LinkFest 2016-10-07

James Lovelock: ‘Before the end of this century, robots will have taken over’

I was introduced to the Gaia Hypothesis by SimEarth on a Mac LC. That was a great game, and it is a neat idea. James Lovelock also introduced me to John Brockman's, through Brockman's book The Third Culture. I always find it fun to read things written by eminent scientists after they are too old to care what other people think, and this interview does not disappoint.

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials


80% of data in Chinese clinical trials have been fabricated

No one in my line of work would be surprised.

Knowledge, Human Capital and Economic Development: Evidence from the British Industrial Revolution, 1750-1930

This goes on the pile of evidence for my cocktail party theory that technological progress [what most people call scientific progress] is harmed when science is more pure.

The camel doesn’t have two humps: Programming “aptitude test” canned for overzealous conclusion

I can't find the link now, but I am pretty sure I referenced this draft paper at some point on this blog. It has one of the funniest retractions I have seen:

Though it’s embarrassing, I feel it’s necessary to explain how and why I came to write “The camel has two humps” and its part-retraction in (Bornat et al., 2008). It’s in part a mental health story. In autumn 2005 I became clinically depressed. My physician put me on the then-standard treatment for depression, an SSRI. But she wasn’t aware that for some people an SSRI doesn’t gently treat depression, it puts them on the ceiling. I took the SSRI for three months, by which time I was grandiose, extremely self-righteous and very combative – myself turned up to one hundred and eleven. I did a number of very silly things whilst on the SSRI and some more in the immediate aftermath, amongst them writing “The camel has two humps”. I’m fairly sure that I believed, at the time, that there were people who couldn’t learn to program and that Dehnadi had proved it. Perhaps I wanted to believe it because it would explain why I’d so often failed to teach them. The paper doesn’t exactly make that claim, but it comes pretty close. It was an absurd claim because I didn’t have the extraordinary evidence needed to support it. I no longer believe it’s true.

I don't follow the Retraction Watch blog, but I am unlikely to since poor Larry Summers and James Watson are unfairly lumped together with a guy who exaggerated his conclusion.

The Forgotten Revolution

Via Logarithmic HIstory: Plutarch attributed to Hipparchus a discovery that would be forgotten for two millennia, Schröder numbers. The Ionian Greeks were truly something special.