A better way to wait in line?

Waiting in line, whether to buy tickets or to talk to a customer representative on your phone, wastes time.  The way it works now, it’s first-come, first served.   Those who camp out 24 hours before the ticket window opens will get their tickets, but they will have wasted 24 hours.  Researchers using game theory have found a more efficient–that is, less time-wasting–way of doing this.

Which do you think would be more efficient:  Serving people randomly, regardless of their place in line?  Or reversing the current practice and having last-come, first served?  Find out and find out why after the jump. [Read more...]

The happiest parents have four or more kids

An Australian family has found that the happiest parents are those with four or more children. [Read more...]

More and more experiments aren’t reproducible

Scientists are worried because more and more experiments are not reproducible.  A principle of the scientific method is that for an experiment to be valid, another scientist who performs it must get the same results.  In many cases today, that is not happening.  This is especially true in the social “sciences.” [Read more...]

Sex doesn’t sell after all

“Sex sells,” according to the conventional wisdom on Madison Avenue, a principle that has led advertisers to use sexual imagery to sell everything from automobiles to cleaning supplies.  But a new study shows that sex–or violence–doesn’t sell at all, that advertising with sexual or violent imagery tends to be ineffective.  That’s because the imagery distracts viewers so much that they don’t remember the actual product they are supposed to buy! [Read more...]

Racially friendly denominations may surprise you

A sociologist tested what denominations were most open to new people from different races.  His team sent e-mails purportedly from whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians to different churches, asking the pastors about attending their church.

Evangelicals overwhelmingly answered the e-mails and encouraged the new people, of whatever race, to attend.   Mainline liberal denominations, on the other hand, for all of their emphasis on social justice, were not nearly so welcoming.  Catholics didn’t do so well either.

Interestingly, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, classified with the “evangelicals,” came in at second place in welcoming people of different races (after Willow Creek).  The much more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, however, came in third from the bottom.

Why do you think this is?


[Read more...]

Poll on gay marriage shows surprising results

An Associated Press poll on gay marriage shows a sharply and almost evenly-divided country when it comes to gay marriage, with a strong majority saying that religious liberty should trump gay rights when there is a conflict.  Support for gay marriage is actually down from what it was before the Supreme Court ruling, suggesting that the gay triumphalists who sought to demonize and punish conscientious objectors may have overplayed their hand.

In April, 48% of Americans were in favor of gay marriage.  Three weeks after the ruling, the number declined to 42%.  But 40% of Americans do not approve.  And 59% of Americans believe that religious liberty should take precedence over gay rights.

UPDATE:   Here are the full poll results.

[Read more...]