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More adventurous than the average bear

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Links - 26th July 2017 (1)

Can Listening to the Beatles Reverse Aging? - "They show that some fairly widespread scientific practices-such as determining sample size on the fly, and assessing the effect of the independent variable being manipulated in an experiment on multiple dependent variables being measured simultaneously-can actually lead to false positive rates as high as 61%! That is to say, if one follows some of the practices they describe, one risks "discovering" something false 61% of the time. They illustrate the possibility with a study that shows a significant decrease in the chronological age of participants after listening to The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four""
The Beatles paper is False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant by Joseph P. Simmons, Leif D. Nelson, Uri Simonsohn

The Beatles classic 'When I'm Sixty Four' among songs that 'can encourage health problems among the elderly'
Everything is offensive. Everything is harmful. So everything should be censored.

Threats force cancellation of trans cartoonist's Halifax book launch - "Death threats and hate-filled messages forced the cancellation of a Halifax book launch for Montreal-based transgender cartoonist Sophie Labelle. The event, meant to promote Labelle's book Dating Tips for Trans and Queer Weirdos, was to be held May 17 at Venus Envy, a Barrington Street sex shop and bookstore... Labelle announced on Facebook that she had received thousands of death threats over the past few days for making her art and that her home address had been posted on several online forums. Her webpage and Facebook also got hacked... Neither Haywood nor Labelle reported the threats to police. "We did discuss notifying the police. It's a bit of a touchy issue because the main audience for Sophie's comics are trans people, trans women specifically and, you know, the police ... don't always handle themselves well with transgender folks and many people in the transgender community have had negative interactions with the police," Haywood said. Having a police presence outside of the store for the launch would not have been a good solution"
You can't be very worried and not want to take any chances if you don't report them to the police

Adelaide couple faked death threats to get holidays and compensation - "Peisley and Lean were arrested after police covertly broke into their flat and marked a stack of envelopes and paper with “invisible ink”. The next threat the couple handed over to police was tested with a UV light to reveal the markings the officers had made."

New Hot Take: The RompHim Is Dismantling the Gender Binary, and If You Mock It, You're a Bigot - "The same social-justice warriors defending the RompHim have also, of course, meticulously documented the ways the new garment might be problematic. Stryker doesn’t like that the RompHim doesn’t come in plus sizes, given that “many of the folks I know who were excited about this are on the XL-and-larger end of the spectrum.” Also concerning: That this garment may be allowing affluent people to appropriate the jumpsuit, which has traditionally been a working-class staple... The PC left also doesn’t like that it’s a “RompHim,” because that’s inherently a gendered term"

The best sex advice I never got - "What listicles and snarky sex advice stories rarely address is the cryptic convergences that go into great sex. Take Murray’s mind-blowing suggestion that there are countless reasons to have sex beyond just the desire to get off (she cites a study that found 237 unique reasons people report for getting down and dirty). All good for a Psychology Today blog post, but that headline — “6 Reasons Why Getting Off Isn’t All That” — probably won’t make the top 10-millionth hit on a Google search (although it may be found in the vicinity of “Top 10 Ways to Stop Being Too Tired for Sex”). But, sadly, none of that is as deeply buried in the cloud as my favorite sex advice listicle: “5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Sex Advice from the Internet.” That one pretty much nails it."

J. R. R. Tolkien (author): Is the 'pipeweed' so adored by Gandalf and hobbits essentially marijuana? - Quora - "Pipe-weed is tobacco, a variety of genus nicotiana, which was brought from the island of Elenna to Middle-Earth by the Númenoreans. It was originally cultivated as a decorative plant and for the fragrance of its flowers, and it began to grow wild in places where they lived"

Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias - "Trump has repeatedly claimed that his treatment by the media is unprecedented in its hostility. This study suggests that, at least when it comes to recent history, he’s right."

Hillary Clinton Campaign Donations From Journalists - "Between Jan. 1 2015 and Aug. 30 2016, those who identified themselves in federal campaign finance filings as journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors -- and others known to be working in journalism -- donated more than $396,000 combined to the presidential campaigns of Clinton and Trump, according to the report. The vast majority of those funds -- about $382,000, or 96% -- went to the Democratic nominee. Only about $14,000 went to the Republican."

The Manchester Attack and the Myth of the ‘Lone Wolf’ - "experts working in this field know that while some terrorists may carry out their attacks alone in the last moment, planning within a cell is often likely for bomb attacks, and jihadist groups often play an inspiring, enabling, or coordinating role. The “lone wolf” phenomenon is a myth. Recent research highlights this quite well. In 2013, researchers at Pennsylvania State University studied the behavior of 119 so-called lone-wolf terrorists. This study found that even though these terrorists went “operational” alone, in 79 percent of cases others were at least aware of the perpetrators extremist ideology, and in 64 percent of cases family and friends were aware of the individual’s terrorist intent... blaming terror attacks on isolated loners who get radicalized because they can’t fit into regular society flagrantly sidesteps the role that community sympathy and insulation for extremist ideologies plays. It turns a blind eye to the fact that we are living through a full blown jihadist insurgency being fought in our own streets... Such attacks may well be the “new normal,” but we must not accept this status quo. If normal means regular attacks by jihadist terrorists against our children and youth at the dawn of their lives, then this “normal” must not be allowed to continue"

Female terrorists play a far bigger role in Isis than previously thought, research reveals - "Despite the figures most commonly associated with the terror organisation being male, thousands of women are the ‘glue holding the organisation together’"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Poor Old Potato - "They don't keep very well forever they put out little sprouts and then eventually they go rotten and they develop a horrible smell so the Incas figured out how to solve this problem. They invented effectively instant mashed potatoes. So they would put these potatoes up in the high Andes where it would get very cold and the potatoes would freeze solid and then in the sun when the sun came out they would thaw and those potatoes would get sort of squidgy and then you could stomp on them a bit like you are pressing grapes and you could stomp out the moisture. You then end up with a sort of rock hard object which is a dried up, freeze dried potato which is the indestructible... you could then smash up and make into a powder and reconstitute into a sort of porridgey mashed potato... The Incas were really good at using different ecological niches in the Andes to grow different crops. So they would grow potatoes at higher altitudes where they flourished. They would grow things like chili peppers or other foods at slightly lower altitudes. So they were very good at terracing these steep mountain slopes so they could get maximum agricultural terrain"

That Friend Who's Back From College With A New Accent Is Faking, Science Says - "After the age of 12, our brains have been pre-set to hear and produce sounds in a specific and, unfortunately, not very flexible way. So, this video claims, even if you went to Spain at 12 years old and even if you stayed there for 40 years, you will almost never be able speak Spanish with a perfect accent."

A Terrible Mistake - Why The USSR Ignored Britain's Warnings of Impending Invasion - "Stalin took a hands-on approach to military intelligence. He liked to see the raw material gathered by his agents. While this might seem like a good idea, it was not. Stalin filtered this intelligence for evidence that matched his preconceptions. He ignored the insights of professionals better qualified to understand military intelligence.

Student Mob Calls for Firing, Shrieks at Professor for Objecting to No-Whites 'Day of Absence' - "Bret Weinstein, a biology professor at the university, sent out an email criticizing the purpose of this year’s “Day Of Absence” event where, unlike in the past, white students and faculty members were asked to leave campus to give space to people of color"
Again, this is a state - not an elite private - college

Evergreen Professor Berated By Student Mob For Opposing Racist Event Told He's Not Safe on Campus - "“I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be on campus,” Weinstein told, prompting him to hold his Thursday class in a park."
Maybe some liberals will defend this as SJWs' "free speech"

Marijuana Treatment Reduces Severe Epileptic Seizures

Trump Fires Comey: Why the President Made the Right Call - "Rosenstein’s memo impressively cites the opinions of former attorneys general and other legal authorities to support his claim that Comey erred both in making the decision not to proceed and then using a press conference to criticize Clinton for being irresponsible while announcing he would not indict her."

Phew! You may spend less than you think during retirement - "Overall spending (in today’s dollars) falls about 30% from age 45 to age 75. T. Rowe Price found that nearly three years into retirement, retirees are living on an average 66% of their pre-retirement income. Surprisingly, spending less doesn’t seem to be raining on their collective parades. More than half of retirees tell T. Rowe that they’re living as well or better than they did when they were working – and nearly two-thirds like not spending as much. They find not having to keep up with the Joneses freeing."

Golden spending in the silver years - "Older Singaporeans spend relatively more time shopping than younger Singaporeans. They spend more on food at the fresh market and on store brand products. Their expenditure on high-end supermarket and on store brand products was less than younger Singaporeans, suggesting that there is a substitution - as we retire and have more time, but less disposable income, we substitute higher price items with cheaper alternatives that require more time spent in purchasing."

Canoe conman’s new life, running a stall in the slums - "Unusually in a marriage between a Filipina and a Western man, Mercy appears to be the main breadwinner... Details of Darwin’s modest lifestyle emerged in the week that the Daily Mail published extracts from a book by his former wife Anne, telling the full story of how she helped him fake his death in a canoe to cash in his life insurance."
This is the John Darwin case

Why Doctors Order Too Many Tests - "Too many tests can be hazardous to your health for several reasons:
Following up on false positive results can be a wild goose chase, with more unnecessary tests and procedures. There’s no way to tell for sure whether a suspicious shadow on an x-ray represents a deadly disease or a harmless artifact without invasive procedures that carry risks.
Imaging procedures and other tests frequently identify “incidentalomas,” abnormal findings that are mere curiosities and that have no impact on the patient’s health other than to sometimes cause unnecessary worry.
Some tests involve potentially harmful radiation; and even the simple act of drawing blood can cause pain, bruising, and a tiny risk of infection. Even minor risks are not justified if the likelihood of benefit is too low."

Health Care Myth Busters: Is There a High Degree of Scientific Certainty in Modern Medicine? - "Reams of research point to the same finding: physicians looking at the same thing will disagree with each other, or even with themselves, from 10 percent to 50 percent of the time during virtually every aspect of the medical-care process—from taking a medical history to doing a physical examination, reading a laboratory test, performing a pathological diagnosis and recommending a treatment. Physician judgment is highly variable... Why are so many physicians making inaccurate decisions in their medical practices? It is not because physicians lack competence, sincerity or diligence, but because they must make decisions about tremendously complex problems with very little solid evidence available to back them up... Most physicians practice in a virtually data-free environment, devoid of feedback on the correctness of their practice. They know very little about the quality and outcomes of their diagnosis and treatment decisions. And without data indicating that they should change what they're doing, physicians continue doing what they've been doing all along. Physicians rely heavily on the "art" of medicine, practicing not according to solid research evidence, but rather by how they were trained, by the culture of their own practice environment and by their own experiences with their patients... a disturbingly large chunk of medical practice is still "craft" rather than science"

Surgical Gloves ‘discourage Doctors From Washing Hands’ - "Doctors who wear surgical gloves are around 30 per cent less likely to wash their hands... the belief that gloves provide a sterile barrier between doctor and patient is no more than a delusion"
Good example of risk compensation (e.g. seatbelts lead to drivers going faster)

When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes - "What the patients in both stories had in common was that neither needed a stent. By dint of an inquiring mind and a smartphone, one escaped with his life intact... Some examples defy intuition: CPR is no more effective with rescue breathing than if chest compressions are used alone; and breast-cancer survivors who are told not to lift weights with swollen limbs actually should lift weights, because it improves their symptoms... medicine is quick to adopt practices based on shaky evidence but slow to drop them once they’ve been blown up by solid proof... many patients they see want, or even demand, to be operated upon and will simply shop around until they find a willing doctor... Medical innovation has certainly helped; it’s just that public health has more often been the society-wide game changer. Most people just don’t believe it."
Getting a degree from Google can save your life

'Abolition of Whiteness' course offered at Hunter College

Research finds that as a group, only men pay taxes - "In nearly all age groups, women receive more tax (by way of subsidy or benefits) than they give. With the exception of the age group between 45-59 (a 15 year span) years old, women cost more to the state than the tax they provide. In contrast, men generate more tax revenue than they cost between 23 and 65 (a 43 year span). In the brief period in which women generate more or as much tax money than they consume, men out-score them by at least 3 times. By in large, the cumulative tax money given to women outweighs the tax money generated by women... The fact that feminists want a stronger government is not a coincidence. While historically, women had to choose a wealthy husband for resources, they can now stay single, be lesbians, marry a poor man, or use the sperm bank, and the state will still transfer male taxes to them. Interestingly, within 10 years of women’s suffrage, the government doubled their tax revenue and expenditure in the USA. The government has somehow become the new providing husband, by taking money from anonymous men who have no say about their money. While women are still strongly financially dependent on men, men are simply unable to use the money they make for their own interests. These findings show just how simplistic the notion of privilege is. While men make more on average, it allows women to have access to education, health, and services. The patriarchy is pretty generous after all."
The New Zealand paper this is based on is The Distribution of Income and Fiscal Incidence by Age and Gender: Some Evidence from New Zealand by Omar Aziz, Norman Gemmell and Athene Laws

Death of fair-skinned child among Jarawa tribe leaves Indian police puzzled - "Because the baby was fair skinned, it was assumed he had been fathered by an outsider, and killed according to a ritual custom of the tribe. In the past Indian authorities, who seek to interfere as little as possible with the aboriginal culture, have turned a blind eye to such incidents. Indeed, in the 200 years since British settlers arrived to set up a penal colony on the island, no Jarawa tribesman has even been named as a suspect in a crime... Samir Acharya, a local activist, told the New York Times that the Jarawa “have the right to maintain the purity of their race.” “If they decide such a child should be wasted, let them do it,” he said."
Cultural imperialism!
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