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Garth Sundem is a Science, Math and general Geek Culture writer, TED speaker, and author of books including Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Dish the Lab-Tested Secrets of Surfing, Dating, Dieting... Read More »

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Lately, my wife and I have been staring slack-jawed at elementary school options, little ropes of drool hanging zombie-like from the corners of our mouths  – and so we’ve decided to cede our choice to the numbers.

But when you peel back the data, things like high test scores mean next to nothing about school quality – isn’t it likely that socioeconomics and not the school itself created these high test scores? My wife and I want education causation and not just correlation – a school that creates more education than should be predicted by our (reasonable) genetics and (low) income.

As you know, 74 people were killed this Wednesday when Egyptian soccer fans stampeded into a bottleneck after a 3-1 hometown upset win. While certainly tragic, it’s far from irrational: it turns out the behavioral economics were stacked against them.

Take the link between football and domestic violence. In2011 economists Gordon Dahl and David Card showed that when a home team loses, domestic violence in the home city increases by 10- percent. On police reports, you can see reports start to rise in the final quarter as a loss looks likely. Then reports peak an hour after the game and return to normal a couple hours later.

A study of 64,659 women, recently published in the journal Academic Radiology, found that while 1,246 of these women were at high enough breast cancer risk to recommend additional screening with MRI, only 173 of these women returned to the clinic within a year for the additional screening.

“It’s hard to tell where, exactly, is the disconnect,” says Deborah Glueck, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and associate professor of biostatistics and informatics at the Colorado School of Public Health, the paper’s senior author.

Conventional wisdom holds you're born with perfect pitch or you're not. The conventional wisdom is wrong. Here's how to train perfect pitch.

For my book Brain Trust, I interviewed Diana Deutsch, University of California San Diego professor and president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and she said the trick is pairing pitch with meaning -- early!

Taking notes during class? Topic-focused study? A consistent learning environment? All are exactly opposite the best strategies for learning. Really, I recently had the good fortune to interview Robert Bjork, director of the UCLA Learning and Forgetting Lab, distinguished professor of psychology, and massively renowned expert on packing things in your brain in a way that keeps them from leaking out. And it turns out that everything I thought I knew about learning is wrong.

Here's what he said.

I hope you didn't see my first-to-worst performance in last night's hotties vs. nerds edition of ABC's WIPEOUT. If you did, you know what happened: after winning the round of 24 by almost a minute and then winning the round of 12 by the equivalent of a furlong, I got stuck in the round of six trying one element over and over -- the wrong way -- as people I had beaten in the first two rounds passed and eventually eliminated me.

Nuts--'twas a very good shot at $50k that my family of four surviving on my writer's salary could've used.