29 votes

What's something you think more people should know about/be aware of?

Anything goes topic-wise: serious or funny, major or minor, significant or inconsequential. The only criteria is that you think more people should know about or be aware of whatever it is you're choosing to share.

Also, explain why you think it's necessary or valuable to spread that knowledge/awareness.

67 comments

  1. [8]
    ibis
    (edited )
    Link
    Politics in general. Not during an election campaign but when day-to-day governing / law changes get done. I see so many politicians getting away with so much, and then getting re-elected thanks...

    Politics in general. Not during an election campaign but when day-to-day governing / law changes get done. I see so many politicians getting away with so much, and then getting re-elected thanks to a catchy slogan or because of a good PR campaign. It's frustrating when politicians are actively working against people's interests in parliament, but come re-election time they just go out and put on a cap and say some carefully chosen empty words to make them seem likeable, and they get away with it.

    28 votes
    1. [5]
      JXM
      Link Parent
      I've seen all of this first hand since I started working for local government. One of the biggest things I realized when I started working for the local government was just how little I actually...

      I've seen all of this first hand since I started working for local government. One of the biggest things I realized when I started working for the local government was just how little I actually knew about the people in power. Now I deal with them on a daily basis and it's been eye opening to see just how it all works.

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Do you have any insights you feel comfortable sharing?

        Do you have any insights you feel comfortable sharing?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          JXM
          Link Parent
          The thing that jumps to mind immediately is that the government is run by people. At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of people trying to accomplish the goal of keeping things running...

          The thing that jumps to mind immediately is that the government is run by people. At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of people trying to accomplish the goal of keeping things running smoothly for everyone in their jurisdiction. All of those people are trying to do what they think is best for everyone. It's an abstract idea when you're on the outside but when you're one of those people, it really puts a face to each aspect of your community. ("Hey, that's the guy in charge of all of our roads!")

          The number of citizens who are actually involved in local government is quite small. I can count on one hand the number of people who come to meetings regularly. It allows these people to have an outsized influence on the decisions of government. Participation does matter.

          Another thing I've noticed is that a lot of people at the top (the Board of County Commissioners) have no clue what they're talking about when it comes to specific issues. They rely heavily on what staff recommends. Sometimes they'll disagree, but generally they'll go along with whatever the relevant department recommends. While this might seem like a bad thing, it does mean that their decisions aren't just made willy nilly. They have staff people who are experts in the relevant field look into each issue and bring back thorough reports to back up their recommendations.

          Lastly, there are so many PowerPoints in local government.

          13 votes
          1. MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            Thank you, it's always great to hear about what it looks like from the inside.

            Thank you, it's always great to hear about what it looks like from the inside.

            2 votes
        2. ibis
          Link Parent
          I also worked for a local council for a little while (although I'm not from the US, and our system is a little different). I saw needs-based spending recommendations getting ignored to free up...

          I also worked for a local council for a little while (although I'm not from the US, and our system is a little different).

          I saw needs-based spending recommendations getting ignored to free up money for showy sporting infrastructure that'll be crowd-pleasers and help councillors get re-elected.

          Also, like @JXM said - participation had a huge impact. In practice, that typically means that the rich neighbourhoods with the resources and knowledge to make a fuss got more spending and resources than the poorer neighbourhoods with high populations of non-english speakers.

          4 votes
    2. JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      I'd recommend checking out Eric Liu and his Citizen University. Here's an older article he wrote (and he also has a TED talk).

      I'd recommend checking out Eric Liu and his Citizen University. Here's an older article he wrote (and he also has a TED talk).

      4 votes
    3. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      Agreed. I signed a petition to get a state senator I voted for recalled. Oops.

      Agreed. I signed a petition to get a state senator I voted for recalled. Oops.

      3 votes
  2. [5]
    mrbig
    Link
    Reality is extremely complex and a lot of the time you will get things wrong even with the best information. So be humble and understand that changing your mind is as natural as breathing.

    Reality is extremely complex and a lot of the time you will get things wrong even with the best information. So be humble and understand that changing your mind is as natural as breathing.

    28 votes
    1. mike10010100
      Link Parent
      "Strong opinions held loosely" is one of my guiding principles.

      "Strong opinions held loosely" is one of my guiding principles.

      7 votes
    2. JXM
      Link Parent
      To me, one of the best qualities a person can have is the willingness to admit that they made a mistake or were wrong about something and learn from the experience.

      To me, one of the best qualities a person can have is the willingness to admit that they made a mistake or were wrong about something and learn from the experience.

      5 votes
    3. krg
      Link Parent
      This is a big one, for me. Big-T Truth is nebulous, at best. It's unfortunate that there are so many that want others to have hard line opinions when you're just trying to navigate the nuances of...

      This is a big one, for me. Big-T Truth is nebulous, at best. It's unfortunate that there are so many that want others to have hard line opinions when you're just trying to navigate the nuances of a situation. Analysis paralysis can be a good thing, sometimes! Also a bad thing, yes, I know.

      Anyway, I'll sometimes offer up some opinion on something that I won't think is very popular because I want to be proven wrong or have my mind changed. There are some things I hold onto that seem right to me, but don't feel right...and I kind of like offering those thoughts to smarter people who can elucidate on my thoughts being dumb. Well, I like to "argue" in the sense that I'm poking and prodding at an idea to get a more well-rounded view of an issue, usually.

      1 vote
    4. loto
      Link Parent
      That's something I'm still trying to consistently practice myself - I've definitely gotten caught up in my opinions/preconceptions (though thankfully not immortalized online), but lately I've been...

      That's something I'm still trying to consistently practice myself - I've definitely gotten caught up in my opinions/preconceptions (though thankfully not immortalized online), but lately I've been trying to hold a more open mind, which has been a good change for sure.

      1 vote
  3. [8]
    JakeTheDog
    Link
    Statistics are the single most powerful tool for understanding, well, everything in life. It doesn't have to be anything fancy either, just having some introduction in early High School or even...

    Statistics are the single most powerful tool for understanding, well, everything in life. It doesn't have to be anything fancy either, just having some introduction in early High School or even earlier.

    This would have a major beneficial impact on politics/legislature and individual health. Having an intimate understanding—actually feeling it—of your chances of wining the lottery, being in a car accident, choosing whether or not to pursue a surgery or drug, cost/reward of laws based on terrorist attacks etc. People would also be a lot less susceptible to being enthralled by sensationalism.

    Active awareness that can be cultivated by mindfulness-style meditation (or psychedelics). This has a massive impact on our relationship with our emotions and with how we perceive ourselves in the world and how we perceive others in relation to us. I think this would dissolve so many hardships and conflicts, or at least temper them.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      Lawrencium265
      Link Parent
      Freakonomics podcast just did an episode on how American schools should change their curriculum to focus on statistics and how to utilize them. I agree and think that students should be learning...

      Freakonomics podcast just did an episode on how American schools should change their curriculum to focus on statistics and how to utilize them. I agree and think that students should be learning programming in early grade school education and python as early as 5th or 6th grade with focus on utilizing data sets (data science)

      http://freakonomics.com/podcast/math-curriculum/

      7 votes
      1. JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        Oh sweet! I will listen. I would also add: get rid of calculus and linear algebra to make room for stats—make calculus and linear algebra options for those who want to pursue physics and engineering.

        Oh sweet! I will listen. I would also add: get rid of calculus and linear algebra to make room for stats—make calculus and linear algebra options for those who want to pursue physics and engineering.

        2 votes
    2. [5]
      stephen
      Link Parent
      Can I understand art with statistics? Love? Beauty?

      Statistics are the single most powerful tool for understanding, well, everything in life.

      Can I understand art with statistics? Love? Beauty?

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        If you are referring to neurophysiology, then yes (and progressively so). It you are referring to the hard problem of consciousness, then probably not.

        If you are referring to neurophysiology, then yes (and progressively so). It you are referring to the hard problem of consciousness, then probably not.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          stephen
          Link Parent
          What about truth? Can I find and understand purpose and meaning with statistics? Asking for a friend who wants to do philosophy and epistemology with numbers.

          the hard problem of consciousness, then probably not.

          What about truth? Can I find and understand purpose and meaning with statistics? Asking for a friend who wants to do philosophy and epistemology with numbers.

          1. 9000
            Link Parent
            I mean, this question is tackled pretty head on in epistemology and philosophy of science. Essentially, my understanding is that when you first get into it, you find Hume's Problem of Induction...

            I mean, this question is tackled pretty head on in epistemology and philosophy of science. Essentially, my understanding is that when you first get into it, you find Hume's Problem of Induction and quickly realize that the answer strictly speaking is "no". But, then you realize this is a very boring answer because its implications are so broad that following it strictly leads to solipsism or complete doubt (like having only Descartes' cogito ergo sum).

            So, with this realization, you start to accept that making a few very minimal assumptions may be necessary to make any progress. And, if you choose these carefully, you can actually build back a lot of our intuitions and epistemology and "Truth" without relying on very much.

            Asking for a friend who wants to do philosophy and epistemology with numbers.

            Now, I'm just a stranger on the internet, but by all means I say do it! There's a lot of interesting work being done in epistemology right now. Whether you will "find and understand purpose and meaning," I cannot answer for you, but I deeply believe it's a worthwhile investigation.

            2 votes
          2. JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            Truth; that's an epistemological question in itself. The Sam Harris vs Jordan Peterson debates have stalled because of this question—what constitutes truth. Truth from metaphors are obviously...

            Truth; that's an epistemological question in itself. The Sam Harris vs Jordan Peterson debates have stalled because of this question—what constitutes truth. Truth from metaphors are obviously outside of the realm of reductionism and statistics, unless there is an equivalent human behavior (say, the hell that one brings upon oneself after committing a grievous crime).

            Purpose and meaning; again, a more subjective epistemological question. It can be based on "hard" numbers e.g. where you can be most effective with your time and abilities, but that's only for a select few people who define their purpose and meaning as such.

  4. [5]
    money
    Link
    How to drive better. The amount of people that barely know basic traffic laws is kind of sad. I'm sure it'll never happen and will only get worse until we get fully automated cars, but seriously...

    How to drive better. The amount of people that barely know basic traffic laws is kind of sad. I'm sure it'll never happen and will only get worse until we get fully automated cars, but seriously people just view cars as an appliance, like a fridge or something, not like an object you have a relationship with, take care of, stuff like that. But yeah, living in a big city with terrible drivers makes doing anything a huge task, especially when public transport is laughable.

    13 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I'll add to this: I think very few people respect how dangerous driving is. It is by far the most risky thing most people do on a regular basis, even for safe drivers. As a teacher I get a fairly...

      I'll add to this: I think very few people respect how dangerous driving is. It is by far the most risky thing most people do on a regular basis, even for safe drivers.

      As a teacher I get a fairly broad cross-section of society each year in the form of my students and their families, so I get to see the stories that happen often but don't get told a lot: a child who lost a parent to a car accident, a kid who was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, a teen who wrecked their parents' car while checking a text, and so on. These, while not the norm, are more common than you would think.

      Driving in any capacity and especially at high speeds has the potential to harm, severely disable, or even kill you, and it can happen through no fault of your own. Be as safe as you can possibly be when you drive. Adding any additional risk simply isn't worth it.

      4 votes
    2. [3]
      zara
      Link Parent
      I recommend everyone who owns a car to buy a dashcam for this exact reason.

      I recommend everyone who owns a car to buy a dashcam for this exact reason.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        money
        Link Parent
        Do you have any recommendations? I saw a $20 one on amazon but idk if you'd be able to even make out what's going on in the video with the quality

        Do you have any recommendations? I saw a $20 one on amazon but idk if you'd be able to even make out what's going on in the video with the quality

        1 vote
        1. zara
          Link Parent
          In my opinion, a 20 dollar dashcam is basically a doorstop in disguise. I bought a $100 dashcam from amazon last year, and it held up for the most part, but for the last few weeks, it hasn't been...

          In my opinion, a 20 dollar dashcam is basically a doorstop in disguise.

          I bought a $100 dashcam from amazon last year, and it held up for the most part, but for the last few weeks, it hasn't been turning on like it's supposed to (and I didn't have the foresight to get the extended warranty).

          I'm not super educated on dashcams (I've just looked around online for reviews, articles, videos, etc.) but I recommend getting one that has both a front and rear camera. And if you want to be more secure, consider getting one that can capture video inside your car or can stay on 24/7.

          3 votes
  5. [5]
    suspended
    Link
    There was a recent post that asked: What do you want someone to ask you about? I replied: Ask me about academic study of the Biblical texts. I'm a layperson but I have engaged with the scholarship...

    There was a recent post that asked: What do you want someone to ask you about?

    I replied: Ask me about academic study of the Biblical texts. I'm a layperson but I have engaged with the scholarship for roughly twenty years.

    Biblical academic scholarship, generally, deals with subject matter outside of faith communities. The overarching tool, used in most humanities, is the historical-critical method of research.

    In doing so, there have been many apologetic and/or faith-based beliefs that have been debunked to the benefit of the general public.

    I am the founder of /r/AskBibleScholars and we maintain a FAQ and a Hall of Fame with this type of information.

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      krg
      Link Parent
      Assuming you don't hold religious beliefs, has Bible scholarship really made it plain and clear that it's all a bunch of malarkey?

      Assuming you don't hold religious beliefs, has Bible scholarship really made it plain and clear that it's all a bunch of malarkey?

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        What, specifically, are you referring to? Religious beliefs?

        it's all a bunch of malarkey?

        What, specifically, are you referring to? Religious beliefs?

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          krg
          Link Parent
          The Bible, in general. In the sense that it's not "the word of God" or some such, but just a collection of ..uh..fables with some historicity? (am I way off-base?) I guess...being able to step...

          The Bible, in general. In the sense that it's not "the word of God" or some such, but just a collection of ..uh..fables with some historicity? (am I way off-base?) I guess...being able to step back and see how fabricated/man-made religious systems are and not a result of some divine guidance.

          (though I suppose some may believe that people working together to build a religion is divine itself)

          In other words...is deep knowledge of the Bible and how it came to be like pulling the curtain back on the Great and Powerful Oz and realizing it's just..a person?

          2 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            Some believe that there could have been, in certain cases, divine inspiration for what they wrote. Overall though it is important to note that each author had either their own theological or...

            Some believe that there could have been, in certain cases, divine inspiration for what they wrote. Overall though it is important to note that each author had either their own theological or political agenda.

            I can say that the more I learn about the Biblical texts, the more BS i can identify from religious organizations.

            5 votes
  6. Lawrencium265
    Link
    How to troubleshoot a problem. I see this even with people who have been doing the same job for 20+ years. You have to identify the problem before you try to fix it. If you go in assuming you know...

    How to troubleshoot a problem. I see this even with people who have been doing the same job for 20+ years. You have to identify the problem before you try to fix it. If you go in assuming you know what the problem is, there is a chance that the problem isn't what you think it is.

    10 votes
  7. Gaywallet
    Link
    It often surprises me how little people actually know about how their body works. We spend our entire lives inside a body and having a basic understanding of biological processes I believe is...

    It often surprises me how little people actually know about how their body works. We spend our entire lives inside a body and having a basic understanding of biological processes I believe is fundamentally important for a variety of reasons.

    In addition to understanding the basics of how a body works, understanding on a basic level how common problems manifest and what you should be doing would save a lot of trouble. For example, understanding that in many cases it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between an acute viral infection and an acute bacterial infection within the first roughly 1-2 weeks of sickness makes it a lot easier to understand why you don't need to be asking your provider for antibiotics. It also will help you to understand that you're still infectious within a few days of your symptoms clearing and that might influence how and who you interact with.

    10 votes
  8. monarda
    Link
    That smiles are significant.

    That smiles are significant.

    8 votes
  9. [5]
    ainar-g
    (edited )
    Link
    This will probably sound arsehole-ish in a few places, but believe me, smirk is not my intention as I write this post. The Western society seems to slowly go away from the “Mental illness is not...

    This will probably sound arsehole-ish in a few places, but believe me, smirk is not my intention as I write this post.

    The Western society seems to slowly go away from the “Mental illness is not real” attitude towards an arguably better “Mental illness is real and curable”. The new attitude seems to actually acknowledge that there is a battle that a person is fighting.

    With that said, thinking that the humanity has somehow “solved” mental health and that “you just need some therapy”, or that you “simply need to switch to Drug-X instead of Drug-Y”, or something of that ilk is still factually incorrect and can at times be very harmful to get as a response. Take depression for example. Only half of all people with mild-to-severe Major Depression respond to CBT or medication. What does the other half do? Manage. Abide. Suffer. Often silently, because the responses others will give will mostly range from “Just snap out of it!” to “Have you tried Drug-Z?”.

    Every time I see someone on the Internet responding to a post of a clearly clinically-depressed individual with a “You should try therapy!”, I can only imagine the depressed as the poor Pagliacci. And that's not even counting people who cannot afford therapy, cannot afford drugs, or cannot visit therapists for other reasons. The drugs I currently take have a monthly cost that is about 20 % of the median wage in my country. That's excluding the cost of actual therapy sessions, which would bump that to 30–35 %. And my medication isn't even the most expensive “solution” on the market. If it wasn't for my very privileged job, these costs could quickly become a problem.

    TL;DR: Mental health is still an issue.

    8 votes
    1. JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      I'd go one step farther and argue that current psychiatric medicine/pharmacology is the equivalent of medieval dentistry. Though the good news is that with recent re-legalization of psychedelics...

      I'd go one step farther and argue that current psychiatric medicine/pharmacology is the equivalent of medieval dentistry. Though the good news is that with recent re-legalization of psychedelics and their research we're finally starting the process of modernizing. Though still a while away...

      9 votes
    2. [3]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I recently read a book about exactly this idea: Lost Connections by Johann Hari. In the book he points out that modern views of depression tend to identify it as a chemical issue in the brain:...

      I recently read a book about exactly this idea: Lost Connections by Johann Hari.

      In the book he points out that modern views of depression tend to identify it as a chemical issue in the brain: your brain doesn't process neurotransmitters as it should, we're told, so a drug can helps to correct the imbalance.

      This can be comforting, especially for people for whom depression takes hold despite them having no real reason to be sad. They have good jobs, families, friends, etc., and yet they find themselves depressed anyway. In the same way we'd call myopia a problem of the eye and prescribe glasses to correct it, we call depression a problem of the brain and prescribe drugs as a fix. Your depression has a cause, an explanation, and a solution, this model asserts.

      Only, like you pointed out, drugs don't necessarily work. Nor does therapy. Furthermore, there are plenty of people out there who experience depression with reason (for example, a parent grieving the death of their child), so it seems odd to simply say that depression is a chemical imbalance, correctible by a pill. A pill doesn't and can't address the absence of a child in a mother's life, yet her depression is likely to be treated using that very method.

      The book uses this discrepancy as a launching point for examining research and stories about depression and anxiety. What the author produces in his conclusions is a model of depression that identifies it as primarily caused by life circumstances rather than brain chemistry.

      I'm not well-versed or scholarly enough to know whether the book is valid or hogwash, and, if I'm being honest, it felt like both at different times. There were sections where I felt like he was speaking with a truth and clarity that closely resonated with my own experiences with depression, and there were other times I was rolling my eyes. The former outweighed the latter, however, and I would enthusiastically recommend the book to anyone who is interested in its premise. Even if it's not valid, it's at the very least thought-provoking, and it has some wonderful and compelling side stories and human portraits that are richly told. There's value to be found even if his thesis is wrong, but there's a notion in my gut, unsupported by evidence but tinged with my own personal experience, that thinks he's closer to right than most.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        He's wrong though, no psychiatric doctor sees depression as a chemical imbalance. Everything Hari says is widely accepted in mental health treatment and has been for many years....

        In the book he points out that modern views of depression tend to identify it as a chemical issue in the brain:

        He's wrong though, no psychiatric doctor sees depression as a chemical imbalance. Everything Hari says is widely accepted in mental health treatment and has been for many years.

        https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2018/jan/08/is-everything-johann-hari-knows-about-depression-wrong-lost-connections

        https://twitter.com/raj_psyc/status/967365583401611264?s=20

        3 votes
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          Thanks for the links. Those help identify and iron out some of my issues with the book. To his credit, I think Hari is aimed more at public opinion rather than medical practice. He does talk about...

          Thanks for the links. Those help identify and iron out some of my issues with the book.

          To his credit, I think Hari is aimed more at public opinion rather than medical practice. He does talk about the biopsychosocial model and equivocates some regarding treatment outside of pills, though the thrust of his argument is still that brain chemistry and pharmaceuticals are the main talking points regarding mental health. I can appreciate this, as it is how my own psychiatrist framed it for me years ago, and I've had many conversations in the years since with other depressed individuals who clearly hold the same view of their own experiences. Whether or not it's commonplace or even dominant, it's definitely at the very least present in public understanding.

          That said, part of what made me think the book was hokum was how Hari frames his findings to be outright landmark and revelatory. He makes it sound as if he is the first person to ever connect these particular dots, and so much of his writing reads like an appeal to the "second option bias" made famous on reddit. This is the REAL story of depression THEY don't want you to know about!

          Admittedly this framing was personally powerful for me, even while being aware of the rhetorical technique used. I've long doubted my psychiatrist's explanation for my condition, but I never had my doubts laid out and addressed as clearly and systematically as Hari does. It felt like there'd been something in my understanding that had been out of place for a long time, and the book finally clicked it into its right spot. Even if he's conveying pre-existing and long-accepted knowledge, it was at the very least new to me and important for me to hear.

          The latter parts of the book focus less on the model and more on causes and treatments, and this was where I was definitively more skeptical. He tells some wonderful stories in great detail about very interesting people, but these stories are ultimately unconvincing as evidence. A lot of them seemed to boil down to the sort of useless platitudes many people get from others when depressed: "go outside," "make friends," "plant a garden." It's not that those won't necessarily help, just that they aren't necessarily a guarantee. His replacement for pills, which are not effective for everyone, seems to be actions that, well, aren't likely to be effective for everyone.

          Despite my criticisms I still liked the book and think there's more good than bad in it, though of course I can only speak as a layperson and would definitely yield to medical professionals regarding its validity. I definitely think it's something that should be tempered with other information and insight like the article and comment you linked. Based on the posts I've seen from you around here, you sound like you have a lot of expertise in health/medicine. If you have any other good resources or even knowledge you'd like to share regarding mental health, particularly depression, I'd love to hear it (don't feel obligated, though!).

          1 vote
  10. [6]
    Wulfsta
    (edited )
    Link
    The Clathrate Gun. This is horrifying and more people should be aware. This post made me think of it. Roko's Basilisk is a thought experiment that some believe is hazardous just to propagate, but...

    The Clathrate Gun. This is horrifying and more people should be aware. This post made me think of it.

    Roko's Basilisk is a thought experiment that some believe is hazardous just to propagate, but fascinating enough to do here anyways.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      myk
      Link Parent
      That basilisk sounds like such a stupid idea when I’ve tried to explain it in the pub, but some people in the internet seem to get really upset by it. I’m not going to put myself at risk by saying...

      That basilisk sounds like such a stupid idea when I’ve tried to explain it in the pub, but some people in the internet seem to get really upset by it. I’m not going to put myself at risk by saying no-one needs to know about It though wink.

      4 votes
      1. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        I just don't get it, and I think that makes me immune to the wrath of AI gods from the future. Unless that was something else entirely.

        I just don't get it, and I think that makes me immune to the wrath of AI gods from the future. Unless that was something else entirely.

        3 votes
    2. [3]
      psi
      Link Parent
      Could you elaborate? The wiki article starts so: But it seems too technical to be insightful (what are Bond Cycles, the Quaternary, methane clathrate, etc?)

      The Clathrate Gun. This is horrifying and more people should be aware.

      Could you elaborate? The wiki article starts so:

      The clathrate gun hypothesis refers to a proposed explanation for the periods of rapid warming during the Quaternary. The idea is that changes in fluxes in upper intermediate waters in the ocean caused temperature fluctuations that alternately accumulated and occasionally released methane clathrate on upper continental slopes, these events would have caused the Bond Cycles and individual interstadial events, such as the Dansgaard–Oeschger interstadials.[2]

      The hypothesis was supported for the Bølling-Allerød and Preboreal period, but not for Dansgaard–Oeschger interstadials,[3] although there are still debates on the topic.[4]

      But it seems too technical to be insightful (what are Bond Cycles, the Quaternary, methane clathrate, etc?)

      4 votes
      1. Wulfsta
        Link Parent
        The original hypothesis was that at some temperature methane deposits would be released and lead to a rapid increase in temperature within the span of a human lifetime. I'm not an authority on the...

        The original hypothesis was that at some temperature methane deposits would be released and lead to a rapid increase in temperature within the span of a human lifetime. I'm not an authority on the subject, but I believe it's now considered unlikely that it would happen so rapidly. That said, it's also possible that it contributed to some past extinctions.

        4 votes
      2. Nexu
        Link Parent
        Let me have a go at this: "Clathrate" is another way of saying a substance with a bunch of stuff trapped in it. In this case it refers to methane clathrate; most of the time meaning basically...

        The Clathrate Gun

        Let me have a go at this:

        "Clathrate" is another way of saying a substance with a bunch of stuff trapped in it.

        In this case it refers to methane clathrate; most of the time meaning basically something similar to ice with a ton of methane in it.

        Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System, where temperatures are low and water ice is common, significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of the Earth.

        "Quaternary" is a time period, basically just read "in the last few million years".

        The "clathrate gun hypothesis" refers to the "explosive" (like a gun) moment when the cumulative effect of ongoing climate change results in a huge burst of methane released after these deposits of methane clathrate melt or alter in a way that releases the methane into the atmosphere.

        That's what I understood, I might be wildly off. Anyone with a better understanding care to chime in?

        2 votes
  11. [2]
    cwagner
    Link
    That while not-voting should be seen as some kind of protest, for almost all intents and purposes it means you split your vote exactly like the final result, so most of it went to the winning party.

    That while not-voting should be seen as some kind of protest, for almost all intents and purposes it means you split your vote exactly like the final result, so most of it went to the winning party.

    6 votes
    1. zara
      Link Parent
      I have to say, I'd never thought about it like that. This has given me some new perspective, so thank you for that.

      I have to say, I'd never thought about it like that. This has given me some new perspective, so thank you for that.

      2 votes
  12. blitz
    Link
    It's always fun to review the Wikipedia List of Common Misconceptions once in a while. I find that even after I've read the list some of these start to creep back into my mind.

    It's always fun to review the Wikipedia List of Common Misconceptions once in a while. I find that even after I've read the list some of these start to creep back into my mind.

    6 votes
  13. umbrae
    Link
    The many different types of Cognitive Bias and how regularly we all fall prey to them.

    The many different types of Cognitive Bias and how regularly we all fall prey to them.

    6 votes
  14. [3]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    Insurance, in my experience most people don't understand it and make no real effort to understand it. Insurance is for more than your home and auto, on the modern world almost everything is...

    Insurance, in my experience most people don't understand it and make no real effort to understand it. Insurance is for more than your home and auto, on the modern world almost everything is insured at every stage of production and delivery, it's insured while it's on the shelf, and it's insured when it goes home with you. Insurance undergirds modern life and benefits society in many ways, but because people don't read their policies and take bad advice from non-professionals they think it's a scam.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      And don't forget the insurance companies that insure the primary insurers!

      And don't forget the insurance companies that insure the primary insurers!

      2 votes
      1. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        I want to work in reinsurance so bad, it's tough to get into though from what I hear.

        I want to work in reinsurance so bad, it's tough to get into though from what I hear.

        2 votes
  15. [2]
    zara
    Link
    I wish that people were more open to the idea of right to die laws (I think that's what they're called).

    I wish that people were more open to the idea of right to die laws (I think that's what they're called).

    4 votes
    1. ainar-g
      Link Parent
      People in general seem to really dislike thinking about anything related to death and injuries. Insurance (medical, life, etc.), last will, drug policies, and, of course, the Right To Die. If...

      People in general seem to really dislike thinking about anything related to death and injuries. Insurance (medical, life, etc.), last will, drug policies, and, of course, the Right To Die. If people imagined themselves in dire situations more often then I think that they would become much more open to the concept.

      2 votes
  16. [13]
    DanBC
    Link
    Screening populations for disease tends to cause harm, not save life.

    Screening populations for disease tends to cause harm, not save life.

    3 votes
    1. [12]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      How so? I find this hard to believe if confidentiality is maintained (i.e. baring stigma). Especially when it comes to infectious viral diseases with subtle symptoms like HIV and HPV. And...

      How so? I find this hard to believe if confidentiality is maintained (i.e. baring stigma). Especially when it comes to infectious viral diseases with subtle symptoms like HIV and HPV. And especially so for catching early onset of mental diseases and cancer, which require early interventions.

      1 vote
      1. [10]
        myk
        Link Parent
        Here’s a good discussion from a man who literally wrote the book on biostatistics: http://www.dcscience.net/2014/03/10/on-the-hazards-of-significance-testing-part-1-screening/

        Here’s a good discussion from a man who literally wrote the book on biostatistics: http://www.dcscience.net/2014/03/10/on-the-hazards-of-significance-testing-part-1-screening/

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          This is not a problem with all screenings, but with specific screenings. In fact the entire linked post is about one specific screening. The statement Is simply not true and is in my opinion a...

          This is not a problem with all screenings, but with specific screenings. In fact the entire linked post is about one specific screening.

          The statement

          Screening populations for disease tends to cause harm, not save life.

          Is simply not true and is in my opinion a huge overreach from what the author is arguing in the linked post.

          3 votes
          1. myk
            Link Parent
            The author starts with the statement “This post is about why screening healthy people is generally a bad idea” which he then illustrates by reference to one case that was in the news at the time....

            The author starts with the statement “This post is about why screening healthy people is generally a bad idea” which he then illustrates by reference to one case that was in the news at the time. I don’t think that @DanBC’s statement was really very different from that position.

            3 votes
          2. [2]
            DanBC
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            It is true for most screening programmes. Cervical screening is useful and does save life, but most screening programmes don't save life and do cause harm. This isn't crank science, this is a...

            It is true for most screening programmes. Cervical screening is useful and does save life, but most screening programmes don't save life and do cause harm. This isn't crank science, this is a mainstream view that many doctors try to promote.

            Look at who is pushing for mass screening. It's the companies who sell the screening. It's the companies who sell the further diagnostic testing. It's the companies who sell the treatment.

            This confusion is caused by the misuse of "5 year survival rates". Take a bunch of men over 50 and give them yearly prostate cancer screening, but don't give them any treatment at all. We've increased the 5 year survival rate because we detected a bunch of non-progressive cancer. We know this is misused in US advertising.

            "We detected your cancer early! We treated you! You no longer have cancer!" Many people will see this as having their life saved, but if it was a non-progressive cancer that wouldn't have caused them any harm their life has not been saved. They've been exposed to the risks of medication and surgery but have had no benefit.

            And "watchful waiting" is pretty new for prostate cancer. What usually happens is further diagnostic testing (needle biopsies) and then surgery (removal of the prostate). The patient has been harmed but has had no benefit.

            https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/jan/03/patients-truth-health-screening-harm-good

            https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2055

            https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k2986

            3 votes
            1. Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              If you're talking about prostate cancer and mammograms then yes, I'm in agreement. But there are many more diseases out there and you should be very specific about your claims. Taking someone's...

              If you're talking about prostate cancer and mammograms then yes, I'm in agreement. But there are many more diseases out there and you should be very specific about your claims. Taking someone's blood glucose readings, for example, is a screening for a disease (diabetes) which does much more good than harm.

              2 votes
        2. [5]
          JakeTheDog
          Link Parent
          I would agree when it comes to new diagnostic protocols and for rare diseases. But, those example values of 95% and 80% for specificity and sensitivity are piss-poor to begin with and rarely is a...

          I would agree when it comes to new diagnostic protocols and for rare diseases. But, those example values of 95% and 80% for specificity and sensitivity are piss-poor to begin with and rarely is a diagnosis made with only one tool (think in terms of Bayesian stats).

          There's no point in screening for herpes virus, since most people carry it and there is nothing that you can do about it. But, it's valuable (and life-saving) to hypothesize that one has a stage-1 cancer or HIV to allow a more thorough follow-up and thus catch it early or to enforce containment.

          Also, saving the lives of those true-positive people far outweighs the transient discomfort (of being unnecessarily worried) for a few false-positive people.

          1. [3]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            The extra testing causes harm! Often this will be biopsies. I've already linked to one post showing how this is wrong for prostate cancer. Let's look at breast cancer....

            and rarely is a diagnosis made with only one tool (think in terms of Bayesian stats).

            to allow a more thorough follow-up and thus catch it early or to enforce containment.

            The extra testing causes harm! Often this will be biopsies.

            But, it's valuable (and life-saving) to hypothesize that one has a stage-1 cancer

            I've already linked to one post showing how this is wrong for prostate cancer. Let's look at breast cancer.

            https://nordic.cochrane.org/screening-breast-cancer-mammography

            Here's what they used to say:

            "It may be reasonable to attend for breast cancer screening with mammography, but it may also be reasonable not to attend, as screening has both benefits and harms.

            If 2000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one will benefit from the screening, as she will avoid dying from breast cancer.

            At the same time, 10 healthy women will, as a consequence, become cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy.

            Furthermore, about 200 healthy women will experience a false alarm. The psychological strain until one knows whether or not it was cancer, and even afterwards, can be severe."

            But this was in the past, when breast cancer treatment wasn't very good. It's now a lot better, and so that one woman who didn't die probably wouldn't die today without the screening. So we'd be causing harm for no benefit -- we don't save any lives, but we do over-treat a bunch of women.

            Screening asymptomatic populations is over-testing, that leads to over-diagnosis and over-treatment, and they all cause harm.

            1 vote
            1. myk
              Link Parent
              Very well put. It’s good to see that very blunt Cochrane Collaboration finding.

              Very well put. It’s good to see that very blunt Cochrane Collaboration finding.

          2. myk
            Link Parent
            I’m not sure it’s even limited to those special cases. Screening for any relatively rare condition will cause much more false positives than useful results. E.g. prostate cancer affects about 1-2...

            I’m not sure it’s even limited to those special cases. Screening for any relatively rare condition will cause much more false positives than useful results. E.g. prostate cancer affects about 1-2 in a thousand men in the UK, but Cancer Research UK advises against a screening programme for that very reason.

      2. DanBC
        Link Parent
        Take 1,000 men aged 50 or older. Once a year give them a digital rectal exam and PSA screening for prostate cancer. After 11 years you'll find 7 men died from prostate cancer. Take a group of...

        Take 1,000 men aged 50 or older. Once a year give them a digital rectal exam and PSA screening for prostate cancer. After 11 years you'll find 7 men died from prostate cancer.

        Take a group of 1,000 similar men, but this time don't do anything.

        How many do you expect to have died from prostate cancer after 11 years?

        We find the same number died - 7 men.

        So, screening didn't do anything to stop men dying from prostate cancer.

        Let's look at harms suffered in the testing group.

        160 men had false alarms and unnecessary biopsies. 20 men with non-progressive prostate cancer were diagnosed or treated for cancer, including removal of the prostate which can lead to incontinence or impotence.

        https://www.harding-center.mpg.de/en/fact-boxes/early-detection-of-cancer/prostate-cancer-early-detection

        When you screen a population (screening isn't testing people who have symptoms) you'll wrongly say some people do have the disease when they don't. What you do to those people -- treat them for something they don't have -- exposes them to risks and side-effects of treatment for no benefit.

        One of the most important questions you can ask your doctor is "What happens if we don't do anything?"

        cancer, which require early interventions.

        This is mostly true, but don't forget that it's also hugely publicised by people selling cancer tests and cancer treatments. When we look at screening non-symptomatic populations we see that cervical screening probably saves lives, but breast cancer screening doesn't save many lives and does cause harm. Prostate cancer screening doesn't save any life, and it causes serious harm. https://www.harding-center.mpg.de/en/fact-boxes/early-detection-of-cancer/breast-cancer-early-detection

        2 votes