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Scientific paper has a one word abstract

29 Jan

One the least enjoyable parts of writing an academic paper is composing the abstract. It is always a struggle to boil down your complex and nuanced research to just 150 words. This is why I was delighted by a paper titled “Do Large (Magnitude ≥8) Global Earthquakes Occur on Preferred Days of the Calendar Year or Lunar Cycle?”

The abstract simply reads:

No.

[Hat tip to BoingBoing]

The many voices of Nic De Houwer

19 Jan

 

And let’s not forget the work of the late great Mel Blanc:

 

Washington Post Comics

22 Dec

While I still prefer physical books, I now read newspapers exclusively on the Kindle. This has many advantages, including no more gigantic recycling piles and not having to tramp out into monstrous drifts of  lake effect snow just to recover the paper.

However, one thing had been sadly lacking, the comics. I developed the habit of reading the comics everyday as a child and it was hard to give up. The New York Times, of course, never carried daily strips and the Kindle version of the Cleveland Plain Dealer was similarly devoid. Only the Washington Post carried a few strips.

But that has all changed, within the last month the Post has started to carry a much wider range of daily comics, including ones that I haven’t seen in years, like Mary Worth, Rex Morgan, MD, and The Phantom.

The quality of my life has substantially improved. And I now have another excuse to read the Comic Crumudgeon.

Program for International Student Assessment ranks U.S. students 24th in Science Achievement

2 Oct

(Hat tip to BoingBoing)

A future worth fighting for

14 Apr

(Hat tip to BoingBoing)

Werner Herzog Reads Where’s Waldo

26 Dec

“78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications”

28 Sep

Scott Lilienfeld and Steven Jay Lynn have a great paper in the most recent Perspectives on Psychological Science: “You’ll Never Guess Who Wrote That 78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications.” From the abstract:

One can find psychological authors in the most unexpected places. We present a capsule summary of scholarly publications of psychological interest authored or coauthored by 78 surprising individuals, most of whom are celebrities or relatives of celebrities, historical figures, or people who have otherwise achieved visibility in academic circles, politics, religion, art, and diverse realms of popular culture. Still other publications are authored by individuals who are far better known for their contributions to popular than to academic psychology.

Here’s my favorite entry:

Natalie Portman (1981– )
Baird, A. A., Kagan, J., Gaudette, T., Walz, K. A., Hershlag, N., & Boas, D. A. (2002). Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: Data from near-infrared spectroscopy. NeuroImage, 16, 1120–1126.
Academy-Award-winning American actress Natalie Hershlag, who later adopted the stage name of Natalie Portman, was a psychology major at Harvard University when she coauthored this article with several prominent researchers, including psychologist Jerome Kagan, on brain imaging correlates of the development of object permanence in humans. The authors reported that prefrontal cortical activity is related to the emergence of object permanence.

Who knew that Natalie Portman was a developmental psychologist!

 

The most interesting thing I learned in last Sunday’s New York Times

13 Jul

It turns out that you can buy silicone substitutes for pizza dough to practice dough tossing. You can purchase this product at throwdough.com.

 

 

 

Survival bias

6 Jul

People sometimes remark “my parents let me do x and I turned out OK.” While comments like these often cause heads to nod in agreement, I always think, of course you say that, the ones who didn’t turn out OK aren’t here to tell their stories. Along these lines here is a useful video about survival bias and success advice:

 

Bayesian reasoning and the South Park Hypothesis

3 Jun

There were many good presentations at APS this year, but by far the best was the three hour workshop I attended on JASP and Bayesian analysis run by Eric-Jan Wagenmakers. This led me to look up some of his writings including this great paper: “Bayesian Benefits for the Pragmatic Researcher.”

As way of illustration, the paper test the South Park Hypothesis: the contention that there is no correlation between the box office success and the quality of Adam Sandler movies. Quality is operationalized as freshness rating at Rottentomatoes.com.

Sandler

It is called the South Park hypothesis from this bit of dialog:

“Producer: Watch this. A.W.E.S.O.M-O, given the current trends of the movie going public, can you come up with an idea for a movie that will break $100 million box office?
Cartman: [as A.W.E.S.O.M.-O] Um… Okay, how about this: Adam Sandler is like in love with some girl. But it turns out that the girl is actually a golden retriever or something.
Mitch: Oh! Perfect!
Executive: We’ll call it “Puppy Love”.
Mitch: Give us another movie idea, A.W.E.S.O.M.-O.
Cartman: Um… How about this: Adam Sandler inherits like, a billion dollars, but first he has to become a boxer or something.
Mitch: “Punch Drunk Billionaire”.”

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