Pure Pedantry

Archives for November, 2008

The economy is rough for everybody. The super-rich are cutting back on their mistress subsidies: According to a new survey by Prince & Assoc., more than 80% of multimillionaires who had extra-marital lovers planned to cut back on their gifts and allowances. Still, only 12% of the multimillionaire cheaters said they plan to give up…

Video of a Rare Giant Squid

Check out this crazy video of a rare “elbowed” giant squid recorded from a Shell Oil remote operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thanksgiving Dinner with a Side of ER

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I was reading the Web this morning, and this story reminded me of a Thanksgiving a couple years ago.

Should everyone take vitamins?

Over at the NYTimes Well blog they have a really good summary of studies about vitamins and improvements to health. Everyone needs vitamins, which are critical for the body. But for most people, the micronutrients we get from foods usually are adequate to prevent vitamin deficiency, which is rare in the United States. That said,…

Why are we bailing out Detroit?

I agreed (reluctantly) with the need to bailout banks because they constitute a special case in the financial system — the overall health of banks is linked to the overall health of the economy. I am not against bailouts per se, but the devil is in the details. There are a lot of ways that…

Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine, has a great article in Scientific American about the limits of interpreting fMRI scanning studies — particularly how they are presented in the media. The biggest point is that the brain is not a collection of modules isolated from one another; rather, it is a collection of interconnected systems…

Why do we vote?

I always get in arguments with mathematically-inclined people about whether to vote or not. The mathematically-inclined point out very reasonably that the chances of your vote being decisive are perishingly slim. (These mathematics are explained clearly in this PBS video by economist Gordon Tullock explaining why he does not vote. Hat-tip: Marginal Revolution) But there…

Professors are not effective at indoctrinating their students with their own politics — or so says a study in the journal PS as reported in the NYTimes: A study of nearly 7,000 students at 38 institutions published in the current PS: Political Science and Politics, the journal of the American Political Science Association, as well…