Links 2/25/15

Links for you. Science:

HPV Cancers in Men Take Off
New Species, the ‘Ruby Seadragon,’ Discovered by Scripps Researchers
What 23andMe’s FDA Approval Means For The Future Of Genomics
New weapon in war against flu pandemics and pneumonia
Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for Soon


Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors
Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions (comprehensive, but very good)
For Asian Americans, a changing landscape on college admissions
Charter groups top unions in lobbying, campaign spending
Never have online attacks on women been more visible, more denounced, or more effective
The Wind Comes Sweeping Down The Plaintiffs
Homeless Residents Share What It’s Like To Live Outdoors In D.C. In February
Yellen’s problem with US felons
Anti-homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’
I, Audiophile: I appreciate high-quality phono-cartridges. I recognize a good digital-to-analog converter. I care about the capacitors in my amplifier. I will not apologize for this. (I’m guessing most people don’t have the hearing to note these differences, but some do)
The Academy’s Dirty Secret: An astonishingly small number of elite universities produce an overwhelming number of America’s professors.
Factlet of the Day: Office Workers Will Soon Have Less Space Than Supermax Prisoners

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5 Responses to Links 2/25/15

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP
    What’s more, if you oppose astrology, it is probably due to racial prejudice.

  2. dr2chase says:

    Audiophiles, sigh. It’s a harmless delusion compared to things like the antivax crazies, but it’s still a delusion. You’d have to build an insanely crappy A/B switch to notice the effect of the switch.

  3. Frank Carpenter says:

    I happen to host a legacy audio enthusiast group fest 3 times a year (this weekend is one). About 45-70 people attend. Yes, the loonies are out there with $400 knobs and little telegraph poles to hold wires off the floor, but we are mostly old farts and are lucky to hear past 13 Khz, and we know it.
    In spite of that, there are striking differences in dynamics, imaging and timbre that are readily apparent between systems. We routinely do A-B testing and often no difference can be detected between components with results consistent amongst many observers.
    But often there is, and some systems are just magic and literally bring music to life. You know it when you hear it.
    Is it accurate? I neither know nor care.
    Anyhow, a lovely excuse to visit with friends; buy and swap, drink beer, eat pot luck and listen to tunes (many different genres but jazz is loved by all).

    If may be delusion, but I’ll take it 🙂

    • dr2chase says:

      Studies show that about the only people who accurately assess their prospects for the future, abilities, etc, are the chronically depressed (this relates to the Lake Wobegon Effect). So to some extent, most of us are indeed deluded.

      What I pretty much assume is that many of us have developed a taste for artifacts of old-tech sonic reproduction, in the same way that we tend to prefer water with minor doses of contaminants to distilled water (I am vacationing at the ancestral home, imbibing CaCO3-saturated well water. It tastes great to me, but I’ve seen the scale deposits.)

      Because really, with just moderate-quality modern equipment it’s all “just math”, certainly in the arena that our ears play in. When electricians of ordinary skill can install wire from Home Despot that reliably transmits digital data at one gigaHertz….

  4. anthrosciguy says:

    The audiophile article was so chock full of strawmen. Just because a better speaker or some component upgrades can indeed make for better sound does not mean that you’re not an idiot for buying ultra-expensive cabling.

    It’s like this: back in the late 60s-early 70s I worked for the North American Ferrari importer. As a result I was able to drive a lot of 1960s Ferraris, which were far more expensive than your typical car. Some of my dad’s friends would ask if the cars really were much better. Well, they were. And for some applications higher expense components for regular cars could improve them, even if in many cases few people would notice the difference. But that doesn’t mean that all those items in the JC Whitney auto parts catalog did what they claimed.

    The audiophile’s article is the equivalent of saying that buying some “Power Pellets” to drop in your gas tank really would improve performance by leaps and bounds, as proven by the fact that a Ferrari Daytona would outrun an Olds 442. People mocking audiophiles generally are laughing at them for insisting on nonsense like ultra-expensive cables with directional arrows on them, not for buying a decent speaker, turntable, cartridge, or amplifier.

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