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Women and Philosophy

In our podcast “Women Are Not Men,” we explored why Wikipedia has such a low percentage of female editors. John Riedl, the researcher who studied the Wikipedia gender gap (and who passed away this summer), had this to say:

RIEDL: We know from a bunch of psychology studies that women tend to be made more uncomfortable by conflict than men are made uncomfortable by conflict. And so one of the ideas is maybe in Wikipedia where the fundamental nature of the site is that if you want to correct what someone else has done, the way you do that is you delete it and write them a really mean message. Well, maybe that’s creating a culture of conflict that is driving women away. They just don’t find it a place they enjoy being, and so they go places where they’re happier.

An op-ed by Linda Martín Alcoff in The New York Times reports a similar discussion in the field of philosophy, where only 16.6 percent of professors are women, and none are women of color. Read More »

Whatever Happened to the Carpal Tunnel Epidemic? Full Transcript

 This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Whatever Happened to the Carpal Tunnel Epidemic?“  [MUSIC: Glenn Crytzer’s Savoy Seven, “Focus Pocus” (from Focus Pocus)]   Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey podcast listeners. As you know, we like to take questions from just about anybody – readers, listeners, strangers in the street. Sometimes we’ll go […] Read More »

The Laws of Attraction

The BPS Research Digest offers a quick guide to the psychology and science of human attraction.  Their dating suggestions — based on real studies — are:

  • Dress like the person you want to date.
  • Use the power of touch.
  • Use a popular pseudonym. 
  • Wear red.
  • Make strategic use of mimicry and temperature.
  • You are not hot as you think when you’re drunk.
  • Make strategic use of your friends.
  • Read More »

    FREAK-est Links

    1. Does having a strip club in your neighborhood increase crime rates?

    2. Did a poorly designed skyscraper melt a car with its reflection?

    3. A paper that crowdsources black-market drug prices.

    4. How techies process census data. Read More »

    The Gender Gap in Organ Donors in Taiwan

    Al Roth reports on an interesting gender gap in Taiwan: according to an article in Focus Taiwan, “Of the 620,000 people on Taiwan’s organ donation list, 65 percent are women…”  The article goes on to point out that:

    The trend is more pronounced in the largest demographic of organ donors, those aged 21-50, which features 2.2 times more women than men, Wu [Ying-lai] said, based on an analysis of the 223,250 people who have signed up for the national organ donation program in the past 10 years.

    Looking at the data more closely, the largest groups of donors are women aged 31-40, followed by women aged 41-50, women aged 21-30, men aged 31-40, and men aged 41-50, she noted.

    How Google Fights Obesity

    Last year, Google realized that its employees were eating too much free candy — M&Ms, specifically.  So the company conducted a little experiment, and carefully tracked the results. Cecilia Kang, writing in the Washington Post, summaries:

    What if the company kept the chocolates hidden in opaque containers but prominently displayed dried figs, pistachios and other healthful snacks in glass jars? The results: In the New York office alone, employees consumed 3.1 million fewer calories from M&Ms over seven weeks. That’s a decrease of nine vending machine-size packages of M&Ms for each of the office’s 2,000 employees.

    The company has conducted similar experiments in an effort to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and encourage employees to consume less calories in the company’s cafeterias.  “With a company as big as Google, you have to start small to make a difference. We apply the same level of rigor, analysis and experimentation on people as we do the tech side,” says Jennifer Kurkoski, a member of Google’s HR team.

    FREAK-est Links

    1. Today in aptonyms: a trainer named Michael Jock. (HT: Stephanie D)

    2. Certain homes in Gary, Indiana going for $1 a house — but most buyers don’t fit the qualifications. (HT: Dave McCall)

    3. Drive-in “sex boxes” in Zurich designed to make work less dangerous for sex workers.

    4. Consider the price of lobster: cheap at the bay this year, still expensive at restaurants.

    5. Does birth order matter? (HT: Eric M. Jones)

    Try Your Hand at Economic Forecasting

    Think you can do a better job at predicting the economic future than all those economists and pundits?  Here’s your chance to prove it:

    Members of the public are being encouraged to take on the Bank of England by betting on the U.K.’s future inflation and unemployment rates.

    Free-market think tank the Adam Smith Institute on Wednesday launched two betting markets in an attempt to use the “wisdom of crowds” to beat the Bank of England’s official forecasters. Punters can place bets on what the rate of both U.K. inflation and unemployment will be on June 1, 2015.

    Sam Bowman, the research director of the Adam Smith Institute, believes the new markets will “out-predict” official Bank of England predictions.  “If these markets catch on, the government should consider outsourcing all of its forecasts to prediction markets instead of expert forecasters,” he said.