Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Software unpatentable, $5 to overthrow the government, free range more toxic, mimicing cats, sapir-whorf evidence, cognitive biases vs gender,[...]

It's been so long. Much catch up to be done... I'll start with the post with the stories that I had started editing in July but never completed.

First something close to my heart. Courtesy of Hamish it turns out that a law was been passed in New Zealand that makes software unpatentable. Also in politics, from the Chard, South Carolina proposed a law allowing anyone wishing to overthrow the US government to register and pay a $5 fee.

From episode 258 of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe's 'Science or Fiction' segment it turns out of the arguments for free range, that free range eggs contain more toxins than regular ones. At least according to the this study from Taiwan. Although I've never heard the argument made myself I don't find it all that surprising that someone might be making it.

A number of links from Sequoia, of course. First the Wildlife Conservation Society and Federal University of the Amazonas have found a wild cat species mimicing the call of its prey (in this case a monkey). An article about how language influences the way we think (incidentally the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is my favourite lingustics hypothesis, and not only because it reminds me of Worf).

An paper that asks if your part time jobs women out earn men. They seemed not to control for the types of jobs but if put together with arguments like Warren Farrell's on the Wage Gap it's a promising sign that society may be more equal than is easily recognisable.

Researchers inplanted false symptoms. Worth reading. Finally, in what will hopefully be an IgNobel nominee growing clothing using bacteria.

From Lynsey it seems that after Hussein's draining of the Mesopotamiam marshes they are starting to recover and finaly from Nick a study that violent videogames reduce hostility.


  1. Although, of course, the strong version of the Sapir-Whorf theory is utter bollocks...

  2. Can you elaborate on the strong theory and why?

  3. Bah! I tried to elaborate on the strong theory, but my description got lost in the mail, or something. I'm not writing that all out again. The abridged version is: the weak SW hypothesis states that our native language affects thought in certain ways. The strong SW hypothesis asserts that language IS thought, and the characteristics of our native language are an intrinsic part of how we think.