Compilation of links and commentary provided by Scott Alexander on his blog, Slate Star Codex.
Scott Alexander periodically compiles interesting links and publishes them on Slate Star Codex. Find more links in his archives.
The Paradox Of Disclosure – when surgeons disclose to their patients that their professional incentives may bias their recommendation to pursue surgery, this makes patients more likely to accept those recommendations. Linking to the Marginal Revolution commentary rather than the original for the spectacular pun at the end.
How Not To Name Your Child: Five Golden Rules by Phoenicia Hebebe Dobson-Mouawad. I keep trying to convince my friends that giving your child a “unique” “meaningful” name might seem cool today, but that the kid may not share your aesthetics and will have to live with the results for the rest of their lives (or until they’re old enough to pay legal fees).
A randomized controlled trial in The Lancet finds that behavioral activation therapy is as good as cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, even though it’s a simpler subset of the latter. Some discussion on Reddit, including worries that it might solve the immediate issue but not give people the skills they need for later.
The deepest cave in the world, in Abkhazia, goes over a mile below the surface.
Barack Obama’s half-brother will be voting for Donald Trump. Key quote: “Obama believes strongly in the institution of marriage — so strongly that he has at least three current wives, although press reports have put the number as high as 12.”
“President Lyndon B. Johnson was known as an owner of an amphibious car. Apparently he liked to scare new visitors to his ranch by driving them downhill in his amphicar directly into his property’s lake, all the while shouting that the brakes had broken.” Man, they don’t make presidents like they used to.
Significant only because it suggests there are still people surprised by this: AI prescribes better treatment than doctors.
Wanna feel slightly more objectified than you did earlier today? Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market will tell you exactly how much each of your unattractive qualities contributes to the eventual mediocreness of the man or woman you will have to settle for marrying.
Originally saw this .gif titled Burning calcium supplements summons Cthulhu. It did not disappoint. [EDIT: Appears to actually be mercury thiocyanate]
A little while back we discussed whether people strongly identified with their genders, which led to a thread in comments where my mostly male readership debated how they would react to a omnipotent being’s request to turn them into girls. In case you were wondering about Orthodox Judaism’s answer to that question, apparently every morning all male Orthodox Jews say a prayer thanking God for not making them a woman.
One of the US government’s anti-Castro plots was to fake the Second Coming using pyrotechnics and then have Illusory Jesus demand that the Cubans overthrow their government. This totally would have worked in Oz The Great And Powerful.
So we already know that the average person can’t taste the difference between a $10 and a $10,000 bottle of wine. But what about coffee? Experts try a blind taste test of some prestigious and less prestigious brands.
You know those outrageous multimillion dollar contracts basketball players get? Well, within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.
So now maybe we know how reservatrol and red wine work? Also within: a really interesting example of the methodological complexity of modern biochemical research.
I should work this into a future article on Reaction, but here’s a taster: happiness has been increasing over the past sixty years in most first world countries, including the United States.
And more good news: “wonder material” graphene may lead to cheap desalinization. Given that a lot of the grimmest predictions for the 21st century involved big conflicts over water, if this panned out it would be almost fusion-power-level good. Unfortunately, this only increases my suspicion that we can solve all environmental problems by being terrible thoughtless fools and waiting for science to come up with a clever patch for our irresponsibility.