How long till today’s cigarette will make me ill? Time estimation revisited

Today’s cigarette may yield considerable satisfaction to a smoker, although that satisfaction will likely pale in comparison to the disutility arising from that person’s lung cancer in the future. Likewise, today’s Big Mac and extra-large bag of potato chips may gratify the consumer but the long-term consequences—from obesity to diabetes to heart attacks—are unlikely to […]

Continue Reading

We need to talk about Kevin (and psychopathy)

We need to talk about Kevin has been described as masterful. But the film (or book) will probably leave you horrified. And perhaps you will be wondering about psychopathy afterwards. Psychopathy is characterized by “persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, egotistical traits”, according to Wikipedia. People with psychopathy make up 25% […]

Continue Reading

No need for special needs: Euphemisms and disability

“Isn’t that special?” Many people remember this quip from Saturday Night Live’s TV character “The Church Lady.” Brought to life by comedian Dana Carvey, The Church Lady was as sarcastic as she was smug; her “Superiority Dance” is also legendary. But it was The Church Lady’s signature retort, “Isn’t that special?” that has been immortalized […]

Continue Reading

Metaphors of policing: Doraville’s warriors and London’s Pride guardians

What is a tax? Is it a “burden”? Or a “civilization surcharge”? And which would you rather pay? Would you prefer to vote for someone who has a “heart of gold” or a “heart of blackness”? Is crime a “beast” that is “ravaging” cities or a “virus” that needs to be controlled? Metaphors allow us […]

Continue Reading

#goCRPI: Bayes battling baserate neglect in medical diagnosis

You are an intern in the premier hospital in Tierra del Fuego and you are seeing about 240 patients daily, who always suffer from one of two possible diseases (things are a little different in Tierra del Fuego), namely meowism or barkosis. The tricky thing is that the same symptoms are associated with both diseases, […]

Continue Reading