Bad science and bad science comm (and how to get them better)
Why I'm feeling so crabby about cancer conspiracy theories | Cath Ennis | Science. Don't read the comments.
Don't read the comments. Oh shit, I read the comments. Guest post by Tara Haelle: If a 12-year-old's "breakthrough" sounds too good to be true... | KSJ Tracker | Knight Science Journalism at MIT. [Editor's note: Tara Haelle is a freelance science writer whose specialties include medicine, vaccines and public health.
Her work has appeared in Scientific American and Slate. She blogs at Red Wine & Apple Sauce and is working on a book about science-based parenting with Emily Willingham.] Anti-vaxx insanity: New study highlights the dangers of science denialism. We are breaking a new record in the U.S., and it is not one we want to break: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles cases are at a 20-year high.
As of May 23, more than 288 cases have been reported this year. To put that in perspective, only 37 cases were reported in all of 2004. In 2002, measles had been declared eliminated in the Americas. The CDC reports that most Americans have either contracted measles in the past, and are now immune, or have received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, among the most effective vaccinations available. Yet, measles is now an epidemic in Minnesota, where a 2.5-year-old child was identified by the science journal Pediatrics last month as patient zero, ultimately responsible for exposing more than 3,000 people in its community to the disease.
Is widespread sexism making hurricanes more deadly than himmicanes? | @BobOHara & @GrrlScientist | Science. A recently published paper claims that the gender of the name given to individual hurricanes is linked to the public's perception of the risk posed by that storm.
In short, this study claims that hurricanes given female-sounding names are perceived to be less dangerous than those given male-sounding names (which we refer to here as "himmicanes"). This public underestimation of risk apparently results in hurricanes causing significantly more deaths than himmicanes. Data Colada |  Fake Data: Mendel vs. Stapel. Diederik Stapel, Dirk Smeesters, and Lawrence Sanna published psychology papers with fake data.
They each faked in their own idiosyncratic way, nevertheless, their data do share something in common. Real data are noisy. Thousands of lives put at risk by clinical trials system that is 'not fit for purpose' | Science. A major outbreak of infectious disease could sweep through the country and leave thousands dead or ill because hospitals cannot test life-saving treatments quickly enough, senior doctors have told the Guardian.
Profound delays in the approvals process for clinical trials mean doctors face months of form-filling and administrative checks that make it impossible to run crucial tests in good time, said Jeremy Farrar, in his first major interview as director of the Wellcome Trust. Farrar, a world expert on infectious diseases at Oxford University, has taken over from Sir Mark Walport, who left the medical charity to become the government's chief science adviser. Disgraced Scientist Granted U.S. Patent for Work Found to be Fraudulent. Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk electrified the science world 10 years ago with his claim that he had created the world’s first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them.
But the work was later found to be fraudulent, and Dr. Hwang was fired from his university and convicted of crimes. Despite all that, Dr. Hwang has just been awarded an American patent covering the disputed work, leaving some scientists dumbfounded and providing fodder to critics who say the Patent Office is too lax. The worst neurobollocks infographics on the web | NeuroBollocks. Regardless what you think of infographics (and personally, I think they’re largely a pustulent, suppurating boil on the bloated arse of the internet) there are some good, useful ones out there.
However, these are vastly outweighed by the thousands of utterly ghastly, misleading, poorly-referenced and pointless ones. Because I’ve been on holiday for the last week, my levels of rage and misanthropy have dropped somewhat from their usual DEFCON-1-global-thermonuclear-war-the-only-winning-move-is-not-to-play levels, so I thought trying to find the absolute worst neuroscience-related infographics on the web might be a good way to top the vital bile reserves back up again.
And oh boy, was I right. Medical records rules broken, NHS admits. 24 February 2014Last updated at 12:56 ET By Nick Triggle Health correspondent, BBC News Medical records appear to have been wrongly given to the insurance industry by the health service, the NHS admits.
Details on hospital admissions from 1989 to 2010 were handed to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The worst neurobollocks infographics on the web | NeuroBollocks. Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers. The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.
Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers. Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. Brain Injuries: what NICE doesn't tell you | Neurobonkers | Science. The title of this post is a play on the title of the magazine "What doctors don't tell you" (a rag so packed to the brim with pseudoscience and anti-vaccine propaganda that it's practically a quack's guidebook, but that's a story for another day).
As regular readers will be aware, I believe doctors generally do tell you absolutely what you need to know. Unfortunately, it seems the UK's governing body that assesses among other things, what doctors should tell you, has been resisting calls from a range of experts to inform people who have had brain injuries about a piece of information that could save their life. Nice is the acronym for the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the body that decides the guidelines British doctors should follow. If Newspaper Headlines Were Scientifically Accurate. Condamnée pour avoir plagié le mémoire de son étudiant. LE MONDE | • Mis à jour le | Par Isabelle Rey-Lefebvre La sanction est rude : les magistrats du tribunal correctionnel de Paris ont reconnu, le 19 décembre, Christine Marchal-Sixou coupable de plagiat, plus précisément de « contrefaçon d'une œuvre de l'esprit », le mémoire en odontologie de Samer Nuwwareh, un de ses étudiants en master, à la faculté de chirurgie dentaire de Toulouse.
Lire : Une affaire de plagiat secoue la faculté dentaire de Toulouse. Researchers: your guide to hitting the headlines - Health News. Friday December 27 2013 This is gonna be the biggest scoop since fish grew legs! Boffins, are you having trouble communicating the fruits of your labour to a wider audience? What a difference a day makes: How social media is transforming scientific debate (with tweets) · deevybee. The seven deadly sins of health and science reporting. Benjamin Franklin said two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Another one we could add to this list is that on any given news website and in almost all print media there will be articles about health and nutrition that are complete garbage. Some articles that run under the health and nutrition “news” heading are thought provoking, well researched and unbiased, but unfortunately not all. Why it's time for brain science to ditch the 'Venus and Mars' cliche | Science | The Observer.
As hardy perennials go, there is little to beat that science hacks' favourite: the hard-wiring of male and female brains. For more than 30 years, I have seen a stream of tales about gender differences in brain structure under headlines that assure me that from birth men are innately more rational and better at map-reading than women, who are emotional, empathetic multi-taskers, useless at telling jokes. I am from Mars, apparently, while the ladies in my life are from Venus. Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs. Whomp! Using invited editorial commentary to neutralize negative findings | Mind the Brain. Lessons from the L'Aquila earthquake | Features. Trendspotter: The brain-scan job interview. Trendspotter: The brain-scan job interview.
Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying | Roots of Unity. Biased but Brilliant, Science Embraces Pigheadedness. Still Not Significant | Psychologically Flawed. A French love affair... with graphology. Brain stimulation hits the mainstream – commercial tDCS device available soon for $249 | NeuroBollocks. Risks of placing scientists 'on message' Reflections on a foray into post-publication peer review | The Hardest Science. Still Not Significant (with images, tweets) · anniebruton. “What I find offensive is not that they plagiarized us, it’s that they did it so badly”
Why We May Never Beat Stigma. Formal investigation launched into work at dean's lab. Ape researcher suspended amid welfare concerns - life - 18 September 2012. Faking it. Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED. What Jonah Lehrer reveals about popular science writing » Daniel Bor | Daniel Bor. New Yorker's Jonah Lehrer quits over fake Dylan quotes. Viewpoint: The spectre of plagiarism haunting Europe. A first? Papers retracted for citation manipulation. Citation Cartel Journals Denied 2011 Impact Factor. Math paper retracted because it “contains no scientific content” Mighty molten powder researchers publish paper in journal twice, months apart. 'Chemical nonsense': Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton's attack on climate science | Environment. For shame! Nature shills for traditional Chinese medicine : Respectful Insolence.
Interdira-t-on les prévisions climatiques. Is this the worst government statistic ever created? Wait, Maybe You Can't Feel the Future - Percolator. Controversial chronic fatigue-virus paper retracted. What eight years of writing the Bad Science column have taught me | Ben Goldacre. Misconduct in science: An array of errors. Research linking autism to internet use is criticised | Society | The Observer. Informed-consent forms should be shortened, simplified, Johns Hopkins bioethicists confirm. Can we trust scientists who give TED talks? Science publishers don't care about the public : We Beasties. Bad Science. Climate change education can still be part of a slimmed-down curriculum | Environment.
Stephen Jay Gould accused of fudging numbers. The complete film - Why is science important? FT Comment: Political ideas need proper testing. Doctors will be asked to help identify people at risk of becoming terrorists -- Dyer 342 -- bmj.com. Whistle-blower claims his accusations cost him his job : Nature News. Nversion therapy: she tried to make me 'pray away the gay' | World news. Children don't need Brain Gym to spot nonsense | Ben Goldacre. When Peer Review Falters - Room for Debate. Pop psych nonsense and the Chandlers | Science. Psychology Today apparently retracts Kanazawa piece on why black women are “rated less physically attractive” The framing of scientists « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings.
How can we corral data to reveal the big picture? | Ben Goldacre. The sinister threat to our language and brains | Science. Why was that paper retracted? Editor to Retraction Watch: “It’s none of your damn business” The Great Beyond: Duke geneticist resigns as investigation continues. The Great Beyond: New intelligent design centre launches in Britain. Why I spoofed science journalism | Martin Robbins | Science. Pornography in hospitals. Plagiarism pinioned : Nature. Journalism warning labels. Journalism Warning Labels. Creationists seek to insert their own brand of 'truth' into education | Paul Sims | Science. Claude Allègre: The Climate Imposter. Vaccine-Autism Coffin Has No More Room for Nails | The Intersection. Not fit for television. In which I continue to whine about crappy science journalism blogging | White Coat Underground.
This is a news website article about a scientific finding | Martin Robbins | Science. Sabotage: postdoc fiddles with graduate student's cells. The shroud of retraction: Virology Journal withdraws paper about whether Christ cured a woman with flu. When did announcing science become the same as publishing science? Nobelist Linda Buck retracts two studies on olfactory networks — and the news is embargoed. Paper retractions do not induce citation mutations. Faked data, unsubstantiated claims, and spirituality add up to a math journal retraction.