EppsNet Archive: Science

A Celebration of Ignorance

 

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy, when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries, when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations… Read more →

COVID Vaccines

 

At the start of 2020, when COVID first came to our shores, we didn’t know anything about it, we didn’t have a vaccine, and by the end of the year 400,000 Americans had died from the virus. By the start of 2021, we had a year of research and a vaccine. We’ve been vaccinating people for a year, and yet we have more COVID deaths under the Biden administration than under Trump, every day more vaccinated people are getting sick, so while the vaccine may keep you out of the hospital or the graveyard, it doesn’t provide immunity, it doesn’t stop the spread, I’m not sure it even slows the spread, given that we have more cases and deaths than ever. For a long time now, anyone saying “I don’t think vaccines are stopping the spread of COVID” or something similar have been persona non grata in public discourse. Is… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: “Science”

 

Here’s a meme finding its way around the internet: If you are not a scientist, and you disagree with scientists about science, it’s actually not a disagreement. You’re just wrong. Science is not truth. Science is finding the truth. When science changes its opinion, it didn’t lie to you. It learned more. That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. “Science” doesn’t have an opinion. Scientists have opinions but they often differ. When a scientist disagrees with another scientist, which one is wrong? If science is not truth, why is it wrong to disagree? If “science” can change its opinion, then everyone who previously held the new opinion was right, and “science” was wrong. Why must people who know nothing about science attempt to give science lessons to the rest of us like we’re all morons? OK, I know the answer. It’s this COVID… Read more →

Following the Science on D*ck Pics

 

Recently, mounting anecdotal reports – mostly by heterosexual women on Internet-based dating platforms – have drawn attention to the frequency of men sending unsolicited photos of their own genitals (i.e., “dick pics”). In a U.S. sample of 2,045 women of all sexual identities and 298 gay/bisexual men, among those who had ever received a “dick pic,” nearly all (91%) had also received an unsolicited “dick pic.” Women had a predominantly negative reaction to unsolicited dick pics — about 70 percent negative — but the math on that tells us that for every three dick pics you send out, you’re likely to get at least one positive reaction. I’m not making any recommendations on what you should or should not do, but that’s science, folks, and everybody knows by know that you’ve got to follow the science. A couple of other findings from the study: older women responded more positively to… Read more →

Long Working Hours Killing 745,000 People a Year?

 

The research found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours. The study, conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), also showed almost three quarters of those that died as a result of working long hours were middle-aged or older men. Often, the deaths occurred much later in life, sometimes decades later, than the long hours were worked. Is this science? You know, people say “follow the science” but most people aren’t smart enough to understand science, let alone explain it to others. Lots of problems with this one, starting with the fact that “associated with” doesn’t imply cause and effect and doesn’t mean the same thing as “hard work is killing a specific number of people every year.” Were obesity… Read more →

Nobody Believes in Anything. Problem?

 

I get a daily email newsletter from the New York Times, in which one of this week’s entries was a conversation with John Schwartz, a Times reporter who focuses on the climate. If Schwartz has any qualifications on the subject of climate science like, say, a relevant degree or something, he modestly omits it from his Times bio. Much of the Pacific Northwest is blanketed in snow. Texas continues to endure frigid weather and electricity outages. Another winter storm is spreading across much of the country. How is this consistent with global warming? Well, as Schwartz “explains” it, when temperatures go up, that’s a sign of global warming, and when temperatures go down, that’s also a sign of global warming. He adds, “We’ve always had floods, fires and storms, but climate change adds oomph to many weather events.” “Oomph”!? Follow the science!   Nobody believes anything from the media anymore,… Read more →

New York Times Publishes True Story!

 

There was a story in the New York Times citing a recent scientific study which found that people can lose weight by exercising more. Stop the fucking presses! Follow the science! On the bright side, it may be the only factually accurate story the Times has published in the last four years. Possible follow-up: Is there scientific evidence that people can also lose weight by eating less? Read more →

Woke White Boy on Education Reform and Anti-Racism

 

“K-12 schools across the country must urgently profess solidarity with Black Lives Matter, vow to dismantle white supremacy and remake themselves into racism-free zones. “We need to eradicate white supremacy and heteropatriarchy in all of our institutions.” “‘Heteropatriarchy’?” “We declare war on the intentional barriers white people have built to harm Black people. We grieve for all of the Black lives taken by white supremacy.” “Sounds like indoctrination is the key word here.” “No, it’s an opportunity for engagement. What’s really different now is talking explicitly about whiteness.” “Parents must be thrilled with the use of words like diversity, equity and inclusivity to group and stereotype human beings by skin color and attribute characteristics to your personality based on skin color, not to mention the anti-white and anti-American messaging.” “Well, I’m tired of White people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity, snuffing out Black life with no consequences. They gleefully soak… Read more →

We Didn’t Even Have Indoor Plumbing

 

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report on “the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.” “Pre-industrial levels” is defined in the report as the the period from 1850 to 1900. Not explained in the report, unless I missed it, is why I should feel confident in the scientific precision of air and sea surface temperatures taken in the 19th century. Read more →

They Submitted Fake Papers to Peer-Reviewed Journals — Here’s What Happened Next

 

Three writers produced 20 intentionally outlandish academic papers and submitted them to the best peer-reviewed journals associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as “cultural studies” or “identity studies” (for example, gender studies) or “critical theory.” Seven of the papers were accepted for publication and seven more were still under review when the authors elected to end the experiment. Their point would seem to be that scholarship in these fields is based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances. Just about anything can be published, so long as it falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates an understanding of the existing literature. The authors summarize their methodology as follows. (I’ve inserted the material in brackets from elsewhere in the article, which you should look at in its entirety because there’s too much good stuff to summarize.) What if we write a paper saying we should train… Read more →

Does Global Warming Cause Hurricanes?

 

Anyone who thinks global warming causes hurricanes should be required to explain in detail: the cause and effect mechanism they believe to be in operation; and what used to cause hurricanes before global warming. Read more →

Happy Birthday, Pope Urban VIII

 

Pope Urban VIII, the most recent pope to use the pontifical name of Urban, was born on this date, April 5, 1568. He is probably best remembered for his demon-killing exorcisms used to chase from the head of Galileo Galilei the devilish notion that the earth revolved around the sun . . . Read more →

Quantum Teleportation Breakthrough by DARPA-Funded Physicists

 

Two separate teams of scientists funded by the Pentagon’s research arm have revealed significant breakthroughs in the field of quantum teleportation which could have a major impact on cybersecurity and encryption. — RT America Forget security and encryption I want to disappear one place and appear someplace else. What’s the holdup on that?! Read more →

Stigler’s Law of Eponymy

 

Stigler’s law of eponymy is a process proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication “Stigler’s law of eponymy.” It states that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. Stigler named the sociologist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of “Stigler’s law,” so as to avoid this law about laws disobeying its very own decree. — Wikipedia Read more →

Big Fishes in Small Ponds

 

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things: Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as a child gets more and more insecure, they give more and more of it. And, by the way, a lot of employers and coaches have said, “My employees cannot get through the day without accolades and validation.” Even professional coaches have said they cannot give feedback without these people feeling that they’ve crushed them. We’ve created several generations now of very fragile individuals because they’ve been praised and hyped. And feel that anything but praise is devastating. My colleague mentions Malcolm Gladwell‘s book David and Goliath, in which Gladwell claims… Read more →

When is Diversity Not a Dilemma?

 

I just read yet another brief — Solving the Diversity Dilemma — regarding lack of diversity in the STEM workforce. If members of Group X are underrepresented in some professions, they must be overrepresented in others. For example, I used to work with a nursing organization . . . women far outnumber men in nursing but for the five years I worked there I never heard anyone talk about the shortage of men in nursing being a dilemma, crisis, etc., or suggesting that anything be done to change it. I work in a STEM field. It’s a good job for me but not for everyone. My son (age 21) for example, never showed any interest in it and I don’t think he’ll be any less happy in life because he’s not working in STEM. There are pluses and minuses like any other profession. Simple but possibly valid explanation for STEM… Read more →

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because, naturally, it is alien to our experience but it is true: You know far less about yourself than you feel you do.   A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.   It is the consistency of information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern.   The exaggerated faith in small samples is only one example of a more general illusion — we pay more attention to the content of messages than to information about their reliability, and as a result end up with a view of the world around us that is simpler and more coherent than… Read more →

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