10 logical fallacies you can probably do without

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Unknown‘…Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies. Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning. Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.…’

Via Big Think

Human Screams Occupy a Privileged Niche in the Communication Soundscape

Abstract:

Images’Screaming is arguably one of the most relevant communication signals for survival in humans. Despite their practical relevance and their theoretical significance as innate [1] and virtually universal [2, 3] vocalizations, what makes screams a unique signal and how they are processed is not known. Here, we use acoustic analyses, psychophysical experiments, and neuroimaging to isolate those features that confer to screams their alarming nature, and we track their processing in the human brain. Using the modulation power spectrum (MPS, [4, 5]), a recently developed neurally-informed characterization of sounds, we demonstrate that human screams cluster within restricted portion of the acoustic space (between ∼30–150 Hz modulation rates) that corresponds to a well-known perceptual attribute, roughness. In contrast to the received view that roughness is irrelevant for communication [6], our data reveal that the acoustic space occupied by the rough vocal regime is segregated from other signals, including speech, a pre-requisite to avoid false-alarms in normal vocal communication. We show that roughness is present in natural alarm signals as well as in artificial alarms, and that the presence of roughness in sounds boosts their detection in various tasks. Using fMRI, we show that acoustic roughness engages subcortical structures critical to rapidly appraise danger. Altogether, these data demonstrate that screams occupy a privileged acoustic niche that, being separated from other communication signals, ensures their biological and ultimately social efficiency.…’

Via Current Biology

Shhh…

‘Residents of Cremona, Italy, are hearing a lot of that lately. The city, the birthplace of the world’s finest string instruments, has thrown itself behind an effort to preserve every note before the instruments are too fragile to play.
That requires absolute silence in the cobblestoned area around the auditorium where the sounds of Stradivarius instruments are being recorded. The streets are shut down, and a dropped glass or even the sound of a woman’s high heels clicking make for an “an auditory nightmare,” said one of the people behind the project. …’

Source: The New York Times

Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

Damian Carrington writes:

‘“We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

“It was just astonishing,” Lister said. “Before, both the sticky ground plates and canopy plates would be covered with insects. You’d be there for hours picking them off the plates at night. But now the plates would come down after 12 hours in the tropical forest with a couple of lonely insects trapped or none at all.”

“It was a true collapse of the insect populations in that rainforest,” he said. “We began to realise this is terrible – a very, very disturbing result.”

Earth’s bugs outweigh humans 17 times over and are such a fundamental foundation of the food chain that scientists say a crash in insect numbers risks “ecological Armageddon”. When Lister’s study was published in October, one expert called the findings “hyper-alarming”. …’

Source: The Guardian

Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why

Steven PinkerJeremy Lent in openDemocracy:

’Pinker is… an intellectual darling of the most powerful echelons of global society. He spoke to the world’s elite this year at the World’s Economic Forum in Davos on the perils of what he calls “political correctness,” and has been named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” Since his work offers an intellectual rationale for many in the elite to continue practices that imperil humanity, it needs to be met with a detailed and rigorous response.…’

Via openDemocracy