It Probably Wasn’t Fake News

I just read an article about the 2016 election that argued two things: First, fake news probably had very little effect on election outcomes. And second, the media actually did.

I liked the first part, because it confirmed what I already thought was true (see this short cartoon on confirmation bias for a little chuckle). Fake news only make a tiny fraction of all the news and I don’t think they are particularly effective. It is just genuinely hard to … more

How 70 Research Teams Came To Different Conclusions Based on the Same Data

70 research teams were tasked with analyzing the same identical set of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans. In many areas, they came to quite different conclusions. Ouch. This is not good. I mean, it’s maybe not as spectacular as finding brain activity in a dead salmon, but it’s not good.

Find a lighter article here and the nature paper here. Thanks to Robert for pointing me to it.

Is the Catholic Church a Force for Good in the World?

Stephen Fry delivers a powerful speech arguing why the Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world. The speech comes from the 2009 intelligence squared debate – which Stephen Fry kind of destroys completely. If you ever listen to a speech, listen to this one.

The relevant part starts at 21 minutes. This is a slightly edited version. The slightly more complete version is this, but the video is a bit pixelated.

Recommendations for Electro Music

Here is a list of electro music that I like. If you are interested in more recommendations, check out my podcast recommendations or my 36C3 video recommendations.

DJ playing on stage


excellent for working or just as a background music

rather relaxed, but especially the beginning is really good

one of the first sets I ever listened to and still really good – if you find the name of the first track, please tell me!

relaxed, good for working … more

Corona Aid to the Church

church interior

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.

The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the


Is Sex Binary?

content note: discussion of biological sex and a binary classification thereof
two different gametes

Update: Maybe one point warrants a bit more clarification: I indeed believe that people use definitions as weapons. Especially definitions about sensitive topics. And this definitely is one. I also think that quite a few people who commented on this thread seemed to take this as a ‘gotcha moment’ to validate sometimes very problematic opinions regarding trans people. I do not endorse this – … more

The Insanity and Injustice of College Sports

lacrosse players on sports field

The Atlantic has an interesting opinion piece called College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students. In the US it is quite common for colleges (also including elite universities like Harvard and Yale) to admit a significant portion (often around 20 percent) of their students based more on athletic performance than on academic achievements. Even if you don’t subscribe to the racial perspective taken by the article, it becomes fairly evident that this highly advantages those who have … more

First Attempts to Reverse Aging in Humans

Most people think of aging as something inevitable. But not all agree and the research into aging and how to reverse it has become more and more prominent over the last couple of years. Most attempts to slow or reverse aging have of course been conducted in rats and mice. They focused, for example, on giving older animals blood or plasma concentrates from younger animals or simply replacing some of the old plasma with albumin.

Anti aging drugs for