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· 15 April 2012 ·

Baseline testosterone in hunter-gatherer societies: Actually not that high.

A recent article by Trumble et al. (2012) investigates testosterone levels in the Tsimane, hunter-gatherer society in the Bolivian Amazon. They organised a competitive football match between eight different Tsimane villages (Seriously, how cool is that – organising a football match as part of your research?), tested testosterone levels of the (male) players men before and after a match and compared these to testosterone levels in an age-matched male US sample. The authors have two key-findings: On the one hand, both groups show increased testosterone levels in a competitive football match. On the other hand, baseline testosterone levels are lower in the Tsimane.

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· 12 April 2012 ·

Easing the pain of referencing, part II: Gathering bibliographical information

In part I of this brief guide to academic referencing software, I introduced BibDesk and Mendeley as two examples of full-featured referencing software. In part II, I will briefly hint at different means of extracting bibliographical data from Google Scholar and journal websites, that can be used by BibDesk and other BibTex based software. Some of these hints also work with other reference managers. This article is more advanced than the previous one. You should be reasonably confident in your usage of BibDesk or Bibtex.

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· 5 April 2012 ·

István Örkény

Most of István Örkény’s stories are short. Very short. In fact, shorter than what would be called “short stories”. On average, they take no longer than a minute to read.

Despite their brevity, Örkény is able to convey much more meaning than many other authors are able to fit into a 200 page novel. Every sentence, every word, even dots and whitespace, contribute to the overall interpretation of the novel. Örkény leaves away as much as possible without turning to an abstract minimalism.

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· 19 March 2012 ·

Batch conversion of HTML5 compatible video

Recently I had to develop a website that is using html5’s new <video> element excessively. I had to convert at least 10 videos from the original mov to webm, theora, and x264. If this was audio, I would simply be using the extremely handy MAX Unfortunately, I did not find a similar programme for video files, whereas I created a short bash script that does the job.

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· 30 November 2011 ·

Easing the pain of referencing, Part I: Reference Managers

When you’re writing an academic article, one of the most annoying parts of the process is getting your references right. It’s an annoying but necessary task, that requires a large chunk of time that would be better spent on getting the content right. However, with the help of a referencing software you can reduce this hassle significantly.

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· 2 November 2011 ·

Popper: Irrefutable Marxism has been refuted?

It’s been an in-joke amongst Popper’s critics like Paul Feyerabend and Imre Lakatos that in the subject index of Popper’s Open Society and it’s Enemies lists Marxism as “—irrefutable” and “—refuted” at the same time (Lakatos & Feyerabend, 2010).

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· 13 October 2011 ·

"I am not going to read your diatribe!"

Paul Feyerabend was one of Popper’s earliest students and followers, but soon turned to criticise Popper’s theories vigorously. Neither of them were shy of words when criticising colleagues’ works, nor would they try to conceal their criticism. Feyerabend recalls the following dialogue:

“‘I am not going to read your diatribe!’ Popper had shouted when he saw my [Paul Feyerabend’s – Antipattern] comments on his diatribe against Bohr. (He calmed down when I told him that many people had complained about my aggressive style and had ascribed it to his influence. ‘Is that so?’ he said, smiling, and walked away.)” (in: Feyerabend 1995, p. 146)

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· 1 October 2011 ·

Detours to Copenhagen, on a bike

For years and years I have been planning on going on a cycle trip from my home village in Brandenburg, up to Copenhagen in Denmark. Right past my parents’ house runs the cycle track Berlin – Copenhagen, with a total of 630km. From Himmelpfort it’s only a little over 500km to Denmark’s capital. It’s all flat, and makes a perfect beginner’s tour. I had been to Denmark quite often when I was child and I was curious whether it would look different to me now, from an adult perspective. This year, finally, I decided to take the opportunity, grabbed my bike, and cycled to Copenhagen.

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· 12 August 2011 ·

Good news!

This arrived in my inbox today:

Dear Christian Kliesch,

I would like to inform you that your paper “Making sense of syntax – Innate or acquired? Contrasting Universal Grammar with other approaches to language acquisition” has been accepted.

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· 8 March 2011 ·

How can this be...?

A man and his son were away for a trip. They were driving along the highway when they had a terrible accident. The man was killed outright but the son was alive, although badly injured. The son was rushed to the hospital and was to have an emergency operation. On entering the operating theatre, the surgeon looked at the boy, and said, “I can’t do this operation. This boy is my son.” How can this be?

(Source: Sanford, A. J. (1985). Cognition and cognitive psychology. London:Weidenfeld and Nicolson.)

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