Face-taping for risk-takers [new study]

Does the anticipation of medical treatments, financial investments and leisure time activities sometimes make you anxious? Have you thought about taping your face up? A new research project from the Niedenthal Emotions Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, investigated whether the nervous anticipation of a balloon-popping task and a jack-in-the-box spring* might to some extent […]

Coffee and Cancer: A Bad News Burp for Modern Science Journalism

A newly published study is bad news for news organizations — it’s a burp in the stream of guaranteed-attention-getting medical reports that suggest coffee-drinking might cause cancer. The study is: “Coffee and Cancer Risk: A Summary Overview,” Gianfranco Alicandro [pictured here], Alessandra Tavani, and Carlo La Vecchia, European Journal of Cancer Prevention, epub March 2017. The authors, at the University of […]

The Dilemma-Zone Calculation

Yellow traffic lights posed and provided an opportunity for applied mathematicians. Witness this study, published more than a half century ago: “The Problem of the Amber Signal Light in Traffic Flow,” Denos Gazis [pictured here, reportedly thrilling an audience],  Robert Herman,  and Alexei Maradudint, Operations Research, vol. 8, no. 1, 1960, pp. 112-132. The authors, […]

A Somewhat Scientific Risk Analysis of Risk Analysis’s Scientificness

Journalist Dan Vergano points out the disciplined approach, in this study, of using using risk analysis to analyze whether risk analysis is scientific: “Is Risk Analysis Scientific?” Sven Ove Hansson [pictured here] and Terje Aven, Risk Analysis, epub June 11, 2014. The authors, at Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden and the University of Stavanger, Norway, explain: […]

The Assessed Un-idealness of Italian cardiologists

A new look at the habits and health prospects of some of the planet’s most glamorous medicos: “Cardiovascular Risk Profile and Lifestyle Habits in a Cohort of Italian Cardiologists (from the SOCRATES Survey),” Pier Luigi Temporelli, Giovanni Zito, Pompilio Faggiano, and the SOCRATES Investigators, American Journal of Cardiology, epub April 12, 2013.  The authors, at […]

Ignorance, risk, expertise, whatever

Ignorance, risk, rationality, expertise—this treatise has it all, plus food: “Institutionalized ignorance as a precondition for rational risk expertise,” Henrik Merkelsen [pictured here], Risk Analysis, 2011 Jul;31(7):1083-94. The author, at Copenhagen Business School, explains: “The present case study seeks to explain the conditions for experts’ rational risk perception by analyzing the institutional contexts that constitute […]