Fracking and Sexually Transmitted Disease [public health study]

January 22nd, 2018

Of all the criticisms aimed at fracking, charges that it might increase the incidence of STDs – specifically gonorrhea – are seldom heard.

Yet there might be a link – according to a new research paper published in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

“We analyzed one potential cost to communities, the effect of fracking activity on public health, STDs in particular. We use a quasi-natural experiment within the Marcellus shale region plus panel data estimation techniques to quantify the impact of fracking activity on local gonorrhea incidences. We find that fracking activity is associated with a 20 per cent increase in gonorrhea.”

See: Fracking and public health: Evidence from gonorrhea incidence in the Marcellus Shale region Journal of Public Health Policy, November 2017, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 464–481

Statistical Methods Using the Stick-on-the-Wall Spaghetti Rule

January 19th, 2018

The belief that “statistics is like spaghetti” is a good starting point from which to savor this new study about statistics and spaghetti:

Exploration of Experimental Design and Statistical Methods Using the Stick-on-the-Wall Spaghetti Rule,” Simone Montangero, Francesca Vittone, Sally Olderbak, and Oliver Wilhelm, Teaching Statistics, epub 2018. The authors, at Universität Ulm, Germany, explain:

“The context we use is what we will refer to as the stick-on-the-wall spaghetti (SOWS) rule, a simple way of knowing whether spaghetti is cooked al dente (Italian for still firm), which is commonly accepted as a known fact (although unknown in Italy where pasta is simply tasted). Throw one piece of spaghetti (hereafter we will use the Italian word spaghetto) on the wall. If it sticks, the spaghetti is ready to be eaten. While the origin of this rule is unclear, its adoption into everyday life is pervasive and has led to a more general saying, ‘throw it against the wall to see what sticks’…. We now present examples for how the SOWS context can be used to teach more advanced statistical concepts.”

Shopping – more like gathering than hunting? (study)

January 18th, 2018

If you’re the type who enjoys (or otherwise takes advantage of) the January sales, you might be interested in taking a look at the work of professor Daniel J. Kruger of University of Michigan [pictured]. A news release from the university (2009) related Dr. Kruger’s take on the subject of shopping, saying :

“- it’s perfectly natural that men often can’t distinguish a sage sock from a beige sock or that sometimes women can’t tell if the shoe department is due north or west from the escalator.”

Along with Dreyson Lee Byker, Dr. Kruger published a paper in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2009, 3(4): 328-342. ‘Evolved foraging psychology underlies sex differences in shoping [sic] experiences and behaviors’ which explained that :

“For the most part, contemporary stereotypes of women in modern industrial countries perceive women as enjoying shopping more than men. Our research provides evidence that this popular stereotype exists because most shopping activities have a greater similarity to women’s traditional activities of foraging and gathering than they do to men’s traditional activity of hunting. The results of our study show that shopping has significantly more in common with gathering than it does with hunting.”

Bonus Assignment [optional] Could retailers maximise their sales by making the shopping experience more like ancient hunting and gathering – if so, how?

Brendon Smith joins Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS)

January 17th, 2018

Brendon W. Smith has joined the LFHCfS – The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. He says:

I began growing my hair in 2013, during graduate school in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois. I was dissatisfied with my clean-cut look, and was seeking a style that would express my individuality, rebelliousness, and love of rock music. As my dissertation grew, so did my hair. It developed into a flowing mane of chestnut curls. In a paramount example of my love of hair and science, I shared a video in Washington, D.C. prior to the March for Science. I defended the importance of science as my locks freely cascaded past my clavicle onto my AAAS Leonardo da Vinci t-shirt. Feast your eyes on the screenshot I have provided.

Brendon W. Smith,Ph.D., LFHCfS
Unaffiliated Nutrition Scientist and Web Developer
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The Dunning-Kruger Song

January 16th, 2018

By somewhat popular demand, here’s a video of “The Dunning-Kruger Song”:

The song honors the research study “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” by David Dunning and Justin Kruger, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 77, no. 6, December 1999, pp. 1121-34.

For writing that paper, Dunning and Kruger were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for psychology, in the year 2000.

The behavior described in Dunning and Kruger’s study has become known as “the Dunning-Kruger Effect.” The Dunning-Kruger effect is on display every day, all around you.

“The Dunning Kruger Song” is the thrilling conclusion of “The Incompetence Opera,” which you can watch in its entity, if you wish.