Here are some references to help you win at logic: The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe explains how logic works and doesn’t work before delving into its top 20 logical fallacies – how to spot them and how to counter them. The Nizkor Project breaks them down by type, and you can search them by name. Logical Fallacies is an encyclopedic reference, a little more detailed than Nizkor, and an easier font and background than Skeptic’s Guide. Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies is great if you’re a visual learner, with little icons for each individual fallacy. The Master List of Logical Fallacies is written for writers, has a few different names for some fallacies that you might not recognize, but is maybe a little easier to understand because there’s less Latin.
Speaking of fallacies, one of the big ones is the “teach both sides,” or “teach the controversy,” usually found regarding evolution. Dave Hone, in The Guardian blogs, shows how misleading this is with a specific case of a TV show that showed “both sides of the debate” regarding the evolution of birds. One side is represented by the majority of experts, the other by people who have an opinion.
More on genes and cancer. . .apparently the genetic condition called Laron’s syndrome makes people’s bodies short, but their lives long. Somewhere in their genes, they’re resistant to growth hormones and resistant to cancer. Fascinating.
Phineas Gage is probably the best-known case of the effects of traumatic brain injury on behavior. New technology attempts to recreate the damage that was done by the railroad spike in his head in an effort to understand it better. Mindhacks isn’t sure he wants to know more, but shares it anyway.
Sometimes you need an outside perspective to see that an idea looks stupid. People in the UK think the NRA’s idea to put armed guards in schools is nuts. I think they’re right.
The Keystone pipeline could make this a scene anywhere along its entire length. Maybe that’s better than an ocean spill, but wouldn’t we rather avoid it in the first place if we can?
Rhinos are dangerous animals. Really dangerous. But how can you be scared of one that looks this cute?
Chiropractors playing to a parent’s deepest fear – SIDS. We don’t know what causes it, we know little about how to prevent it, but Chiropractors lay claim to secret knowledge and take advantage of new parents’ willingness to do anything for their children by lying to them.
Ed Yong tells an inspiring story of a triumph in genomic medicine. Lilly Grossman carries a gene mutation that fills her nights with shaking and seizures instead of sleep, but finding it delivers the treatment she needs to live an almost normal life. Grab your hankies.
This won’t make a lot of sense to many people, but an abstract that shows a possible neurobiological connection for skin picking and hair pulling (dermatillomania and trichitillomania) makes me think how nice it would be to eventually find a way to fix it.
Take this, people who think diet can prevent all disease. So there.
Bookmark this site for when you need a good laugh or a healthy dose of schadenfreude. There is simply too much here for me to give it to you a bit at a time. Bask in its guanophrenic glory as it slowly loads the page bit by bit up to the top. If you really want to get in the spirit, go to the pantry and get some tinfoil to make yourself a party hat first.
Colin McGinn, in the New York Review of books, has plenty to say to Ray Kurzweil (and anyone else who thinks that brains are like computers) in his review of “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.”
If these porn stars‘ before pictures were put up on facebook, there’d be no shortage of nasty comments about their looks. The transformations are amazing – and show how deceptive makeup can be!
Scientific American shares some interesting history about, um, butt-wiping.
I suppose if you’re going to major in something dangerous, it helps to be able to laugh about it.
When I first saw the video of this amazing small space, I didn’t think about much else but how cool it was. Gawker, on the other hand, has some insightful things to say about its owner’s exhortation to “live with less.”
I saw this adorable page of what looked like a pet otter. Obviously, I needed to read it in English to find out um, what goes into obtaining caring for one of these sweet little creatures. Let’s just say that Google translate still has a few bugs to work out! (I’m especially fond of the picture subtitled, “Dark, dark, dark cousin dark ~ ♪ ~ ♪ ~ Dai favorite Crotch, crotch, crotch crotch us ~ ♪ ~ ♪ ~ Dai favorite”)