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Articles to 2015-11-06

First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

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My first reaction to Berkowitz et al. was ‘So what’, as I tend to consider typical school math tuition between worthless and nonexistent and to assume all basic math is learnt at home or not at all. But it seems this intervention especially helps children of innumeric and math-anxious parents. If true this would make it an exceptionally valuable result. But again we are shown no data and only regression results, this time without even their error margins. There is little discussion of the anomalous result for parents without math anxiety and none whatever of why the control group performs a full 20 % below expected average under all conditions for both maths and reading. In sum a promising study badly done.

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As Vilain and his co-authors point out themselves in Balter, they first ran a search over all their subjects and only then divided them into two groups, one to construct a prediction and the other to test it. They stress the necessity to test their result on a new set of subjects, but I fear these kind of niceties may easily get lost in the hype.

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With articles like Lim, nature is well placed to surpass Bild and The Sun on the L├╝genpresse scale. So using current methods splitting CO2 consumes more energy than burning the synthetic fuel will provide, but a decade of research may provide the breakthrough? And again, all you need to make it profitable is cheap and abundant renewable energy. If you had that, why would you even want to split carbon dioxide in the first place?

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Some researchers like Ciochon in Gibbons cast doubt on the indirect dating of Liu’s indeed surprising finds. Looking at the very clear and unambiguous stratigraphy of the cave, I accept the authors’ conclusions as valid. This adds a whole new, as yet unwritten chapter to the out-of-Africa story.

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