WritingA selected list of things I've written. There are some essays (which is a pretentious way of saying "long blog posts"), some short pieces of fiction, and a few things that don't fit into the other boxes. Most of these pieces were originally posted on my blog. A few are from other places. Academic papers, code, and teaching/tutorial materials aren't included here (I like to keep the silly stuff separated from the even sillier stuff); for those, see Papers or Code.
Daniel Lakens wrote a long review on one of my papers, so I wrote an even longer response.
Fly less, give more (01/2020)
Reducing your carbon footprint by flying less is great, and so is reducing it by giving to charity.
I hate open science (07/2019)
The title is clickbait, but the rest of it is serious.
No, it's not The Incentives--it's you (10/2018)
Poorly structured incentives may help *explain* bad behavior, but they almost never *justify* it.
I argue that many questions in neuroscience are unlikely to ever have satisfactory answers.
Well, you're welcome to flout it--but you should at least be aware of the potential consequences.
I haven't reviewed for or submitted to Elsevier journals since 2010. Here's why.
There is no “tone” problem in psychology (10/2016)
It's reasonable to ask people to be nicer in science--but you still have to address their criticisms either way.
No, the dorsal anterior cingulate is not selective for pain: comment on Lieberman and Eisenberger (2015) (12/2015)
A long and relatively technical explanation of some problems with the way some people have used some of my tools.
The mysterious inefficacy of weather (05/2015)
Almost everyone's convinced that weather has a big impact on people's mood, so why can't anyone find any empirical evidence of that?
Strange things happen when risk is decoupled from reward.
If I had actually followed through on what I propose here, most of this page would be on my CV.
Internal consistency is overrated, or How I learned to stop worrying and love shorter measures, Part I (01/2015)
A short meditation on one of the dogmas of psychometrics. There is no Part II.
In defense of Facebook (06/2014)
Facebook did some A/B tests that led to public outrage. I had thoughts.
Big Data, n. A kind of black magic (05/2014)
In which I consider three possible definitions of 'Big Data'.
One day scientists will feel the same way about data sharing that we currently feel about methods reporting.
Present-day me thinks 2013 me was probably a bit too optimistic about what goes in the "what we can learn" category.
Whether or not you should pursue a career in science still depends mostly on that thing that is you (12/2013)
A bad reason to do a PhD is that you think it's an investment in your future. A good reason is that you think you'll enjoy being a PhD student.
The homogenization of scientific computing, or why Python is steadily eating other languages' lunch (11/2013)
One of my most widely read essays, but not one I'm terribly proud of. I no longer believe much of what I say in it, and the content is fairly outdated.
The truth is not optional: five bad reasons (and one mediocre one) for defending the status quo (03/2013)
"But everyone does it, so how bad can it be?" Bad. Really bad.
I no longer work in R if I can help it. This essay from 2012 may help explain why.
Karl Friston wrote something questionable in NeuroImage, so I asked some questions.
About two-thirds of the way through, I reveal the key to the kingdom of academic procrastination.
The reviewer's dilemma, or why you shouldn't get too meta when you're supposed to be writing a review that's already overdue (10/2011)
If you know your reviews are harsher than most people's, should you moderate them?
Brain science is hard.
In which I point out that economists are still human, even if they like to pretend otherwise.
Some people are irritable, but everyone likes to visit museums: what personality inventories tell us about how we're all just like one another (02/2011)
A good way to detect fake personality responses is to look for people who don't look a lot like everyone else.
In which I anticipate the development of p-hacking detection measures like the p-curve.
The psychology of parapsychology, or why good researchers publishing good articles in good journals can still get it totally wrong (01/2011)
I'm pretty proud of this essay from 2011; it anticipates a lot of the "replication crisis" by pointing out the many ways in which researchers can fool themselves into believing nonsensical results.
Before Jonah Lehrer was ever caught fabricating Bob Dylan quotes, he said some odd things about scientific replication.
The naming of things (09/2010)
You might think that neuropsychology and biological psychology would be very similar fields, but you'd be wrong.
I explain why the Dunning-Kruger effect does *not* say that the worse you are at something, the better you think you are at it.
A meandering explanation of the dangers of optional stopping when testing hypotheses.
What the general factor of intelligence is and isn't, or why intuitive unitarianism is a lousy guide to the neurobiology of higher cognitive ability (03/2010)
Spoiler: it's a statistical artifact (kind of).
I'm ashamed at how little I've done it.
A piece introducing a now-defunct replication repository (failuretoreplicate.com).
A non-technical explanation of the "winner's curse", with some navel-gazing thrown in for free.
Tropic of Zamza (07/2020)
"Tropic of Zamza is not exactly a terrible book. Being merely terrible would be a considerable improvement."
Memories of your father (05/2017)
"The items on Baruch's table are the last of my father's remaining possessions."
The weeble distribution: A love story (02/2015)
"We had terrific fights, and reasonable make-up sex, but our interactions never had very much substance."
Then gravity let go (04/2014)
"My grandmother's stroke destroyed most of Nuremberg and all of Wurzburg."
"I walk around the party with a chafed, bloody lip, asking everyone I know if they've seen my Tampax."
The seedy underbelly (03/2013)
"You haven't squinted into the sun or tasted the shadow of death on your shoulder until you've taken on the Bicycle Triads of North Boulder."
Deconstructing the turducken (02/2012)
"Cornelius Kipling came over to our house for Thanksgiving. I didn't invite him; I would never, ever invite him."
Sunbathers in America (07/2011)
"I stared at him in awe, amazed that so much light and air could stream out of one man's ego."
To each their own addiction (01/2011)
"Going for a walk is, of course, completely out of the question; I still have 118 blog posts to read before I can do anything else."
The perils of digging too deep (06/2010)
"You couldn't really say much about the Zimming Range unless your schweizel count was properly weighted."
The 50% sleeper (02/2010)
"Ok, we're underway. The subject has a brain, so that's good."
You can see most of them without ever leaving Texas.
Being a fictional discussion of a very real paper.
This was an April Fool's joke. It was a little too successful.
There is a group on Mendeley titled "creatively named research papers." Examples and commentary follow.
Not quite fiction... but not quite not fiction.
In which I give advice to grad school applicants. Please don't take any of it.