Rebecca Watson

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Rebecca Watson

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    “MRIs reveal smartphone addiction physically changes brains,” cries a hea […]

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    Remember a few weeks back when I told you about Jordan Peterson, the […]

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    Heads up, if you have an eating disorder you may want to give this video a […]

    • It seems to me they really wanted to forget that horrible diet they were forced to consume, and, perhaps, some other things got lost in the purge.

      I have another hypothesis:
      Doing small, poorly controlled studies causes the researcher to forget that correlation does not equal causation.

  • Rebecca Watson posted a new activity comment 6 days, 16 hours ago

    Ha, I had to look up Cathy Newman and learned that she’s also had a hoard of alt-right men send her misogynistic threats so…sure, that I guess.

  • Rebecca Watson posted a new activity comment 6 days, 17 hours ago

    So you think Dawkins would agree with me that tweeting out an edgy, unscientific opinion about eugenics is ignorant and dangerous? Fascinating.

    • Really? That’s what you think I said? Interesting. I guess I didn’t make my point very clearly. Or — Cathy Newmanism. and QED Whichever it was — Have a good day.

      • Ha, I had to look up Cathy Newman and learned that she’s also had a hoard of alt-right men send her misogynistic threats so…sure, that I guess.

  • Rebecca Watson posted a new activity comment 1 week ago

    I follow Blair Braverman on Twitter and I believe all her dogs are what are known as Alaskan huskies, which are in fact mixed breeds who are both adorable and healthy! http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/alaskan-husky

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    Last week, Britain discovered that they had a eugenicist advising the prime […]

    • Sorry to rely on memory, but I recall once reading that NONE of the dogs in the Iditarod teams were actually Huskies, Samoyeds, or any other ‘purpose bred’ sled dogs. Mutts simply provided better pulling with fewer health and performance problems. Obviously not RANDOM mutts, but still.

    • I’d say Dawkins should stay in his lane, but he’s spent so much of his life careering all over the road, colliding with everything in his path, that I’m not sure what his lane even is any more. Maybe he should just park and let someone else drive.

    • My reading of Dawkins’ tweet is that he is equating eugenics with selective breeding, which you acknowledge would “work” (n the narrow sense that the selected trait would be more common, or more extreme, in the bred population than in the general population). I would be shocked if he disagreed with you regarding the potential for unintended consequences (sometimes quite harmful to the individuals) that can occur when we breed for a particular trait. In other words — my sense is that you and Dawkins are talking past each other, operating with different definitions of eugenics.

      • So you think Dawkins would agree with me that tweeting out an edgy, unscientific opinion about eugenics is ignorant and dangerous? Fascinating.

        • Really? That’s what you think I said? Interesting. I guess I didn’t make my point very clearly. Or — Cathy Newmanism. and QED Whichever it was — Have a good day.

          • Ha, I had to look up Cathy Newman and learned that she’s also had a hoard of alt-right men send her misogynistic threats so…sure, that I guess.

      • I don’t think it’s talking past someone to acknowledge that their opinion is uneducated and meant to grab headlines. Eugenics is terribly dangerous when even talked about regarding humans. I think the dog example is great actually, because guess what, Dawkins, pontificating and publicly allowing himself to be cited saying short-cited things, and unfortunately is still being cited as an expert. He is old, out of the loop and out of touch; shredding any semblance of reputation he may have had left. As Rebecca notes, there are unforeseen consequences.
        What is particularly dangerous is the average reader isn’t going to be skeptically minded and because he is being presented as an authority may accept his incredibly shortsighted opinion as fact.

    • Selecting for any trait will also select for any dysfunctional alleles which are associated with it in the gene grouping. That’s why harmful traits persist in a population. You would think that an evolutionary biologist would know that. So, then I ask, what was Dawkins’ purpose in posting such a tweet? He has to be aware of its bullshitness.

    • “The cocker spaniel was selectively bred to be a hunting dog: good senses to identify woodcocks and other birds, a soft mouth for retrieving the body, high energy to run around for an hour or two, and loyal. Considering all those traits are, in fact, hallmarks of the cocker spaniel breed today, can we say that “eugenics” in this case was a success?
      Dawkins says yes, but the cocker spaniel may beg to differ. ”

      This is inaccurate. While pedigree dogs like cocker spaniels have been selectively breed for hunting in the past. In modern times Cocker Spaniels and many other pedigree dog breeds have been breed mainly for looks at the expense of all else this is a major cause of many of the health problems in modern dog breeds.

    • This talk of dog-breeding reminds me of the “We’re ten and one” speech in Stripes, and the virtues of diversity in the form of the all-American mutt.

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    I want to talk about empathy today. So comedian Kate Willett, who has been on […]

    • Single payer healthcare come coupled with baggage such as (but not limited to) concern for the environment, assistance and/or supports for people less well off than yourself, demarginalization of disadvantaged groups, fair wages and so on.

      No matter how much I read, or what I read, I cannot seem to empathize with people who would deny any or all of the above to their fellow humans.

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    Remember Jordan Peterson? He’s the Canadian author who uses pseudoscience to t […]

    • Addiction is the best refutation of all the Free Will posturing of Libertarian assholes. Ayn Rand’s denial, while chainsmoking herself to death, after watching her husband drink himself to death, and living on speed for decades, ought to put this bullshit to bed for good.
      Mikhaila’s declaration that there was no ‘psychological’ element in Peterson’s drug history is all of a piece. Tolerance, adaptation, and the unpleasantness of withdrawal, do not explain real addiction. Why would anyone relapse, once they were effectively ‘cleaned up,’ unless there were non-chemical factors involved?

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    Nobody does science reporting quite like British tabloids, and let me be very […]

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    The sudden discovery and spread of the Coronavirus at the start of the new […]

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    People in 43 cities are drinking “forever chemicals” in their tap water, scr […]

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    Five years ago I made a video about how dangerous tackle football is, […]

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    Today’s video checks so many boxes near and dear to my heart: Epstein! Libel l […]

    • So if the NYT wrote an article titled, “A Harvard Professor Doubles Down: If You Take Money From Questionable Sources, Do It In Secret,” that would have been just fine? Is it a problem of them (in his opinion) inaccurately summarizing his position (which they didn’t), or does he just not like having Epstein’s name in the title of the article? Because either way, it’s not defamation, and Lessig certainly knows it. I mean, he has to know it, right? Ugh.

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    You know, when you’ve been making YouTube videos as long as I have, like s […]

    • zylla replied 1 month ago

      Of the two sides, I would think that regret over having children is so much worse. How does one hide that regret from their child/children? That’s got to be impossible to hide. That would also be a good study to not only conduct but track – do they eventually make peace with the choice? And when? When the children become teens? When they move out on their own? Never? Is the regret simply over the work and expense of raising children or are there perceived “missed opportunities?” The nuances could be fascinating.

      • I think framing this as two-sided is a pro-lifer rhetorical trick. There’s a whole range of views. Almost all of those viewpoints don’t include telling women what to do with their bodies. Even if those views are also firmly anti-abortion. Framing this as “two sides” creates a false equivalence between the tiny, loud pro-life minority’s opinion of women and everyone else’s.

    • Josh replied 1 month ago

      As far as my aunt and uncle are concerned, they’re nearing the ages my grandparents lived to, and they don’t seem to regret not having children. I don’t understand the decision, as I love my kids, but I’m not going to try to make anyone feel bad about not wanting or having kids. I don’t understand other choices people make, but if they don’t hurt others I see no reason to try and police them.

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    I love having a mildly popular website. There are so many positives to it: […]

    • https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/01/24/hhs-issues-notice-of-violation-to-california-for-its-abortion-coverage-mandate.html
      The Federal government is trying to punish California for requiring ALL private healthcare insurers provide coverage for full female reproductive healthcare. Their claim is that 28,000 people are being forced to cover abortion services against their “deeply held beliefs”.
      They do this with the direct desire to teach California a lesson so that other states will not try to cover full reproductive services for women. Fortunately, Newsom and Becerra bought have vowed to fight this.
      I am so sick of people’s “deeply held beliefs” trumping the right for all women to access the healthcare they need. I don’t think anyone who has not spent at least 3 months on my unit or another city hospital L and D unit and has at least 1 semester of OB/GYN education under their belt should ever have any right to create legislation that curtails healthcare in any way. Seriously, is there any other legislation written to directly change healthcare for political ends? Fuck them.

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    This being the darkest timeline, we must all find ways to extract joy where we […]

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    Gwyneth Paltrow’s “GOOP” is getting a TV show!

    I saw the trailer for the s […]

    • Being publicly subsidized means CBC doesn’t have to prostitute themselves as much. We get some good science programming that might not have enough audience to make a profit.

    • At first, I thought the Goopies and their advertising team must just be stunningly clueless. But then I see things like the 30 second ad spot with “It’s dangerous” and “It’s untested” juxtaposed with “Let’s milk the shite out of this”.

      I actually now really hope there is some poor beleaguered ad designer who got stuck with the Goop campaign and this is their protest. Every day they make it a little more ludicrous in hopes of getting fired, and every day the Goopies just lap it up and ask for more. One day, Lone Ad Person. One day your sacrifice will be known, and you will quaff in Valhalla.

    • It almost makes me want to resubscribe to Netflix and then cancel again.

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    It’s that time again! At the end of each year, I offer my psychic p […]

    • It may not be cancer or heart disease, but the FDA approved two completely different breakthrough treatments for sickle cell anemia ten days apart in November. I think you can give yourself a hit there.

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    In my live science trivia show Quiz-o-Tron I used to always end with a round […]

    • It’s bizarre they confused “max” for “avg”. And really, by now if you do a study like that, you’d expect – from many years of anecdotes at least – to expect an answer somewhere around 120 years. It wouldn’t mean that 120 or very nearby is the definitive answer, but it’d be a red flag needing much more evidence if it fell far from there.

      But again, “max” as “avg”. How is it even possible to do that, since all you need to know to know that the avg isn’t the max is to know or have heard of a single person over that average age. It doesn’t even need study or much data; you turn on any show with Betty White or Bob Newhart on it, think for a moment, and you’re on the corrected path. How did they manage to avoid making those obvious connections?

    • The data on humans that the researchers discarded seems to be pretty close. The oldest documented human was Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 years, 164 days. That’s pretty close to the 120 years that their study estimated was the max natural lifespan.

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