LinkFest 2016-12-18

Who was first in the race to the moon? The tortoise

I expected a bit more out of the punny title, but a nice bit of space history.

Skill Builder: Understanding Handsaws

A nice primer on the way saws work.

When an Animal's Sex Is Set by a Microbe

Genetics is weird. And fun.

The Parochial Progressive Obsession with Ayn Rand

I went through a Rand phase myself, so I understand the confusion, but outside of teenagers, very few people take Rand seriously.

Scientists reconstructed the face of St. Nicholas – here’s what they found

A week late, but let us see St. Nick!

How Rogue One’s Alan Tudyk Turned Himself Into a 7-Foot Droid

After my Thrawn review, I'm in a Star Wars mood. Plus I'm a fan of Alan Tudyk.

Approve Drugs for Safety Only – it’s Like “Back to the Future” – Not for Me

There really isn't any such thing as safety only. All drugs [and all medical treatment] carry risk as well as benefit. You can't assess the value of the treatment without taking both into account.

Childhood forecasting of a small segment of the population with large economic burden

A paper published using the Dunedin data, one of the longest running longitudinal studies. I've seen this kind of result before, so I don't find this result particularly surprising. I haven't really got any idea of what kind of practical public policy could come out of this, at least anything that hasn't already been tried. The authors of the paper found that poor "brain health" at age 3 was associated with poor ourcomes later in life. Searching through the paper, I found "brain health" to be a euphemism for a combination of intelligence, the ability to defer gratification, and the ability to get along with others. Right, I could have told you that mattered. Personality psychology is the one part of psychology that replicates well.