* Wikipedia hoax points to limits of journalists' research (Ars Technica). On journalists' laziness. In related news, this On The Media story, Pulp Fictions, describes some extreme instances of journalists consciously lying, certainly not doing their jobs. (Note: according to the online comments about that piece (1,2), some of the facts about Samuel Johnson in the segment are incorrect or misleading.)
Society & Culture:
* Qapla! (WNYC's On The Media via NPR). A cute, long retrospective on the evolution of and social and cultural statements made by Star Trek.
Politics & Statistics:
* The Devil Is in the Digits (Washington Post). Using statistics to investigate possible election fraud in Iran. It's an intriguing prospect, but I'm not quite sure how I should take these results.
Finance & Statistics:
* What Does Your Credit-Card Company Know About You? (New York Times). On how credit card companies mine their data. (Only the first half of the article is on this subject and worth reading.) While the article only describes how the data is being used to influence how the company manages the relationship with the consumer (e.g., setting credit limits, thinking about risk of bankruptcy, deciding when to call), I can think of many more insights the companies could derive from their data that they're not doing. This is just the tip--although an interesting one--of the iceberg.
* Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life (New York Times). Mostly posted because I think it's cool a chemist got an article in the New York Times.
I recently discovered a London-based academic, Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, who does interesting research in the area of evolutionary biology:
- Big and tall parents have more sons:Further generalizations of the Trivers–Willard hypothesis (pdf) (Journal of Theoretical Biology)
- Beautiful parents have more daughters: A further implication of the generalized Trivers–Willard hypothesis (gTWH) (pdf) (Journal of Theoretical Biology)
- Why beautiful people are more intelligent (pdf) (Intelligence)
* The best optical illusion I have seen all year (Richard Wiseman blog). Astounding. The title is apt.