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(Wired)   The worst scientific fark-ups of 2012   (wired.com) divider line 24
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7128 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Jan 2013 at 1:22 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-15 12:08:55 AM
CERN's official explanation? It was one of several filmed, produced to cover all possible outcomes of the Higgs announcement. Right.

www.danacarvey.net

Tragedy today, as former President Gerald Ford was eaten by wolves. He was delicious.
 
2013-01-15 01:35:12 AM
Great...another Justin Beiber thread...
 
2013-01-15 01:40:51 AM
In June, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill (HB 819) requiring the state's Coastal Resources Commission to plan only for sea levels rising at a rate based on historical records.

Now that's a fail.
 
2013-01-15 01:58:15 AM
Strategerize strategerize strategerize
 
2013-01-15 02:20:15 AM
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-01-15 02:55:29 AM
I wouldn't call the neutrino research a "fark up." This is the way science is supposed to work.

You do research, and publish your results. Other scientists examine your results and methodology, and try to refute.

What's the big deal? This team got unexpected results, but could not account for them. They asked for others to examine their results, errors were found. Einstein live another day, and stronger than ever. Science! How does it work?
 
2013-01-15 03:03:13 AM
In December, a Massachusetts grand jury indicted Dookhan on 17 counts of ... pretending to hold a college degree.

There is no way this is against the law. It sure wasn't covered in any of the classes I took at law school.
 
2013-01-15 03:25:20 AM

AverageAmericanGuy: In December, a Massachusetts grand jury indicted Dookhan on 17 counts of ... pretending to hold a college degree.

There is no way this is against the law. It sure wasn't covered in any of the classes I took at law school.


Isn't fraud kind of a big deal? I mean it's not like he's got 17 counts of sleeping with girls who thought he had a degree, he was publishing research.
 
2013-01-15 03:30:59 AM

The Man Who Laughs: publishing research.


Or I could actually read the correct paragraph. Point being, the woman was fabricating results and credentials, which is a serious matter.
 
2013-01-15 03:38:52 AM

The Man Who Laughs: AverageAmericanGuy: In December, a Massachusetts grand jury indicted Dookhan on 17 counts of ... pretending to hold a college degree.

There is no way this is against the law. It sure wasn't covered in any of the classes I took at law school.

Isn't fraud kind of a big deal? I mean it's not like he's got 17 counts of sleeping with girls who thought he had a degree, he was publishing research.


Whoosh.
 
2013-01-15 04:54:29 AM
But... but... but... IT WAS PEER REVIEWED!!1!
 
2013-01-15 04:54:47 AM

The Man Who Laughs: The Man Who Laughs: publishing research.

Or I could actually read the correct paragraph. Point being, the woman was fabricating results and credentials, which is a serious matter.


Yeah, but she was kinda hot, so that makes it ok.  Just like when hot teachers sleep with their students.
 
2013-01-15 06:25:07 AM
So remember kids: when filing fake peer reviews, use a proxy and get an e-mail address in the country you are pretending to submit from.
 
2013-01-15 06:25:32 AM
I like the last one about the gold dust being lost, only because it reminds me of when I was in a big chemistry-based corporation - apparently in the past they had done an inventory of the chemical stores and found a large bale of platinum wire had gone missing (worth tens of thousands from memory), and it turned out someone in management had taken it home to use for building a chicken coop and that sort of thing.
 
2013-01-15 06:47:59 AM
Didn't the report of bacteria with arsenic in their DNA happen last year? That should have made the list.
 
2013-01-15 07:04:01 AM

Tyrone Slothrop: Didn't the report of bacteria with arsenic in their DNA happen last year? That should have made the list.


The original report for that was 2010. I think you must be getting old.
 
2013-01-15 07:24:13 AM

CygnusDarius: In June, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill (HB 819) requiring the state's Coastal Resources Commission to plan only for sea levels rising at a rate based on historical records.

Now that's a fail.


NC legislators: none of us is as dumb as all of us.
 
2013-01-15 07:32:14 AM
Many of these aren't scientific mistakes. This list is a bit of a muddle of disparate topics.

What I'm trying to say is this is worse than a Cracked list.
 
2013-01-15 08:36:09 AM

jack21221: Many of these aren't scientific mistakes. This list is a bit of a muddle of disparate topics.

What I'm trying to say is this is worse than a Cracked list.


I dunno, it was all on one page, which in my eyes automatically elevates it above Cracked. This would have been at least 6 different pages, with the gold dust more than likely being the solitary item on the last page.
 
2013-01-15 09:02:20 AM

jack21221: Many of these aren't scientific mistakes. This list is a bit of a muddle of disparate topics.

What I'm trying to say is this is worse than a Cracked list.


I mostly agree, but I will say that there are items on the list about actual science and scientists, which many Cracked articles about "science" (or often "math") seem to have trouble including.
 
2013-01-15 09:07:09 AM

CygnusDarius: In June, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill (HB 819) requiring the state's Coastal Resources Commission to plan only for sea levels rising at a rate based on historical records.

Now that's a fail.


For those of you who aren't involved in cultural resource management or live in eastern NC, you don't know how utterly retarded this whole mess has been. I finished a master's in the Maritime Studies program at East Carolina last year, on the history side. But over the last couple of years even the landlubbers get pretty involved in projects involving our CRM program, from the Queen Anne's Revenge to collaboration with NOAA on the ironclad Monitor conservation. CRM is also involved in the North Carolina Sea Level Rise Project, which has been ongoing since 2005 - they built the predictive model that figured out just how badly a one-meter rise in sea level would affect the North Carolina coast and its economy.

Spoiler Alert: We'd be pretty farked.

And of course thanks to the mouth-breathers that elected this Republican legislature, state funding for any related project is in jeopardy. Granted, NOAA funding is pretty safe, as they're relatively immune from the buttshiatnuttery that plagues neo-conservative attitudes towards science. But if you live ANYWHERE east of I-95, or rely on potash extracted from Beaufort County, or even just like fresh seafood, you now have a state legislature that just does not care about how your state (and other states, because let's face it, commerce) is prepared long-term for environmental side effects. All because ideology is more important than governance.
 
2013-01-15 09:56:45 AM

CygnusDarius: In June, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill (HB 819) requiring the state's Coastal Resources Commission to plan only for sea levels rising at a rate based on historical records.

Now that's a fail.


Certainly, but I think they were topped when Italy convicted some geologists of failing to predict earthquakes.
 
2013-01-15 10:22:51 AM

Harry_Seldon: I wouldn't call the neutrino research a "fark up." This is the way science is supposed to work.

You do research, and publish your results. Other scientists examine your results and methodology, and try to refute.

What's the big deal? This team got unexpected results, but could not account for them. They asked for others to examine their results, errors were found. Einstein live another day, and stronger than ever. Science! How does it work?


I agree completely. IIRC, the original report was along the lines of "no, we don't think this is real, but we've checked this, this, and this - any ideas?"

requiring instead that they stick to linear projections based on historical data . . . senate forbids state agencies from basing any laws or plans on exponential extrapolations
The outlawing of non-linear models is an astonishing overreach. Depending on how it's phrased, I'd be tempted to create a workaround (series of linear splines? Polynomial instead of exponential?), but that would probably also be ruled illegal.

How about life insurance? Would they mandate that insurance actuaries to use a linear model for the increase of death rates with age if there were pressure from the AARP?
 
2013-01-15 12:59:17 PM

draypresct: Harry_Seldon: I wouldn't call the neutrino research a "fark up." This is the way science is supposed to work.

You do research, and publish your results. Other scientists examine your results and methodology, and try to refute.

What's the big deal? This team got unexpected results, but could not account for them. They asked for others to examine their results, errors were found. Einstein live another day, and stronger than ever. Science! How does it work?

I agree completely. IIRC, the original report was along the lines of "no, we don't think this is real, but we've checked this, this, and this - any ideas?"

requiring instead that they stick to linear projections based on historical data . . . senate forbids state agencies from basing any laws or plans on exponential extrapolations
The outlawing of non-linear models is an astonishing overreach. Depending on how it's phrased, I'd be tempted to create a workaround (series of linear splines? Polynomial instead of exponential?), but that would probably also be ruled illegal.

How about life insurance? Would they mandate that insurance actuaries to use a linear model for the increase of death rates with age if there were pressure from the AARP?


Push your luck and they'll just ban math.
 
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