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The Buzz: Now and Later

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Sometimes, present circumstances can belie the uncertainty of the future. On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong discusses experiments on “restraint bias” which show that many people overestimate their powers of self-control. He notes that “we’re generally bad at predicting the future,” arguing that those who feel the strongest are the most likely to risk temptation and defeat. On Respectful Insolence, Orac critiques the latest “kerfuffle over screening for cancer,” which questions the value of routine screening. While early detection may seem like a no-brainer for an improved prognosis, the equation is more complicated and the margins slimmer than one might think. Greg Laden also warns in his blog against mistaking the present trend for the bigger picture. While swine flu may be peaking, he says, it’s no time to let down our guard. In other words, once the cop car passes, “don’t just wander blissfully out into the middle of the street like it is all over, because you will be flattened by the firetruck that you illogically assume is not coming next.”

Links below the fold.