Category: Research

  • An aside about prototype theory

    This is more of an I’m putting this here to come back to it later sort of thing rather than a well thought out point or endorsement. I’ve an ongoing interest in classification and meaning and the complexities thereof — given the name of the blog and the identity I write under that should be […]

  • Ninja FUD in Arizona

    Cast your mind back to the closing weeks of 2020 and in the US the right was all aflutter about electoral fraud i.e. not at all coping with losing. I’ve covered the extent to which US elections are impacted by fraud before and the answer is lots-and-lots-and-none-at-all. The lots are overt and technically legal and […]

  • And more right wingers talking nonsense about Benford’s Law update

    It seems I was too kind to Larry Correia in my first post about the pro-Trumpist misleading claims about Benford’s Law. He actually is still pushing it as supposed evidence of election fraud. “Basically, when numbers are aggregated normally, they follow a distribution curve. When numbers are fabricated, they don’t. When human beings create what […]

  • I Guess I’m Talking About Benford’s Law

    The US Presidential Election isn’t just a river in Egypt, it is also a series of bizarre claims. One of the many crimes against statistics being thrown about in what is likely to be a 5 year (minimum) tantrum about the election is a claim about Benford’s law. The first example I saw was last […]

  • A Big Hugo Finalist List

    I am primarily a machine that turns carbohydrates into spreadsheets. I’m OK with relational databases but they are not my natural territory. I prefer my data in great big lists of everything and if I want lots of little tables then I’ll pivot it. I’d started rationalising some of the throw-away spreadsheets I made for […]

  • Review: Superior by Angela Saini

    Science journalist Angela Saini’s third book Superior: the Return of Race Science is a very timely survey of the history and contemporary impact of the attempts to use science to prop up racism and beliefs about race. From Carl Linnaeus to the sinister Pioneer Fund, Saini maps the shifts both in actual understanding and the […]

  • Back to Flint

    A follow up to yesterday’s post. One rabbit-hole I had to stop myself running down was Eric Flint’s 2015 post THE DIVERGENCE BETWEEN POPULARITY AND AWARDS IN FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. Eric Flint, often cast as the token left-winger of Baen’s stable, tread a difficult line during the Debarkle with many of his colleagues or […]

  • Loved Books: The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen J Gould

    Stephen Jay Gould is a voice that is missed in today’s world. Smart, compassionate and analytical but also with a deft capacity to write about complex ideas in an engaging way. In The Mismeasure of Man Gould stepped out of his main field of paleontology and looked at the history of attempts to measure intelligence […]

  • A not-actually-a-paper has the Right excited about global warming denial again

    One of my favourite topics is the methodical destruction of our planet’s climatic status-quo by our fun habit of burning the deep past for larks aka Global Warming. As a reminder, global warming currently looks like this*: The 1990s argument of ‘we need more research is dead, the 2000s ‘pause’ argument is dead. It’s getting […]

  • Richard Dawkins saying poorly thought through reactionary things again

    Oh dear: And… Alternatively we could not do anything like that because it is an appalling idea. There are at least three levels of confused thinking here. The first is that in the past such attempts to ensure people were sufficiently ‘qualified’ to vote intellectually have been attempts to disenfranchise specific ethnic groups. When coupled […]

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