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March 06, 2014

"Answers for Creationists"

I would hope that none of my readers need this. But maybe you know some people who do. Short, effective, and good-natured.

(That the "Second Law of Thermodynamics" question persists is a serious indictment of our educational system. It's also another reminder that a little learning is a dangerous thing.)

March 03, 2014

"The California Drought: Water and Power"

The drought is currently bad and some people think it's likely to get a lot worse. For more details, see "6 Crazy Photos That Show Why California Is Desperate For Rain". (But there was finally some rain last week.)

The problem is that SoCal, in its natural state, is basically a desert. 

For one of the terrible, terrible consequences of the drought, see "Weed Prices Could Double Because of Drought".

For a very long piece on the past, present, and future of California's water system, see "American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga".

February 25, 2014

Two examples of why reading about health and nutrition research drives me crazy

Up is down, black is white, and . . . 

"When 'good' cholesterol turns BAD: Substance can clog arteries and cause heart disease, researchers claim".

"Antioxidants Could Be Terrible For People Who Already Have Cancer".

February 24, 2014

Two recent papers co-authored by J. Scott Armstrong

Courtesy of Professor Armstrong, here is notice of two papers readers of the Door might well find interesting:

"Evidence-based Forecasting for Climate Change Policies". A key part of the Abstract:

The findings reinforce earlier conclusions that the IPCC scenario of dangerous increases in global mean temperatures fails to pass basic validation tests, and that the no-trend model provides the only 
scientific long-term climate forecasts. Without a scientific forecast of a global warming, there is no rational basis for government regulations, subsidies, funding, or penalties. Furthermore, a scientific forecast of global warming  is not, by itself, a basis for action. That would require scientific forecasts that the warming would be harmful and forecasts that cost-effective policies would reduce the harm.

"Are Top Executives Paid Enough? An Evidence-Based Review". This paper is sharply critical of how companies tend to select CEOs and offers suggestions for improvement. (For a summary, see "The ‘Moneyball’ Approach to Hiring CEOs".)

February 19, 2014

"Mathematicians know how to admit they’re wrong"

From the "Mathbabe":

Not every person gets trained in being wrong and admitting it. I’d wager that most people in the world, for most of their professional lives, are trained to do the opposite in the face of being wrong: namely, to wriggle out of it or deflect criticism. Most disciplines spend more time arguing they’re right, or at least not as wrong, or at least they have different mistakes, than other related fields. 

"Hubble Sees Infant Galaxies at the Edge of the Universe"

What the baby galaxies are doing. (Better: were doing, billions of years ago.)

February 18, 2014

"Through a Data Set, Darkly"

Mark it down: correlations are easy; causality is hard

The Internet answers another one of life's important questions

"Why Organic Chemistry Is So Hard".

February 17, 2014

"Debunking the 97% 'consensus' on global warming"

Something I had wondered about. It'll be quite interesting if the finding holds up.

"These 'consensus' surveys appear to be used as a 'social proof,'" says Ken Gregory, research director of Friends of Science. "Just because a science paper includes the words 'global climate change' this does not define the cause, impact or possible mitigation. The 97% claim is contrived in all cases."

"Exposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness, Researchers"

I've seen academic research studies eviscerated before, but, friends, this is a small masterpiece of the form

But, hey, if we required scientists to actually do what they say they do, then nothing would ever get done. Science would slow to a crawl and we wouldn’t have published so many intriguing results and theories.

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