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The Efficacy of Modafinil as a Cognitive Enhancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Conclusions: In conclusion, the available evidence indicates only limited
potential for modafinil to act as a cognitive enhancer outside sleepdeprived populations.
pdf  study  psychology  cog-psych  drugs  nootropics  sleep  enhancement  iq  meta-analysis  null-result  solid-study  gwern 
13 days ago by nhaliday
Friends with malefit. The effects of keeping dogs and cats, sustaining animal-related injuries and Toxoplasma infection on health and quality of life | bioRxiv
The main problem of many studies was the autoselection – participants were informed about the aims of the study during recruitment and later likely described their health and wellbeing according to their personal beliefs and wishes, not according to their real status. To avoid this source of bias, we did not mention pets during participant recruitment and hid the pet-related questions among many hundreds of questions in an 80-minute Internet questionnaire. Results of our study performed on a sample of on 10,858 subjects showed that liking cats and dogs has a weak positive association with quality of life. However, keeping pets, especially cats, and even more being injured by pets, were strongly negatively associated with many facets of quality of life. Our data also confirmed that infection by the cat parasite Toxoplasma had a very strong negative effect on quality of life, especially on mental health. However, the infection was not responsible for the observed negative effects of keeping pets, as these effects were much stronger in 1,527 Toxoplasma-free subjects than in the whole population. Any cross-sectional study cannot discriminate between a cause and an effect. However, because of the large and still growing popularity of keeping pets, the existence and nature of the reverse pet phenomenon deserve the outmost attention.
study  bio  preprint  wut  psychology  social-psych  nature  regularizer  cost-benefit  emotion  sentiment  poll  methodology  sampling-bias  confounding  happy-sad  intervention  sociology  disease  parasites-microbiome  correlation  contrarianism  branches  increase-decrease  measurement  internet 
25 days ago by nhaliday
How good are decisions?
A statement I commonly hear in tech-utopian circles is that some seeming inefficiency can’t actually be inefficient because the market is efficient and inefficiencies will quickly be eliminated. A contentious example of this is the claim that companies can’t be discriminating because the market is too competitive to tolerate discrimination. A less contentious example is that when you see a big company doing something that seems bizarrely inefficient, maybe it’s not inefficient and you just lack the information necessary to understand why the decision was efficient.

Unfortunately, arguments like this are difficult to settle because, even in retrospect, it’s usually not possible to get enough information to determine the precise “value” of a decision. Even in cases where the decision led to an unambiguous success or failure, there are so many factors that led to the result that it’s difficult to figure out precisely why something happened.

One nice thing about sports is that they often have detailed play-by-play data and well-defined win criteria which lets us tell, on average, what the expected value of a decision is. In this post, we’ll look at the cost of bad decision making in one sport and then briefly discuss why decision quality in sports might be the same or better as decision quality in other fields.

Just to have a concrete example, we’re going to look at baseball, but you could do the same kind of analysis for football, hockey, basketball, etc., and my understanding is that you’d get a roughly similar result in all of those cases.

We’re going to model baseball as a state machine, both because that makes it easy to understand the expected value of particular decisions and because this lets us talk about the value of decisions without having to go over most of the rules of baseball.

exactly the kinda thing Dad likes
techtariat  dan-luu  data  analysis  examples  nitty-gritty  sports  street-fighting  automata-languages  models  optimization  arbitrage  data-science  cost-benefit  tactics 
5 weeks ago by nhaliday
Treadmill desk observations - Gwern.net
Notes relating to my use of a treadmill desk and 2 self-experiments showing walking treadmill use interferes with typing and memory performance.

...

While the result seems highly likely to be true for me, I don’t know how well it might generalize to other people. For example, perhaps more fit people can use a treadmill without harm and the negative effect is due to the treadmill usage tiring & distracting me; I try to walk 2 miles a day, but that’s not much compared to some people.

Given this harmful impact, I will avoid doing spaced repetition on my treadmill in the future, and given this & the typing result, will relegate any computer+treadmill usage to non-intellectually-demanding work like watching movies. This turned out to not be a niche use I cared about and I hardly ever used my treadmill afterwards, so in October 2016 I sold my treadmill for $70. I might investigate standing desks next for providing some exercise beyond sitting but without the distracting movement of walking on a treadmill.
ratty  gwern  data  analysis  quantified-self  health  fitness  get-fit  working-stiff  intervention  cost-benefit  psychology  cog-psych  retention  iq  branches  keyboard  ergo  efficiency  accuracy  null-result  increase-decrease 
5 weeks ago by nhaliday
Could diving into water save you from a hail of bullets like in movies? - Quora
I believe that while water could help keep you safe in a hail from bullets, there are many flaws, such as being stuck in a low depth pool or running out of oxygen.
q-n-a  qra  embodied  safety  death  fighting  stylized-facts  trivia  fluid  swimming  survival  arms  martial  prepping  short-circuit 
5 weeks ago by nhaliday
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