Category Archives: science

science for the masses

Science proves the obvious: women are different from men

Just about every finding in this study, conducted by a “feminist,” only confirms what we already know. The whole article is quotable, but here’s the main snippet:

In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day – 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat – and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests.

. . .

And, if that wasn’t enough, the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high.

Yeah, that’s right, women are addicted to talking.

Of course, men are addicted to something else:

But what the male brain may lack in converstation [sic] and emotion, they more than make up with in their ability to think about sex.

Dr Brizendine says the brain’s “sex processor” – the areas responsible for sexual thoughts – is twice as big as in men than in women, perhaps explaining why men are stereotyped as having sex on the mind.

Or, to put it another way, men have an international airport for dealing with thoughts about sex, “where women have an airfield nearby that lands small and private planes”.

Studies have shown that while a man will think about sex every 52 seconds, the subject tends to cross women’s minds just once a day, the University of California psychiatrist says.

52 seconds? That seems a little . . . off.

Death by coddling

I believe this article (via an IM by Greg) offers a good explanation for the weaknesses of SPU’s, my old college, student body. I was fairly involved in my time at SPU with many extra-curricular activities, and I think it’s safe to say I stirred up more than my fair share of trouble while there. So, I think I have a fairly well-informed opinion of the SPU student body. Generally, I think SPU students share three negative characteristics: unduly passive, overly sensitive, and highly intolerant of “bad behavior.” I think all three of these characteristics could be the result of the coddling parenting the article describes. Here are a few noteworthy snippets from the article.
Continue reading Death by coddling

The earth is not about to melt

This is why I’m a skeptic of the whole global warming deal (I know the article made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, but I just got around to reading it). Here’s a snippet and the conclusion:

Karlén explains that a paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but no overall temperature rise. “For several published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years,” says Karlén

. . .

In April sixty of the world’s leading experts in the field [climatology] asked Prime Minister Harper to order a thorough public review of the science of climate change, something that has never happened in Canada. Considering what’s at stake – either the end of civilization, if you believe Gore, or a waste of billions of dollars, if you believe his opponents – it seems like a reasonable request.

I’m definitely not one who thinks we should rape the planet and move on to the next one — who really is? — but I think there’s good reason to be skeptical of this neo-Earth-First religion that might have some scientific authenticity. At any rate, the minority view on such things should be considered, right?

Video games make you smarter

This is almost too self-serving:

A body of research suggests that playing video games provides benefits similar to bilingualism in exercising the mind. Just as people fluent in two languages learn to suppress one language while speaking the other, so too are gamers adept at shutting out distractions to swiftly switch attention between different tasks.

A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.

“The people who were video game players were better and faster performers,” said psychologist Ellen Bialystok, a research professor at York University. “Those who were bilingual and video game addicts scored best — particularly at the most difficult tasks.”

I really wish the article didn’t play up bilingualism so much. My mom went through great pains — literally — to get me to be fluent in another language. First she tried Spanish, then she tried Latin, and then she gave up after French. But think how much super I’d be if I had actually stuck with a language! I would be “unbeatable”! Too bad I died at the first miniboss in French level 3. I have given some thought to going back to Latin. I think it’d be sexy to be fluent in Latin.

However, I do feel better about all those hours I’ve “squandered” on video games, though I’d still say my play time in World of Warcraft is embarrassingly high. . .

(via Slashdot)

I want a GUTT

I propose a new endeavor for science. Forget about a Grand Unified Theory for physics, how about a Grand Unified Theory for traffic? Seriously, I think this would be a lot more valuable and pertinent to our everyday life than some esoteric theory only 6 people on the planet can understand and that explains how at some awfully specific moment in the spacetime continuum all the universal forces become one. What possibly value does that hold for me? GUTT would explain such phenomena as:

  1. Why does traffic suck on some days but on other days it’s fine even though nearly all external factors (e.g. weather, time of the day, day of the week, etc.) are the same?
  2. How does that horrible chain of stop-and-go start? Shouldn’t traffic still move at a relatively continuous rate albeit a slow one?
  3. Under what conditions does a green light cause drivers to do nothing?
  4. Why is it almost always impossible to be in the “fast lane” of traffic during a traffic jam?
  5. Why does the “fast lane” always become the “slow lane” when one switches to the “fast lane”? C.f. the opening scene of Office Space.
  6. What’s the exact mechanism that causes traffic reports to be given at a uselessly high rate of speed?
  7. Why do radio commercials become upwards of 10 times more annoying during traffic than when there is no traffic?
  8. What is the positive effect of completely empty and slow moving city buses in traffic?

And that’s just off the top of my head. Imagine what else it could be used to explain when other more bored people have time to think about it!