Fluoridation Lowers IQ – Significantly?

The argument about whether to fluoridate municipal drinking water is far from over. This is not for lack of study. At clinicaltrials.gov the results of 193 separate studies are given. Of those, 74 were sponsored by industry — mostly toothpaste manufacturers. The other studies were performed under government sponsorship, grants from research institutions, etc. In…

How Much Does a Soul Weigh?

Classic Bayesian decision theory helps us make the best decisions assuming we have knowledge of several things. For instance, to decide if a given sample is good or bad, we need to know the expected fraction of bad samples in the whole population. We also need to know the properties of the method we use…

Cooperate or Compete?

Competition or cooperation? One of the continuing dilemmas we face in making decisions involving other people is to compete with them or cooperate. Competition often gets good press, particularly when promoting economic theories or sporting events. And there is no doubt that we are all better for competition in the marketplace, but what about cooperation?…

Are You Antisocial if You Do Not Tweet?

Do we decide how to behave? Maybe I have decided to be an antisocial misfit, or simply a stuck-in-the-rut, crusty old man. Today for the first time I logged onto my Facebook account and scrolled through a few interesting, and mostly uninteresting entries. Eons ago I signed up for a Twitter account, but maybe used…

Is Cyber Vigilantism Ever Justified?

How do we decide if a cyber action is good or bad? If hackers attack a major site like Visa or MasterCard as part of an extortion attempt, most people would consider that to be an evil act — maybe even the people who do it think it is evil, but they want the money…

Daddy, What Did You Do During the Educational Revolution?

When you are in the middle of a revolution, the best way to go is not obvious. Recently an opinion article in our local newspaper explored the problems faced by schools in educating young people in an era of “No Child Left Behind,” charter school alternatives, and home schooling. Throw in some teachers’ union considerations,…

Painful Decisions: Should I Cheat?

If you were burned over 7% of your body and needed to have your dressings changed daily, would you rather have the nurse pull the old ones off quickly, causing intense, but short-lived pain, or would you rather have the nurse ease them off, taking much longer with a lower level of pain? How does…