Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday soundbites

It's a good week for science - the already-retracted Wakefield autism-MMR paper was shown to also be a complete fraud.

Brains have decreased in size over human evolution, according to NPR. I say it's not the size, but how you use it. :)

The New York Times describes the brave new world of computer vision.

More on this from Wired.

Also in the New York Times: how to best deal with grade inflation?

How long does it take for a conversational silence to become awkward? About 4 seconds, reports Time magazine.

There were visual illusions in Paleolithic cave drawings! Super cool report by Natgeo.

Nature examines whether university rankings should be determined by more than just citations.

A successful "cocaine vaccine" was produced (at least for mice), according to io9.

Female tears reduce male testosterone and libido.

Mind Hacks points out that the mapping of tastes to different tongue real-estate is without evidence.

Slate has an excellent article on the statistical difficulties involved in both the DSM-V and graduate school rankings.

Science Daily reports that female faculty who understand the social network of the university do better than those who don't. Seems to be a gender-neutral skill to me, though.


  1. The cocaine vaccine article is amazing. I had a friend who worked in this area a few years ago. What prospects are there for this to work in humans? Any ethical thoughts on administering in the drinking water? ;)


  2. Not sure what's on the horizon for humans, and I can't say I'd be a fan of putting it in the drinking water - even if the vaccine could enter the brain from that route, there are too many possibilities for negative externalities (ecological, side effects, etc) for a relatively small problem.

  3. Sorry... my fear of stoners overcame me temporarily. Sanity has returned.