Friday, January 03, 2014

Links of the Week (3/1/14)

First batch of 2014. Happy new year everybody.

1. Atlantic Magazine (2010), Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science
An article on Professor John Ioannidis, who specialises in meta-analysis research and is the author of a highly-cited paper "Why Most Published Research Findings are False". From the article: "He and his team have shown, again and again, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed."

2. Nummenmaa et al. (2013), Bodily maps of emotions, PNAS
A group of Finnish researchers conducted 5 experiments with 701 people where the participants were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions.They were asked to color the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing while viewing each stimulus. The results are below. Warmer colours mean more feelings, cooler colours mean less feeling.

3. Smithsonian Magazine (2006), In John They Trust 
I mentioned Richard Feynman's wonderful talk about cargo cults a few weeks ago - this article in Smithsonian Magazine looks at one of the cults up close. From the article: "This is February 15, John Frum Day, on the remote island of Tanna in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu. On this holiest of days, devotees have descended on the village of Lamakara from all over the island to honor a ghostly American messiah, John Frum. “John promised he’ll bring planeloads and shiploads of cargo to us from America if we pray to him,” a village elder tells me as he salutes the Stars and Stripes."

4. Knabe et al (2010), Dissatisfied with Life but Having a Good Day: Time-use and Well-being of the Unemployed, The Economic Journal
Abstract: We apply the Day Reconstruction Method to compare unemployed and employed people with respect to their subjective assessment of emotional affects, differences in the composition and duration of activities during the course of a day and their self-reported life satisfaction. Employed persons are more satisfied with their life than the unemployed and report more positive feelings when engaged in similar activities. Weighting these activities with their duration shows, however, that average experienced utility does not differ between the two groups. Although the unemployed feel sadder when engaged in similar activities, they can compensate this by using the time the employed are at work in more enjoyable ways.

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