Pure Pedantry

Archives for March, 2008

Go read this post at Language Log. It is about race as a confound in interpreting psychological differences between the sexes: On the other hand, the samples used in sex-differences research are often quite small, and are not in general demographically balanced. We wouldn’t trust pollsters who claimed to characterize gender differences in the American…

From NPR this morning: Students at the University of Texas at San Antonio were determined to uphold standards at their school. They wrote an honor code that discouraged both cheating and plagiarizing. But they weren’t going to waste a lot of time writing the darn thing themselves. The wording of a draft of the honor…

Farris et al. have a paper coming out in Psychological Science about how men tend to misperceive sexual interest in women. I get the sense that this is a big problem for many women. Any woman who has spent more than 30 seconds in a bar has had at least one random yo-yo hit on…

The Biggest Toy Theory of Scientific endeavor: Science is not driven by curiosity or the desire for fame. Rather it is driven by the desire to accumulate bigger and more complex scientific gadgets. By this standard, particle physicists are gods walking among us. And if those gadgets could be used to irradiate a squirrel from…

Sen. Arlen Specter on NIH funding

Last night, I saw Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) speak. (I joined this speakers club called the Oxonian Society — which despite its name is not restricted to Oxford alumni. Why? What can I say. I was bored, and it is cheaper than internet dating. Hopefully, the people I meet will be more reliably intelligent and…

Scientists and Engineers for America is hold a workshop on May 10th to train scientists to run for public office. The workshop features Congressman and former physicist Vern Ehlers. Here is the registration page. It isn’t open yet, but if you are interested you should get on the list. I myself am probably unelectable for…

Megan McArdle posts about the psychology that causes parents to associate their child illnesses with vaccines, but she also reminds us what we can look forward to if parents fail to vaccinate their children: * Leg braces and iron lungs for people with polio (57,628 cases in 1952) * Encephalitis and sterility for people with…

Is Healthcare a Right?

You be the judge. Over at Justice Talking, Russell Roberts from Cafe Hayek debates Dr. Quentin Young of Physicians for a National Health Program. The mp3 is here. Hat-tip: Cafe Hayek

Anne Casselman at Inkling has this hysterical article on scientists/physicians with beards. Here’s a bit on why some public health experts want doctors to lose the beard: Fast forward to 1967, when three scientists from the Industrial Health and Safety Office in Maryland tested their hypothesis that “a bearded man subjects his family and friends…

Virginia Postrel has this fascinating piece in the Atlantic about why hospitals should be designed to be more attractive — not just the drab taupe to which we have become accustomed: Thank God for intravenous Benadryl, which knocks me out in just a few minutes. The cancer treatment is state-of-the-art, but the decor is decidedly…