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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

I posted this as a comment on a sociology blog

I discussed two problems: 1. An artificial scarcity applied to journal publication, a scarcity which I believe is being enforced based on a monetary principle of not wanting to reduce the value of publication. The problem is that journals don’t just spread information and improve communication, they also represent chits for hiring and promotion. I’d […]

When you believe in things that you don’t understand

Rolf Zwaan gives an excellent discussion of how superstition can arise and perpetuate itself: A social-behavioral priming experiment is like rolling a 20-sided die, an icosahedron. If you roll the die a number of times, 20 will turn up at some point. Bingo! You have a significant effect. In fact, given what we now know […]

Never back down: The culture of poverty and the culture of journalism

Ta-Nehisi Coates recently published a fascinating column on the “culture of poverty,” in particular focusing on the idea that behavior that is rational and adaptive in some settings is not so appropriate in others: The set of practices required for a young man to secure his safety on the streets of his troubled neighborhood are […]

Personally, I’d rather go with Teragram

This one stunned me but perhaps will be no surprise to those of you who are under 30. Laura Wattenberg writes: I live in a state where a baby girl is more likely to be named Margaret than Nevaeh. Let me restate that: I live in the only state where a baby girl is more […]

“What should you talk about?”

Tyler Cowen quotes Robin Hanson: If your main reason for talking is to socialize, you’ll want to talk about whatever everyone else is talking about. Like say the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. But if instead your purpose is to gain and spread useful insight, so that we can all understand more about things that matter, […]

Nicholas Wade and the paradox of racism

The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.

Discussion with Steven Pinker on research that is attached to data that are so noisy as to be essentially uninformative

I pointed Steven Pinker to my post, How much time (if any) should we spend criticizing research that’s fraudulent, crappy, or just plain pointless?, and he responded: Clearly it *is* important to call out publicized research whose conclusions are likely to be false. The only danger is that it’s so easy and fun to criticize, […]

Crowdstorming a dataset

Raphael Silberzahn writes: Brian Nosek, Eric Luis Uhlmann, Dan Martin, and I just launched a project through the Open Science Center we think you’ll find interesting. The basic idea is to “Crowdstorm a Dataset”. Multiple independent analysts are recruited to test the same hypothesis on the same data set in whatever manner they see as […]

Sleazy sock puppet can’t stop spamming our discussion of compressed sensing and promoting the work of Xiteng Liu

Some asshole who has a bug up his ass about compressed sensing is spamming our comments with a bunch of sock puppets. All from the same IP address: “George Stoneriver,” Scott Wolfe,” and just plain “Paul,” all saying pretty much the same thing in the same sort of broken English (except for Paul, whose post […]

An open site for researchers to post and share papers

Alexander Grossman writes: We have launched a beta version of ScienceOpen in December at the occasion of the MRS Fall meeting in Boston. The participants of that conference, most of them were active researchers in physics, chemistry, and materials science, provided us with a very positive feedback. In particular they emphazised that it appears to […]