Skepchick Quickies, 3.21


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Mine all go to the correct articles.

    Although I do think there should be a link to the very important i09 article about radioactive bananas.

    Also the top 10 list is interesting and very useful if you don’t know anything about science. I would personally have replaced the theory of relativity with the laws of thermodynamics. Relativity is abused by bad science but not as often as the 2nd law. I mean, having a solid grasp of evolution, genetics, and thermodynamics invalidates the 99% of creationist arguments.

  2. ’18 percent of adults believed that “they can see gravity.” ‘ — coincidentally, 18% of adults surveyed are addicted to rubber cement fumes.

  3. Love the first article… except for this part about statistics:

    “But no one has come up with an alternative way of assessing experimental outcomes that is as simple or as generally applicable.”

    Nothing is as simple as Fisher’s p value. But the Bayesian theorem isn’t *that* much more complex. I think the authors severely oversimplify the issue by saying there is no alternative. The war between Fisher and Bayes supporters tends to be ideological, but the fact that a conflict exists (or that Fisher’s has had a stranglehold on statistics for most of last century) doesn’t mean that one works and one —or for that matter, all else—doesn’t.

  4. I had to click on it a couple of times to get it to work, Andrew.

    To be fair, if I was presented with a survey, and one of the questions was, “Do lightsabers exist?” — of course I’d check the ‘yes’ box.

  5. I think the article on the “Ten things everyone should know about science” was poorly written. I don’t think the tone was particularly suited towards its intended audience, namely those who don’t know about those things. And what’s with the “fear factor” thing there? I didn’t get that at all.

  6. The “light sabers exist” article was amusing and interesting, bu the comments made my brain hurt. I hate it when people say it takes the same amount of faith to “believe in” science as it does to believe in religion.

    It takes no faith whatsoever to accept scientific ideas as the best explanation for a natural phenomena, and I hate it when people imply that it does. It “mystifies” science, and gives sloppy thinkers license to “choose not to believe” certain scientific truths (like evolution or AGW).


  7. I know well how hard it is to explain science to a lay audience without oversimplifying. However, I do cringe when I read about the universe expanding from a point or that, The formula [E=mc2] implies that mass and energy can be converted into one another . . .
    One could say that space and everything in it was once very small and since then has expanded. There’s no “point” in space that the universe expanded from.
    Many so-called “free energy” schemes depend on the conversion of mass to energy. If some natural process converts mass to energy, Einstein’s formula allows us to calculate how much energy is released. It doesn’t mean, as the scammers claim, that we can convert any mass we please to energy.

  8. @Andrew Nixon: its a problem with io9’s recent redesign to a new ajax heavy platform. It constantly messes up links for everyone. If you have the time, or inclination, you can manually edit the link to remove the #! and point to the uk.io9.com subdomain, like this:

    [this also works for other Gawker sites like gizmodo, lifehacker, jezebel etc]

  9. Humanity has long had the technology to erase memories. It is usually distilled from grain.

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