Recommended Links 01

Thanks to the brilliant folks that invented aggregators, I have the ability to subscripe to over 60 blogs and have their new posts sent straight to me without having to check their site each day. If you haven’t picked one up yourself, I highly recommend them. They are so choice. My favorite is Google Reader though I hear that RSSOwl is also good and would suffice.

So I read a lot and a good portion of it is worth sharing. If you’d like to see everything that I think is worth sharing, click here. While I can’t contribute just now (test tomorrow morning and on Thursday, followed by celebration for finishing up the first two years of medical school) I thought I’d offer a few links to keep you busy.

Aggravated DocSurg writes,

“I belong to this quirky group of docs that gets together once a month — we have a few adult beverages and a nice dinner, and then each evening two of us give a talk.”

He then gives us his story about Rudolf Erich Raspe. I have read this article three times over and still want to read it again. I can’t imagine the thunderous applause that greeted him when he finished. If you’re like me and want to know more after reading it for the fourth time, bone up on “The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen.”

Steve Mirsky writes Antigravity for Scientific American and he always gets a laugh out of me. This article was one of his best.

A womb smoking a cigaretteIt came as quite a shock recently when the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard turned out to come from England. I had assumed it would be from the U.S., but no. Anyway, here it is. A government minister said that some pregnant British teenagers were purposely smoking during their entire pregnancies to try to have low-birth-weight babies, which would make for easier deliveries. Even more breathtaking than smoking itself, isn’t it? Take a moment to get a bandage for where you hit your head when you passed out just now.

Surprisingly, the post I wrote about a Lazy Attack on Atheism sparked some interest. I made the claim that monkeys have morals and that moral systems arise in nature without the need for dogma. This article explores some experiments that ask the same question:

He describes one of his best-known demonstrations that animals care about fairness. In the experiment, he had pairs of capuchin monkeys perform simple tasks in their cages. For successfully completing each task they would get a reward, sometimes a slice of cucumber, sometimes a grape. All the monkeys would work for and eat the cucumber slices, but they preferred grapes. If one monkey kept getting paid in cucumber and it could see that its partner in the next cage was getting grapes, it would get mad, like Darwin’s Jenny. After a while the monkey would refuse to eat or throw the cucumber right out of the cage.

Is religion good for society? Science’s definitive answer: it depends.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD [sexually transmitted disease] infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies,”

“[W]hen it comes to charitable giving and volunteering, numerous quantitative measures debunk the myth of “bleeding heart liberals” and “heartless conservatives.” Conservatives donate 30 percent more money than liberals (even when controlled for income), give more blood and log more volunteer hours. “

My God Problem by Natalie Angier is incredibly well-written (she won the Pulitzer Prize as a science journalist for The New York Times). In this article, she takes scientists to task for bemoaning the general public’s belief that evolution is something less than a fact while remaining mum over the “77 percent of Americans who insist that Jesus was born to a virgin, an act of parthenogenesis that defies everything we know about mammalian genetics and reproduction.” I wish I wrote as well.

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