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Screencap from TV documentary “In Search of:” narrated by Leonard Nimoy. Season 2, Episode 23 originally aired in May 1978. Full video here
Guest essay by Bernie Lewin
Forty-five years ago today, two geologists penned a letter to the president of the United States warning that the rocky decent into the next ice age might have already begun.
The year 1972 remains infamous in the annals of…
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I was pleased to read this Nature article – Five ways to fix statistics – recently as it mirrors my concern at the way statistical analysis is sometimes used to justify or confirm a bias and not reveal a real causal relationship. Frankly these days I just get turned off by media reports of studies showing statistically significant relationships as evidence for or against the latest health or other fads.
As the Nature article says, statistical significance tests often amount “to uncertainty laundering:”
“Any study, no matter how poorly designed and conducted, can lead to statistical significance and thus a declaration of truth or falsity. NHST [null hypothesis significance testing] was supposed to protect researchers from over-interpreting noisy data. Now it has the opposite effect.”
No matter how good a relationship appears, or how significant the statistical analysis shows it to be, it is simply a relationship and may have no mechanistic or causal…
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Uncontacted peoples are communities who live without significant contact with globalized civilization, most often by choice. Although we commonly call them ‘uncontacted,’ a more accurate description is probably ‘voluntarily isolated’ or ‘withdrawn’ or ‘evasive.’ They live in the Amazon Rainforest, the island of New Guinea, and on India’s North Sentinel Island. Survival International reports that about one hundred groups around the world prefer to be left alone. Knowledge of the existence of these groups comes mostly from encounters with neighboring tribes and from aerial footage.
These maps won’t help anyone make ‘first contact’. But they will help to stop oil companies and loggers from invading the lands of uncontacted tribes. These maps show the territories of uncontacted tribes around the world. The territories are typically thousands of square kilometres in size, and the locations are deliberately approximate. No one should go to tribes which aren’t in regular contact with outsiders. It’s dangerous for everyone.
Learn more about…
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Seeing the Earth from space is one of the most humbling reminders of the smallness and fragility of our planet, and of the insignificance of humanity. In the words of Carl Sagan, “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner.”
The following images are not actual photographs from space, though many people on the internet have mistaken them for real photos from NASA. They were actually created by graphic artist Anton Balazh (Антон Балаж) from St. Petersburg, Russia. The images achieve their beautiful realism by compounding and altering real satellite images from…
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There is much to be learned from the economics and sociology of oppositional identities.
As Roland Fryer pointed out, what is most important to the average 13-year-old is to be popular. Among some minorities, being popular and being smart are not compatible.
My analysis confirms that acting white is a vexing reality within a subset of American schools.
But Fryer also found that “In predominantly black schools, I find no evidence at all that getting good grades adversely affects students’ popularity”
How could I have missed this? Reader Amy informed me that it was National Kitten Day, and although the evidence supporting this is thin (see here), I’ll go with it. Here’s a celebratory video:
And just to remind you that kittens grow up into lovely cats, here’s a picture I got today from reader Ken in Oklahoma. His notes:
I thought you might get a chuckle out of this photo of my grand-kitten Sterling relaxing in his favorite spot, the bathroom sink. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone more comfortable than this little moggie.
Out in Idaho, a feral tomcat has taken up residence in Stephen Barnard’s garage, efficiently ridding it of mice. The kindly Barnard has provided it with food and a heat source, and tomorrow he’s taking it to the vet for neutering and a checkup. So far the cat has eluded capture or even…
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