Obsessive-Compulsive Poll: Light Switches

I’m doing better today, but still a little wobbly, and trying to conserve my energy for the Bruce Springsteen concert tonight. Thus, a poll: Imagine you have a light switch box containing multiple switches, like to one at right. These switches control lights in adjoining areas of the house– say, the living room, and the […]

The Myth of the Abrasive Genius

Via Steve Hsu, a lengthy rant by Bruce Charlton about the dullness of modern scientists: Question: why are so many leading modern scientists so dull and lacking in scientific ambition? Answer: because the science selection process ruthlessly weeds-out interesting and imaginative people. At each level in education, training and career progression there is a tendency […]

Get a Grip!

A few days back, John Scalzi posted a piece celebrating YA books and authors, which included some reading recommendations. In the comments, a few people said that as childless adults they were reluctant to go into the YA section of the store, lest people think they were creeps looking for kids to prey upon. I […]

Earlier Alcohol Prevention?

EurekAlert tossed up a press release from the University of Minnesota yesterday with the provocative title: “U of Minn researchers find primary alcohol prevention programs are needed for ‘tweens’” and the even more eye-popping subtitle “Study recommends that prevention programs occur as early as third grade.” What, you may ask, is the problem this is […]

Quantum Consciousness and the Penrose Fallacy

Over at Neurophilosophy, Mo links to an article by a physicist, posted on the arxiv, that claims to explain visual perceptions using quantum mechanics: A theory of the process of perception is presented based on von Neumann’s quantum theory of measurement and conscious observation. Conscious events that occur are identified with the quantum mechanical “collapses” […]

James Watson and the Myth of g

I’m not sure whether it was prompted by James Watson’s little outburst (for which he has apologized “unreservedly”) or just serendipity, but Cosma Shalizi offers an exhaustive demolition of the idea of a single general intelligence factor: Anyone who wanders into the bleak and monotonous desert of IQ and the nature-vs-nurture dispute eventually gets trapped […]