Articles to 2015-02-20

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

The brainwashing study by Falk et al., of interest to e.g. the junk food, sweets, alcohol, and tobacco advertising industry, cries out junk science loudly and clearly. The only value they don’t state a standard deviation for in their table 2 is the measured one of interest. None of their figures shows any data at all, only regressions, and error ranges for these are unstated. Although the baseline value for the control group is significantly higher in table 2, indeed that difference is larger than the claimed effect, the regression line starts lower. Even without data this suffices to mark it as an irrelevant non-result, published anyway in the hope nobody would notice. And as it seems none of the referees did, which tells a lot about the science of communications studies and social research.

And again Berent et al. do their testing on adults with decades of intensive experience of language use. Where they infer an elaborate abstract system for analysing language, might not simple learnt pattern recognition be the more parsimonious explanation?

On the one hand we are constantly exhorted about the energy wasted and carbon-dioxide released by every single Google query and asked to keep it down, and then the science editors and Jia You go and actually endorse something as vile as “TrackMeNot”. Drowning a server in a sea of fake requests and crowding out the few genuine ones is a denial of service attack, a criminal offence if I’m not very much mistaken. Granted, Google is powerful enough not to be brought down to its knees by it, but does that matter? Imagine you habitually went and took money out of your work colleague’s wallet while he was at lunch. Providing you only took so much each time, that he never notices, or if he does can’t be quite sure of not just imagining it, according to the science editor’s logic that’s not stealing. You may agree, I don’t. I hope Google will find and implement a way to blacklist the scum who abuse their system that way.

Laliberté et al. offer another example of the effects of warming being constrained and the apocalyptic scenarios touted probably overblown.

Climate changes, it has done so on Earth for 4 500 millions of years. Part of that change is manmade, as Ward et al. demonstrate yet again. But that influence is not recent, the Medieval European landscape was far more different from its purely natural state than all the changes of the last two centuries. Indeed Ward et al. strengthen and amplify Ruddiman’s hypothesis that the end of the current interglacial is long overdue and held off by man’s landscape forming since the Neolithic. Im sum it’s another nail in the coffin of the dying orthodoxy of single issue, single cause climate fanatics.

The only surprising thing about Bromham et al.’s result is its being new. I’d have supposed that test to have been made long ago. Anyway, while wholly expected that result certainly is relevant.

Why do illegal immigrants like Dr. Elsayed consistently choose America over Germany while those going to indulge in theft, robbery, and drug dealing equally consistently choose the opposite? And why does America throw theirs out against their own better interest while we never do, equally against our interest?

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