What if there was a non-political research project that involved a collaboration between NASA scientists and Environment Canada scientists? How easy would it be for a journalist to talk to the scientists involved?
It turns out it would take only 15 minutes for something to be arranged with NASA. With Environment Canada, however, it would take the activities of 11 media relations people, sending over 50 pages of internal emails, before a list of irrelevant information was finally sent back – all of this long after the deadline had passed. This is what happened to journalist Tom Spears in April 2012.
With this, this Terry Podcast episode asks a simple question: If it was this difficult to get interviews for a positive science story, what would happen if a journalist needed to actually ask some tough questions? Please take a listen as this episode of the Terry Podcast examines the relationship between media and Canadian Government scientists, and questions whether the Harper government has politicized science.
Please listen and share:
Note: eventually, some of these (I suspect) will be published in full at the Science Creative Quarterly.
Click on the image for larger graphic.
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(CLICK HERE FOR PIN-UP POSTER – pdf file ~1Mb)
– We suggest photocopying at 129% – LTR to 11×17 –
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The “Candy Hierarchy” represents a thoroughly authoritative attempt to scientifically measure and classify Halloween Candy by assessing “joy induction.” More or less. Since 2006, Cohen and Ng have curated these rankings as an ongoing longitudinal study, one which reassesses itself through the use of the newest technologies (often teeth and jaws) and robust scientific peer review (comments). This article therefore presents the latest rankings with insight into the complex cultural underpinnings of “sweet” things. Specific notes of interest are two fold: (1) the emergence of a child-centric sucro-fructo-tastic gummi/chewy/taffi layer into the upper strata and (2) the recent prominence of corporatized corn fructose agents potentially, but we doubt it, influencing the hierarchy. Speaking of corporate influence, we are proud to be sponsored by Sweetum’s this year. Sweetums!: When fructose jitters can’t wait, try Sweetums, an American delight! In conclusion, these findings continue to demonstrate the enormous challenge in monitoring the constantly changing landscape of candy joy induction. Except, of course, for Whoppers – Whoppers still blow. And, good god, if I get one more box of Nerds. They’re gone. It’s done. Boom. Drop the mic.
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This year, we had money. Gobs of money. Like lots and lots. If Everlasting Gobstoppers were money and not gobs used to stop things, we would be that. So much money it was crazy town for a while. It’s like, this year for Halloween we’re not going to be giving out Toblerone; we’re going to be giving out 3D printers that make Toblerone. But don’t let’s get all braggy. Our point is this: we got big cash and we did fancy research.
And what did this research look like? Well, all sorts of scientific things—things like booking time at CERN to collide candy corn and chocolate bars together in an attempt to explain why some fundamental particles (bodies) have (more) mass; things like using next gen sequencing methodologies to elucidate the genetic variation within populations of same-flavored and different-flavored Starbursts; things like setting up a Dancing-with-the-Stars-like competition where we had animated FTIR machines (which we printed with our disposable 3D printers) spit out competing glucose fingerprint codes to see which danced the best. Was most of this wasted time, effort, and money? Sure, maybe…the CERN data showed that colliding candy together at high speeds resulted in smaller bits of candy (intriguing); the Starburst genome project essentially suggested that Starbursts don’t, in fact, have genomes (curious); and it’s not clear that Dancing FTIR thing even made sense. But it’s not for us to decide the findings’ value. That’s what the peer community is for. Who knows how this knowledge might one day be applied? Besides, the stuffed coats at Sweetum’s tell us we can’t actually make the good data public until Sal in marketing vets it. I think this discussion is supposed to be redacted, actually. Rob, can you go check on that before this runs?
Regardless, we can state this: lo and behold, this year’s hierarchy reveals a bi-modal fracturing at the top strata. Previous rankings had found chocolate dominance at the top. The new hierarchy reflects discoveries made in the last year whereby some kids don’t think chocolate is top tier. Seemed like bullshit at first—because, really? Non-chocolate? But data don’t lie. So check out the graphic above.
Know what else? After years of failed get-it-right fast schemes, in this scheme we got it right. And fast. With some methodological retooling, more data sets, further research, and hundreds of additional peer review comments, the hierarchy is now entirely correct. There will be no need for comments. You can turn the internet off now. Yes yes, we said that last year, and the numerous years before. But that was before Twitter was big so nobody really read this. People always say they’re super confident, and you can never believe them, and don’t ever trust who ever acts like they’re one hundred percent certain. It’s just, if someone says something is entirely correct, you have to be a bit skeptical, right? But this time we are one hundred percent confident; this hierarchy is entirely correct. Why? Because of that corporate sponsorship. That’s why we’re proud to thank Sweetum’s Good Times High Fructosery for funding this year’s hierarchy. Sweetum’s, the quicker picker upper. Anyway, the scientific process is largely structured by corporate mechanisms and economic considerations, we’re told. Scientific research is underwritten by commitments to those problems our funders deem worthy of study. Right? And so here we are. Lots of sugar. Eventual diabetes. Meager dentistry. Yum.
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SOME PEER REVIEW COLLECTED HERE
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1. Because like, score! (Bcsizemo, 2010)
2. a.k.a. God’s Candy
3. These may be rolled to a friend.
4. Not sure if this should be included. Systematics are still on going – denomination appears to be key.
5. Like that fish you’ve seen on television. You know – the one which looks like it can breathe air and stuff.
6. Appropriate ranking may depend entirely on date of purchase versus date of opening. Experts in this field often refer to this dichotomy as “fresh CCE” versus “stale CCE,” or FCCE versus SCCE (Beschizza, 2011). Note that its interior has also been described as “pustulent.” (Petersen, 2010)
7. Sometimes spousal influence forces these placements as with, ahem, this primarily southern delicacy.
8. Blame the children on this one, Canadian children too. Also, sponsored by Sweetums (“Sweetums!: When fructose jitters can’t wait, try Sweetums, an American delight!”) whose corporate dollars may or may not be messing with your heads.
9. Always a contentious subject with a rich history of controversy. Briefly: Candy Corn, as of 2006, remained unclassified, but as of 2007 had been tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian. 2008: no sighting. This year, we have elected to place in a new tier, although what this means exactly has yet to be determined.
10. Includes comparable Commonwealth version of “Smarties.” (Devo, Legionabstract, gadgetgirl et al, 2011)
11. Although has also been classified as packing material (Cunning, 2010)
12. Placed solely to acknowledge, make fun of, and possibly undermine British opinions. Google it, but be careful when you google it (2012).
13. This is from EU pressure, known in diplomatic circles as the “Hornby Concession” (see his many footnotes from the 2012 version).
14. In which we acknowledge the complex underpinnings of this here Candy ranking exercise: apparently, the wrapper of the Ferrero Roche gets a higher ranking than the candy itself (due to high artwork potential). (Son of Anthrodiva 2012)
15. Whoppers blow.
16. The authors are curious as to which neighborhoods you belong to.
17. Also a hot mess of debate. Not to be confused with hot messes involving actual persons named “Mary Jane.” (Girard, franko, lexicat, Easton, Petersen, Halloween_Jack, 2012)
18. The discontinued candy, not the equally rankable discontinued board game.
19. Oh smack, can you even imagine if you got Fritos?
20. You know, we don’t even know what this is, but, hell, your sister marries an Australian, they have a kid, now you’ve got a niece, and you want a nice life for her, you want her to have a stake in the hierarchy, so okay, Aussie Lollies — Picnic bars, cherry ripe, Frys Turkish delight, probably something Chazzwozzer-based too, knock yourself out.
21. In a word, surreal… Plus grandpas with eyepatches always make everything better. Pretty sure, this is reproducible. (Gyrofrog, petertrepan, Koerth-Baker, Olsen 2012)
22. By some accounts, these two are actually one and the same (Gadgetgirl, 2010)
23. Yet some would be just as well to be left off. Bit-o-Honey, for example, might be called a lower tier member, but why bother? It says to your trick-or-treaters, “Here, I don’t care, just take this.” The lesson of Bit-o-Honey is: you lose. Doorstep offers of lectures in civics, too. You’re making a social statement–”I hate you and everything you represent”– when you give these out.
24. Yes, we really meant fruit that is healthy, clean-cut upstanding fruit that takes time from its gym membership and all the demands that come with it to contribute a positive message of citizenship and camaraderie to the community. This isn’t a typo of healthy for healthful. (see U.M.H. 2011)
25. Research has further defined this relationship. Currently, it has been suggested that Blackwing Pencils > Hugs > Creepy Hugs > Pencils. (Lobster, Prufrock451, and Warreno, 2010)
26. Unless it’s something caramel, pronounced “caramel.”
27. Unless you eat them properly. To quote Anonymous, 2010: “The trick to realizing how brilliant and delicious Now ‘n Laters are is a two step process. The first step is to carefully read the name of the candy. “Now ‘n Later.” What does it mean, you ask? Well, it implies that the candy will be different “now” (when you put it in your mouth) and at some point “later” in time. A small leap of logic takes us to the second step: be patient. You need to suck on it for a while until it softens. If you skip this step, the Now ‘n Later will be an inedible, rock-like colorful brick quite worthy of the low end of the hierarchy. But if you are patient in your candy-eating process, oh the rewards you will reap!”
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Originally published at Boingboing.net.
Some satire from yours truly. Sad that for some, it’s close to the truth.
“Make an observation.
Take a photo of it with your phone. Apply cool looking image filter, tweak with selective blurring, and then share via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog, etc.
Provide a trite but punchy comment that explains your observation. This is your hypothesis. OMG!”
Read on at McSweeney’s.
Applicable for all signs:
“The coming year is likely to present challenges; these trials are when your true character will show. Trusted friends can provide assistance in particularly pressing situations. Make use of the skills you have to compensate for ones you lack. Your reputation in the future depends on your honesty and integrity this year. Monetary investments will prove risky; inform yourself as much as possible. On the positive side, your chances of winning the lottery have never been greater!”
By DAVID NG
A slide for talking about the scientific method, hypothesis, generation, and testing via experimental design. Oh yeah, and aliens.
The set-up is to provide context with a story about declining stork populations as well as lower fertility rates in a particular country (this actually happened, for instance, in China in the 80s).
Who is Hadi? He’s a colleague at UBC, who does very cool stuff.
(Also, all of these goofy pics are now being archived at a tumblr I just set up – scienceisawesomethatisall.tumblr.com)
O.K. Yesterday was our provincial elections (in British Columbia), and in the end, the Liberal party came out winning. There’s quite a few environmental issues that are in the forefront in my neck of the woods, not the least of which concerns the Northern Gateway pipeline.
The Liberals didn’t actually have the greatest platform on this (at least from an environmental or science policy standpoint), but here’s hoping the public continues to pressure them to do the “best” (re: what scientific expert peer review suggests) thing for the province, and indeed the planet at large.
Last Saturday, my lab opened up the entire ground floor of the Michael Smith Building to the public. This was in conjunction with Science Rendezvous, a cross Canada science festival, and in the case of UBC, organized by the Faculty of Science. In the house (so to speak) were folks from the Beaty Museum, Civil Engineering, Pathology, Physics and Astronomy, as well as the Engineering Physics Robotics lab (who also brought in their 3D printers). We also used the building as ground zero for a number of tours throughout campus.
All in all, a great day (and busy too!). In my space, I actually brought out about a dozen or dissecting scopes and collected a nice jar of pond scum. Kids (and their parents), with some basic instructions, were let loose to find whatever they could find in the pond water. Lots of cooties were found, protozoa and algae abound, but my favourite was this Hydra that I managed to get a decent picture of on my iPhone.
The scientific method – it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty much the best way out there on collecting your thoughts and information to make sound decisions. All the more so, if the decision is high stakes IMHO.
Really impressed by this graphic. It’s just about perfect for this sort of thing… (although technically the word “hypothesis” would be better than “theory”)
By Kyle Hill.
IS THERE A SANTA?
By Paul Clarkson, via The Science Creative Quarterly.
Being a scientific investigation of a cultural conundrum
Soon it will be Christmas Eve, and once more children will be divided into distinct factions. Here, Cyr  described younger children (12 years) who have ditched this ‘childish’ belief. But he fails, by excluding from his questionnaire, to describe a third group who aren’t really sure – the undecided voters if you like. And as the eldest child, I have spent a large part of my life in this group. Moreover, being scientifically minded even at the age 7, I of course approached this problem according to well-established techniques of investigation.
My first stop was to consult the authorities. My parents (beneficiaries of a liberal arts education and a liberal dosing of 1960’s psychotropic compounds) reassured their young child by explaining that Santa, like all beliefs, was a social construction and as such was true to all who believed in him. When I asked how I would prove that, Mum told me that all truth was relative and that the concept of proof was no more than a projection of hegemony by the dominant culture. Which I thought was a load of old bollocks.
Disappointed but not discouraged I proceeded to a literature search (It wasn’t until much later in my career that I realised this was only ever done after at least 9 months of laborious investigation, although I was naive then, so give me a break). My little red bookshelf contained several volumes referring to Santa Claus. Most were personal accounts , and as such counted as no more than Level V evidence (expert opinion). Other styled themselves as authorities [3,4], but lacked references to definitive investigations.
Modern children of course have Pubmed, and conducting a search today for “Santa Claus Existence” gave 5 results, of which one was relevant. In 2002 Cyr surveyed whether paediatric inpatients still believed in Santa Claus. While a good and noteworthy study, this would still have not fit my purposes. I didn’t care if other children believed in Santa, and besides this was still only Level IV evidence (case-series). The author also declared his bias as a continuing believer, throwing all his conclusions under a cloud.
I realised I would have to abandon epidemiological techniques in favour of direct experimentation. I proceeded with the null hypothesis “Santa Claus does not exist”. I designed a trap to snare him in my bedroom, but after two failed years I realised the fault in my experimental design. The only way to reject the null hypothesis was to catch him, but not catching him left me unable to either accept or reject the null hypothesis. Unfortunately we hadn’t studied Karl Popper in reading room at that stage.
I decided to approach things in a more indirect manner. His ability to tell if children have been naughty or nice has been well-described . More specifically, I decided to adjust my behaviour, the independent variable A, and observe the number of presents, the dependent variable B. If he did exist, then B would vary with A, but if my parents were bringing the loot then A should not cause B to vary, as I was an overindulged and spoilt child. Furthermore, being nice and still getting presents regardless would prove little, and besides naughty was much more fun.
So I was as naughty as possible on Christmas Eve. I threw tantrums, messed my room, pulled my sister’s hair and hid my brother’s toys. I interrupted my father and refused to eat my dinner. The next morning I awoke with eager anticipation of my results. I got pretty much the same presents as usual. I then realised with horror that I had no reference standard! What if I was going to get more and had been reduced? How would I know? My brother and sister served as case-controls, but this was wholly unsatisfactory. Was a Barbie doll worth one or two toy cars? Had they been naughty or nice, thus confounding the results?
In any event, I am sorry to report that despite having now reached adulthood, I have still been unable to establish a satisfactory experimental design for this problem. The levels of evidence in this field continue to be amongst the poorest in the literature, and anecdotal evidence abounds. However, there will be a bear-trap at the bottom of my chimney again this year. While Popper may maintain that it is impossible to prove that something does not exist, the truth is that I’ve only got to catch the bastard once to get my answer.
1. Cyr C. Do reindeer and children know something that we don’t? Paediatric inpatients’ beliefs in Santa Claus. CMAJ 2002 Dec 10; 167(12): 1325-1327
2. Moore CC. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The Sentinel 1823. Heirloom edition available from Running Press Book Publishers.
3. Apple M, Baum LF, Riley, MO. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Signet Classics
4. Perkes A. The Santa Claus Book. Lyle Stuart Publishing.
5. Coots JF, Kellogg S. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. HarperCollins
(see more of Popperfont’s Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravanganza here)
“These images are identical, yet the tower on the right appears to lean more. Why?
Frederick Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi, and Elena Gheorghiu of McGill University discovered this effect in 2007. Normally parallel towers viewed from below appear to converge with distance; because that doesn’t happen here, the brain infers that the towers are diverging.”
I don’t know what it is about marking papers, but my brand of procrastination seems to lead to silly creative science pursuits.
And so, here is a song I quickly wrote and laid down some tracks last night. It’s kind of amazing what you can do with the average computer and a decent microphone these days. Hope you enjoy!
Listen, things are getting warmer
You can call it climate, climate that is changing
Simple in that science, science is the reason
We should take a stand, come up with a plan, listen to
It’s like this, living in a greenhouse
throwing in the air now, burning in the air now
warmer radiation, holding at the station
models add it up, heat is going up.
G A Dm G
Don’t you know It’s science, showing us the numbers
showing us a truth, something we can trust,
Something that we must take hold and move on forward
It’s like this, following the first law
Which is all to say that, that everything is bookkept
Counted and accounted. Following the heat
Following the work, following the state of things
Heat up, means it getting warmer
And with work a storming, moving air and water
Also changing states, melting ice to liquid
Averaging it out, causing thing to shout
Don’t you know…
Science: it’s not opinion, it’s not like fiction, and not religion. It’s rational, and looks at facts, mistakes are tracked, it looks at evidence.
This went up last week at Boing Boing, and is reprinted here in case you missed it. If you want to weigh in on the peer review, you can leave a comment here, or you can leave one at Boing Boing. Cheers ~Dave
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Candy culture plays a particularly prominent role during Halloween, especially in terms of providing what we describe as “joy induction.” Consequently, the “Candy Hierarchy” is a concerted effort to provide systematics that define a candy taxonomy in order of desirability and with the expressed idea of maximizing such joy. Each year, through the tireless efforts by teams of researchers, the ranking receives peer review in the form of comments left. This brings new data that are then tabulated and incorporated into each revised edition.
The Candy Hierarchy has been a work in progress since 2006 when initiated by B.R. Cohen, an environmental historian over at Lafayette College, and has since been published in a variety of venues. In 2010, with collaboration from David Ng, a geneticist based at the University of British Columbia, the hierarchy established an exclusive relationship with the highly reputable journal Boing Boing. This then allowed a significant increase in feedback from the peer review community due to the journal’s high citation index.
We, the authors, have greatly profited from this peer community feedback. That is to say, we almost got rich — the Hierarchy was optioned by a few Hollywood types and months were spent in writers’ rooms hammering out a pilot for NBC, before having the whole thing axed once it became clear NBC was not a thing anymore. But we got to keep the money. And we bought candy with it. And now here we are. So on with it already.
Discussion: There comes a time, when we heed a certain call. When the world. Must come, together as one. That time is now. We can’t go on, pretending day by day, that someone, somehow will make a change. Therefore, presented within is the newly reformulated Ng and Cohen Candy Hierarchy. This taxonomy updates the 2011 edition, which culled massive peer review in the form of several hundred comments, and by including the latest research findings.
As with prior iterations, we placed a high value on this process, since past attempts (see previous versions 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2010) produced noteworthy revelations, including establishment of reference samples, now understood as index candies, as well as the discovery of the importance of caramel in defining the upper tiers.
Along with minor adjustments, two new broadly defined features stand out this year. One is the discovery through spectral analysis of a mint-based layer (you can almost taste it just by reading it, right?); two is the demotion of American chocolate products from their prior (and erroneous) exalted placement near the top. Clearly, that earlier placement was a remnant of North Ameri-centric cultural commitments that somehow (damn you post-modernism!) snuck in to the lab. We’d prefer to blame the children for this flaw, those doing the grunt work of tricking and treating, though we shouldn’t — colleagues in biology recently confirmed that they are our future — but come on, it had to be their fault. So chocolate is all in a tizzy and the tectonic shift this year comes from a groundswell of new research coming from our international contributors, the basic thrust of which is that European chocolates embarrassHershey’s. (This does open things up to a probable adjustment next year to account for a global account, not just Western.) Hershey’s Dark Chocolate stands a chance, but all in all, the Cadbury’s, the Lindt’s, the Nestle’s, the Ferroroses of the world are the aristocrats to Hershey’s proletarians, the hoities to American toities, the Prince Williams and Harrys to our Prince Fielders and Bonnie Prince Billys. Having said that, it sort of doesn’t matter that much anyway. Kids still won’t snag a Lindt Truffle before a Hershey’s Kiss, so what can you do.
Interestingly, this particular discourse led to heated discussions on the overall reliability of our peer review process. If we could so easily miss the contrasting nature of North American and European perspectives, then might there be larger biases at play? And then, literally at the very moment when our voices had reached an ugly and angry crescendo and fingers were pointing with blame, LIKE AN OMEN FROM THE HEAVENS (or at least somewhere approximating a breathtaking view of the Milky Way from Mars), we received word of a most relevant piece of research.
And not only that, it clearly laid out, in a sort of pencilly scientific table kind of way, that only a paltry third of the participants queried even bothered to single out chocolate as a preference!
Of course, we should note that these were Canadian children, so one could argue that the data is hardly what you might call trustworthy. Nevertheless, if taken at face value, it would suggest that this Candy Hierarchy is a potentially invalid piece of work. Or put another way, might we be witnessing a paradigm shift, perhaps?
And so, let us also apply some caution to this current Candy Hierarchy, as well as offer a plea for more children-centric candy data. This will be good for candy, good for science, good (dare I say) for the world, and certainly good for our continued search for a TV pilot since Disney or Nickelodeon might now take note.
And please, please remember that we do this because this here is relevant stuff. It affects the mindset of our planet, truly. Indeed, it was only recently, that we learned that our Hierarchy has been applied to broader research programs. Although we were not cited in this report, recent studies by Franz H. Messerli, M.D., show that those countries receiving more Nobel Prizes also eat more chocolate. [from Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates (October 10, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMon1211064), New England Journal of Medicine.] But now in light of our new observations (albeit observations recorded with shaky handwriting and some minor spelling mistakes), we are forced to ask whether this research was performed under a chocolate bias paradigm and subsequent flawed methodology.
In conclusion, then, and as we present this year’s hierarchy, we can honestly say, without hyperbole, that this is the biggest, most significant categorization that has ever been created. Big and significant because there is so, so much at stake. So remember, it’s not your father’s candy hierarchy. It’s your kids. Sort of.
The hierarchy is also available in PDF format for easy printing
1. Because like, score! (Bcsizemo, 2010)
2. a.k.a. God’s Candy
3. These may be rolled to a friend.
4. Not sure if this should be included. Systematics are still on going – denomination appears to be key.
5. Appropriate ranking may depend entirely on date of purchase versus date of opening. Experts in this field often refer to this dichotomy as “fresh CCE” versus “stale CCE,” or FCCE versus SCCE (Beschizza, 2011). Note that its interior has also been described as “pustulent.” (Petersen, 2010)
6. Sometimes spousal influence forces these placements as with, ahem, this primarily southern delicacy.
7. Includes comparable Commonwealth version of “Smarties.” (Devo, Legionabstract, gadgetgirl et al, 2011)
8. Although has also been classified as packing material (Cunning, 2010)
9. This and the Lindt one are higher quality, which makes it strange that trick-or-treaters just don’t want them.
10. Whoppers blow.
11. The authors are curious as to which neighborhoods you belong to.
12. Admittedly an outlier – like that fish you’ve seen on television. You know – the one which looks like it can breathe air and stuff.
13. Whose value comes as payoff to parents, as children do not rank this highly.
14. Still a contentious subject with a rich history of controversy. Briefly: Candy Corn, as of 2006, remained unclassified, but as of 2007 had been tentatively placed in the Upper Chewy/Upper Devonian. 2008: no sighting. In recent years, we have elected to leave in the same tier as consensus has yet to be determined.
15. The discontinued candy, not the equally rankable discontinued board game.
16. Oh smack, can you even imagine if you got Fritos?
17. Unless it’s something caramel, pronounced “caramel.”
18. By some accounts, these two are actually one and the same (Gadgetgirl, 2010)
19. Yet some would be just as well to be left off. Bit-o-Honey, for example, might be called a lower tier member, but why bother? It says to your trick-or-treaters, “Here, I don’t care, just take this.” The lesson of Bit-o-Honey is: you lose. Doorstep offers of lectures in civics, too. You’re making a social statement–”I hate you and everything you represent”– when you give these out.
20. Yes, we really meant fruit that is healthy, clean-cut upstanding fruit that takes time from its gym membership and all the demands that come with it to contribute a positive message of citizenship and camaraderie to the community. This isn’t a typo of healthy for healthful. (see U.M.H. 2011)
21. Research has further defined this relationship. Currently, it has been suggested that Blackwing Pencils > Hugs > Creepy Hugs > Pencils. (Lobster, Prufrock451, and Warreno, 2010)
22. Unless you eat them properly. To quote Anonymous, 2010: “The trick to realizing how brilliant and delicious Now ‘n Laters are is a two step process. The first step is to carefully read the name of the candy. “Now ‘n Later.” What does it mean, you ask? Well, it implies that the candy will be different “now” (when you put it in your mouth) and at some point “later” in time. A small leap of logic takes us to the second step: be patient. You need to suck on it for a while until it softens. If you skip this step, the Now ‘n Later will be an inedible, rock-like colorful brick quite worthy of the low end of the hierarchy. But if you are patient in your candy-eating process, oh the rewards you will reap!”
If you really think this sucks, then please leave a comment here.
Here is the 2011 version (see original 2011 link for footnotes here).
Had a chance to read over 500 comments (from various places where the ranking was reposted, etc), and we’re working hard to change things accordingly (i.e. the power of peer review in action!) Stay tuned…
Well… by way of the country the Nobel Laureate belongs to… (p.s. this is tongue in cheek, but good as a slide to talk about the old correlation versus causation issue)
“Dietary flavonoids, abundant in plant-based foods, have been shown to improve cognitive function. Specifically, a reduction in the risk of dementia, enhanced performance on some cognitive tests, and improved cognitive function in elderly patients with mild impairment have been associated with a regular intake of flavonoids. A subclass of flavonoids called flavanols, which are widely present in cocoa, green tea, red wine, and some fruits, seems to be effective in slowing down or even reversing the reductions in cognitive performance that occur with aging. Dietary flavanols have also been shown to improve endothelial function and to lower blood pressure by causing vasodilation in the peripheral vasculature and in the brain. Improved cognitive performance with the administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract has even been reported in aged Wistar–Unilever rats.
Since chocolate consumption could hypothetically improve cognitive function not only in individuals but also in whole populations, I wondered whether there would be a correlation between a country’s level of chocolate consumption and its population’s cognitive function. To my knowledge, no data on overall national cognitive function are publicly available. Conceivably, however, the total number of Nobel laureates per capita could serve as a surrogate end point reflecting the proportion with superior cognitive function and thereby give us some measure of the overall cognitive function of a given country.”
By Franz H. Messerli, M.D. from Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates (October 10, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMon1211064), via New England Journal of Medicine.
Note: not appropriate for children.