Count the tempestuous assumptions

Blustery academia sometimes coughs up a perfectly delight-filled storm of assumptions. With that quasi-thought in mind, can you count the assumptions in this new study? The study is: “Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes,” Kiju Jung, Sharon Shavitt, Madhu Viswanathan, and Joseph M. Hilbe, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), epub June 2, 2014. Here’s one, […]

Just the facts, man… The persistence of misconceptions

Derek Muller writes (and explains in more detail than I’m presenting here): “It is a common view that ‘if only someone could break this down and explain it clearly enough, more people would understand.’ However it is debatable whether clear, concise explanations really work…. People have existing ideas about real world phenomena before they encounter […]

The unexpected end of 2011 (an Ig Nobel tribute)

This year, 2011, is ending—unexpectedly—in December. To celebrate, we pay tribute to the winners of this year’s Ig Nobel Prize in mathematics. The prize was awarded to: Dorothy Martin of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1954), Pat Robertson of the USA (who predicted the world would end in 1982 [and whose book is pictured […]

Intoxicated assumptions

Today’s classroom exercise is to [1] read this snippet from a psychology paper, then [2] identify all the assumptions that the authors make about what people think about, then [3] ask yourself if you believe those assumptions. The paper is “What Men Want: The Role of Reflective Opposite-Sex Normative Preferences in Alcohol Use Among College […]