Random Thoughts

There is an interesting series of articles published by the Guardian discussing various aspects and opinions regarding the precautionary principle.  It has certainly been invoked sufficiently on this site to warrant some independent reading, so have a look.

The precautionary principle is a blunt instrument

What's all the fuss about the precautionary principle?
Perfect Rebuttal

  Wouldn't it be nice if you could find a perfect rebuttal, a perfect test of truth, a piece of evidence which perfectly, completely and utterly negates what a witness has said in court.  I have found such a rebuttal.  It is a litmus test for perjury.

  I have recently discovered a most peculiar fact of law which has been staring me in the face for very many years.  The reason, perhaps, that I did not notice it before is that my focus was more on the forensic scientific methods, rather than the lawyerly methods of proving that there has been a miscarriage of justice.

Big data is the current trendy phrase that covers many different areas.  Big data describes equally well having a huge volume of data generated in a short period of time (like molecular simulations of DNA), having a huge volume of data that needs to be indexed and archived (like PubMed or Web of Science), or wanting to analyze different types of data that wasn’t collected for a given purpose (the CI-BER project uses a variety of data types collected over the years to study a neighborhood in Asheville, NC).

When the members of a choir sing their heart beats are synchronized, according to a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg.

The pulse of performing choir members tend to increase and decrease in unison. 

In the research project "Kroppens Partitur" (The Body's Musical Score), researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy are studying how music, in purely biological terms, affects our body and our health. The object is to find new forms where music may be used for medical purposes, primarily within rehabilitation and preventive care and the research group says they were able to show how the musical structure influences the heart rate of choir members.

Speaking With a Forked Tongue

My regular readers will likely have noticed that I thoroughly enjoy chasing down the truth behind things which are commonly accepted as facts.  I am fortunate to have the gift of being able to spot cracks in arguments as well as glaciers.

I am currently heavily engaged in a legal matter concerning a witness in court who, shall we say,  seems to have been somewhat uninterested in assisting the court in its determination of the true facts.

There is a phrase about not telling the truth, not now so common as when I was a child, but still in frequent use: "he speaks with a forked tongue".
Party Like It's 1776

"These colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states"
"And why do we measure areas with square centimeters ?"

"Because it would be much harder to fit in there round centimeters, silly!"

(From a conversation with my daughter)
University of New Mexico professor Geoffrey Miller is a social/evolutionary psychologist so it's no surprise he is clueless about people - like what it takes to have the willpower to get a Ph.D, beyond his own subjective opinion. And it's even less of a surprise he made an unscientific conjecture. He may have been surprised anyone noticed. If social and evolutionary psychologists aren't finding racism in office clutter or in eating meat or telling us we evolved to like a car grill they don't get much attention. Unless it matches a confirmation bias, no one believes that surveys of psychology undergraduates are meaningful, much less scientific, after all.