• "The most notable “discovery” in the dataset was that if you simply plotted the number of steps versus the BMI, you would see an image of a gorilla waving at you (Fig. 1b). While we teach our students the benefits of visualization, answering the specific hypothesis-driven questions did not require plotting the data. We found that very often, the students driven by specific hypotheses skipped this simple step towards a broader exploration of the data. In fact, overall, students without a specific hypothesis were almost five times more likely to discover the gorilla when analyzing this dataset (odds ratio = 4.8, P = 0.034, N = 33, Fisher’s exact test; Fig. 1c). At least in this setting, the hypothesis indeed turned out to be a significant liability."
  • "The truth is that if you say you want more children from deprived areas to be able to go to university, then don’t faff around with entry tariffs: invest in Sure Start centres, preschool groups, subsidised childcare and properly resourced primary schools. Make benefits genuinely accessible and life-supporting. Better still, stop whole sections of society being condemned to underpaid, vulnerable, soul-destroying labour while others cream off inordinate wealth from the profits of that labour." Stefan Collini talking a lot of sense about what universities are, and what the lurch towards consumerising them more than ever in the past ten years has led to. It is not pretty.
  • "That struggle story — Man against company, or Man against Billionaire — is a crowd-pleaser. The actual struggle that interests me is against the current horrifying imbalance in global power and wealth, which is kind of abstract, doesn’t have a chiseled cartoon-villain billionaire in the cast, and is frighteningly large in scale.

    Seriously; basically every reporter I’ve talked to has tried to get me to say awful things about Amazon and in particular about Jeff Bezos. But at my last job they taught me to think big and, with all his billions, Jeff is rounding error in the big picture. He’s not the problem; the legal/regulatory power structures that enable him and his peers is."

    Tim Bray on monopolies and multi-millionaires, but really, on capitalism. Symptoms, causes.