1-5-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Science Fraud is Down

This is, unfortunately, the first I have heard of this watchdog site, which was dedicated to flagging questionable data that had cropped up in scientific publications. I can't vouch for the site, but I can sympathize with the following sentiment, voiced by one of its proprietors:

[T]he factual data posted on the site remains intact in the scientific literature, and I remain utterly convinced that posting images from publicly available documents [and] questioning their integrity when there is sufficient evidence to suggest a problem, is in no way grounds for a libel or defamation suit.  In short - don't shoot the messenger. If you didn't want your scientific data to be questioned, you shouldn't have published it!
It can be a huge dilemma how best to proceed when one encounters error presented as fact, and I haven't seen the site, but... As a general rule of thumb, starting out by accusing someone of the crime of fraud is probably not wise.

Weekend Reading

"Laws prohibiting or regulating guns across the board represent the evil of preventive law and should be abolished." -- Harry Binswanger, in "With Gun Control, Cost Benefit Analysis is Amoral - Forbes" at Forbes

"It is time for us to face another brutal, terrifying truth: Gun-free zones are free fire zones for mass murderers." -- Andrew Bernstein, in "To Protect the Innocent, We Need More Guns in the Hands of Honest People" at Forbes

"Do mentally healthy people smile more because they're happier, or does smiling lead to improved mental health?" -- Michael Hurd, in "Smile for Your Own Sake" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Think of regret as the psychological equivalent of a tightrope walker, high off the ground, letting himself -- indeed, making himself -- look down in order to deliberately disturb his concentration." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Regret-Filled Mindset" at The Delaware Wave

"Avoid ... emotional paralysis by setting goals that you can keep." -- Michael Hurd, in "Tips for Keeping Resolutions" at The Delaware Coast Press

"You can't resolve to do something just because it happens to be January 1 - or any date, for that matter. You resolve to do something because you're prepared to follow it through - now; not tomorrow." -- Michael Hurd, in "Fail-Safe Your New Year" at The Delaware Wave

"[Christmas is] about celebrating earthly prosperity and happiness." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "How the Welfare State Stole Christmas" at Forbes

My Two Cents

We all have to make choices in life, and we all have even faced crossroads at which we have had ample room to second-guess ourselves. Dare I say that almost everyone has, at some point or another, indulged in regret? If you have any trace of a tendency towards regret, do yourself a favor: Burn Michael Hurd's image of the tightrope walker into your memory to remind yourself of the consequences of partaking of that destructive form of make-believe. Based on my own experience, his is an excellent concretization of what dwelling on "what might have been" can do.


At Futility Closet, Greg Ross has published an entertaining post about a type of pithy poem created by the Danish scientist Piet Hein:
In all he wrote more 7,000 grooks, which have become a part of Scandinavian culture. "I cannot really say where my activity as a scientist ends and where my activity as a man of letters begins," he said. "Whether I am writing a poem or solving some technical problem, I think the same."
I particularly enjoyed two of the grooks quoted in the post. The first of these was a call to resist the German occupation of Denmark that Hein slipped past Nazi censors. The second I'll simply call, "T.T.T.".



Anonymous said...

From Dr. Hurd,

Like happiness and calmness, smiling can’t be forced or faked.

Gus, that reminds me of the Seinfeld episode "Serenity Now" where George's father shouts the phrase whenever he's under stress.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! Serenity now; insanity later!