ArchiveAugust 2015

A scientific look at bad science

This is why replication is so vital, wouldn’t you agree Paul? A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 2,047 retractions of biomedical and life-sciences articles and found that just 21.3 percent stemmed from straightforward error, while 67.4 percent resulted from misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4 percent) and plagiarism (9.8 percent)...

Social justice at work: you just can’t make this stuff up

Some recent campus actions border on the surreal. In April, at Brandeis University, the Asian American student association sought to raise awareness of microaggressions against Asians through an installation on the steps of an academic hall. The installation gave examples of microaggressions such as “Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?” and “I’m colorblind! I don’t see race.” But a backlash...

When researchers state goals for clinical trials in advance, success rates plunge

Around 2000, the U.S. government ordered researchers conducting clinical trials with federal money to announce ahead of time which medical question they were hoping to answer. Before then, 57 percent of large-budget trials for cardiovascular disease attributed a positive effect to a drug or dietary supplement, according to a study published on Wednesday. After the new requirement, the success...

British court rules on definition of the number one

The ConvaTec patent covered any salt solution “between 1 per cent and 25 per cent of the total volume of treatment”. However, Smith and Nephew devised a competing product that used 0.77 per cent concentration, bypassing, or so it believed, the ConvaTec patent. A previous judgment in 2013 ruled in Smith & Nephew’s favour  because of a mathematical quirk known among chemists as the “significant...

Scientists are hoarding data and it’s ruining medical research

Paul Attewell, are you paying attention? This “deworm everybody” approach has been driven by a single, hugely influential trial published in 2004 by two economists, Edward Miguel and Michael Kremer. This trial, done in Kenya, found that deworming whole schools improved children’s health, school performance, and school attendance. What’s more, these benefits apparently extended to children in...

Seminal campus rape study debunked

Yet another shoddy paper falls apart under scrutiny. David Lisak’s serial predator theory of campus rape has made him a celebrity. Once a virtually unknown associate professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, his work is now cited by White House officials and reporters for major newspapers. His influence is evident in the recent documentary The Hunting Ground, and the producers continue...

About me

Stephen

Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tags