Assorted links

by on December 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Excellent review of Goldacre’s Bad Pharma, and much Ben Goldacre in the MR comments section here, and many excellent points raised by others too.

2. Robert Mundell helped start the Pearl Spring Chess Tournament.

3. Good review of Rushdie, and portrait of Sudhir Venkatesh, and my earlier review of his work.  Lots in those portraits.

4. Insights into Chinese typewriters (interesting).

5. The simulated brain.

Dick King December 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Re link #4:

It’s not the first time information theory was applied in now-archaic communications technology.

In Morse Code, the shorter symbols are reserved for the more frequent characters. An E is a simple dit [two tempos, including the gap between it and the next character], and a T is a simple dah [four tempos].

People figure this stuff out when they need to, even though there might be a first mover advantage.

BTW, it’s an urban legend that the QWERTY keyboard layout is designed to slow typists down. What it’s designed to do is to have often-consecutively-typed characters be far apart on the type rail, so a key that has just struck the paper and is returning to its nest is very quickly out of the way of the next key, which is by design coming in from a steeply different angle.

-dk

Ray Lopez December 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

@#3–the art critique of Rushdie was catty, but that’s art. If Rushdie is inconsistent it’s because he’s an artist and perhaps his views change over time; re “Gang Leader for a Day” Venkatesh is a celebrity professor so naturally his slush fund is bigger than most. Recall the Donald Kennedy expenses scandal at Stanford in the early 1990s. What? You don’t recall? Youngster read this: (July 30, 1991, LA Times) “Stanford’s centennial year was marred in March by congressional hearings alleging that the university improperly billed the government for research expenses by as much as $200 million during the last decade. Investigators found that the university had charged the government for part of the costs of such items as a yacht, antiques for the Kennedy residence and for repairs to widen his bed.” Oh, he’s OK: in 2010 he received Wonderfest’s Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.

So Much for Subtlety December 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I didn’t think the Rushdie review was unduly catty. Or all that catty at all. If Rushdie is inconsistent, surely it is because it goes with the Egotistical Monster he has become and perhaps always was? What is Right is whatever suits him best at the time. That he is willing to re-write large chunks of his past and recast his motivations is hardly a surprise. Oddly the people who come out the best, I think, are the Thatcher Ministers who loathed him but nonetheless defended his right to be a Prize Dick.

dearieme December 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

“The title, a reference to both his first book, Bad Science, as well as the pharmaceutical industry’s nickname Big Pharma, is a bit of a misnomer.” Is it in The Constitution that Americans must miss jokes?

Richard A. December 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm
Andrew' December 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm

And yet, the FDA concerns itself with my (current) favorite trans-fat free coffee creamer…

http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm148648.htm

Let that be a warning. Be careful what claims you make…broccoli…we’ve got our eyes on you.

What are we doing here people?

Enrique December 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Venkatesh is one of my heroes — most research (especially in sociology and economics) is worthless: Ivory Tower b.s. — Venkatesh, however, tells the story of a drug lord from the drug lord’s point of view

Rahul December 3, 2012 at 5:47 am

Well looking at that audit maybe some of the drug-lord ethics rubbed off on him.

YOLO December 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

richard bradley of worth magazine, and andrew gelman of monkey cage fame have been taking a hatchet to all of Sudhir Venkatesh’s BS:

http://www.richardbradley.net/shotsinthedark/2012/12/06/venkatesh-to-freakanomics-the-matter-is-closed/

http://andrewgelman.com/2012/12/241364-83-13000-228364-83/

Andrew' December 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm

5. I probably should be more impressed, but it’s a bit underwhelming isn’t it?

Rahul December 3, 2012 at 5:52 am

When we have AI driving cars unassisted why is AI that counts a few digits newsworthy?

de Broglie December 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

It is newsworthy because of the way in which the AI figures out the problem. There is large difference between simulating brain cognition and having an AI do any complicated task.

PK December 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

#4

EU keyboards should be supplied with one-key shortcuts for “integration”, “solidarity”, “fiscal”, “crisis”, and so on. It would save much time.

Even more time could be saved by not writing and reading bullshit.

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