New Study Fails To Show That Violent Video Games Diminish Prosocial Behavior
I realize this is a less sexy/exciting comment than all the speculation on substantive merits... But the studies lack statistical power. N=64 in the first 2 experiments and N=32 in the 3rd. Those samples are much too small to have even a reasonable chance of detecting the effects that are common in behavioral science, even effects that are considered very consequential. (The authors offer a weak and IMHO unconvincing defense of their sample sizes in the discussion.)
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, especially with underpowered studies that use null-hypothesis significance testing.
University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department
"Make money" is relative. All universities, including the ones like UF that claim to make money, certify that their big-time sports programs are "substantially related" to their educational mission, and the IRS and state tax boards choose to believe it. As a result, the university's revenue from tickets, TV broadcast rights, advertising, and merchandise are tax-exempt. Donations from boosters are tax exempt (and a tax writeoff for the donor). Construction of stadiums and other sports facilities is funded with tax-exempt bonds.
Next time you turn on the TV and see a bowl game or March Madness, realize that as far as tax policy is concerned, you are watching a charity event among nonprofit institutions. If that makes sense to you (something you might ponder in between the action while watching a beer commercial or two), then yes, perhaps UF is making money.
Dharun Ravi Trial: Hate Crime Or Stupidity?
If you kill a man, you have committed a murder.
If you kill a man while announcing to a bunch of people, "This could be any one of you, and unless you start acting like I want you to act (or disappear entirely), next time it will be," you have committed a murder. But you have done other things too. You have also threatened a bunch of people with violence.
The legal theory behind hate crimes is that they are like the second case. When you target somebody partially or wholly because of their membership in a group (not just them as a unique individual), you are making an implicit threat against that entire group. When it is a group that has a long history of being targeted with similar violence, your implicit threat carries an especially large capability to intimidate. Hence the need to give special status to hate crimes.
The Stanford Prisoner Experiment - 40 Years On
There's faked and then there's faked.
If you mean "they made the whole thing up like the moon landing," then no. There's no reason to believe that kind of conspiracy.
But based on contemporary accounts, even from Zimbardo himself, it's pretty clear that he stepped well past his role as an objective researcher and became an active instigator -- appointing himself warden and egging on the guards. But even with that acknowledged, the fact that he was able to succeed so easily is part of what makes it an important demonstration.
The Stanford Prisoner Experiment - 40 Years On
For the record, Zimbardo has objected to Das Experiment's portrayal of his experiment, on the grounds that (a) it isn't clear which parts are reenactments and which parts are fictionalized, and (b) in his view the movie doesn't properly explain why the study was scientifically important. Read his side of it here.
Paper Manufacturer Launches "Print More" Campaign
From a 2006 NYT article:
...The paper industry is not without its impact. Because of its consumption of energy, the industry -- which includes magazines, newspapers, catalogs and writing paper -- emits the fourth-highest level of carbon dioxide among manufacturers, according to a 2002 study by the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy. The paper industry follows the chemical, petroleum and coal products, and primary metals industries.
. . .
The most harmful part of the process is paper production. Breaking down wood fiber to make paper consumes a lot of energy, which in many cases comes from coal plants.
Don't Talk To Aliens, Warns Stephen Hawking
Unfortunately for all of us, not only to the aliens have super-advanced weaponry, but even worse: they're descriptive usagists.
iPad Progress Report
And here's one for when all else fails.
"Supertaskers" Can Safely Use Mobile Phones While Driving
I wish I had mod points to mod the parent up.
In an experiment where each subject has only been measured once in each condition, you cannot distinguish stable individual differences (which is what is being suggested) from real but transient effects. Worse, you cannot really distinguish real-but-transient effects from stochastic error except by making some strong statistical assumptions. This is an interesting first result to follow up on, but it's not nearly strong enough to warrant a press release.
Magnetism Can Sway Man's Moral Compass
Here's a link to the journal article [pdf].
Notwithstanding the summary and press reports, what they actually did was show that the subjects relied less on the actor's mental states and instead just considered harmful consequences. For example consider this scenario (this is one of several scenarios from the actual study):
Janet and her neighbor are kayaking in a part of the ocean with lots of jellyfish. Janet's neighbor asks her if she should go for a swim. It is not safe to swim in the ocean, because the jellyfish sting and their stings are fatal. Because Janet read information that said the ocean's jellyfish are harmless, she believes that it is quite safe to swim in the ocean. Janet tells her neighbor to go for a swim. Her neighbor does, gets stung by jellyfish, and dies.
In different versions of the scenario, Janet either did or did not know that the jellyfish were dangerous, and her actions either did or did not cause harm. Several other scenarios were used that varied in the same ways. After reading each scenario, the subjects rated the actor's moral culpability.
What the study showed was that after TMS stimulation, subjects based their moral judgments more on whether harm was done than on whether the actor knew that her actions would be harmful.
I Use Twitter, Please Rob Me
Criminals will still just sit out in front of your house and wait for the cars the leave.
You've got a very high opinion of criminals.
A smart, patient, motivated criminal could probably get into 90% of ordinary people's homes without too much trouble. But in contrast to the romanticized catburglars in movies, in the real world smart, patient, motivated people don't generally become criminals. Most actual criminals are impulsive dumbasses. This service is perfect for the "I'm jonesing for my next meth fix, where can I get some easily-pawned stuff RIGHT NOW" crowd that make up the vast majority of actual criminals.
Digital Fundraising Booms For Haiti Relief
It's not just the amount (though that's part of it). Technology is allowing people to give easily at the very moment that they're seized with the urge to help. Used to be you'd have to go find your checkbook, a stamp, look up an address to send to, etc... which requires a sustained intention that lasts longer than the emotional impulse. Now you just text HAITI to 90999 and instantly satisfy your desire to do something. That makes a huge difference in turning noble motivations into action.
Ummm, because I posted the part that was germane? The GP said they didn't want others to see their profile pic. The part I quoted said you cannot restrict things that way. The part you quoted was about limiting availability in search, which is not what they were talking about.
Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings.
DRM Flub Prevented 3D Showings of Avatar In Germany
Everyone is basically saying "pretty pictures, but the story sucks"
The New York Times's hoity-toity film reviewer Manohla Dargis (who usually only likes stuff with subtitles) begs to differ.
What Computer Science Can Teach Economics
My impression is, that economists in general don't have a good grasp of math
I don't think the biggest problem is economists' grasp of math. Rather, it's that (a) the people implementing the economists' mathematical theories don't have a good grasp of the math, and (b) economists don't have a good grasp of the people their math is supposed to model.
Toyota Claims Woman "Opted In" To Faux Email Stalking
Tepper, Duick's attorney, said he discussed the campaign with Toyota's attorneys earlier this year, and they said the "opting in" Harp referred to was done when Duick's friend e-mailed her a "personality test" that contained a link to an "indecipherable" written statement that Toyota used as a form of consent from Duick.
Tepper, said that during those legal negotiations, Toyota's lawyers claimed Duick signed the written legal agreement, which they said amounts to "informed written consent." [emphasis added]
I work in research with human subjects, and there is no way this constitutes informed consent.
If Toyota wants to argue that the fine print spelled it out and it's her fault she didn't read it carefully enough, maybe they can win the case through legalistic hairsplitting. But if they buried it in fine print and incomprehensible language, they're jerks no matter what.
But they're making a much broader claim if they're calling it informed consent. Informed consent means that she comprehended what was going to happen to her as a result of agreeing. In other words, "informed consent" isn't just a statement about the objective content of the opt-in statement -- it's an assertion about the state of mind of the person who gave consent. If she had truly given informed consent, then not only would she have no legal claim, but she'd have no moral claim either (because she'd have known what she was getting into). But it's blindingly obvious that that isn't true here.
Marge Simpson Poses For Playboy
Oh internet... Is there nothing you won't show naked?
Obama Makes a Push To Add Time To the School Year
It depends what you mean by "how long" -- how long in a given day, or how long between vacation periods? Cognitive psychologists have demonstrated that the spacing of study occasions is highly important for learning and long-term retention. The education literature is full of studies on summer learning loss. So Obama isn't just making this up out of nowhere -- he's basing his proposal on a substantial body of empirical research.
At What Temperature (F) Do You Prefer Your Nerd Cave?
Sounds like you and your American friend were both making the same mistake.
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