Link blog: research, statistics, science, cambridge

The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang’s short about memory, time and loss. It’s also an alien first contact story.
(tags: heptapod story science-fiction time ted-chiang sci-fi language first-contact memory)
Cambridge: Poles apart Why Warsaw beats Cambridge Blog Mike Levy
“A weekend in Warsaw made me think about Cambridge at night. In Cambridge after 6pm the city centre empties ready for the only true night time economy: binge drinking. The Market Square alive with stall holders and shoppers at 5pm magically transforms into a ghostly empty space one hour later. It is a Cinderella midnight moment that never fails to astonish. By dusk the Cambridge ball is over and the Prince has gone home to watch T.V. Only a lonely burger van takes up residence creating a sad and soulless image that realist painter Edward Hopper could capture.” Yeah, it’s crap.
(tags: night-life drinking alcohol night cambridge warsaw)
Why You Shouldn’t Support Operation Christmas Child | Mymumdom
…unless you want to contribute towards evangelical Christian evangelising, of course. But apparently some schools in the UK are collecting shoeboxes of gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse organisation without fully realising what they’re about.
(tags: religion samaritans-purse christianity christmas-child christmas evangelism)
www.me.uk RevK’s rants: Censoring the Internet
Chap who runs an ISP goes to dinner with some MPs and discusses filtering.
(tags: politics uk porn filtering censorship isp internet)
Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab | The Economist
“Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.” Talks about the problems with reproducing research.
(tags: economist journals research statistics science)
Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
(tags: significance experiment maths probability research mathematics statistics science)

Link blog: funny, sociology, transportation, alcohol

Listening to the Hair Dryer: Why Nice Religion is Still Problematic, Analogy #37,476 | Greta Christina’s Blog

“Let’s say Person 1 thinks their hair dryer is talking to them, and is telling them to shoot every redhead who gets on the 9:04 train.

And let’s say that Person 2 thinks their hair dryer is talking to them, and is telling them to volunteer twice a week at a homeless shelter.

Is it better to volunteer at a homeless shelter than it is to shoot every redhead who gets on the 9:04 train? Of course it is.

But you still have a basic problem — which is that you think your hair dryer is talking to you.”
(tags: religion greta-christina accomodationism)

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on Induction

Wanna play doctor of philosophy?
(tags: philosophy funny cartoon)

The True Cost of Commuting | Mr. Money Mustache

Why it doesn’t make sense to have a big house miles from where you work. I’m cycling in these days (unless it rains, then I’ll probably drive).
(tags: car transportation bike commuting money planning)

BBC News – Viewpoint: Is the alcohol message all wrong?

Kate Fox, author of “Watching the English”: “when people think they are drinking alcohol, they behave according to their cultural beliefs about the behavioural effects of alcohol.”
(tags: alcohol sociology society uk britain kate-fox)

Link blog: philosophy, daily-mail, uk, history

Johann Hari: Why is it wrong to protect gay children? – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

Hari lays the smackdown on Melanie Phillips, who thoroughly deserves it.
(tags: politics homosexuality education religion uk johann-hari daily-mail)

Ethical First Principles

A brief introduction to various sorts of ethics (virtue, deonotological, consequentialist). Some interesting comments about what causes us to reject various systematisations of morality and whether our rejections are legitimate.
(tags: morality ethics philosophy)

Ignosticism

"Ignostics take issue with a question so fundamental it's often overlooked: What do you mean by "God"? Is "God" a coherent or cognitively meaningful thought? Is it premature, or even possible, to have a serious discussion about a vacuous concept?" Interesting: I tend to find discussion of the evangelical Christian God meaningful, but I have no idea what it would mean for some other sorts of god to exist.
(tags: ignosticism philosophy religion god)

Why The King’s Speech is a gross falsification | Film | The Guardian

The Hitch reckons it's rather too kind to Churchill and a bit too kind to George. Still a good film, but worth bearing in mind that it's not history.
(tags: history uk movie film hitchens europe nazis wwII war churchill royal christopher-hitchens)

A True Story Of Daily Mail Lies (guest post)

The Daily Mail are lying bastards. Who knew? (OK, probably you all knew, but it's worth seeing a specific example of outright fabrication of a story and refusal to apologise).
(tags: journalism law libel media daily-mail dailymail defamation newspaper newspapers)

Awkward ‘Christian tweet’ of the day!? | Jesus Needs New PR

Complementarian bad boy John Piper with a warning for us all (well, those of you who have daughters, at any rate).
(tags: complementarianism john-piper funny crazy christianity religion incest alcohol)

Did Vikings navigate by polarized light? : Nature News

Interesting, maybe even true.
(tags: physics history science)

YouTube videos discussed in the pub

In the pub, it turned out that some LiveJournalists and Facebookers hadn’t seen these. So here are some links to some fun things on YouTube:

The Facebook Skit, a reworking of that well-known rumba Hero to explain what sammagain does on Facebook.

Baby Got Back – Gilbert and Sullivan Style. So wrong, yet so right.

The Mr Deity videos. George Lucas is God, apparently. The earlier ones are good, there’s a dip in the middle, but the Ten Commandments one is a return to form.

Roy Zimmerman has some funny songs, my favourites being Defenders of Marriage and Jerry Falwell’s God.

Just the one

I got into a discussion on cam.misc (the local newsgroup) on drunks in Cambridge (as it’s on cam.misc, the thread dissolves into local politicians saying it isn’t their fault and a discussion of Cambridge traffic). Apparently, the Mayor gave an interview to the local rag about it, which was picked up by the Torygraph. I also found an interesting article in the Observer, which accuses the Government of being double-minded about drink.

As I said on the group, in the case of the big chain pubs who blight the centre of town by disgorging drunks onto the narrow streets at 11 pm, I’d favour the police being a bit more rigourous in enforcing the law, which says that pubs may not serve someone who’s visibly drunk. Having the chains pay for extra policing also seems like a good plan. While, as the original poster said, it isn’t downtown Detroit, and as someone else said, this is part of a national trend, it’s also an observable fact that the city centre is a less friendly place than it used to be before the arrival of the big chains.

It’ll be interesting to see what effect the forthcoming liberalisation of opening hours has on all this: I’m not particularly optimistic, but I take the point that staggered closing times at least mean all the drunks aren’t on the street at once.

Brits have never been good at handling their drink, of course, but there seems to be frustratingly little official will to actually do anything about this at the moment (doing something about it does not equate to passing new laws, since we have plenty of those already, but rather, seeing them enforced).