Odds and Ends: Aug 30, 2016

Just a quick post. As I'm no longer teaching I won't be working on the website as much.

Here are a few stories that caught my eye since the last update. A lot of links for you science teachers:

  • RT with an entertaining video from a finalist in the Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2016. Science teachers, take note!
  • Listverse has "10 Reasons Academic Journals Are Filled With Junk Science". Number 9 is a good one, related to bogus journals: "A pair of computer scientists, frustrated with unwanted spam from a pay-for-publication journal, submitted a joke article. It was 10 pages of the same seven words repeated over and over: “Get me off your f—king mailing list.”"
  • Reason adds its voice on junk science, "Sarewitz cites several examples of bad science that I reported in my February article "Broken Science." These include a major biotech company's finding in 2012 that only six out of 53 landmark published preclinical cancer studies could be replicated. Researchers at a leading pharmaceutical company reported that they could not replicate 43 of the 67 published preclinical studies that the company had been relying on to develop cancer and cardiovascular treatments and diagnostics. In 2015, only about a third of 100 psychological studies published in three leading psychology journals could be adequately replicated.....Sarewitz also notes that 1,000 peer-reviewed and published breast cancer research studies turned out to be using a skin cancer cell line instead. Furthermore, when amyotrophic lateral sclerosis researchers tested more than 100 potential drugs reported to slow disease progression in mouse models, none were found to be beneficial when tested on the same mouse strains. A 2016 article suggested that fMRI brain imaging studies suffered from a 70 percent false positive rate. Sarewitz also notes that decades of nutritional dogma about the alleged health dangers of salt, fats, and red meat appears to be wrong."
  • Signs of the Times with "Madam Marie Curie's research papers still radioactive 100+ years later".
  • Signs of the Times again with a piece on "The first computer programmer was a woman - Ada Lovelace"
  • Salon with an article: "The State College of Florida recently scrapped tenure for incoming faculty. New professors at this public university will be hired on the basis of annual contracts that the school can decline to renew at any time."
  • Reason on generation obnoxious: ""We have spoken. We are speaking. Pay attention." Nothing captures the attitude of the modern college activist as perfectly as this statement, made by Yale University students petitioning the English department for changes to the curriculum (they wanted to read fewer white male poets).It's the constant refrain of the far-left social justice student: Our minds are made up. The time for discussion is over. We aren't here to be educated. We are here to educate you."
  • Huffington Post on the US winning the math olympiads for the 2nd year in a row.