Quotes & Links #64

1) unz.com: Reminder, Most Studies Are Irrelevant

Three years on the author of the blog post, and one of the original authors of the paper, have a follow up publication where they report that there is no effect at all from the priming with less clear fonts.

2) zeit.de/herdentrieb: Was erlauben Bund?

Oder noch anders formuliert: Was alle bubble nennen, ist in Wahrheit policy, denn es ist ja gerade das Ziel einer Notenbank, auf den Marktzins dergestalt Einfluss zu nehmen, dass er sich im Einklang mit den gesamtwirtschaftlichen Erfordernissen befindet.

3) washingtonpost.com/wonkblog: Researchers have found a really good reason not to be an optimist

“Early on in my career, I was quite sure that there were instances where being optimistic helps you perform better,” he said. “Now I’m pretty sure that the true value is in realism.”

Although it seems rather hard to know what a realistic position in most situations is. I often don’t know.

4) datacolada.org: Power Posing – Reassessing the Evidence Behind The Most Popular TED Talk

Consistent with the replication motivating this post, p-curve indicates that either power-posing overall has no effect, or the effect is too small for the existing samples to have meaningfully studied it.

One of the clearest signs that one has matured is one’s growing dislike for TED talks.

5) project-syndicate.org: Germany v. Google

Stymied at home by red tape and a risk-averse culture, the most successful German Internet entrepreneurs live in Silicon Valley. While US-based companies conquer the cloud, Germany is stuck in the mud.

Plegrain is kind of right, but in this case he focuses way too much on Germany. There are many other countries that are taking similar steps to defend their interests. He’s right that Germany has more power in Europe than any other country (alone), but many countries are willing to agree with Germany and aren’t forced.

6) moreintelligentlife.com: The Science of Craving

The reward system, he then asserted, has two distinct elements: wanting and liking (or desire and pleasure). While dopamine makes us want, the liking part comes from opioids and also endocannabinoids (a version of marijuana produced in the brain), which paint a “gloss of pleasure”, as Berridge puts it, on good experiences.

A team at Stanford University have found that if we don’t get something we want, we desire it more while liking it less.

Cool article. No way for me to assess the truth, but sounds interesting. Also, skip the first few paragraphs. And some others. Too descriptive.

7) hypermind.com: Polls are dead, long live markets

What is encouraging, though, is that betting markets – an approach that preexisted polls by decades – are proving more reliable, especially when the going gets tough. This is probably related to the idea, explored earlier in this blog, that predicting human affairs is in general best left to human brains than to algorithms and statistics.

Hmm. We’ll see about that. I know some people who work in the industry and they are hard-working and talented. Wouldn’t count them out just yet.

8) slashgear.com: Spiders spiked with graphene weave ultra-strong webs (via @egghat)
I, for one, welcome our new spider overlords.

9) enlightenmenteconomics.com: The largeness of small errors

And he points out that arithmetically, when you are looking at growth rates of figures each measured with some error, even proportionately small errors in the levels turn into large errors in the rate of change. He gives an arithmetical example, of a ‘true’ growth rate of 1.8% being measured as somewhere between -7.9% and +12.5% for measurement errors of up to 5% in the two levels.

I think we’re trying to improve the statistics and numbers, but we have to base policy on something. The alternatives simply don’t seem very good.

10) washingtonpost.com/wonkblog: Why what we think about eating is so often wrong

Given, all of these ways that the science can go wrong, what do we actually know about what’s good for us?

There are a few things we are certain about. We know that you can’t live without food, and that if you eat too much, you get fat. There are certain essential nutrients – vitamins and minerals – that you need to have. You should make sure there is no lead or mercury or other toxins in your food.


11) thestar.com: Tesla’s simple solution may be hard to accept

We may be wholeheartedly in favour of solving a problem, but if we’ve built an ideology around the massive solution we’ve come to think is the only one that will work, we can tend to view any suggestion of a One Neat Trick That Fixes the Unfixable as just another scammy marketing gimmick, or worse, an evil attempt to avoid really addressing the core issue.

Let’s see what happens, but I won’t be surprised if the left/right does indeed oppose viable solutions.


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