Tag: academic papers

As a “face man”, I find this comforting

So, did you see that recent paper in Evolution and Human Behaviour1 about the different ways that men and women evaluate attractiveness in potential long- and short- term partners? You’d remember the title: “More than just a pretty face“. If you didn’t, or don’t want to follow the link, here’s the abstract: Studies of physical attractiveness have long emphasized the… Read more →

Because you can

I was just having a conversation on Friday with someone about a bunch of Google employees who had ordered up a ridiculous amount of silly putty so they could do an experiment with dropping it from a great height. As someone educated in a faculty of engineering, this made tremendous sense to me: I’ve done my own experiments with various… Read more →


I am very, very pleased by the news that the entire Bletchley Park archive–millions of documents–are going to be digitized over the next few years. While I suspect the vast, vast majority of the documents won’t be of interest to me at an individual level, it will be a wonderful resource for researchers, and hobbyists. (And make no mistake, the fact that people all over the world will have access to the archive electronically dramatically alters the potential for both researchers and hobbyists to actually do that.) And those people will comb through the digital information to extract things–both individual documents, and aggregate results–that I would be very interested in. Generally speaking, I’m in favour of digitizing almost every document store, but as a long time cryptogeek, I’ve got a special place in my heart for Bletchley’s history.

Don’t teach it Daisy Bell

Did you see the story about the researchers who are growing computer brains out of organic material? And not just that, but massively parallel computers. Oh, and just for fun, they’ve also ditched that whole binary concept, skipped over trinary, and moved the whole thing on to quaternary logic. If you’re not lucky enough to have access to journals1, you… Read more →

Home Sweet Blasted Clean Void

What you’re looking at there is something called The Local Cavity–although in this case “local” takes on a meaning somewhat larger than in typical conversation. It’s essentially a 300-light-year in diameter hole in space. Maybe ‘hole’ is stretching it a bit, since it’s not so much that it’s empty, as that it’s WAY less full than the average across the… Read more →


If these are really the 10 most absurd scientific papers from last year then published hard science has nothing, absurditywise, on published humanities. (I’d actually be interested in reading the results of “Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?”)


Just as a follow-up to that last post, I noticed this morning some recent research which essentially proves that women find the same man more attractive if they see him sitting in an expensive car, than in a less expensive one. Men don’t care about what car a woman is in. (Fortunately for the women of Canada, I use my beat-up, high mileage Focus to help mask the blinding brilliance of my attractiveness.)


Speaking of battle-of-the-sexes banter fodder, and academic papers, you did all see that article last week about the researchers who wanted to compare the views of men in their 20s who had never been exposed to pornography with regular users? You know, the one where they had to cancel the research because they couldn’t find any men in their 20s who had never been exposed to porn…

It just occurred to me that risk and entropy are the same thing

I have an amateur interest in economics that I indulge from time to time, primarily by reading economics-focused blogs. While I was doing that this week I was interested to see Brad DeLong (whose blog is definitely worth following) point to a discussion from the Economist about compensation for bankers and the relation between that and their ability to accurately… Read more →

My Awesome Wife, Part 2

Having posted that, it occurs to me that I may still be projecting a picture that doesn’t show the entirety of Trish’s academic awesomeness. I am given to understand that most doctoral students have a very small number of publications, sometimes zero, during their doctoral programs–most are focused on their theses. Trish, on the other hand, has rather a lot… Read more →

Natal Day Link Post

Holiday Monday has kept me too busy to properly blog, so you get a bit of a tab-closing list instead. I’m not sure that it covers anything new, but the piece from More Intelligent Life (the quarterly from the Economist) about authors and drinking was a fun read anyway. I’ve seen some stories about tough people in the news, but… Read more →

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This work by Chris McLaren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada.