Tag: junk science

  • With Horizon, the BBC abandons science

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    creepy

    BBC TV’s venerable science flagship, Horizon, has had a rough ride as it tries to gain a new audience. It’s been accused of “dumbing down”. That’s nothing new – it’s a criticism often leveled at it during its 42 year life.

    But instead of re-examing its approach, the series’ producers have taken the bold step of abandoning science altogether. This week’s film, “Human v2.0”, could have been made for the Bravo Channel by the Church of Scientology. The subject … Read More

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  • Junk science – the oil of the new web

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    There’s a case to made that James Surowecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds is the most influential book of the decade – The Selfish Gene for the noughties. Both have something else in common: the title of each book is profoundly misleading. Crowds aren’t wise, nor can genes be selfish – as one critic famously wrote, any more than atoms can be jealous.

    Just as the young polemicist Dawkins paved the way for the social darwinism of the Reagan and Thatcher … Read More

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  • People more drunk at weekends, researchers discover

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    A parody from 2000

    It’s open season on Wikipedia these days. The project’s culture of hatred for experts and expertise has become the subject of widespread ridicule. Nick Carr christened it “the cult of the amateur”.

    But what has professional academia done for us lately? Here’s a study from the University of Amsterdam to ponder.

    New Scientist reports that researchers for Professor Maarten de Rijke at the Informatics Institute have been recording words used by bloggers, in an attempt to find interesting or unusual … Read More

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  • Nature journal cooked Wikipedia study

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    They want to believe, too

    Nature magazine has some tough questions to answer after it let its Wikipedia fetish get the better of its responsibilities to reporting science. The Encyclopedia Britannica has published a devastating response to Nature‘s December comparison of Wikipedia and Britannica, and accuses the journal of misrepresenting its own evidence.

    Where the evidence didn’t fit, says Britannica, Nature‘s news team just made it up. Britannica has called on the journal to repudiate the report, which was put together by its … Read More

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  • Captain Cyborg to write UK science funding guidelines

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    Uncowed by public ridicule, attention-seeker Professor Kevin Warwick has been appointed to a panel that will determine the basis for public research funding decisions for the UK’s higher education institutions.

    Captain Cyborg is one of twelve panelists chosen to set the criteria for public research funding in the UK’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering departments. It’s one of 68 panels encompassing medicine, the social sciences and the languages and is conducted by the Research Assessment Exercise, a quango funded by Higher … Read More

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  • Hoax paper fools cybernetic boffins

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    An MIT student has had a paper consisting of computer-generated gibberish accepted by technology conference WMSCI. The pretentious gathering bills itself as “an international forum where researchers and practitioners examine Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics key issues”

    Comp sci undergraduate Jeremy Stribling told us that he didn’t single out WMSCI because of its subject matter, although it’s easy to see how it made a tempting target.

    WMSCI's split brain

    “A Metaphor,” the organizers explain. “We are trying to relate theanalytic thinking required in … Read More

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