Tuesday, July 29, 2008
--Jacob Leibenluft, Slate, on why you should use revolving doors
Monday, July 28, 2008
50 minutes long in total, but well worth it. And I usually have a pretty low tolerance for any YouTube video that extends beyond 2 minutes.
The LA Times, for example, wrote:
The study also undermined the assumption -- infamously espoused by former Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers in 2005 -- that boys are more likely than girls to be math geniuses....
All of these reports and many more like them are false. In fact, consistent with many earlier studies (JSTOR), what this study found was that the ratio of male to female variance in ability was positive and significant, in other words we can expect that there will be more math geniuses and more dullards, among males than among females. I quote from the study (VR is variance ratio):
Greater male variance is indicated by VR > 1.0. All VRs, by state and grade, are >1.0 [range 1.11 to 1.21].Notice that the greater male variance is observable in the earliest data, grade 2. (In addition, higher male VRS have been noted for over a century). ...
Does this mean that discrimination is not a problem? Certainly not but we need the media and academia to accurately present the data on ability if we are to understand how large a role other issues may play.
--Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution, on what the latest study really says about differences in within-gender ability variance
Monday, July 21, 2008
--L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal, on Chicago's honorary degree policy
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A Christian, a Jew and Barack Obama are in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Barack Obama says, "This joke isn't going to work because there's no Muslim in this boat."
--Borowitz Report on Obama jokes
Sunday, July 6, 2008
“There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated abuses in Iraq, declares in a powerful new report on American torture from Physicians for Human Rights. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
--Nicholas Kristof, NYT, on the need for a U.S. Truth Commission
--Father Pat Connor on what a man's friends say about him
Thursday, July 3, 2008
--Jacob Weisberg, Slate, on the refining of the Declaration of Independence
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I'm not talking about steroids. I'm talking about brain enhancers, such as Ritalin for concentration and Provigil for sleep reduction. ...
[The] really interesting comment comes from Zack Lynch, the executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization:
Neuro-competitive advantage. There's the leverage point for pushing brain boosters into the workplace. The good news is, these pills might make you more productive. The bad news is, if you don't take them, some guy in Dubai will, and he'll eat your job.
If you're GE Capital and you have offices in 154 financial centers around the planet, and these [brain-drug] tools are available in Dubai, and your workers there are trading more effectively, 5 to 10 percent better—they'll have a neuro-competitive advantage over workers where these tools are not legalized.
--William Saletan, Slate, on the pressures of "everybody else is doing it"
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
“The allergic response evolved to help expel parasites, and we think the worms have found a way of switching off the immune system in order to survive,” he said. “That’s why infected people have fewer allergic symptoms.” ...
[The] National Health Services ethics committee let him conduct a study in 2006 with 30 participants, 15 of whom received 10 hookworms each. Tests showed that after six weeks, the T-cells of the 15 worm recipients began to produce lower levels of chemicals associated with inflammatory response, indicating that their immune systems were more suppressed than those of the 15 placebo recipients. Despite playing host to small numbers of parasites, worm recipients reported little discomfort.
Trial participants raved about their allergy symptoms disappearing. Word about the study soon appeared online among chronic allergy sufferers, and a Yahoo group on “helminthic therapy” sprung up.
--Elizabeth Svoboda, NYT, on an old-school antihistamine