Quickies

Quickies: The Illusory Truth Effect, Randall Munroe Interviews Chris Hadfield, and Alien Runways

  • You Are More Than 7 Times As Likely To Be Killed By A Right-Wing Extremist Than By Muslim Terrorists – “Though terrorism perpetrated by Muslims receives a disproportionate amount of attention from politicians and reporters, the reality is that right-wing extremists pose a much greater threat to people in the United States than terrorists connected to ISIS or similar organizations.” From Amy.
  • Even People Who Know Better Fall for Lies If They Hear Them Enough – “The researchers found that repeated falsehoods were more likely to be accepted as accurate, ‘regardless of whether stored knowledge could have been used to direct a contradiction.’ “
  • The Feminist Asylum That Redefined Women’s Mental-Health Treatment – “A place like Rockhaven—one run by and for women—was especially significant at a time when new and dangerous ideas about women’s sanity were taking hold. During Prohibition, as many young women were drawn to the danger of speakeasies, alcoholism among females rose dramatically. But nobody knew what to do with female alcoholics, and many were involuntarily committed.”
  • It’s Time to Reclaim Trolling – ” […] calling this behavior “trolling” minimizes its real-world effects. It’s targeted harassment that seeks to create genuine misery. It is abuse, it is dangerous, and it is revolting. As Anita Sarkeesian has said of Gamergate, trolling is too “childish” a term — it makes it sound like a fun game.”
  • Chris Hadfield meets Randall Munroe: ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ – A must-read interview with two of my favorite guys!
  • Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport – “Realizing that there would be nowhere for homeless aliens to land, the city officially renamed their 5,000-foot landing strip the “Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport.” Of course this change was not without opposition by residents, who noted the already existing housing shortage and extant issue of terrestrial immigration. Luckily the city planners won out and the spaceport was made official, even getting approval from the FAA, who either have a hidden sense of humor, or know more than they are letting on.”
  • Can We Trust the Hacker Philanthropists? – “As much as we might appreciate the generosity of our software billionaires, their raining of money over good causes also highlights the direness of a world in which a handful of individuals, through a combination of skill and luck, end up with monetary resources beyond that of most small nations. There but for the grace of Zuckerberg go we.”

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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5 Comments

  1. December 2, 2015 at 9:59 am —

    The illusionary effect can be used to explain so much.

    Love that there is now a landing strip for aliens. Near me there is a landing pad for them.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/world-s-first-ufo-landing-pad

  2. December 2, 2015 at 10:09 am —

    7 times more likely as long as you don’t count 9/11. I guess I’m broadly sympathetic, but that doesn’t seem like a completely fair comparison.

    • December 2, 2015 at 11:14 am —

      I also noticed that the cut off was just before Sept 11.

      However, there is also a good data problem. Sept 11 is an outlier. It’s common in statistics to actually remove outliers from your data set.

      Or, look at it this way: if you include Sept 11 it changes the results. If you were to go back for the 15 years before that the number would come back down more inline with what we have now. It would skew your results. And there are problems with trying to find solid 30 years worth of historical data.

      If you went back to October of 2001 you get a low number. If you go back to Sept 2001 you get a wildly higher number. If you continue to go back that number keeps dropping toward the earlier number.

      To me that means the number with Sept 2001 would be misleading, as going back from today to 2001 gets you a wildly different number than to October 2001 or to 1985. It’s a special case and should be treated special, and not normal.

      • December 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm —

        Maybe. I kind of feel like the numbers we’re talking about are all in the noise to start with. Terrorism is not a likely way to die period.

  3. December 2, 2015 at 5:46 pm —

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2015/dec/02/san-bernardino-shooting-live-coverage

    Another terrorist attack in the US =( Won’t speculate as to motive or identity at this time, just hope that no more die.

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