Eric’s Enlightenment for Thursday, May 28, 2015

  1. How long-distance romantic relationships differ from proximate romantic relationships – Mona Chalabi answers a reader’s question.  Be sure to read toward the end about what happens to long-distance romantic relationships after geographical unification.
  2. Joel Shurkin reports on new research that elucidated the traffic engineering ingenuity of ants.  In particular, speed increases with more ants travelling on the same path.  Here is the original paper by Hönicke et al.
  3. It turns out that John Nash had a mostly unknown intellectual breakthrough that has only become public since 2012.  He “proposed a form of possible encryption used decades later by the NSA based on computational complexity theory”.
  4. John Bohannon published a flawed (but real) study in a fake journal to claim that eating chocolate can help you to lose weight.  With some help in spreading the word about this study, many journalists were fooled into running brash headlines about this exciting but badly obtained finding.

Soon we were in the Daily Star, the Irish Examiner, Cosmopolitan’s German website, the Times of India, both the German and Indian site of the Huffington Post, and even television news in Texas and an Australian morning talk show.

Eric’s Enlightenment for Monday, May 25, 2015

  1. A plant called thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) can detect sounds that are made by caterpillars that feed on its leaves.  In response, it mounts a defense by producing glucosinolates and anthocyanins – cool research by Heidi Appel and Reginald Croft!
  2. Economists offer 10 pieces of data-driven advice for university graduates about succeeding in today’s job market.
  3. Very nice and in-depth interview with Claudia Goldin on labour economics and education, especially in terms of differences between men and women.
  4. I was very sad to learn of the deaths of John Nash and Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé.  Here is a nice obituary by Benjamin Morris, with examples of non-cooperative games and Nash equilibria from soccer, football, basketball and rock-paper-scissors.