josh

Re: math & science differences

One thing the authors of the study don't seem to account for when explaining the difference between performance on the SAT and in math class, is that there is a different "skill set" inherent in getting a good grade in a math class; studying, doing homework on time, interacting with the teacher, etc, and the SAT "skill set", which is based more on spatial relations, and attempts to be more of a straight "abilities test" with less of a time commitment required for success.

caveatbettor

I have 2 younger sisters, one is better in math and one who is worse. Just an anecdote, but probably with some representation in families where there are at least, biologically and custodially speaking, 2 sisters and 1 brother.

Petréa Mitchell

Another thing not mentioned is that the gap between the alleged innate abilities between the genders keeps shrinking with research into stereotype threat and other environmental influences.

parthenophilast

Interesting link, but I'd take it a step further:

http://www.human-nature.com/nibbs/03/gandolfi.html

The Evolutionary Utility (or should I say Futility?) of Having Children in the Modern World

Many have discussed the economic costs of having children, but is it worth it evolutionarily speaking? For instance, if one has at least two siblings who survive to reproduce (both of whom share half their DNA with you, on the average), then you can pass on your genes without even having children (barring extra crossing-over events, mutations, etc)! Similarly, if one has four cousins (who share with you 1/4 of their DNA) who are able and willing to reproduce, your genes may be passed on. Now, simply because the times are great now, it doesn't mean that they will be great forever and many opt for expensive backup copies of their genes in anticipation of the upcoming floods, hurricanes, nuclear wars, avian flus, etc. that could wipe out their posterity. However, the sun will become a red giant in 5 billion years and engulf the earth in a fiery ball from hell. And even if we could find another planet to live on before we destroyed this one, the universe will probably end in a deep freeze, thus making our efforts to pass on our genes futile in the long run. I say, just let your family pass on your genes without you; that way, you can likely pass your information for generations to come without doing any of the work!

post scriptum: I was thinking about including this in a book entitled "The Lazy Man's Guide to the 21st Century," but hell, who am I kidding? I'm too lazy to write it!

Read more...

JakeR

The correlation between cancer and shift work is not evidence of causation. Shift workers tend to be different from other people in a number of ways, not least in eating a great deal of unhealthy food when working double or graveyard shifts. It's surprising that the Freakenomists would not have noted that we're not talking _ceteris paribus_ here.

josh

Re: math & science differences

One thing the authors of the study don't seem to account for when explaining the difference between performance on the SAT and in math class, is that there is a different "skill set" inherent in getting a good grade in a math class; studying, doing homework on time, interacting with the teacher, etc, and the SAT "skill set", which is based more on spatial relations, and attempts to be more of a straight "abilities test" with less of a time commitment required for success.

caveatbettor

I have 2 younger sisters, one is better in math and one who is worse. Just an anecdote, but probably with some representation in families where there are at least, biologically and custodially speaking, 2 sisters and 1 brother.

Petréa Mitchell

Another thing not mentioned is that the gap between the alleged innate abilities between the genders keeps shrinking with research into stereotype threat and other environmental influences.

parthenophilast

Interesting link, but I'd take it a step further:

http://www.human-nature.com/nibbs/03/gandolfi.html

The Evolutionary Utility (or should I say Futility?) of Having Children in the Modern World

Many have discussed the economic costs of having children, but is it worth it evolutionarily speaking? For instance, if one has at least two siblings who survive to reproduce (both of whom share half their DNA with you, on the average), then you can pass on your genes without even having children (barring extra crossing-over events, mutations, etc)! Similarly, if one has four cousins (who share with you 1/4 of their DNA) who are able and willing to reproduce, your genes may be passed on. Now, simply because the times are great now, it doesn't mean that they will be great forever and many opt for expensive backup copies of their genes in anticipation of the upcoming floods, hurricanes, nuclear wars, avian flus, etc. that could wipe out their posterity. However, the sun will become a red giant in 5 billion years and engulf the earth in a fiery ball from hell. And even if we could find another planet to live on before we destroyed this one, the universe will probably end in a deep freeze, thus making our efforts to pass on our genes futile in the long run. I say, just let your family pass on your genes without you; that way, you can likely pass your information for generations to come without doing any of the work!

post scriptum: I was thinking about including this in a book entitled "The Lazy Man's Guide to the 21st Century," but hell, who am I kidding? I'm too lazy to write it!

Read more...

JakeR

The correlation between cancer and shift work is not evidence of causation. Shift workers tend to be different from other people in a number of ways, not least in eating a great deal of unhealthy food when working double or graveyard shifts. It's surprising that the Freakenomists would not have noted that we're not talking _ceteris paribus_ here.