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Posts

July 29, 2014

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7:21 PM | Caveats
Brad DeLong has been on a bit of a run recently. I particularly liked this:I think that modern neoclassical economics is in fine shape as long as it is understood as the ideological and substantive legitimating doctrine of the political theory of possessive individualism. As long as we have relatively-self-interested liberal individuals who have relatively-strong beliefs that things are theirs, the competitive market in equilibrium is an absolutely wonderful mechanism for achieving truly […]
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5:47 PM | One in Three Americans Has Debt in Collections; So What?
About one in three Americans has some debt in collections, according to a new report prepared by Washington think tank the Urban Institute. That's a number that sounds really worrying, but how big a deal is it?
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5:20 PM | Types of men that can't sit still
Leg bouncers - Tend to bounce at a rhythm of around ten times per second, achieved by pressing and releasing the forward part of the metatarsals on the floor while the calcaneus remains consistently raised. Foot bouncers - Legs are crossed, and the tallus of the raised foot is held...
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4:45 PM | “Authors, please call us. Pretty please? OK, we’re going to retract your paper!”
The title of this post isn’t exactly how the one-sided conversation between the editors of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment and a group of researchers went. But it seems likely it was pretty close. Here’s an expression of concern for “A cross-sectional study on perception of stigma by Chinese schizophrenia patients:” Concerns were raised about the […]
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3:15 PM | How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?
Many workers are now directly responsible for their financial well-being. Most individual investors are not sufficiently well-informed on financial matters, and thus often make less-than-optimal choices in managing their retirement.
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3:00 PM | Who moved my ants? Species confusion sinks paper on invasive species
“How many and which ant species are being accidentally moved around the world?,” published in 2013, has been retracted because the authors “used a wrong list of species and omitted to include a reference.” The authors claim that this affected the magnitude of the issue, but not the overall conclusion. The paper was written up by […]
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2:56 PM | Quiz: What Advertisers Know About You
Advertisers know a lot about us. Everything from the products we buy to where we access the Internet leaves a trail of information. Advertisers surmise a lot about us based on other people who buy the same things and live in the same places.
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2:33 PM | Link Between Religion and Party Affiliation Strongest Among Whites
How religious Americans are remains a key predictor of their political identification, though the pattern is strongest among non-Hispanic whites, according to a poll by Gallup.
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12:30 PM | “Positivity ratio” research now subject to an expression of concern
An expression of concern has been issued for the second of three papers on the idea that, if you have three positive emotions for every negative one, you will be more successful in life. Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has spent the last decade building a brand around this ratio, […]
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7:41 AM | Probability in Many Worlds: Is the cart in front of the horse?
I know a few regular readers of this blog have views about the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. I want to ask a question about what is supposed to be the response to a basic worry about a whole family of approaches. (David Wallace's recent book would be an...
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5:19 AM | Yisroel Rabon - Pain
Do you know the pain of women you sometimes see flying on carts with bottles of vitriol in fingers that burn? Do you know the sorrow of strong wild madmen, when hoses of water stream on their bare necks? Do you know the hatred to life of people dying with...
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2:55 AM | Yehuda Amichai - The Diameter of the Bomb
The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters, with four dead and eleven wounded. And around these, in a larger circle of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered and one graveyard. But the young woman who was buried in...
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1:42 AM | Delving into the pros and cons of positive thinking over at You Do the Math
I've been working on a thread (and possibly an e-book for general audiences) on George Pólya's teaching philosophy. Recently, I've been focusing on the emotional and psychological component. Pólya was emphatic on the importance of self-reliance, and an explicit part of building that self-reliance was building a student's confidence.The following quote from How to Solve It is indicative:"If the student is not able to do much, the teacher should leave him at least some illusion of […]

July 28, 2014

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7:00 PM | Rogue waves: The real monsters of the deep
They were dismissed as sailors' tall tales, but they're real: huge waves that rise without warning and can destroy ships. Is there any way to predict them?
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5:15 PM | How America’s Top Industries Have Changed, 1990-2013
The U.S.'s most dominant industries look a lot different than they did less than 25 years ago.
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4:16 PM | ORI sanctions collaborator of Nobel winner Buck for data fabrication
The Office of Research Integrity has sanctioned a former researcher in the lab of Linda Buck, winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for falsifying data in two papers written with the support of grants from the National Institutes of Health. The researcher, Zou Zhihua, worked with Buck as a post-doc at […]
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3:30 PM | Diabetes researcher Cory Toth up to seven retractions
A University of Calgary diabetes researcher, Cory Toth, who told us earlier this year that he would cease publishing in the scientific literature, has two more retractions, making seven. Both appear in Neurobiology of Disease. Here’s the notice for “Differential impact of diabetes and hypertension in the brain: Adverse effects in white matter:” This article […]
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1:52 PM | China Set to Outpace the U.S. on Spending for Business Travel
For decades the U.S has accounted for the lion’s share of business travel world-wide, but that is expected to change as China continues to spend more, according to a report by the Global Business Travel Association. China is likely to take over from the U.S. in 2016, when its outlays on business travel are forecast to reach $346.4 billion, compared with $ 319.5 billion for the U.S. China’s spending is expected to continue to outpace the U.S. in the following few years.
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1:30 PM | Law review paper yanked for lack of attribution despite offer of co-authorship
Sometimes, retractions seem to have a juicy back story, but the explanation proves tantalizingly out of reach. Such is the case for a law review retraction on a paper about reparations for human rights violations. After someone complained that author Gentian Zyberi “had not done sufficient justice to the substantial contribution” they made, the complainant refused […]
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1:00 PM | More Michigan corruption and an LA-based observation
As mentioned before, the Detroit Free Press recently ran an extraordinary series on on the growing number of scandals surrounding Michigan's two decades of aggressive school privatization. I've got something bigger coming up on this and I don't want to spend too much more time nickel-and-diming the subject by posting various outrages, but I do want to take a moment and share this pattern I've come to recognize.First devastating cuts are made to essential parts of kids' education with the […]
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12:00 PM | Math Twitter Bots, Reviewed and Rated
In the course of being a math person on Twitter, I have run across some math-related Twitter bots and feeds. It would just be mean to grade my human tweeps, but I have no qualms about rating the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:00 AM | À la conquête du nord-est
Introduction à un exposé (hors-piste) de Valentin Feray sur la plus longue sous-suite croissante d'une permutation aléatoire, au séminaire Mathematic Park de l'Institut Henri Poincaré. - L'IHP, une maison de science pour tous / Piste bleue, featured

July 27, 2014

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7:21 PM | Summer Program for NYC Middle School Students
Had a great time Saturday (26 July 2014) with my 2014 Geometry Group at the Summer Program for Mathematical Problem Solving at Siena College, a three-week program for 38 mathematical talented middle schools students who go to low income NYC public schools. We presented Soap Bubbles and Mathematics, including a little guessing contest with demonstrations, explanations, […]
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5:00 PM | Decisions ripple through flocks of birds like a wave
3D videos of starlings show that cues to turn flow through the flock like ripples on a pond, rather than spreading evenly like a diffusing gas
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3:14 PM | Mathematical Olympiad Notes
Since 2008, I have been invited to deliver talks to mathematical Olympiad aspirants at various places. I thought it would be a good idea to collect all the problem sheets from those talks at one place. Some of these sheets have been distributed in other websites as well and they have been well received. I Read more

July 26, 2014

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1:30 PM | Weekend reads: Science News cites The Onion, bitterness over lack of credit in sixth grader’s project
Another busy week at Retraction Watch. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Science News cited an article from The Onion as if it were real, then deleted the reference without any notice. Unfortunately for them, Gawker found it first. The story of a sixth grader studying the lionfish has become more complicated, with a former graduate […]
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10:24 AM | ¿Las matemáticas se inventan o se descubren?
Las matemáticas se descubren. La labor del matemático es parecida a la del explorador de una nueva tierra. Su misión es descubrir nuevos entes para su estudio detallado mediante nuevas herramientas. Así contesté a la #Pregunta102 de los amigos […] Leer más La entrada ¿Las matemáticas se inventan o se descubren? fue escrita en La Ciencia de la Mula Francis. Entradas relacionadas: Carnaval de Matemáticas 2.2: Las derivadas parciales mixtas de la función 1/r en […]
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5:00 AM | WS MoreOrLess: The prevalence of paedophilia? 25 Jul 14
The Pope was reported to have said that 2% of Catholic clergy were paedophiles. Is this a big number? Wesley Stephenson looks at the research on the prevalence of paedophilia and how the Catholic clergy compare to the world's population as a whole. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

July 25, 2014

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6:56 PM | Statshot: SUVs, HIV and Must-See TV
Sport utility vehicles and crossovers have become the most popular car body type in America. New HIV diagnoses have dropped more than 30% in the U.S. since 2002. Over the past few years, several television dramas have cracked a rating of 9 on IMDb’s crowdsourced rating scale—none of them on network TV.
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6:12 PM | Foundation announces 2014 Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems
The Simons Foundation congratulates the awardees who have been selected as Simons Investigators in 2014 in the mathematical modeling of living systems. The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions.
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