Friday, February 27, 2009
Good Luck, Mr Farmer. I'm pretty sure the Ethicals will pick you out for special treatment. Don't forget your grail!
January 26, 1918 - February 25, 2009. R.I.P
[Hat Tip 2 IO9]
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Video at Nature.com
--- UPDATE ---
PZ Myers has this to say ...
The media is getting another science story wrong. I keep seeing this discovery of an array of fossil placoderms as revealing the origins of sex, and that's not right. Sex is much, much older, and arose in single-celled organisms. Come on, plants reproduce sexually. A fish is so far removed from the time of origin of sexual reproduction that it can't tell us much about its origins.
Let's get it right. These fossils tells us about the origin of fu…uh, errm, mating in vertebrates.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I find myself short of time and ideas tonight, so I shall regale you with past exploits.
I encountered The Rodriguez File one day at Improbable Research, where I was intrigued by the question ...
"I would like to explore the statistical chances of getting such a line".
The straight line being the arrangement of words to the right such that 5 or 6 spaces line up to form a line.
So I took a stab at the problem, and Kees (duck researcher extraordinaire) choose to post it for the world to see:
The Rodriguez File (part 2).
However, I was not satidfied with that effort, and made a second attempt, which appears here:
The Rodriguez File (part 3).
Then someone asked the question a different way, and I had yet another go at it:
The Rodriguez File (part 4).
It's good to be a statistician. We get to consider all kinds of strange and interesting questions.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I must have first heard it at a Boy Scout jamboree (circa 1976), and it has been rattling around my head (with incomplete lyrics) ever since. It's possible that I actually heard Oscar Brand perform it too, but at the time I didn't pay much attention.
I found this, of all places, at Improbable Research. Maybe Marc A. sings this song when he thinks no one can hear him too. ;-)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
[All images from the PBS site]
Ken Miller: I think that faith and reason are both gifts from God. And if God is real, then faith and reason should complement each other rather than be in conflict. Science is the child of reason. Reason has given us the ability to establish the scientific method to investigate the world around us, and to show that the world and the universe in which we live are far vaster and far more complex, and I think far more wonderful, than anyone could have imagined 1,000 or 2,000 years ago.
Now, I'm a scientist and I have faith in God. But that doesn't make faith a scientific proposition. Faith and reason are both necessary to the religious person for a proper understanding of the world in which we live, and there is ultimately no necessary contradiction between reason and faith.
Holding: Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
An Irreducibly Intelligent program.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
2009-02-09 RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Thought-Laced Chocolate
This month's specially selected study describes an attempt to blend intention into chocolate, and to then measure the effect upon individuals who consume the hybrid. The paper is: "Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood," Dean Radin, Gail Hayssen and James Walsh, Explore, vol. 3, no. 5, September 2007, pp. 485-492. (Thanks to investigator Mary Beckman for bringing this to our attention.)
The authors, at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, California and at Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate in Honolulu, Hawaii, explain: "A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment investigated whether chocolate exposed to "good intentions" would enhance mood more than unexposed chocolate....
Each person consumed a half ounce of dark chocolate twice a day at prescribed times. Three groups blindly received chocolate that had been intentionally treated by three different techniques. The intention in each case was that people who ate the chocolate would experience an enhanced sense of energy, vigor, and well-being. The fourth group blindly received untreated chocolate as a placebo control.... "
Conclusion: The mood-elevating properties of chocolate can be enhanced with intention."
A copy is online at http://www.deanradin.com/papers/chocolate.pdf
The story continues at Improbable Research, where Poul Robinson offered this follow up:
Picking up where this left off, I thought I might add to the critique:
One of the main conclusions, analysis #3, presents a one-sided p-value of 0.04. One-sided p-values are definitely not the standard in medical research, and this p-value should be doubled (~0.08 two-sided), and this interaction considered to be non-significant.
Analysis #5 does not seem to depend of a one-tailed p-value. However, I note that the confidence interval widths for the control group at day 5 is roughly 10 in both figures 4 and 7, despite there being fewer subjects for the “chocolate sensitive subset”. This is not impossible, as the subjects who contributed most to the variance might also have been those who consume the most chocolate, but it is curious.
Also, the pattern of mood disturbance scores for the control group between days 3 and 7 exhibits a distingctive “peaked” shape, somewhat reminiscent of a Hershey’s Kiss. [Image]
Legal Disclaimer: The staff at DTA would like to remind you that chocolate, like tomatoes, can be very hazardous, and should only be consumed by properly equipped and supervised professionals. We cannot be help responsible for the possible effects of chocolate, which include but are not limited to, romantic relationships, happiness, and eventual death.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Dread Tomato Addiction (just a little early).
Saturday, February 7, 2009
LBC have instructed their lawyers to contact me.
Two days ago I posted about a broadcast in which their presenter Jeni Barnett exemplified some of the most irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant anti-vaccination campaigning that I have ever heard on the public airwaves. This is important because it can cost lives, and you can read about the media’s MMR hoax here.
... and now the lawyers are indeed swarming. Perhaps Ben cannot post the entire 45 minute clip, but crafty individual that he is, realized that posting smaller sections of it would be fair use. Now if only there were hundreds (or thousands) of other people out there who might post those bits of video and transcript. Oh wait, this is the internet, how silly of me! Many have responded, and the story is spreading far and wide. Pay a visit to Bad Science and help spread the story further still.
[Update] Since this post continues to get lots of traffic a clarification is in order. The title of this post is a slight misquote of Shakespeare:
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".