The Errata of the Week….

Various random errata:

For those of you who didn’t see the tweet yesterday, try to identify the two problems with this “study” (opens in a new tab) of what people of different ethic groups like. (Without reading the comments, mind you.) For former students of mine, this is why I teach you to critically evaluate studies reported in the media. (The answers are below, don’t cheat!)

There’s all sorts of strange, wonderful, and interesting things going on with electronic fiction. For example, Daily Science Fiction is (somehow) paying one and a half times pro rates for a free e-mail subscription 1.

Tying in with both of the above errata, Tim Pratt’s story “Unexpected Outcomes” was recently on Escape Pod and totally kicked ass. While it has a little bit of NSFW language, I really, truly believe that all researchers who work with human subjects should give it a listen.

I mentioned a while back that my story “…and I Felt Fine” appeared in Everyday Weirdness. What I didn’t mention was that there was another completely freaking awesome story there last month. Sure, nearly every story on Everyday Weirdness is good. For example, “Oh, How She Changed!” was a cute, fun tale with a nice unsettling note. I really enjoyed it. But both my story and Jonathan Pinnock’s pale in comparison to the sheer magnitude of awesome that is “Believing” by Mary Ness. It is such a magnificence of awesome that Norm Sherman should immediately buy it for the Drabblecast.

No, really, Norm. Buy the thing.

And holy crap, is Changes a payoff for fans of Harry Dresden. Without spoilers, all I can say is: This is a fun book. This is not the book to introduce people to Dresden with. And finally, book thirteen better come out damn soon.

Anyway, that’s my errata for the week. Next week, I’ve got a new project for you, plus flash fiction, and more about writing. Stay tuned, true believers!

1 I want to see your business model. Seriously. I’m curious, because I can’t figure it out.

The two problems with the study: The first problem is that there is a huge amount of selection bias going on. The sample only includes people who 1) are comfortable using computers, 2) rich enough to be able to use computers, 3) looking for a partner, and 4) using online dating sites at all (and OKCupid in particular). While the population is large, the results only describe people who meet all of those criteria. The second problem is that the study confuses what people say they like with what they actually like. In reality, people are often unable to reliably report what they actually like. On a dating site, there is every reason to list what you think will make you look attractive to potential mates. (Or in other words, the finding that African-American women list “soul food” so frequently may have less to do with what they like than what they believe African-American men like.

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