Links of interest (2010-09-28)

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Yesterday was another side effect hell, but I managed to visit a few websites in bed between trips to the bathroom:

  • "Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey [of knowledge about world religions]." (I managed 14 out of 15.)

  • The Prime Meridian line at the Royal Naval Observatory in Greenwich, U.K., actually is red, like on maps.

  • "But given the current arrangements, I'm being charged just a little bit less than I pay for paper and getting a whole lot less, and it just doesn't feel like a good deal. Of course, a setup like I'm proposing would leave the publishing industry as we know it in ruins. Which wouldn't bother me in the slightest as long as the authors and editors can still get paid."

  • "Maybe death is a good time to go offline."

  • "But recent budgets have shown a carbon tax deficit: tax cuts have completely swamped carbon tax revenues. While some were concerned that the carbon tax would be a 'tax grab', instead we [have] a carbon tax is that is revenue negative not revenue neutral."

  • "Perhaps 25,000 years ago, a child visited the cave and left a footprint, the oldest human footprint that can be accurately dated."

  • "See, aspiring thief, you just never know what you're stepping into when you hit up a random car on a random street. However badass you think you may be, there is someone on the other side of the robbery. And in this particular case it was someone who escaped the Iranian Revolution as a child; who roamed the world alone for five years because her parents couldn't get out; who watched from a dozen blocks away as the twin towers crumbled; who had just barely clawed her way out of that concentration camp known as late-stage cancer, if only because she was intent on raising her babies, come hell or high water. And all of this before she even turned 40. Can you see how that someone might be way more twisted than you?"

  • I don't buy lottery tickets. Why? Here's a simple lottery simulator, using the U.S. Mega Millions Lottery scheme—but many others, like our Lotto 6/49, are similar. I simulated playing the same numbers twice a week for 10 years. I "won" a total of $50 in that time, "spending" $1040, for a net loss of $990.

  • Worst oil company print ads ever?

  • Charlie Brooker's How to Report the News (video) and Martin Robbins's This is a News Website Article About a Scientific Paper. Those cheeky Brits. And damn if they aren't completely right.

  • "At its best, science fiction can help people better understand science, explaining new ideas and theories in the context of a thrilling, gripping story. And then there are these 10 utterly ridiculous stories about evolution."

  • "To accept something like residential cancer clusters are often just coincidence is deeply unsatisfying. The powerlessness, the feeling you are defenseless to the whims of chance, can be assuaged by singling out an antagonist. Sometimes you need a bad guy, and The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy is one way you can create one."


Ha! 15 out of 15! (except, um, I guessed on the last question) How is it I know so much about stuff I don't believe in? Wouldn't it be better if I could consistently remember where I put my keys? Or how to speak French? The mind is a funny thing. Hope your insides are feeling a bit better now...

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