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Itchety Pitchety

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 23:47 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

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Cognitive Style Tends To Predict Religious Conviction

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 21:27 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


As a first part of the study, researchers administered an online survey to 882 U.S. adults (64 percent women), with a mean age of 33.

Survey questions initially assessed survey participants’ belief in God. Then participants were provided questions to discover an individual’s cognitive style. This cognitive reflection process consisted of three math problems with incorrect answers that seemed intuitive.

For example, one question stated: “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

The automatic or intuitive answer is 10 cents, but the correct answer is 5 cents. Participants who had more incorrect answers showed a greater reliance on intuition than reflection in their thinking style.

Participants who gave intuitive answers to all three problems were one and a half times as likely to report they were convinced of God’s existence as those who answered all of the questions correctly.

Interestingly, this pattern was found regardless of other demographic factors, such as the participants’ political beliefs, education or income.

“How people think — or fail to think — about the prices of bats and balls is reflected in their thinking, and ultimately their convictions, about the metaphysical order of the universe,” surmise the authors.

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  1. So, people who don’t/can’t/won’t think are more likely to believe in G*D. Makes sense to me! I was watching an Abbott and Costello clip last night with Costello “proving” to his apartment manager that 7×13=28. The manager insisted that it was 91 (correct) and that’s what A&C owed for rent, but if Costello could prove that it was the $28 that they gave him instead, he’d accept it. Total hilarity ensued! Needless to say, Costello was able to “prove” that 7×13=28 by division, multiplication, and addition… ROFLMAO! 🙂

  2. short summary: dumb people more likely to believe in bullshit


Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 21:22 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Frickin’ electricity, how does it work? : Pharyngula

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 18:23 by Desiato in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Pastafarian News


Electricity is a mystery. No one has ever observed it or heard it or felt it.

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  1. Wish Nikola Tesla was still here 🙂

  2. I remember the first time I got a belt in the lab. I certainly felt that!

Simon’s Cat in ‘Cat & Mouse’

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 17:37 by John Sinteur in category: News

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In Scramble for Land, Oxfam Says Ugandans Were Pushed Out

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 17:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.

In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.

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CIA Says Global-Warming Intelligence Is ‘Classified’

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 14:39 by Paul Jay in category: News


Two years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency announced it was creating a center to analyze the geopolitical ramifications of “phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts and heightened competition for natural resources.”

But whatever work the Center on Climate Change and National Security has done remains secret.

In response to National Security Archive scholar Jeffrey Richelson’s Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA said all of its work is “classified.”

“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety,” (.pdf) Susan Viscuso, the agency’s information and privacy coordinator, wrote Richelson.

Richelson, in a Thursday telephone interview from Los Angeles, said the CIA has not released anything about its climate change research, other than its initial press release announcing the center’s founding.

“As far as I know, they have not released any of their products or anything else,” Richelson said. “There was a statement announcing its creation and that has been pretty much it.”

Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, blasted the CIA’s response to Richelson.

The CIA’s position, he said, means all “the center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security.That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.”

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Marijuana question sky-rockets to top of new White House petition site

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 14:34 by Paul Jay in category: News


A petition to legalize and regulate marijuana quickly jumped to the top of a the White House’s online petition site on Thursday, the first same day it was launched.

The petition, on the White House’s “We the People” site, asks: “Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?”

The White House has promised to issue an official response for any petition that gets at least 5,000 signatures within 30 days. As of Thursday night, the marijuana petition already had more than 10,000 signatures.

The petition was created and promoted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

In addition, two other petitions concerning marijuana legalization had more than 2,000 signatures as of Thursday night.

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  1. No hope that the government will do the sensible thing, a faint hope that they might stop doing the stupid thing.


Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 14:32 by Paul Jay in category: Great Picture

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Roll Over Einstein: Law of Physics Challenged

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 14:28 by Paul Jay in category: News


”The feeling that most people have is this can’t be right, this can’t be real,” said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which provided the particle accelerator that sent neutrinos on their breakneck 454-mile trip underground from Geneva to Italy.

Going faster than light is something that is just not supposed to happen according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity — the one made famous by the equation E equals mc2. But no one is rushing out to rewrite the science books just yet.

It is “a revolutionary discovery if confirmed,” said Indiana University theoretical physicist Alan Kostelecky, who has worked on this concept for a quarter of a century.

Stephen Parke, who is head theoretician at the Fermilab near Batavia, Ill., and was not part of the research, said: “It’s a shock. It’s going to cause us problems, no doubt about that — if it’s true.”

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  1. Okay, but we still have the measurements of the 1987 supernova, where the neutrino peak and the light from the supernova arrived more or less at the same time on earth. And this was over a distance of several thousand light-years, so any neutrinos being even only slightly faster than light would have arrived much earlier on earth (weeks or even years). Nothing like this was observed.

    I’m quite sure that the CERN data is just due to some very well hidden systematical error.

  2. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not saying it’s not possible, but it needs to be investigated closely.

  3. Quite agree. The actual researchers are themselves cautious and inviting outside review because they assume they are incorrect, the media on the other hand is happy to have the sensational headline. Just like the “dinosaur feathers” where the real journal article clearly states there is no way to ever know if those feathers came from dinosaurs or birds.

    My guess, even if the data is confirmed through separate experiment, the speed of light is exceeded for a micro-fraction of a second only, across distance so small it qualifies as being the same place and that it slows down to the cosmic speed limit before it actually goes anywhere.

    I believe the Big Bang theory already includes this possibility.

  4. The media is so fucking stupid on this one that I heard a Dutch journalist happily speculate on time travel and refer to the “Back to the Future” movie based on this publication.


Wikileaks Cables Make A Bad Week For Chevron Even Worse

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 13:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


Earlier this week, a New York appeals court toppled the legal house of cards Chevron built to shield itself from having to clean up its oil contamination in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Now a series of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks has gone and made what was already a very bad week for Chevron even worse.

The cables, written by U.S. officials, show that Chevron engaged in a covert lobbying campaign aimed at getting the Ecuadorean government to intervene in the lawsuit brought against the company by thousands of rural and Indigenous Ecuadoreans over massive oil contamination in the Amazon (see the cables hereherehere and here). Intervention in judicial matters by the government of Ecuador is, of course, forbidden by the country’s Constitution. Nonetheless, Chevron tried to barter with the administration of President Raphael Correa: If the administration would break the law and save Chevron from having to clean up its mess, the company would return the favor by funding “social projects” in Ecuador. (Which begs the question: Why not just fund clean up of your mess, Chevron?)

But that’s not even why these revelations are so embarrassing for the company. You might recall that Chevron filed racketeering charges against the Ecuadorean plaintiffs and their US lawyers earlier this year. Those charges were based in part on allegations that the plaintiffs were colluding with the government of Ecuador to improperly influence the judiciary to rule against Chevron. You see where I’m going with this: At the very same time that Chevron’s lawyers in the US were attempting to build a racketeering case, Chevron’s operatives in Ecuador were engaging in the very criminal conduct Chevron was accusing the plaintiffs of.

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Movie Institute Feels Pain Of IP Address-Only Piracy ‘Evidence’

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:46 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) is in the middle of a crisis after an anti-piracy company revealed that it had tracked several leaked movies on The Pirate Bay back to its servers. Desperate to deflect the accusations, today the SFI made a long statement. It turned out to be a perfect illustration that allegations of piracy based on an IP address and nothing else, simply must be backed up by something more solid.


Although SFI acknowledge that the IP address (or addresses) logged by DoubleTrace does indeed belong to them, they reveal that it’s hardly trivial to discover the real-life person behind it. Not only do all of SFI’s staff share that IP, but several tenants (such as film and TV producers) do too. And visitors to their library, and visitors to some of their cinemas, and diners in the restaurant, not to mention those using the open WiFi in the cafe and foyer areas.

As indicated by the way they have been proactive in this case by calling in the police, the SFI really seem to want to get to the bottom of the allegations. They say they have firewall logs that could show when and from where in their infrastructure the movies were being shared.

But – and little surprise here – DoubleTrace, the anti-piracy company behind the allegations, aren’t being forthcoming with their evidence.


An IP address is not a person, and unless anti-piracy companies want to let their ‘evidence’ be seen and tested in public, perhaps it’s better if they keep their allegations to themselves.

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The perils of possession without utilization

Posted on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google


What I found interesting is that if we take ad impressions (red X) and browsing (blue +) data out, the two platforms are indeed quite distinct. iPhone has a medium level of possession with a high level of utilization of data services while Android has a high level of possession with a low level of utilization. The data is also nicely clustered.

If we take just the ad impression or browser data then the platforms are quite similar: medium utilization for medium possession and high utilization for high possession. If the two platforms were to swap places in possession (i.e. market share) then they would probably also swap places in utilization (i.e. impressions).

What the data seems to suggest therefore is that for data services the iPhone is a far more popular tool than Android. But for in-app ad impressions and browsing the products are used in a similar manner.

The big difference is however that the services where iPhone utilization is high are those where users have to pay something. Most (if not all) of the ad impressions in apps are for free apps. So ad consumption scales with possession. But non-free services don’t. This data seems to support the hypothesis that Android users are disproportionately less willing to spend money (note that the data does not say that users don’t have money, but simply that they are not spending it). The other data which backs this hypothesis is that paid app sales on Android trail quite far behind the rate of purchase on iPhone. That could be due to payment problems in the Android marketplace but this data shows that there is some other effect as well.

Why is this important?

We can argue that Android is a low end product and that it disrupts and that this is consistent with that positioning. However it also indicates that the value is not in that ecosystem. And ecosystems are what sustain a platform in the long term. This debate will continue but I am reminded of other platforms which had similar patterns.

It also implies an Android user will easily move to another brand when something better comes along — while an iPhone user has a far bigger “investment” in the phone and is more likely to stick around.

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  1. Interesting. Most of my android owning friends use it for real, not to browse ads.
    Maps, travel info, email, chat, etc.

    “Android users are disproportionately less willing to spend money”
    When you have the choice of a free app and a paying app, and the free app does what you need, you willpick the free app.
    When you have the choice to buy an app for 2.99 or 4.99, but no free app then you won’t pick the free.

    An iPhone fan won’t move to a different brand, because it’s hard to move on a non-iPhone device. Between Android devices you can move more easily.
    That might be one of the reasons people are more likely to upgrade.
    And one of the reasons I have an HTC and not an iPhone 🙂

  2. We are talking about a service where people (in the US at least) are willing to commit to paying $60-100 per month for two years, independent of whether they’re getting Android or iOSs. A $1400 to $2400 commitment. I’m always surprised that there are still these big effects in small costs like $1 and $3 apps.

  3. I buy untethered phones. And pay as you go service. Not keen on the “oath of fealty”. 🙂
    And funny, yes that after you paid $400 on the phone, and $60 on the service you go all “4.99?? 4.99????” over an app 😀