The Tweety Bird Test

The tweety bird test 1 1050x700How a classic Tweety Bird cartoon became a mainstay in linguistics research

’Already a cartoon classic, Canary Row became an unlikely fixture of linguistics research. Over the years, linguists have used clips of Canary Row to examine hand gestures in at least a dozen languages—and many aspects of signed languages. There are studies that compare gesticulation across languages; studies on gestures by language-learners and by multilinguals; and studies about gestures that accompany signed language. Experts in these topics say the cartoon is the most frequently used study stimulus in their fields.…’

Via JSTOR Daily

Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines

File 20191017 98632 df4e6hWhy I and other doctors are not eager to prescribe benzodiazepines for long-term use: 

’…We have a Hippocratic oath to “first do not harm.” I sometimes tell patients who insist on getting benzos: “I am not paid differently based on the medication I prescribe, and my life would be much easier not arguing with you about this medication. I do this because I care about you.”…’

Via The Conversation

I share the concerns raised in this piece and such reasoning has always guided my prescribing practice. Unfortunately, not enough psychiatrists and general practitioners are similarly concerned.

TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

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’Virtually every rich country on Earth provides pre-completed tax-returns that you can either ignore (and pay an a
ccountant or do your own taxes), or just sign and return: after all, the government already knows what you’re earning and how much tax you paid, so they can do all the heavy lifting for your annual return.

 

But when Congress tried to create a similar program in the USA, it faced a blizzard of lobbying from the tax-prep industry, led by Intuit, a tax-prep monopolist that grew to scale by buying or merging with its competitors — growth tactics that are illegal under US antitrust law…’

Via ProPublica

You’re in a police lineup right now

Unknown.jpegPolice databases now contain the faces of nearly half of Americans:

’“Right now, most Americans are in a perpetual police lineup because they got a driver’s license,” says Clare Garvie, a Washington DC privacy expert. In this New York Times video, Garvie says that driver license photos are scanned and translated into a “face print” that face recognition software can use to compare photos and find matches. “Now any police officer can run searches against your face for any reason.”…’

Via Boing Boing

Mysterious rash of cattle mutilations in Oregon

screenshot-39.jpg’This summer on remote U.S. Forest Service land in eastern Oregon, cowboys discovered five, young purebred bulls dead, drained of blood, and their tongues and genitals removed with almost surgical precision. Who or what did this and why remains a mystery. (Insert “I’m not saying it’s aliens…” joke here.) Silvies Valley Ranch has offered a $25,000 reward for information that could lead to answers.…’

Via Boing Boing