That story about the pope requiring Catholics to fast from meat as part of a deal with the fishing industry? Never happened.

That story about the pope requiring Catholics to eat fish as part of a deal with fishing industry?   For some reason people keep sharing this story with the idea that the economic angle is scandalous, or it supports the assertion that the Catholic church is corrupt, or that liturgical practices not literally described in…

The focus on misinformation leads to a profound misunderstanding of why people believe and act on bad information

I’m consciously fighting confirmation bias by sharing some claims that I intuitively (irrationally?) doubt. Contrary to widespread beliefs, the share of misinformation in most people’s information diet is minimal, conspiracy theorising does not seem to have increased in recent years, and those who consume high rates of misinformation are largely hyper-partisans or dogmatists anyway. Moreover, even when people’s…

We’re in Denial About the True Cost of a Twitter Implosion

The public disintegration of a platform that millions of people used every day has been painful to watch. Now that Google’s search results seem almost completely colonized by AI-generated crap, it will be harder for me to listen in on and learn from a wide range of everyday people sharing their opinions and talking to…

Reading fiction early in life is associated with a more complex worldview, study finds

This study relied in part on the repondents’ self-reporting of what they read as children, but it was a complex study that approached the core issue from multiple angles. The researchers note that an “association” is not a “cause” — yet the correlation is still worth reflecting on: Those people who did not read fiction…

Rules of Acquisition (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 7) Plucky waiter Pel offers Quark sound financial advice

Rewatching ST:DS9 After-hours at Quark’s, Dax is gambling with the Ferengi and casually challenging their uber-patriarchy. A spunky young waiter named Pel makes a business suggestion to Quark; Rom is envious. The Grand Nagus Zek (Ferengi financial leader) makes a video call, offering Quark an “opportunity.” Zek negotiates with Sisko for permission to hold a…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind…

Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books

A good article analyzes the strong cultural reactions to voluntary changes made by the companies that manage the “Potato Head” toy line and the books of Dr. Seuss. Cries of “censorship” and “cancel culture” rallied passionate citizens who defended their nostalgic memories of childhood and sought targets for their rage. I just read an article…

Karate, Wonton, Chow Fun: The end of ‘chop suey’ fonts

Close your eyes and imagine the font you’d use to depict the word “Chinese.” There’s a good chance you pictured letters made from the swingy, wedge-shaped strokes you’ve seen on restaurant signs, menus, take-away boxes and kung-fu movie posters. | Variations on the font are commercially distributed as Wonton, Peking, Buddha, Ginko, Jing Jing, Kanban, Shanghai,…

How to Reduce Racial Bias in Grading (Use Objective Rubrics)

To gauge the potential impact of a standardized rubric on grading bias, I conducted an experiment comparing how teachers graded two identical second-grade writing samples: one presented as the work of a Black student, and one as the work of a white student.

My experiment found that teachers gave the white student better marks across the board—with one exception. When teachers used a grading rubric with specific criteria, racial bias all but disappeared. When teachers evaluated student writing using a general grade-level scale, they were 4.7 percentage points more likely to consider the white child’s writing at or above grade level compared to the identical writing from a Black child. However, when teachers used a grading rubric with specific criteria, the grades were essentially the same.

No, Kirk and Uhura didn’t share the first interracial kiss on television

See Also: Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch Great post from Fake History Hunter: It is often said that the first interracial kiss on TV was the (involuntary) kiss between Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and translator and communications officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in the Star Trek…

Scientists should be goggled and in the lab, where they belong. Shut up and make me a vaccine, beaker-nerd!

Am I doing the tribal rage thing right? Laura Helmuth of Scientific American says the decision to break tradition was both unanimous and quick: “We took this decision very seriously. You don’t give up 175 years of tradition for nothing.” —‘Scientific American’ Breaks 175 Years Of Tradition, Endorses A Presidential Nominee –NPR