I spent the weekend with my family, but along the way I realized that I’m way behind on the blogging (compared to how much I’ve read). I’ll not write too much about each subject as it would otherwise become a very long post, but I hope you’ll click a few of the links:

i. 2008 WORLD DRUG REPORT by The United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime. ‘Read it for the data’, if you’re interested in that kind of stuff. Here’s one related article. Here’s another, not for the fainthearted.

ii. Revisiting Truth or Triviality: The External Validity of Research in the Psychological Laboratory, by Gregory Mitchell.

iii. A-not-B error.

iv. An interview with a guy who wrote a book. The book is called ‘Ignorance’. I’m currently considering buying said book.

v. Vaughan Bell: the truth about lie detectors.

vi. Coursera. I was considering signing up for the Introduction to logic course (I still am). If you haven’t heard about the site, go have a look.

vii. PLoS Biology: How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean? Short answer: We have no idea. “In spite of 250 years of taxonomic classification and over 1.2 million species already catalogued in a central database, our results suggest that some 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description.”

viii. To Detect Cheating in Chess, a Professor Builds a Better Program. According to the work this guy’s done, rating-inflation is not as much of a problem as some people like to think: Super-GMs today are just incredibly strong, also compared to top players, say, 50 years ago (so it makes sense that their ratings are higher):

“He has also discovered that the way people play has evolved. According to his analysis, the player now ranked No. 40 in the world plays as well as Anatoly Karpov did in the 1970s, when he was world champion and was described as a machine.”

ix. How does a gravity slingshot work?

x. Cartoon Laws of Physics. I knew many of these, but it’s nice to have them written down somewhere.

xi. I’ve linked to this on twitter too, but it’s worth including here as well: PLoS ONE: The Impact of Long-Term Exposure to Space Environment on Adult Mammalian Organisms: A Study on Mouse Thyroid and Testis. Short version: Judging from these results, long-term exposure to space (microgravity, radiation) is bad for your thyroid (and, if you’re a male, your testicles). A short spacetrip is probably not the way to boost your sperm-count: “Very low sperm numbers were noted in both WT and TG spaceflight mice (−90%, −94%, −92% and −89% vs. laboratory and ground controls, respectively”

xii. FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt).

xiii. Galaxy formation and evolution.

xiv. A video on why we have blind spots:

xv. Delian League.

xvi. Sometimes men like women like the Chinese like pork. A good post by Razib Khan, I really liked this one: “It it is sometimes said that women civilized men, but I have long held that men created civilization only to impress women.”

April 30, 2012 Posted by | astronomy, Chess, history, medicine, papers, Physics, Psychology, random stuff, wikipedia | 4 Comments