Sunday, April 20, 2014

Australia's most famous impostor?

Helen Darville, one of the more interesting and enigmatic Australians I've written about, will be on the Insight discussion television show tomorrow night on SBS. I believe it is a repeat. The theme of the episode is lying.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

See how animated Daniel Tammet's facial expressions can be when he's caught a bit off-guard?

Not wondering any more

I had been wondering how a study of the quality of this one could have made it through the peer-review process to publication: 
Is synaesthesia more common in autism? by Simon Baron-Cohen, Donielle Johnson, Julian Asher, Sally Wheelwright, Simon E Fisher, Peter K Gregersen and Carrie Allison. Molecular Autism. published November 20th 2013, 4:40  doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-40

But I've had a look at the homepage of that journal and now I'm not wondering any more. Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen is one of the two editors-in-chief of the autism research journal. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Lili's approving thought of the day

"...we think that civil disobedience means refusing to wax our pubic hair."

Love this opinion piece by Corinne Grant:

Lili's disgusted thought for the day

50% of Australian mothers report experiencing discrimination in the workplace:

Lili's realistic thought of the day

The idea that you should do what you love and are good at as a career only seems to apply in Australia to men and women who aspire to careers that suit the gender stereotypes. There's little support out there for people who wish to achieve goals that are seen as unrealistic or unnatural. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I'm very pleased to see the websites of Let Toys be Toys - For Girls and Boys and Play Unlimited but I definitely don't think the sex segregation problem is limited to toys and children's books, or limited to children. I would like to spread awareness that gendered marketing is also used in Australia to promote job vacancies, pens, chocolate bars, publicly-funded parenting courses and health services, politicians, television channels, cordial, cook-books, public awareness campaigns about psychiatry, vitamins, magazines in at least one public library and countless supermarkets and newsagents, and any number of other things. It's not only a problem that we have to contend with another insidious tool in the hands of advertising and marketing companies, we also have a marketing tool that is thrust upon Australians of all ages from all directions that reinforces and encourages gender stereotypes. I've had it up to here. How about you?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Murdoch and Barwood's research attracts more well-deserved attention

Retraction Watch recently reported that another medical research journal paper by former University of Queensland researchers by Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood has been retracted, reportedly because control group data was "re-used" to make the group bigger. In September 2013 another paper of theirs was retracted due to fabricated data. But what about the statistical discrepancies in the control group in a third study discussed in the comments of this blog post? I think I see a pattern here, and I'm wondering how much more fabricated or re-used data there is out there.

Lili's thought for the day

I will miss Dave's tasteless jokes. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Lili's unsurprised thought of the day

Did you notice that one of the studies refuted by Dr Cordelia Fine's article was a product of the team at Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen's Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. "Sex differences in human neonatal social perception" is the title of that study, which has apparently been contradicted by recent studies. My brain being marked with immaturity cannot help but imagine the professor reading out the title of the study as I read it silently, with terriers, hounds and spaniels pricking up their ears for miles around. 

Lili's concerned thought of the day

I'm concerned about the "correction" to Dr Cordelia Fine's recent article in New Scientist. The "correction" goes against the main argument of the article, and isn't any better a reflection of the conclusions of the journal paper linked to in the "correction". 

Lili's fun idea for the day

Let's go down to the shopping centre food court and get a death stare from a toddler in a stroller. 

Lili's thought for the day

Is Norrie a man or a woman, both or neither? One thing is certain; Norrie is no introvert. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lili's fear for the day

Is Jason Padgett the new Daniel Tammet? I think I can speak for Tomas in saying "Please No!"

Previous small article on Padgett, with comments, can be found here.

Interest sours into disappointment

Yes, I've found a cheap copy at my favourite online book retailer aggregator website thingamujig. How can retailers offer such a good price on a new and recently published book, which looks very worthwhile at first glance? I guess among the whole world one comes out cheapest. 

I was all lined up to splurge a little on a copy but after a few moments perusal of the book through the always useful Google Books I've decided to chase it up through the libraries, and not recommend purchase. A synaesthesia researcher has written a book about the senses and memory, which is a combination of topics that I'm interested in, and I liked his last book, so I was eager to take a look at this one, until I did a search to see how many times Daniel Tammet is mentioned in the book, and read through it to see if it's the standard starry-eyed credulity that I usually find in writing about Tammet. Maybe not so many star-bursts but I think there's plenty of credulity and too much sloppy work. 

In his discussion of Tammet Dutch synaesthesia researcher van Campen consistently confuses what appears to be the method of loci memory encoding and retrieval method with eidetic memory, a basic error or lack of knowledge that should not be displayed by the author of a book about memory. Van Campen also reports Tammet as the holder of the European Pi record with 22, 514 digits recounted, even though most online listings of Pi records give Tammet’s Pi record as only 2964 or don’t list him at all. See here, here and here for starters.

I had been holding out hope that van Campen was the one well-known synaesthesia researcher in the world who was skeptical about Daniel Tammet, as I'd not found discussion of Tammet in his writing before. Popularizers of synaesthesia science now have about as much credibility in my eyes as "savant syndrome" researchers, and that ain't much at all. 

The Proust Effect: The Senses as Doorways to Lost Memories
by Cretien van Campen
published on 23rd January 2014 by Oxford University Press

If you'd like to read the full story of Daniel Tammet, may I recommend my own book? I will anyway. 

Daniel Tammet: the Boy with the Incredible Story
by Lili Marlene

published February 2013 by Smashwords

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lili's political thought of the day

I fear that I'm having an episode of deja vu. Who is this female blonde Western Australian member of federal parliament taking advantage of the opportunity to speak frankly following her retirement from the "front bench" to give a speech condemning the government's inhuman asylum-seeker policy? Would it be Liberal Judi Moylan or would it be Labor's Melissa Parke? Whichever party one belongs to, we all have the ability to know right from wrong, and we all know today's policies are wrong. 

Lili's uncomplimentary thought of the day

Dan Sultan's music is crap and I wish Triple J would stop playing it. 

Lili's recreational thought of the day

Let's go down to the shopping centre food court and stare at all the cute babies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lili's question for the day

Which famous artist had an olive-coloured voice, experienced a burning sensation in his throat in response to viewing impressionist art, designed the memorable logo for Chupa Chups lolly-pops and claimed that "the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad"?

The answer can be found in this fabulous little book, which I have no financial interest in promoting: