How facts backfire – The Boston Globe

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

more detail on the political consequences of our faulty belief system. One of the fundamental reasons we need both Trusted Surveillance and Perfect Information. Be that as it may, while they are right to highlight this as a problem for democracy, they skate right over the recognition that the alternative to democracy – Government – is poisoned by exactly the same faulty belief system. For examples of how political leaders behave exactly as described here, when the facts oppose their beliefs, just read the history of the War on Drugs. My personal favourite example is Richard Nixon binning the Shafer Commission report because, based on the facts, it recommended decriminalisation of marijuana…

5 Mind Blowing Ways Your Memory Plays Tricks On You | Cracked.com

http://www.cracked.com/article_18704_5-mind-blowing-ways-your-memory-plays-tricks-you.html?wa_user1=4&wa_user2=Science&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=recommended

interesting but starts off on the wrong foot. It’s not describing the foibles of memory. That’s a small part of the problem. It’s describing the ease of manipulation of the belief system and, to some extent, the one way nature of that manipulation. Generally, it’s very easy to persuade someone to believe something you know they WANT to believe. Having persuaded them, however, it’s almost impossible to get them to change that belief…

How a protein communicates across long-distances

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-protein-long-distances.html

which no doubt evolved into nervous systems…

Explosive- and drug-sniffing dog performance is affected by their handlers beliefs

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/uoc–ead013111.php

extremely well designed experiment leaves no room for doubt. A significant proportion of dog detected scent is driven by the expectations (including prejudices) of the handlers…

http://visualnews.columnfivemedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/15.jpg

about as unsnowflakelike as I can imagine!

Liebermans solution : Palestinians will be forced to live on 13% of their original land – International Middle East Media Center

http://imemc.org/article/60485

the only thing I’d add to Abdellrada’s excellent commentary is the ethical dimension. Imagine your family is robbed. You identify the culprit and demand your property back. He insists that despite admitting the theft, and that he still holds the property, that he will only give you back 13% of what he stole. So you go to the Police. They tell you they’re either unwilling or unable to help. What, if any, are the ethical limits on what you do next? Frankly, I don’t see any…

New mathematical model of brain information processing predicts some of vision peculiarities

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-mathematical-brain-vision-peculiarities.html

[IF YOU DON’T SEE PARAGRAPHS BELOW, BLAME STUMBLEUPON FOR TAKING FOREVER TO REINSTATE PARAGRAPH FORMATTING. MEANWHILE GO TO tinyurl.com/suform AND INSTALL DIRTBAG’S STUMBLE REVIEW FORMATTING TOOL.]

____For a long time, I thought I had a particularly poor visual memory because I cannot bring up a “quality” mental image even of people I love and know intimately. I eventually learned that this wasn’t a personal handicap. With the exception of those with eidetic (photographic) memories, most people do no better than I do. ___

Try this experiment for yourself. Think of a close friend or colleague whom you’ve seen within the last week but not within the last 24 hours. Close your eyes and pull up an image of their face.

Now try to answer arbitrary questions about the image in your mind; the kind of questions which would be easy if you were looking at a photograph. For example, how big is their nose and what shape is it? Ditto eyebrows and ears. Describe their hairline. Do they have a prominent (or receding) chin, adams apple, cheekbones? etc etc. If any of the relevant details are unusual, you’ll remember them easily, whereas the “standard” detail is very fuzzy indeed. Try to look your mental image in the eye. Can you even see the eyes? What colour are they?

You’ll probably find that the best you can really do is visualise a kind of cartoon like caricature of the person, probably with an expression on their face which reflects the way you tend to think about them. The image quality is appalling. ’tis little wonder that we make such bad eye-witnesses.

This research is beginning to explain why…

Clinton Calls Drug War Thats Left 15,000 Dead Last Year Messy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/25/clinton-mexico-drug-war_n_813535.html?src=sp

Clinton said there was no alternative to confronting the cartels head-on” well yes, actually, there is. Remove the market from the cartels and give it to the corporates who’ll be more than happy to make the huge profits currently funding the criminals and terrorists…

We Feel Fine / by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

http://www.wefeelfine.org/

you can easily lose whole days wandering around this data…

How does the internet work? asks a clueless Katie Couric back in 1994 | Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351799/How-does-internet-work-asks-clueless-Katie-Couric-1994.html

the delicious irony of this piece appearing in the Daily Mail of all places is beyond parody. I’ll have to try to find some their own classic “Internet Denial” pieces…

They never saw it coming: Mother shot her two teenage children twice in the head for being mouthy | Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351678/They-saw-coming-Mother-shot-teenage-children-twice-head-mouthy.html

the downside of the 2nd amendment.

BBC Sport – Diving – Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield show off new synchro dive

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/diving/9381253.stm

not really into diving but this four and a half somersault innovation caught my attention…

Madder and madder: How the Government wasted thousands investigating the Equality Act | Mail Online

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1351812/Madder-madder-How-Government-wasted-thousands-investigating-Equality-Act.html

Kneejerk Authoritarianism from the Mail. In as neutral a form as possible: A policy is proposed which has certain aims. A study is undertaken to ensure that the implementation of the policy will not undermine its own aims. And this, apparently, is a “bad thing”??? Granted, it’s certainly an unusual thing for governments to do, but that’s what I would call the “bad thing”…

Study finds presence of peers heightens teens sensitivity to rewards of a risk

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-presence-peers-heightens-teens-sensitivity.html

another splendid study of the bleedin’ obvious… When we’re alone and facing a potential risky situation we’ll make a reasonable risk assessment and, if it doesn’t look like a good idea, we’ll walk away. But if we’re with our peers, no-one wants to be the first to “chicken out”. Do the maths…

Expert questions Lansleys key arguments for NHS reform

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-expert-lansley-key-arguments-nhs.html

hold the front page. Politician found selectively abusing statistics; Bear found shitting in the Woods…