The general welcome post

Hi! Welcome to my LiveJournal. Please note that:

* Most of my posts are friends-locked. Some of what I write is personal, some of it isn't, but I just like knowing who my potential readers are, unless the topic is *very* general and impersonal. If you're a friend of mine who's reading, and you don't have an LJ account, *get* one already. :-)

* I use LiveJournal mostly (1) as a journal to myself and (2) as a way to keep in touch with people I already know. I don't really use LJ as a way to meet *new* people, so please don't be offended if we've never met, you add me to your friendslist, and I don't friend you back.

* I have a terrible memory for RealName / LJ name pairings, and I don't really like trying to puzzle out new ones. So, if you friend me, please leave a reply to this post, telling me who you are. Or else send me email at HAPPYFUNPAUL AT LIVEJOURNAL DOT COM.


Your favorite "correlation != causation" example

I have a request to make.

Next week, my 3 Psych classes (1 AP class, 2 mixed regular-and-lower curricula levels) will cover "methods and statistics." This topic leads up to one of my favorite* assignments of the year, writing a "Study Critique" essay. Students have to find a "study" (generally NOT a legitimate peer-reviewed study, usually a magazine poll or a newspaper article) and tear it apart it on the grounds of sample bias, poor question wording, misleading statistics, left-out information, hidden confounds, etc.

One fun-to-find possible flaw in a study is "correlation does not prove causation" (CDNPC).** However, I'm noticing that many of the examples I use in class to demonstrate CDNPC are a bit dull or trivial. I'd like to "punch up" my examples and have them more relevant to current (or recent past) Big Debates and Issues.

So, do you have any favorite examples of CDNPC to share, particularly ones taken from real world arguments about real world issues?

* This is a favorite assignment mine in a pedagogical sense-- if students come out of my class with better skills at critiquing analytically, that's actually more important to me than them learning anything specific to psychology. However, the essay is actually NOT at all my favorite assignment to grade, since reading them all tends to be a bit tedious and often disappointing. It's worth it, though, for the students who do "get it."

** And yes, I've already incorporated the relevant XKCD cartoon into my materials. Also this Onion-style spoof written by a colleague of mine back in grade school.

(Oh, there are so many other things I should post to LJ! Life is moving fast. Maybe later today, but no time right now.)
cartoon: redsox

The last hero falls

One of the things I love about watching curling-- other than being a fascinatingly hypnotic sport for when I had insomnia in the middle of the night in grad school (with access to CBC-9 from Windsor)-- was that it was pretty much the only sport free from either judging scandals or PED scandals.

But now? Reported a doping violation.

Clark Kent, right fielder for the Royals

For fans of Superman and of baseball (especially those who like making fun of the Kansas City Royals), this is pretty funny:

My favorite bit:
Aug. 20 (Royals Newswire) -- Royals OF Clark Kent set a major-league record by being intentionally walked for the 37th consecutive time in Tuesday's game against the White Sox. Kent was then booed by home fans for refusing to steal second, despite his exceptional speed -- he has been timed going from home to first in 0.00000001 seconds. Asked after the game about his decision, Kent said simply: "Stealing is wrong."

The All-Star voting results and the Seattle series are also excellent.

a propos of nothing... hhhhh!

Why is the guttural "h" noise*, as in "Bach" and "Chanukah," written as "ch" in English, instead something NOT confusable with the usual "ch" (cheese, chop) sound?

* I believe the linguistic notation might be "/χ/", but I'm not sure, and anyway I'm not sure what the sound is called. Oh well, one of you out there will know.

If it's written German, then at least it makes sense to use "ch"-- that's how the sound is spelled in German. But when a song has transliterated Hebrew, why not use "hh" or "kh", something distinctive, instead? Who decided on "ch"? And why? Does it get transliterated to "ch" in, say, Italian? (I'm pretty sure Italian doesn't have a native "ch" spelling, so it'd be distinctive there.)

Whenever I sing transliterated Hebrew, I like to write in "hh" to myself as a reminder. Or "hhh." Or "hhhh."

Or maybe I should learn to read Hebrew. "כ". But darn it, I like vowels.
"South Park" Paul

no LJ emailings?

On a much less important note...

I haven't gotten any LJ comments or notifications emailed to me in over 24 hours. I've checked and all my LJ settings appear to be correct.

Anyone else experiencing this problem?