Archive for the 'Assorted Links' Category

Assorted Links

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Thanks to Eugenia Loli.

Assorted Links

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Thanks to Saul Sternberg, Bob Levinson and Alex Chernavsky.

Assorted Links

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Assorted Links

Sunday, December 15th, 2013
  • Interview with sufferer from mercury amalgam fillings. Stephen Barrett, founder of Quackwatch, says mercury amalgam fillings are perfectly safe. For many people, this might be true. It is not always true.
  • “She was given a three to five year sentence.” One of the greatest wrist-slaps of all time. She deserves at least one year in jail per falsification, which would be several thousand years in jail.
  • Ron Unz, the minimum wage and social innovation
  • Dairy consumption and heart disease risk. “The majority of observational studies have failed to find an association between the intake of dairy products and increased risk of CVD, coronary heart disease, and stroke, regardless of milk fat levels.”
  • Tourism and mental illness. “A Canadian woman was denied entry to the United States last month because she had been hospitalized for depression in 2012. Ellen Richardson could not visit, she was told, unless she obtained “medical clearance” from one of three Toronto doctors approved by the Department of Homeland Security.” Horrifying.
  • Snorting baby shampoo to cure sinusitis. A good example of personal science. His understanding of biofilms led him to try baby shampoo. It is also interesting that he doesn’t try to strengthen his immune system to solve the problem or maybe he doesn’t know how to. A professional sinusitis researcher would never discover what he did, yet another example of how our healthcare system ignores cheap treatments.

Thanks to Allen Jackson and Phil Alexander.

Assorted Links

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Thanks to Casey Manion and Richard Sprague.

Assorted Links

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
  • No correlation between omega-3 levels and cognitive function. I found strong effects of flaxseed oil (high in omega-3) in experiments, so this finding doesn’t worry me. Maybe the measures of cognitive function in this study depended on too many things they didn’t measure or control.
  • Does methanol cause multiple sclerosis?  Woodrow Monte makes a good case. “In the 1940s, . . . the National Multiple Sclerosis Society found the incidence of the disease to be virtually equally distributed between the sexes. . . . The real sea change in the incidence of MS in women did not come until after the introduction of a brand new methanol source . . . a can of diet soda sweetened with aspartame has up to four times the amount of methanol as a can of green beans. . . . At the 59th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston on April 26, 2007 
  • Honey in human evolution. “Upper Paleolithic (8,000 – 40,000 years ago) rock art from all around the world depicts early humans collecting honey. . . . .The Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania list honey as their number one preferred food item.”
  • What one climate scientist really thinks about Michael Mann. “MBH98 [Mann et al.] was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he [Mann] learned better techniques he moved on… He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake. Saying “I was wrong but when done right it gives close to the same answer” is no excuse. He never even said that . . . They used a brand new statistical technique that they made up and that there was no rationalization in the literature for using it. They got results which were against the traditional scientific communities view on the matters and instead of re-evaluating and checking whether the traditional statistics were [still] valid [in this unusual case] (which they weren’t), they went on and produced another one a year later. They then let this HS [hockey stick] be used in every way possible . . . despite knowing the stats behind it weren’t rock solid.”  Smart people still fail to grasp the weakness of the evidence. Elon Musk, the engineer, recently blogged, responding to Tesla fires, that Tesla development must happen as fast as possible because if delayed “it will . . . increase the risk of global climate change.”

Thanks to Dave Lull, Stuart King and Joe Nemetz.

Assorted Links

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
  • Against the new statin guidelines. “For people who have less than a 20 percent risk of getting heart disease in the next 10 years, statins not only fail to reduce the risk of death, but also fail even to reduce the risk of serious illness.” This is one way of saying that although heart disease has been a top cause of death for more than half a century, doctors still have almost no idea how to prevent it. Vast amounts of money and time have been spent studying heart disease, but, judging by the great emphasis on an almost useless method of prevention (statins), the researchers who spent the money and time didn’t do effective research. Cancer could have a hundred different causes. Heart disease, probably not.
  • Follow mainstream food advice, increase risk of death. I’ve covered this earlier but it bears repeating. “There was a 30% greater risk of cardiovascular death among the people in the study who ate the cholesterol-lowering oil.” The cholesterol-lowering oil was safflower oil, high in omega-6. According to the Cleveland Clinic and many others, oils high in omega-6 are “heart-healthy”.
  • Use of yogurt to prevent infections in hospitals
  • Surviving your stupid stupid decision to go to graduate school (a reading list)

Thanks to Phil Alexander and Claire Hsu.

Assorted Links

Monday, November 18th, 2013
  • The promise of Bitcoin (the platform). “Bitcoin encapsulates four fundamental technologies . . . “
  • Bacteria and our behavior
  • Alternate-day fasting by normal-weight subjects.  “These findings suggest that ADF is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in normal weight and overweight adults.” The experiment lasted 12 weeks.
  • Small interesting psychology experiments. “Whenever I go to a conference, I hate to wear those silly stickers that say “HELLO!  MY NAME IS.” I just write “SATAN” in the blank space.”
  • Pomona College dean of students sneers at a more reality-based college. She said: “Discovery, empathy, adaptability is goal of broad-based education, prepares students for life, learning & jobs known & unknown.” As the author, John Tierney, says, “What makes some people at liberal-arts colleges so dismissive of, and condescending toward, institutions that actually train people for careers?” I encountered a similar attitude at Berkeley. At a faculty meeting, I praised someone’s research. Another professor complained that the research was “applied”.

Thanks to Donna Warnock.

Assorted Links

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Thanks to Sean Curley and Alex Chernavsky.

Assorted Links

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
  • Genetics less important than claimed…again and again. The article’s html name says “human genetics successes and failures” but the article is almost all about failure.
  • Why I left (tenured) academia. “We shouldn’t expect [a college president] whose experience is in leading gigantic, dominant corporations to create an environment that rewards original, interdisciplinary, potentially disruptive research. Their previous success (such as it is) is from operating in an inherently conservative environment, running an organization that thrives in the status quo.” It isn’t just the college president. That such people are chosen as college presidents shows how little people at the top understand or value innovation.
  • Monitor Me. BBC TV show about high-tech self-monitoring. My self-monitoring is mostly low-tech, except for brain tests done with a laptop. My experience is that I needed to do everything right — good understanding of previous research, good experimental design, good measurement, good data analysis — to make progress. A talk by Larry Smarr, one of the people in the BBC show, supports this. Smarr has colon inflammation. His design, measurement and data analysis are excellent. However, he chose to test treatments (antibiotics, steroids) known to be poor. They didn’t solve the problem. It would have been wiser to try to figure what in the environment might be causing the problem. It certainly wasn’t not eating enough antibiotics.
  • Fecal self-banking

Thanks to Linda Stein.

Assorted Links

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Assorted Links

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Thanks to Claire Hsu.

Assorted Links

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Assorted Links

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Assorted Links

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Thanks to Alex Chernavsky and Dave Lull.

Assorted Links

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Assorted Links

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Thanks to Aaron Blaisdell and Peter Lewis.

Assorted Links

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Thanks to Alex Chernavsky.

Assorted Links

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Thanks to Jeff Winkler and Tom George.

Assorted Links

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
  • fruit and diabetes. Blueberries good, cantaloupe bad.
  • R most popular language for “analytics/data mining/data science work” among survey respondents. I wish I could describe the respondents, but I can only say they are people who might call what they do “data mining” or “data science”. In addition, the use of R is growing. Most psychology departments teach SPSS or Matlab.
  • Thomas Frank criticizes universities, undergraduate education in particular. “An educational publisher wrote to me [asking] to reprint an essay of mine [that is freely available]. . . . The low, low price that students were to pay for this textbook: $75.95.”