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The importance of earnestly studying science. By Dr Suzi Gage, experimental psychologist and member of the British Science Association's Council.

The importance of earnestly studying science

In the Telegraph on Saturday, Cristina Odone argues that her 12 year old daughter, who has a ‘literary bent’, shouldn’t be forced to do GCSEs in science if she wants to pursue a career in the arts. There’s plenty of misinformation in the article, which seems almost willful in its attempts to troll (from thinking the ‘E’ in STEM represents Economics – it should be Engineering, to claiming that Alan Turing killed himself because he was a mathematician, to claiming this is a ‘women in science’ issue), but to me the most egregious mistake that Odone makes is to think that GCSE science is only worthy of undertaking if you plan a career in the field, and that to anyone interested in the arts it’s a waste of time.

Science and the arts don’t exist in silos. They influence and inform each other, and have done throughout history. I, for one, am incredibly glad I did an A-Level in English literature. Vox retracts story based on fraudulent research. Vox | The Washington Post | The Huffington Post | “This American Life” | The New York Times | The Wall Street Journal At least five news organizations have re-examined stories based on fraudulent research published in the academic journal “Science” that purported to show people could be swayed to accept same-sex marriage by talking to gay individuals.

Vox retracts story based on fraudulent research

The re-evaluations came to light after the research, conducted by scholars Michael LaCour and Donald Green, came under scrutiny by political scientists David Broockman and Joshua Kalla. They found problems with the publication, which was covered by “This American Life,” The New York Times, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post and others. A story by senior correspondent Dylan Matthews published in April 2014 now carries the following retraction: Update: It turns out that the Michael LaCour and Donald Green study described here really was “miraculous”: it wasn’t true.

The Wall Street Journal also followed suit: There’s A Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know. Scientists lament that public opinion on scientific issues is often shaped by fear and ignorance about science.

There’s A Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

A new pair of surveys, published Thursday in the journal Science, shows that there is, indeed, a large gap between public opinion and that of scientists on a wide range of scientific topics. The surveys found broad support for government to spend money on science, but that doesn’t mean the public supports the conclusions that scientists draw. Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour.

Friday February 6 2015 Finger length is related to hormone levels.

Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

How the Toronto Star massively botched a story about the HPV vaccine — and corrected the record. If there was ever a textbook case in how to botch a health story, the Toronto Star's investigation into the "dark side of the HPV vaccine" is it.

How the Toronto Star massively botched a story about the HPV vaccine — and corrected the record

The report not only misrepresented the science behind the vaccine, but when well-meaning critics (including me) tried to point out the flaws, we were ignored, insulted, or maligned. This study of hype in press releases will change journalism. Many scientists greet the prospect of media coverage with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

This study of hype in press releases will change journalism

The attention can be heady and show the importance of a researcher’s findings. But there’s also the chance that the news media will hype the scientist’s findings. A lab study in rats ending up in the paper with the claim that more bacon jerky could prevent cancer can be embarrassing at best. More importantly, an over-hyped finding, especially in areas related to human health, could mislead readers and patients, some of whom may end up changing their behavior based on unfounded information.

Brain Injuries: what NICE doesn't tell you. 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).

Brain Injuries: what NICE doesn't tell you

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. Researchers: your guide to hitting the headlines - Health News. Friday December 27 2013.

Researchers: your guide to hitting the headlines - Health News

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.

And to help you traverse this maze – alongside an excellent article about 20 tips for interpreting scientific claims – we will look at seven clichés of improper or misguided reporting. If you spot any of these clichés in an article, we humbly suggest that you switch to reading LOLCats, which will be more entertaining and maybe more informative too. Whomp! Using invited editorial commentary to neutralize negative findings. Hello there!

Whomp! Using invited editorial commentary to neutralize negative findings

If you enjoy the content on Mind the Brain, consider subscribing for future posts via email or RSS feed. William Hollingworth and his colleagues must been pleased when they were notified that their manuscript had been accepted for publication in the prestigious (Journal impact factor =18!) Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Their study examined whether screening for distress increased cancer patients’ uptake of services and improved their mood. The study also examined a neglected topic: how much did screening cost and was it cost-effective? These authors presented their negative findings in a straightforward and transparent fashion: screening didn’t have a significant effect on patient mood. Lessons from the L'Aquila earthquake. Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying. Sex and money: the Bearina IUD, a conceptual intrauterine device design that would incorporate a copper coin.

Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying

One of the most effective forms of reversible contraception is the copper IUD. For more information, click the picture. Image: Ronen Kadushin. Risks of placing scientists 'on message' 17 February 2012Last updated at 17:16 By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News Government science agencies exist to serve the public good and usually do. Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED. The new pamphlet—it would be too strong, and not only quantitatively, to call it a book—by Parag and Ayesha Khanna, the techno-babbling power couple, gallops through so many esoteric themes and irrelevant factoids (did you know that “fifty-eight percent of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their mobile phone”?)

That one might forgive the authors for never properly attending to their grandest, most persuasive, and almost certainly inadvertent argument. Only the rare reader would finish this piece of digito-futuristic nonsense unconvinced that technology is—to borrow a term of art from the philosopher Harry Frankfurt—bullshit. No, not technology itself; just much of today’s discourse about technology, of which this little e-book is a succinct and mind-numbing example. What Jonah Lehrer reveals about popular science writing » Daniel Bor. Jonah Lehrer is one of the hottest science writers around. But this week, in a dramatic fall from grace, he resigned from his staff position at the New Yorker, and his publisher has removed his latest book, Imagine, from sale. The catalyst for these dramatic events is the fact that he fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan, as uncovered by the online Tablet magazine.

I had a few small interactions with Jonah Lehrer in late 2009, and looking back, they perfectly reflected both the reasons for his fame, and his impending troubles. At the time he was in charge of the Scientific American Mind Matters blog, and I was writing a piece for this. New Yorker's Jonah Lehrer quits over fake Dylan quotes. 31 July 2012Last updated at 01:21 GMT Jonah Lehrer was a rising star at the New Yorker, focusing on science reporting. 'Chemical nonsense': Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton's attack on climate science. A coalition of leading climate scientists yesterday filed a 48-page document to the US Congress refuting an attack on climate science made earlier this year by the Ukip deputy leader, Lord Christopher Monckton. Interdira-t-on les prévisions climatiques. What eight years of writing the Bad Science column have taught me. Can we trust scientists who give TED talks?

I came across an interesting article this morning in Slate questioning recent papers on the “contagiousness” of factors ranging from obesity to divorce. The papers were published in top journals like the New England Journal of Medicine (I wrote this enthusiastic blog post about the findings back in 2008) and have generated a wide range of media attention, including the TED talk which I’ve embedded below. Climate change education can still be part of a slimmed-down curriculum. The Great Beyond: New intelligent design centre launches in Britain.

Intelligent design (ID) has never really gained much of a foothold in the UK – at least compared to the United States where evolution isn’t as widely accepted and a high-profile think tank, the Discovery Institute, peddles its philosophies. Why I spoofed science journalism. Pornography in hospitals. Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 25 September 2010. Journalism warning labels. Journalism Warning Labels. Creationists seek to insert their own brand of 'truth' into education. Thirty reasons why man is not descended from apes may seem an unlikely thing for children to learn on an educational school trip. Not fit for television. In which I continue to whine about crappy science journalism blogging. This is a news website article about a scientific finding. When did announcing science become the same as publishing science? Faked data, unsubstantiated claims, and spirituality add up to a math journal retraction.