Our beloved Tata (father) has died. He had been ill for months and we didn’t really know how he was. Of course, it was none of our business. He had retired from public life – he was no longer a political force, he was a private man living with his beloved wife and grandchildren, in a pretty home amongst the trees.
Malcolm Gladwell’s promotional tour for his book David and Goliath is rolling along, but his responses to criticism aren’t getting any more persuasive.
When he appeared on CBS This Morning, he was asked about the contention that he “cherry picks” from published research, and only discusses results that support his points. Here’s his answer: Continue reading
Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath is on both the New York Times bestseller list and the Amazon bestseller list – and since I’m number 15 on its waiting list at my local public library, there’s clearly an eager audience waiting to read it. However, the book has received some less than positive reviews, even from admitted Gladwell admirers, and has also been the subject of some harsh criticism. The most widely read critiques are probably this article by dyslexia expert Mark Seidenberg, contending that there are significant factual errors in the book’s discussion of dyslexia, and this article by psychologist Christopher Chabris challenging some of the book’s reasoning and research. Chabris’ article generated this response from Gladwell himself, which was unfortunately more of a personal attack on Chabris (and his wife) rather than a response to Chabris’ criticisms.
A couple of themes have arisen in discussions of the book. I want to Continue reading
I’ve just finished reading David Epstein’s excellent book The Sports Gene, a fascinating exploration of the research on genetic and physiological factors that may contribute to exceptional athletic performance. Ironically, I got the book only a few weeks before I saw the fascinating Alex Gibney documentary The Armstrong Lie, which was intended to be about Lance Armstrong‘s 2009 return to competitive cycling in the Tour de France, but instead ended up being about Armstrong’s secret use of performance-enhancing drugs. Clearly anyone who takes PEDs is trying to gain a physiological advantage in competition, but watching Armstrong’s behaviour in the film made me wonder about another factor in exceptional athletic performance: Continue reading
Over the past two weeks, the international competitive ice skating season has started, with the Skate America competition in Detroit and the Skate Canada competition in Saint John. In most countries, the local and regional competitions leading to national championships are also underway – and all these events are more intensely competitive than usual because of the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. But I’m going to talk about a part of skating that sadly disappeared from Continue reading
If you've come here looking for DNLee's original post, it has been restored to her blog at Scientific American. You should go read it there.
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Isis the Scientist
I recently returned from presenting a paper at the 8th Annual Colloquium of Current Scholarship on Employment and Labor Law, a conference that was started by a group of American law professors, and hosted this year by the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Although I am not a lawyer or a law professor, and although there are some pretty significant differences between American and Canadian labor and employment law, this particular conference is always extremely rewarding. The program is very inclusive – people present research at all stages of development, from potential ideas to already published books and articles – so I always learn a lot and meet really interesting people.
There was some excellent research presented at the conference itself, but what I want to talk about in this post is an event that for me, as a Canadian, was Continue reading