A really neat little site, which lists out and explains the people who’ve saved the most lives in history. For some reason it had never occurred to me before seeing it to think of some of these science innovations we take for granted now as life-saving, but it’s hard to deny.
Spurious correlations are a common and obvious problem that afflicts a lot of science. Tyler Vigen’s site is dedicated to collecting them. They’re pointless fun to see. Here’s how the divorce rate in Maine is driven by the consumption of margarine across the US:
I was recently talking to some friends about how lost the idea and practice of shorthand is. Dennis Hollier has a great summary of how it works. For those not familiar, it’s a bit like cursive writing on overdrive. here’s a quick picture of a Gregg shorthand paragraph:
Having studied them pretty casually over the last few years — did you know squirrels bark? — I wasn’t really shocked that a scientist has found that squirrels definitely are able to differentiate among human behaviors:
Squirrels “can tell if a human is looking at them,” or if a person behaves in an unusual way, Bateman found. Squirrels were 40 percent more likely to scoot if Bateman focused his attention on them. And 90 percent of the squirrels leapt away if the scientist left the sidewalk to stalk them across the grass. “They don’t get scared by humans all the time,” he explains. But they always seem to pay close attention to what people do. Bateman published his results June 12 in the Journal of Zoology.
Really interesting little chart from the US Census Bureau: the mean center of population as calculated on every decennial census. As I stepped through, I kept wait for it to drift back to the east a bit. Maybe in a few more hundred years…
Wait But Why explores with an admirable depth the answers that have so far been posited for the Fermi Paradox, which they summarize as:
Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something.
Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”