This week’s top science stories include an examination of messy desks, cat intelligence, the dangers of High School sports and the eagerness of some scientists to get their work published at the expense of gathering a complete data set.
1. DON’T CLEAN YOUR DESK. IS IT THE SOURCE OF YOUR INSPIRATION?
Scientists in America have proven what the hopelessly messy among us have secretly hoped they’d discover one day. Yes, messy desk people are more creative.
Published in the Journal Psychological Science , the study by three researchers from the University of Minnesota has the somewhat cumbersome title: Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity.
“Order and disorder are prevalent in both nature and culture,” the authors write in their intro.
“This suggests that each environ confers advantages for different outcomes.”
Rotterdam (September 20, 2013) – Assisting the blind, sniffing for drugs, rolling over and playing fetch were just a few of the experiments conducted whose results revealed with absolute 100% certainty that dogs are smarter than cats, according to a 10 year longitudinal study by a team of zoologists, scientists, cognitive researchers and animal behavior experts certified by the European Union of Animal Intelligence at the University of Rotterdam’s Zwijndrecht campus. With one scientist adding, “There’s no way around this… cats are stupid.”
The explosive findings – certain to cause outrage – are set to be reported in the forthcoming edition of the Journal of Animal Behavior, Cognition and Intelligence, based upon the assessment of cognitive abilities, behavior and social interaction of more than 1200 dogs and 1200 cats, from 2002 to 2012.
(translation provided by This vs That) Algemeen Dagblad
This vs That conducted its own series of animal intelligence tests, under the watchful eye of UCLA scientist / head of the Animal Cognition Lab, Dr. Aaron Blaisdell.
See This vs That’s Dog vs Cat experiments HERE.
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3. ARE HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAKING OUR STUDENTS DUMB?
The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?
Every year, thousands of teenagers move to the United States from all over the world, for all kinds of reasons. They observe everything in their new country with fresh eyes, including basic features of American life that most of us never stop to consider.
One element of our education system consistently surprises them: “Sports are a big deal here,” says Jenny, who moved to America from South Korea with her family in 2011. Shawnee High, her public school in southern New Jersey, fields teams in 18 sports over the course of the school year, including golf and bowling. Its campus has lush grass fields, six tennis courts, and an athletic Hall of Fame. “They have days when teams dress up in Hawaiian clothes or pajamas just because—‘We’re the soccer team!,’ ” Jenny says. (To protect the privacy of Jenny and other students in this story, only their first names are used.)
4. PUBLISH VS PERISH
It sounds like a simple, straightforward proposition: Scientists should disclose how they collect and analyze the data supporting their scientific publications.
Yet as Wharton operations and information management professors Joseph Simmons and Uri Simonsohn and UC Berkeley colleague Leif Nelson point out in a recent research paper, too much emphasis is placed on getting research results published in respectable journals, without worrying enough about whether the evidence backs up those findings. Indeed, the authors write, “it is unacceptably easy to publish ‘statistically significant’ evidence consistent with any hypothesis.”
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