Why Do Foreigners Like Fanta So Much? I arrived in the USA as a pre-schooler, but the disappearance of Fanta from my life is actually something I wondered about back then. I had no idea that it was a Nazi-origin drink.
Chew on This: Six Dental Myths Debunked. You probably know some of these. But did you know that teens get 40 percent of their carb calories from soft drinks? Apparently one reason that sugary drinks and candies are much worse for you isn’t the amount of sugar, but the long period of exposure of your teeth to dissolving sugar.
Social Ecology: Lost and Found in Psychological Science. The impact of an exogenous parameter such as climate has not been fully integrated into the science of psychology, but it’s well known and understood intuitively. That’s kind of a major issue, since psychology presumably should extent and transcend our intuitions, not fall short of them.
A Genome-Wide Association Study of the Metabolic Syndrome in Indian Asian Men. South Asians have a higher frequency of metabolic pathologies (e.g., type 2 diabetes) all things controlled (i.e., for the same weight South Asians have a rate of risk for type 2 diabetes than Europeans). This study suggests that it isn’t due to different risk alleles from Europeans which South Asians have in common. Since our world is going to go through a type 2 epidemic in the near future, I’m sure more research will be done in this area.
We Are All Talk Radio Hosts. Jonah Lehrer reports on research which shows that over-thinking preferences warps our decision-making process (and not in a good way), and, on the Mercier and Sperber paper which argues that reasoning is simply a tool for rhetoric. That is, we’re sophists, not socratics. Sounds plausible enough to me. This is relevant for comments and interactions on this weblog. Let me make something clear: I don’t care too much if you agree with me on X, Y and Z. I’m mostly interesting in figuring stuff out to my satisfaction, not persuading you people of the truth of my claims. This is why I often react irritably when people attempt the line, “so what you’re trying to say is….” I say what I want to say. Sometimes I have beliefs which I don’t express on the blog because it isn’t useful for me to express it. Often I present data or results with only cursory interpretation, even if I do have a strong view on the data and results, because I doubt anyone would find my interpretation persuasive anyway, and it would just waste all of our time as commenters start trying to convince me. I also think being clearly wrong is awesome. Because that narrows the range of possibilities of the models which map well onto reality.