Attachment Research Says It's Okay To Throw Pine Cones At Your Kids

I was at the park the other day throwing pinecones at my kids when a horrified mother asked, ...

Why Calvin's Dad Rocks At Explaining Science To Children

Gary Larson tapped into the universal absurd. Charles Schulz helped us identify with the underdog...

A New Kind Of Reward Teaches Intrinsic Motivation

I would like for my son, Leif, to play the violin. I’m a serious ex music geek and so in addition...

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Garth SundemRSS Feed of this column.

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 »

The responsibility of Twitter updates got you down? D'you think about tweeting but never actually get around to it? Never fear, Adam Wilson is here. The University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineering grad student removes the clunky and outdated interface of keyboard and lets his brain tweet for him.

That's right, he straps an electrode-coated swim cap to his head and watches as letters scroll across his computer screen. When his brain recognizes the letter he wants, the swim cap knows and uploads it directly to Twitter.
Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof of Millenium Prize problem P=NP, and (potential) $1M prize (pending peer review)! This deceptively simple little bugger (think e=mc^2) has, until now, stumped all suitors—basically it asks whether problems that have verifiable solutions should always be solveable front-to-back, as well as verifiable back-to-front. (Okay, that's massively simplistic, but going any deeper requires some serious CS.)

When you woke up this morning were you an expert water measurer? No? Well, you will be after reading this article. But that might not be a good thing: experts are sometimes worse off than regular Janes and Joes. To see why, first we need to wire your brain for expertise–read on.
In a classic experiment known as the Ultimatum Game, person A is given 10 coins to split between himself and person B. If person B accepts the distribution, they both keep the coins; if not, no one gets paid.

According to Game Theory, the optimal solution is for person A to give himself nine coins and person B one coin——both will end the game richer than when they started. However, played in the wild, the most common distribution is 6-to-4, a ratio seen as fair by both parties.

But why? What's the origin of the human idea of fairness?
The attention we give to (or withhold from) tragedies has little to do
with numbers: many hundreds can die in a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe or hundreds of thousands in an earthquake in China and it receives 
nowhere near the press and public outrage as nearly 200 killed in terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (This isn’t meant to diminish the tragedy 
of Mumbai, only to act as comparison.)
Here's how I roll: my wife loves three-dollar bagels from the Sunday farmers' market. And so she says, "let's get a loaf of bread, some flowers, and a flat of strawberries!" When we roll home with only bagels, I feel I've won.

No more. I've armed myself with the tools of illogic, thus guaranteeing I win every marital argument from this point forward. You can too.

Use the following brain-deflating fallacies to ensure dominance in debate club and/or with unsuspecting significant other.