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October 22, 2014

"Why Are We Grossed Out by Women With Armpit Hair?"

I'm not sure the answer is right, but your mileage may vary.

The answer, it seems, is embedded deep in the evolutionary nature of disgust. And in the central role sex plays in the evolutionary story. 


October 20, 2014

"Rachel Carson's Deadly Fantasies"

Thanks to the rank bias of teachers of "environmental science" today's high schools students are unlikely to know the enormous damage Silent Spring did. Show them this.

October 07, 2014

"What Happens When We All Live to 100?"

"As recently as a generation ago, it would have seemed totally crazy to suppose that aging could be “cured.” Now curing aging seems, well, only somewhat crazy."

October 01, 2014

"Wonder drug to fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease within 10 years"

Needless to say, bring it on!

Imperial College has discovered how to turn off an enzyme which is driving many incurable diseases.

The NMT enzyme makes irreversible changes to proteins which stop damaged cells from dying and, instead, speeds up their replication, causing cancer.

September 25, 2014

"How Understanding Randomness Will Give You Mind-Reading Powers"

I don't know about "mind-reading," but it will make you better informed than the average person.

More recently, psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman proposed the so-called Law of Small Numbers, a theory that accounts for human misunderstandings of randomness. Specifically, we wrongly expect small samples to behave like very large ones. So if you toss a coin five times, you assume that you'll get some variation of a pattern that includes two or three heads and two or three tails. If your coin lands on tails five times in a row, you tend to believe that it can't be a coincidence. But in fact, the odds of five tails in a row are 1 in 32—not especially common, but not terribly rare, either. "So we have all these sort of false positives where we figure there must be something wrong with that coin, or maybe the person's got some magic hot-hand in tossing coins," Poundstone says.

September 24, 2014

"Can you inherit experiences? Inside the weird world of epigenetics"

Weird is right.

Experiments have shown, for example, that the experiences of a parent might lead to molecular changes that aren't encoded in DNA but can still be passed down to children, affecting the health and behavior of future generations.

September 23, 2014

"Every Insanely Mystifying Paradox in Physics: A Complete List"

Solve one of these mysteries. Go ahead, I dare you.

September 22, 2014

"How to see into the future"

Philip Tetlock is updating his classic work. With advice on how to forecast with the acronym CHAMP.

Link via Marginal Revolution.

September 17, 2014

"There Are Now 52 Explanations For The Pause In Global Warming"

60? Do I hear 60?

(Call me crazy, but this reminds me of Ptolmaic epicycles.)

August 21, 2014

"Medical research: Treat ageing"

Absolutely! Column in Nature.

By 2050, the number of people over the age of 80 will triple globally. These demographics could come at great cost to individuals and economies. Two groups describe how research in animals and humans should be refocused to find ways to delay the onset of frailty

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