Archive for November 12th, 2009

Stir it Up

Live Granades: How To Generate Scientific Controversy

Four-point how-to list, and an example to make sure you’re clear on the concept.

Let’s see what we can do with this. I know: child safety seats! Properly used, they dramatically decrease kids’ injuries in car wrecks. They’re hella effective. So let’s claim that they really aren’t. In fact, their five-point harness can kill. See, the chest latch rides up and the two shoulder belts tighten until your kid will choke to death.



The New Yorker: HOSED

Elizabeth Kolbert has some not very flattering things to say about Levitt and Dubner’s new book. (along with RealClimate and several other blogs)

According to Levitt and Dubner, the story’s message is a simple one: if, at any particular moment, things look bleak, it’s because people are seeing them the wrong way. “When the solution to a given problem doesn’t lie right before our eyes, it is easy to assume that no solution exists,” they write. “But history has shown again and again that such assumptions are wrong.”

Solutions do exist. But there’s money to be made in proposing easy solutions to difficult situations, and there’s a supply of credulous customers for quick fixes, assuming they haven’t spent all their money on diet- or male-enhancement pills.

Tweet! Fifteen-Yard Penalty, Still Third Down.

Penalty! Unnecessary Blandness! Redesigning the Worst NFL Helmet Graphics

The author redesigns the helmets of the Redskins, Buccaneers and Patriots.

Something to Chu On

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Energy Secretary Steve Chu visits the Googleplex to talk about how the U.S. can build a prosperous economy powered by clean energy.

Another Country Heard From

Family is the number one reason for women leaving academia

Their data, taken from extensive surveys of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers within the University of California system, shows that work-life issues, and particularly decisions about when to get married and when to have children, account for the most significant loss of academic scientists in the pipeline between PhD and tenured positions.

“The leak is almost entirely, or least due primarily to family formation,”

I shall now duck and cover.