Cognitions about cognition (and other science)
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If you love science, put your money where your mouth is and support these UConn researchers who are raising funds for their project studying the immune system of Hawaiian Bobtail Squids, who grow camouflaging glow-in-the-dark bacteria in their bellies. (Want to know how glowing could possibly be camouflage? Head over to their page to learn more.)

In which I sing lobstersaredecapods's praises. Best comment: “Not one mention of Zoidberg in the whole article.” I am disappointed in myself.

Overall, academic fraud is rare, which makes it all the more shocking when a major case is uncovered. To the public, it may seem mind-boggling that scientists would go to such lengths to deceive. In an ideal world, scientists work together to make incremental discoveries that add to the body of knowledge in a field and are recognized for quality work. In reality, the world of science can be cutthroat and isolating, with little oversight. Stem cell research is certainly not the only research field with a fraud problem, but it has all the right elements to motivate dishonesty: It’s a cutting-edge field with the potential to discover treatments for human diseases; it attracts highly competitive people who are all scrambling to make the next big discovery; and that discovery must be made, written, and published before any competitors can catch up.

Fascinating yet unsurprising: the upper middle class prizes endurance sports.

Ebola is scary, but Americans have no reason to be afraid of it yet. Medical experts and government officials are hopeful that they can contain the situation in West Africa, and scientists are continuing their work on an Ebola vaccine. In the meantime, if you’re still feeling paranoid, go ahead and clean your keyboard. As long as you’re avoiding strangers’ bodily fluids (which you should do already), you’ll probably be fine.

My latest, in Slate’s Lexicon Valley: Scots Wikipedia is TOTALLY REAL

“We found that in the role-play, people were significantly more likely to blatantly lie to women,” says Laura Kray, the lead author of the study. Twenty-four percent of men said they lied to a female partner, while only 3 percent of men said they lied to a male partner. Women also lied to other women (17 percent), but they lied to men as well (11 percent). Perhaps even more telling: People were more likely to let men in on secrets. “Men were more likely to be given preferential treatment,” says Kray. In several instances, buyer’s agents revealed their client’s true intentions to men saying, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but … ” This sort of privileged information was never offered to women.

Gender in negotiation study: Women fare worse in negotiations because people lie to them more | Slate

Here’s the latest bad news for women in the workplace. No matter how hard women lean in, stereotypes will still be a problem.


Mathematically Correct Breakfast - How to Slice a Bagel into Two Linked Halves. If a torus is cut by a Möbius strip it will split up into to interlocking rings.

It is not hard to cut a bagel into two equal halves which are linked like two links of a chain. Figure 1:

  1. To start, you must visualize four key points.  Center the bagel at the origin, circling the Z axis. A is the highest point above the +X axis.  B is where the +Y axis enters the bagel. C is the lowest point below the -X axis.  D is where the -Y axis exits the bagel.
  2. These sharpie markings on the bagel are just to help visualize the geometry and the points.  You don’t need to actually write on the bagel to cut it properly.
  3. The line ABCDA, which goes smoothly through all four key points, is the cut line.  As it goes 360 degrees around the Z axis, it also goes 360 degrees around the bagel.
  4. The red line is like the black line but is rotated 180 degrees (around Z or through the hole). An ideal knife could enter on the black line and come out exactly opposite, on the red line. But in practice, it is easier to cut in halfway on both the black line and the red line. The cutting surface is a two-twist Mobius strip; it has two sides, one for each half.
  5. After being cut, the two halves can be moved but are still linked together, each passing through the hole of the other.

It is much more fun to put cream cheese on these bagels than on an ordinary bagel. In additional to the intellectual stimulation, you get more cream cheese, because there is slightly more surface area.
Topology problem: Modify the cut so the cutting surface is a one-twist Mobius strip. (You can still get cream cheese into the cut, but it doesn’t separate into two parts). See more at: Mathematically Correct Breakfast: How to Slice a Bagel into Two Linked Halves by George W. Hart.

Images: How to Slice a Bagel into Two Linked Halves by George W. Hart - Cutting bagels into linked halves on Mathematica. - Interlocking Bagel Rings

Maybe, that’s one of the reasons why I love bagel :)

For your next science-themed brunch (what, you don’t have those?!) h/t to Slate discuss.

SPOILER: You already do!

How is this still a myth? For the millionth time: you can access 100% of your brain. Hollywood, do you guys just not know ANY scientists? You can call me any time you want if you promise to never use this dumb premise ever again.

Hey anti-vaxxers: time to give it up. Most of the risk for autism can be explained by common genes.