Random links

Can People Distinguish Pâté from Dog Food?
Asking the important questions. The conclusion: "Although 72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste (Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05), subjects were not better than random at correctly identifying the dog food."
Outside the US, it's pretty hard to infer someone's left/right position from their views on abortion!
A plot
A shocking share of the public thinks randomized trials are immoral
"Across the different studies conducted with different subgroups, an overwhelming majority was okay with either doing the badge or doing the poster. A much smaller majority was okay with testing which worked better: 40-50% thought that randomization was inappropriate. Even if each policy would be okay with them, people felt that it was unethical to conduct a study to learn which one worked better. People don’t only feel this way about hospital policies. ... In all ... cases except the last one, people felt the same way. Option 1? Fine. Option 2? Fine. Random assignment between Option 1 and Option 2, for the sake of learning which works better? Not fine."

The influence of your ancestors' lives

An earlier tweet in the series mentions Markowicz's great-grandfather dying in a Soviet gulag for the crime of owning a bakery. The rest of the twitter thread winds up discussing the sort of context that doesn't wind up in places like the The Daily Show.

Random links

‘Who is this Robert Smith?’: A quiet billionaire makes some noise with $20 million gift to the African American museum
From an earlier profile of a billionaire recently in the news for paying off the student loan of a whole class: "At least three to seven times a year, he says, he is stopped by police as he drives himself to the airport in Texas. The officers run his tags and check his license. He’s told he was speeding or changed lanes without signaling. The officers send him off, often without a ticket. ... But Smith never worries about missing his flight. His private plane won’t leave without him."
Unpopular speech in a cold climate
"a world in which lawyers are afraid to defend people against a certain kind of accusation is a world in which those accusations can never really be verified, where guilty verdicts bear the whiff of a sham."
We asked ambassadors where they eat when they’re homesick. We did not expect Taco Bell and Ikea.
I was amused.
Social learning and the demise of costly cooperation in humans
"We found that: (i) social information never increased cooperation and usually led to decreased cooperation; (ii) cooperation was lowest when individuals could observe how successful individuals behaved; and (iii) cooperation declined because individuals preferred to copy successful individuals, who cooperated less, rather than copy common behaviours." See also Transparency can reinforce the norm that most people are engaging in corrupt behaviours

Banning teaching about Arabic numerals and the Big Bang Theory

I'd heard of the polling data that'd showed most American wanted to ban teaching students about Arabic numerals, but I was somewhat amused (via Snopes) to learn that the same survey company also polled people on their support for teaching the Big Bang Theory in a slightly different guise:


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