA LEDBETTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In his compilation of articles from his Wall Street Journal column, “Ask Ariely,” Dan Ariely wraps in a clever bow all the questions we’ve ever wanted answered concerning the behavioral intricacies that dictate the decisions we make.

He offers extremely practical advice, like babysitting friends’ children for an entire week to better estimate the costs and benefits of having children, in addition to brain-stretching teasers like how to choose the least used bathroom stall (it’s the one furthest from the door).

As always, Ariely’s intelligence is swathed in humility and charm. Bolstering his already likable writing style are cartoons by the talented William Haefeli, which help to humorously drive home Ariely’s points.

While “Irrationally Yours” offers some tangible steps on how one can stick to a diet or have a better time vacationing, it also offers something more. For example, in one piece we learn exactly why long commutes are so hard on us (in a word, unpredictability ...

by danariely at Tue, 26 May 2015 04:54 Instapaperify

The Rationalist Conspiracy

New York Times Makes Up Facts About SF Housing

Last Saturday, the New York Times published an article titled “High Rents Elbow Latinos From San Francisco’s Mission District”. (They later changed the title to “Gentrification Spreads an Upheaval in San Francisco’s Mission District”, without acknowledging the change.) The article opened with this sentence:

“SAN FRANCISCO — Luxury condominiums, organic ice cream stores, cafes that serve soy lattes and chocolate shops that offer samples from Ecuador and Madagascar are rapidly replacing 99-cent stores, bodegas and rent-controlled apartments in the Mission District, this city’s working-class Latino neighborhood.”

The statement is clear: “luxury condos are rapidly replacing rent-controlled apartments”. The problem with this “fact” is that it’s not true. The New York Times’ writer, Carol Pogash, made it up out of thin air to sell her story. As any journalist will tell you, nothing sells like conflict… and if that doesn’t mesh with the truth, well, the truth be damned.

How do we know that? Because San Francisco Planning keeps very detailed records of all city housing. We can just look up every ...

by sandorzoo at Tue, 26 May 2015 03:36 Instapaperify

Kurzweil AI

Converting blood stem cells to sensory neural cells to predict and treat pain

McMaster University scientists have discovered how to make adult sensory neurons from a patient’s blood sample to measure pain (credit: McMaster University

Stem-cell scientists at McMaster University have developed a way to directly convert adult human blood cells to sensory neurons, providing the first objective measure of how patients may feel things like pain, temperature, and pressure, the researchers reveal in an open-access paper in the journal Cell Reports.

Currently, scientists and physicians have a limited understanding of the complex issue of pain and how to treat it. “The problem is that unlike blood, a skin sample or even a tissue biopsy, you can’t take a piece of a patient’s neural system,” said Mick Bhatia, director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute and research team leader. “It runs like complex wiring throughout the body and portions cannot be sampled for study.

“Now we can take easy to obtain blood samples, and make the main cell types of neurological systems in a dish that is specialized for each patient,” said ...

Tue, 26 May 2015 02:49 Instapaperify

Psych Your Mind

3 Ways Your Romantic Instincts Can Lead You Astray

When it comes to dating, we’re often told that we should trust our instincts: If it feels right, go for it, but if you get a bad feeling from someone, steer clear.

These instincts can certainly be helpful at times, but they’re also subject to a number of biases that can lead us to trust the wrong people and overlook the right ones.

Here are just three ways that our romantic instincts can lead us astray.
Read More->

by Juli at Tue, 26 May 2015 00:03 Instapaperify

May 25, 2015

Neurophilosophy | The Guardian

Uncomfortably numb: The people who feel no pain

Researchers have identified a third gene that causes congenital insensitivity to pain when mutated

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short.

Take 16-year-old Ashlyn Blocker from Patterson, Georgia, who has been completely unable to sense any kind of physical pain since the day she was born. As a newborn, she barely made a sound, and when her milk teeth started coming out, she nearly chewed off part of her tongue. Growing up, she burnt the skin off the palm of her hands on a pressure washer that her father had left running, and once ran around on a broken ankle for two whole days before her parents noticed the injury. She was once ...

by Mo Costandi at Mon, 25 May 2015 15:00 Instapaperify

Andrew Gelman

An inundation of significance tests

Jan Vanhove writes:

The last three research papers I’ve read contained 51, 49 and 70 significance tests (counting conservatively), and to the extent that I’m able to see the forest for the trees, mostly poorly motivated ones.

I wonder what the motivation behind this deluge of tests is.
Is it wanton obfuscation (seems unlikely), a legalistic conception of what research papers are (i.e. ‘don’t blame us, we’ve run that test, too!’) or something else?

Perhaps you know of some interesting paper that discusses this phenomenon? Or whether it has an established name?
It’s not primarily the multiple comparisons problem but more the inundation aspect I’m interested in here.

He also links to this post of his on the topic. Just a quick comment on his post: he is trying to estimate a treatment effect via a before-after comparison, he’s plotting y-x vs. x and running into a big regression-to-the-mean pattern:

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 4.26.35 PM

Actually he’s plotting y/x not y-x but that’s irrelevant for the present discussion.

Anyway ...

Mon, 25 May 2015 14:18 Instapaperify

PsyBlog

Andrew Gelman

On deck this week

Mon: An inundation of significance tests

Tues: Stock, flow, and two smoking regressions

Wed: What’s the worst joke you’ve ever heard?

Thurs: Cracked.com > Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times

Fri: Measurement is part of design

Sat: “17 Baby Names You Didn’t Know Were Totally Made Up”

Sun: What to do to train to apply statistical models to political science and public policy issues

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

Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00 Instapaperify

99U

To Spark Creativity, Pursue Happiness


[optimistic from CHris Jimenez on Vimeo.]

If you want to increase creativity, it helps to be happy. Positive emotions increase our curiosity in the world around us and open our minds to new experiences, skills and ideas. In PBS’s series This Emotional Life, they discuss the link between creativity and positive emotions:

Researchers have found that creativity is less likely to occur in the presence of sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety—and that it is more likely to occur with positive emotions, such as joy and love. One study found that people are more likely to come up with a creative idea if they felt happy the day before, and then they feel happy when they are creative. Creativity contributes to an “upward spiral” of positive emotions and greater happiness.

Just by being creative, we can kick start an upward spiral of positive emotions which allow us to handle the often negative environment we create within. In an interview with Core77, Vice President of Design at Sonos Tad Toulis discloses that the best part ...

by Stephanie Kaptein at Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00 Instapaperify

Science-Based Medicine

Should placebos be used in randomized controlled trials of surgical interventions?

Randomized controlled trial

Alone of all the regular contributors to this blog, I am a surgeon. Specifically, I’m a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer surgery, which makes me one of those hyper-specialized docs that are sometimes mocked as not being “real” doctors. Of course, the road to my current practice and research focus was long and involved quite a few years doing general surgery, so it is not as though I am unfamiliar with a wide variety of surgical procedures. Heck, I’m sure I could do an old-fashioned appendectomy, bowel resection, or cholecystectomy if I had to. Just don’t ask me to use the da Vinci robot or, with the exception of the case of a cholecystectomy, a laparoscope, although, given the popularity of robotic surgery, I sometimes joke that I really, really need to figure out how to do breast surgery with the robot. After all, if plastic surgeons are using it for breast reconstruction, surely the cancer surgeon should get in on the action.

I keed. I keed.

Clinical trials of surgical ...

by David Gorski at Mon, 25 May 2015 10:00 Instapaperify

Mind Hacks

John Nash has left the building

CC Licensed photo from Wikipedia. Click for source.So goodbye John Nash, brilliant mathematician and beautiful mind, who has sadly just passed away after being involved in a taxi crash with his wife.

Nash was famous for many things, but was probably most well-known for being the subject of the biopic A Beautiful Mind – an Oscar-winning production that sugar-coated the details although mainly stayed true to spirit of Nash’s remarkable story.

Outside of the mainstream media Nash is best known for his work on partial differential equations and game theory – and it is this latter development which has had the biggest impact on society.

Nash won the Nobel prize for developing the Nash equilibrium which is the point in an ongoing interaction (the ‘game’ in ‘game theory’) where everyone has nothing to gain by changing their current strategy.

In Adam Curtis’s documentary series The Trap, Curtis famously argues that Nash’s ideas on game theory were taken up by the radical Sixties psychiatrist R.D. Laing who modelled the family as a self-interested struggle in game theory terms.

It’s a ...

by vaughanbell at Mon, 25 May 2015 09:42 Instapaperify

rationalist filter - Stack Exchange

Classical conditioning paradigm for hippocampal learning – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I wanted to know what a suitable classical conditioning experiment would be to analyze learning and memory capabilities in rodent models with respect to hippocampal long-term potentiation. For ...

by curious at Mon, 25 May 2015 00:14 Instapaperify

Have any drugs been shown to increase the neuroplasticity of adult brains? – cogsci.stackexchange.com

I read recently in the book "meet your happy chemicals" that the hormones of puberty are neurochemicals that cause your neurons to connect and myelinate more easily. If this is true have any studies ...

by Alex Ryan at Mon, 25 May 2015 00:06 Instapaperify