Science Reporter Says Scientists Are Like Cattle

first_imgA science reporter lists several reasons why scientists are about as trustworthy as bankers.The Science and Technology Editor at The Conversation, Akshat Rathi, should know about scientists.  Not only does he hold that prestigious editorial position, he has a PhD in organic chemistry from Oxford University as well as a Bachelor of Technology in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai.   Rathi doesn’t trust the opinions of scientists to be right any more than he trusts other fallible professionals, judging from his latest column on The Conversation, entitled, “Scientists falter as much as bankers in pursuit of answers.”  He also has help from a Nature article that found serious flaws in that paean of scientific reliability, peer review:Here we show that even when scientists are motivated to promote the truth, their behaviour may be influenced, and even dominated, by information gleaned from their peers’ behaviour, rather than by their personal dispositions. This phenomenon, known as herding, subjects the scientific community to an inherent risk of converging on an incorrect answer and raises the possibility that, under certain conditions, science may not be self-correcting.Here are some of Rathi’s reasons for keeping scientists off their pedestals:One of the reasons is that, once a hypothesis becomes widely accepted, it becomes very difficult to refute it, which makes it, as Jeremy Freese of Northwestern University recently put it, “vampirical more than empirical – unable to be killed by mere evidence.”… as humans, scientists try to be rational but remain stuck on certain views in the face of contrary evidence.… some scientists make up data to further their careers.… the “publish or perish” culture forces scientists to consciously or unconsciously gravitate towards results that support their conclusions.… the peer review system does not always live up to its high aims.Subjectivity wins.Scientists are subject to a “herd mentality.”Rathi ends by quipping that the Nature article itself might be an example of herding.His list is interesting but incomplete.  He might have added the observation by C. S. Lewis that there is not one thing represented by “science” but “only particular sciences, all in a stage of rapid change, and sometimes inconsistent with one another.”  We should not be looking for “scientific” truth, he said, but rather logical truth.  Write in and tell us other reasons for being wary of scientific claims.  Let’s use the sacred cows of science for hamburger rather than for worship. (Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Zuma to lead SA team to US-Africa summit

first_img24 July 2014President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the first United States-Africa Leaders’ Summit taking place in Washington on 5 and 6 August, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said on Thursday.Speaking to journalists in Pretoria following the Cabinet’s latest fortnightly meeting, Muthambi said the summit was expected to provide a boost for Africa’s regional integration initiatives, as well as for various African Union (AU) economic development programmes.The White House made the announcement that US President Barack Obama would host the summit in January, saying that he looked forward to “further strengthen[ing] ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.“The summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people,” the White House said.There will also be meetings of US and African CEOs, as well as an African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) ministerial meeting, both aimed at strengthening trade and investment between the US and Africa.Agoa, which enables 39 eligible sub-Saharan African countries to export most products duty-free to the United States, has seen total African exports to the US more than quadruple, and US exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than triple, since its inception in 2000In August, US Trade Representative Michael Froman told a two-day forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that the US was looking to work with African experts and leaders on forging an improved “Agoa 2.0” before the expiry of its current version in 2015.Some members of the US Congress have questioned whether South Africa, being relatively developed in Africa, should continue to be included in Agoa. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, speaking to journalists ahead of Obama’s visit to the country last June, argued against this view, saying it would be detrimental for the US market if South Africa were excluded.“South Africa has been a beneficiary of Agoa, but we also think that Agoa is a very significant instrument to benefit the US, not least because it is a widely appreciated measure by the US, which builds the US a high degree of goodwill in its relations with other countries on the African continent,” Davies said.Around 43% of South Africa’s exports, totalling to about $4.6-billion, have entered the US under the Agoa programme and this, according to Davies, has helped support the development of the economy, notably in manufacturing.Elizabeth Thabethe, then deputy trade and industry minister – now deputy small business development minister – said at the time that Agoa should be developed into a programme that supported African integration more directly.“This is where we need to be innovative in defining mechanisms that support Africa’s integration,” Thabethe said, adding that larger, more integrated African markets would underpin growth and development in Africa, which in turn would encourage growth in US trade and investment to Africa.SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Antennagate 2.0? Consumer Reports Won’t Recommend Verizon iPhone Either

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts sarah perez Oh no, please tell us this isn’t the start of another “antennagate,” but it appears that Consumer Reports is again making headlines for throwing the iPhone 4 under the proverbial bus. “The Verizon iPhone 4 has a problem that could cause the phone to drop calls,” notes the American product reviews publication. That’s not a huge surprise, considering that the Verizon iPhone is pretty much the same device as AT&T’s version, the only external difference being slightly displaced volume buttons and mute switch.As before, the iPhone 4’s antenna design is leading to both dropped calls and, says Consumer Reports, the inability to make calls in areas where weak signals are present. (Weak signals? On Verizon?)I kid, I kid. But really, after the great antennagate debacle of 2010, if I never heard the phrase “signal issues” again it would be too soon. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, I’d love to know the location of your rock so I can hide out until antennagate 2.0 blows over.Anyway….iPhone 4 Antenna Still Doesn’t Work, Says Consumer ReportsConsumer Reports says the Verizon iPhone has the same issues as the AT&T version – it loses its signal when a specific area of the phone’s outer casing is covered by your fingers or thumb. The only solution to this issue is to put the iPhone in a case of some sort – like, for example, the iPhone 4 bumper cases that were at one time offered to unhappy AT&T customers through Apple’s now-discontinued free case program.In the new article, Consumer Reports details how it performed its tests, its conclusions, and all that technical jazz, but the bottom line reads:“…we are not including the Verizon iPhone 4 in our list of recommended smart phones, despite its high ranking in our Ratings.”I’m sure Apple is very concerned. Despite the media insanity (and let’s be frank, the truthfulness) of the antenna issues, the company went on to sell a record-breaking 1.7 million iPhone 4’s within its first three days on the market. Apple sold 16.24 million iPhones last quarter. And Verizon ran out of inventory on its first day of iPhone sales.Hmm, looks like people are just fine with buying a case for their iPhone. Tags:#Apple#web center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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One more inmate of Bihar’s Aasra shelter dead

first_imgOne more inmate of the Aasra shelter home in Patna has died. Anamika, 27, died at a government hospital on Friday night, police said.Police have also rescued one of two inmates who had gone missing from the shelter home. She was found at Saguna Mor in Patna.Anamika had been taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) after her condition deteriorated on Thursday night. “She was complaining of breathlessness and was severely anaemic. She died around 8 p.m. on Friday,” said Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, superintendent of PMCH. It was the third case of death of an inmate of the Aasra shelter home in the last three weeks.The government-funded home is run by the NGO Anumaya Human Resources Foundation. The secretary and treasurer of the shelter home, Chirantan Kumar and Manisha Dayal, were arrested after two of the inmates were brought dead to PMCH on August 10.Two missing inmates — Meera, 35, and Anita, 30 — were said to have run away from the home on Thursday. “We have found Anita and she is with the local police now,” said Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj. There are 68 women and girls, most of them physically challenged, living in the shelter home. After the arrest of the secretary and treasurer, the State Social Welfare Department deputed its own personnel for the home’s upkeep as an interim measure. “Several measures have been taken to improve the living conditions at Aasra shelter home,” said department director Raj Kumar. The department is also planning to shift this shelter home from the Rajiv Nagar area, said department officials.“Gradually, the government is taking over all the shelter homes run by NGOs in the state…such incidents are not acceptable and those found guilty will face action”, Krishnandan Verma, social welfare department minister said on Friday. Earlier, after the Muzaffarpur sexual abuse case involving 34 minor girls was exposed in a social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the Nitish Kumar government had decided to phase out awarding contracts for running shelter homes. Chief minister Nitish Kumar had announced that “the government will run all the shelter and short stay homes in the state”. There are 110 shelter and short stay homes in the state and the conditions in most of them, as the TISS report had said, are “deplorable”.last_img read more

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