In 2002, two men savagely attacked Jason Padgett outside a karaoke bar, leaving him with a severe concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder. But the incident also turned Padgett into a mathematical genius who sees the world through the lens of geometry.
Padgett, a furniture salesman from Tacoma, Wash., who had very little interest in academics, developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and physics concepts intuitively. The injury, while devastating, seems to have unlocked part of his brain that makes everything in his world appear to have a mathematical structure.
In April and May of 2013, Yale Law professor Dan Kahan — working with coauthors Ellen Peters, Erica Cantrell Dawson, and Paul Slovic — set out to test a question that continuously puzzles scientists: why isn’t good evidence more effective in resolving political debates? For instance, why doesn’t the mounting proof that climate change is a real threat persuade more skeptics?
The leading theory, Kahan and his coauthors wrote, is the Science Comprehension Thesis, which says the problem is that the public doesn’t know enough about science to judge the debate. It’s a version of the More Information Hypothesis: a smarter, better educated citizenry wouldn’t have all these problems reading the science and accepting its clear conclusion on climate change.
But Kahan and his team had an alternative hypothesis. Perhaps people aren’t held back by a lack of knowledge. After all, they don’t typically doubt the findings of oceanographers or the existence of other galaxies. Perhaps there are some kinds of debates where people don’t want to find the right answer so much as they want to win the argument. Perhaps humans reason for purposes other than finding the truth — purposes like increasing their standing in their community, or ensuring they don’t piss off the leaders of their tribe. If this hypothesis proved true, then a smarter, better-educated citizenry wouldn’t put an end to these disagreements. It would just mean the participants are better equipped to argue for their own side.
Retired police Capt. Peter Christ is about to make more sense about the War on Drugs than anyone youve ever heard in the past. His basic premise is that we need to legalize drugs, but if youre skeptical, just give him a few minutes to convince you. Highlights include a very honest answer to a commonly asked drug question at 0:54, the easiest question to answer about the War on Drugs at 4:48, the complete destruction of the biggest argument anti-drug advocates use at 7:23, using the Bible to prove the ineffectiveness of prohibition at 13:55, and a rapid-fire debunking of several myths all in one breath at 14:20.
Where did the phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ come from? And when did scientists finally get round to naming sexual body parts? Voiced by Clive Anderson, this entertaining romp through ‘The History of English’ squeezes 1600 years of history into 10 one-minute bites, uncovering the sources of English words and phrases from Shakespeare and the King James Bible to America and the Internet. Bursting with fascinating facts, the series looks at how English grew from a small tongue into a major global language before reflecting on the future of English in the 21st century.
If you’ve ever wondered about the display, or rather, lack of display of public affection in Japan, it has been the basis of essays, believe it or not!
Cultural historian Mark McLelland, in an article titled “‘Kissing is a symbol of democracy!’ Dating, Democracy, and Romance in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” notes that a statute against kissing in public was rescinded largely because during the Occupation many American wives accompanied their officer husbands to Japan, bringing with them the custom of mild—according to American norms—displays of affection while out and about.
If you’re like me and still use Dashboard Widgets in Mountain Lion, as well as loved the widgets from Bjango (previously iSlayer) you may be disappointed to find that iStat Pro doesn’t show a list of running processes any longer.
Details are in this post on MacRumors.
Via: Refined Robot.