NYU physicist Alan Sokal thought very little of the research performed by his colleagues in the social sciences. To prove his point, he wrote a paper that used plenty of trendy buzz words but made absolutely no sense. As he later explained, Dr. Sokal wanted to find out if a humanities journal would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." It would. His paper, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," was published in the journal Social Text in 1996, and his hoax has earned him a place in scientific history.
Mental Health & Society
In 2015, 7 percent of Americans report being bullied in the workplace. That's a slight improvement from 2010, and it's certainly much lower than the 20 percent figure reported from high school students. Still, there's much room for improvement.
English researchers have "found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock." It's a finding that could lead to eye medication to improve sleep patterns, providing solutions for jet-lag sufferers and drowsy, night-shift workers alike.
Depression and anxiety, as well as severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, have become more openly discussed. Yet, one aspect of mental health remains largely in the shadows: Nightmares. A new study builds on previous data and examines their relationship to suicide.
Is science political? Around climate change, yes it is. But regarding oxidative phosphorylation, not so much. A new paper uses the market to describe the politics of science.
Cats are independent, untrainable and don't really bond with people — at least that's their generally-accepted reputation. But a recent study suggests that cats actually like interacting with people — maybe even more than they like food. Who knew?
An interesting thing happened on the way to verifying claims that an emerging technology can assist in concussion prevention and recovery: a resulting phone call with the CEO of BrainHQ delivered clarity, transparency and admission of a PR misstep that served to cast his company in a better light than previously thought.
Politics makes utter fools out of otherwise rational people. The vitriol aimed at President George W. Bush by his political opponents caused psychiatrist and political commentator Charles Krauthammer to coin the tongue-in-cheek term "Bush Derangement Syndrome." It caught on. Pundits subsequently seized upon the terms "Obama Derangement Syndrome" and "Trump Derangement Syndrome."
If the average person is asked to assess their own driving skills, most will give themselves an above average rating. By definition, half of all drivers are below average, but most people lack the self-awareness to realize this due to a cognitive bias known as illusory superiority. Every year since 2008, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has conducted a survey in which they determine drivers' attitudes and behaviors in regard to traffic safety. They have confirmed what most of us already suspected: You're a terrible, hypocritical driver. The report summarizes its findings bluntly:
The Brookings Institute recently released a study on what it terms the "Privacy Paradox," in that officials believe that our concerns about privacy are not monolithic, but contextual. Privacy involves withholding information from others to protect a social image, either for a person or the community he/she inhabits.
Self-righteousness, gratitude, sympathy, sincerity, and guilt – what if these social behaviours are biologically influenced, encoded within our genes and shaped by the forces of evolution to promote the survival of the human species? Does free will truly exist if our genes are inherited and our environment is a series of events set in motion before we are born?