Interesting stuff from my Google Buzz stream:
Annals of Bad Charting: Pyramid Perversion by Stubborn Mule
The problem is that the data is represented by the height of each segment of the pyramid, but we tend to perceive the apparent volume of each layer. As a result, the layers near the top appear much smaller that they should relative to the lower layers.
Link via a Buzz from Arun K. Subramaniyan.
Fred Pearce in Prospect: The Overpopulation Myth.
Many of today’s most-respected thinkers, from Stephen Hawking to David Attenborough, argue that our efforts to fight climate change and other environmental perils will all fail unless we “do something” about population growth. In the Universe in a Nutshell, Hawking declares that, “in the last 200 years, population growth has become exponential… The world population doubles every forty years.”
But this is nonsense.
Link via a Buzz from Natasha Mhatre
Jacob Aron in The New Scientist: Will Reclusive Mathematician Accept $1 Million Prize?
A million-dollar prize for solving one of toughest problems in mathematics has been awarded to a Russian mathematician, but the real puzzle is whether he'll accept it.
Link via a Buzz from Ramnath Subbaraman.
Elizabeth Kolbert in New Yorker: What can policymakers learn from happiness research?
... let’s imagine, for a moment, that we had enjoyed ourselves for the past fifty years. Surely, trashing the planet is just as wrong if people take pleasure in the process as it is if they don’t. The same holds true for leaving future generations in hock and for exploiting the poor and for shrugging off inequality. Happiness is a good thing; it’s just not the only thing.
This is from my own Buzz!