Human Zombie Brain Activity, Measured and Documented

In real life, so to speak, does the brain keep on keeping on for a while after death? A newly published study, written by notably adventurous academics, says that yes, the brain can and does, kinda sorta: “When Is the Brain Dead? Living-Like Electrophysiological Responses and Photon Emissions from Applications of Neurotransmitters in Fixed Post-Mortem Human Brains,” […]

Trying to measure the iffiness of lots of psych research

Many psychologists try to measure things that are tough to measure — and many of those many do it iffily. The Reproducibility Project is trying to measure how iffy those measurements are. They published a study called “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science,” about their progress. Benedict Carey tells about this, in a New York Times article called “Many Psychology […]

Weight? Wait — don’t tell me in kilos. (BWMA)

The British Weights and Measures Association (BWMA) exists, it says, “to protect and promote British weights and measures, and to oppose compulsory use of the metric system”. Their catchy slogan: “campaigning for inch-pound industries and consumer interests”. They maintain a list of “Corporate Culprits” — people and groups of whom they say: Just who are the […]

“… it does not exceed the precision of an upholsterer”

The non-scientific mind has the most ridiculous ideas of the precision of laboratory work, and would be much surprised to learn that, excepting electrical measurements, the bulk of it does not exceed the precision of an upholsterer who comes to measure a window for a pair of curtains. —Charles S. Peirce (1908) No doubt Charles Sanders […]

If you can measure it, it must be important: Ear lobe vs ear lobe vs body fat

If you can measure it, it must be important — a principle demonstrated in this study: “Predicting visceral obesity based on facial characteristics,” Bum Ju Lee and Jong Yeol Kim, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 14:248. The authors, at the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, report: No studies on the best predictor of visceral […]

Macroscopic Inspection of Ape Feces: Quantification How?

A look at how to take a gross look at the output of apes: “Macroscopic inspection of ape feces: What’s in a quantification method?” Caroline A. Phillips and William C. McGrew, American Journal of Primatology, epub 2014 Jan 30. (Thanks to investigator Gwinyai Masukume for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at University of […]

Measures must be taken, maybe. But what do they mean?

Hadas Shema muses on the importance, or lack of importance, of certain new measurements — measurements of the supposed “impact” of a published study. She writes, in  Scientific American‘s Information Culture blog: When in trouble or in doubt, invent new words. We have bibliometrics and scientometrics from the Age of Print. Now they are joined […]