i wish...

This section collects papers (+ 1 book) I wish like hell I had written/thought of. They are clever and very outside-the-boxy.

  • Pennicook

    Don't fall for this crap, please

    Quote: "Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine." Bonus points for their extensive use of Deepak Chopra's bullshit as examples.

  • Lipinksi

    My social network = 0 then

    I love interesting ideas (Dunbar's on language qualifies) but I'm also a huge fan of clever tests!

  • Lipinksi

    Can't wait for the chia pet follow-up experiment

    Smart way to prove a point. It would also make for a fascinating lab in a fisheries class.

  • Scherer

    F**king right

    Very true, at least for me. But "damn" is hardly an obscenity. (And loved the part where psych students "participated in partial fulfillment of a course requirement". Is that even allowed?)

  • Berland

    Latin pronunciations

    I find it amusing when people from different countries pronounce scientific names. This guy nails it in the head: Anglo-Saxons should not be the ones determining Latin pronunciations.

  • Hill

    Go red!

    So apparently contestants wearing red in four combat sports during the 2004 Olympics won more fights than their blue-clad counterparts. I bet that works for hair color, too... (Of course, someone had to reply and break my redheads-taking-over-the-world bubble).

  • Billing


    What can I say? I'm a huge sucker for sociobiological stories (even if they are just-so) to begin with. And meshing evolutionary biology and gastronomy through cookbooks is simply brilliant. They had me at hello. [Update: Who knew menus could also be great data sources?]

  • Sokal


    A classic. 'Nuf said. (Here's the story). By the way, that's my favorite science hoax. Close second: the whole Isadore Nabi thing.

  • Grim

    Happy hour

    There are many problems with this paper, but the fact that he actually gathered data on this is commendable.

  • Brockmann

    Random walks

    Describing the way people move around is pretty important. However, it has proven hard to put GPS tracking devices on people (ethics shmetics, I say). In comes wheresgeorge.com. This is a website to track where dollar bills have been, and these guys used it to model human traveling patterns. Cool.

  • Lipinksi

    They weren't very funny

    Sure, her biographies are good, but this paper's awesome.

  • Oudejans

    Offside calls

    I wish I had known about this paper back when I played soccer. I can see it so vividly... getting called offside, followed by my waving of the paper, yelling "Are you sure, Mr. Magoo?! You get the calls wrong 10% of the time... see, it's in Nature!"

  • Judson

    Must have

    Until I come up with my evolutionary biology stand-up routine, this is my go-to book for anyone asking how they can learn this stuff while having fun. (And no, I'm not nearly funny enough to come up with stand-up routines).

  • Dawkins


    Not many people recognize Dawkins' primary-literature writing style. Why can't I write like this: "The Concorde fallacy has great psychological appeal. Once one is sensitive to it, one frequently unmasks it in verbal discussions of evolutionary theory. Many an unprofitable line of speculation is nipped in the bud by the crushing rebuke 'Concorde!' Against this background, the reader may imagine our own consternation when we happened upon evidence that the digger wasps that we were studying for other reasons ... seemed to be behaving in exactly the way a Concordian theorist would have recommended. This paper tells the story, and finishes with our own attempt to come to terms with the result"?