What Went Wrong? typified commentary about the U.S. economy, and economic journalism was dominated by scare headlines about downsizing, after a mere two years of good news America’s mood has become startlingly triumphalist. Read on
Scientometrics is the science of measuring and analyzing science, and it began in 1947 when mathematician Derek J. de Solla Price as asked to store a complete set of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society temporarily in his house. He stacked them in order and noticed that the height of the stacks fit an exponential curve. Price then started to analyze all sorts of scientific data and concluded in 1960 that scientific knowledge had been growing steadily at a rate of 4.7% annually since the 17th century. Scientific data was doubling every 15 years. In 1965, he realized that the growth was a factor of 10 every half century.
Arbesman wanted to discover the half-life of the scientific facts we know. The decay in truth of clinical knowledge about cirrhosis and hepatitis is about 45 years. Half of what physicians thought they knew about liver diseases was wrong or obsolete 45 years later.
Facts are being manufactured all of the time, and many of them turn out to be wrong. There were 845,175 articles published in 2009 and recorded in PubMed. How many of them were replicated? Not many. In 2011, a study in the journal Nature reported that a team of researchers had been able to reproduce only six out of 53 landmark papers in preclinical cancer research.
Lots of this new information will be overlooked. Arbesman illustrates this by talking about when Harvard researchers decided to go back and look at all of the prior randomized control trials relating to heart attacks and the drug streptokinase between 1959 and 1988. In 1988, a trial showed that streptokinase was effective in treating heart attacks.
The researchers concluded that scientists could have easily found a statistically significant result in 1973 rather than 1988. The efficiency of streptokinase remained hidden in scientific literature for 15 years. These days, there are data combing companies working on ensuring that previous studies arenâ€™t lost.
â€œWe persist in only adding facts to our personal store of knowledge that jibe with what we already know, rather than assimilate new facts irrespective of how they fit into our worldview.â€ Samuel Arbesman
In order to keep facts actuated, people should always seek out new information. Instead of memorizing facts, something that could eventually be outsourced to the cloud, people should continually learn. The current growth rates will also have to slow down, as they could imply that everyone on the planet will one day be a scientist. via
Just a little something humorous…
Three current McGill students and one recent McGill graduateÂ were elected members of parliament (MPs)Â in todayâ€™s federal election
The students, Charmaine Borg, Matthew DubÃ©, MylÃ¨ne Freeman and Laurin Liu, were all NDP candidates in Quebec ridings. All four candidates defeated incumbent opponents from the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois.
Now super texting tweens are being recruited to fend off forces of evil…
Cyber security has been at the forefront of American politics in recent months following high profile cyber security attacks like theÂ Stuxnet worm andÂ Aurora attacks. Those attacks underscored growing concern over the future of cyber security in the U.S. and the lack of native cybersecurity talent. Now aÂ new multi-state competition is seeking to encourage U.S. teens to develop the kinds of cyber security skills needed in the workforce.
The Cyber Foundations competition is a creation ofÂ The U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), a national, public-private partnership focused on identifying and developing cyber security skills. It is openÂ to students nationally, with registration open until February 18, with awards being issued at the state level.
The Cyber Foundations competition was piloted in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island and is now being officially launched, with a number of states conducting formal campaigns to encourage schools and students to participate. Â USCCâ€™s goal is to find 10,000 talented Americans to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation. (Source)
An AK with your New Truck? If you’re looking for that Southern staple, a pickup truck with a gun rack, one central Florida dealership will give you your first gun free.Â General sales manager Nick Ginetta said that since the promotion was announced on Veterans Day, business has more than doubled at Nations Trucks in Sanford. (Source)
Sometimes, typos matter â€” a lot. Weâ€™ve seen typos get law firms into all kinds of trouble. And now a typo might ruin the already slim gubernatorial chances of a Green Party candidate.
Running on the Green Party line, Rich Whitney wasnâ€™t likely to become the next Governor of Illinois anyway. But an error at the Chicago Board of Elections will cause Whitneyâ€™s name to be misspelled as â€œWhiteyâ€ on some touch screen ballots this November. Of the 23 wards affected by this typo, half of them are in largely African-American districts. And the error cannot not be fixed in time for Election Day.
So yeah, black people in Chicago will be able to vote for â€œRich Whiteyâ€ this fall. ##Read the rest!##
The Right wing media and the Tea Parties are playing chess while the Left and the mainstream media are playing checkers.
While they can be disparaged as being narrow minded ideologues possessed of an authoritarian personality, Conservatives in the U.S.–and the extreme Right wing that has now become the center of the GOP–have long been masters of using emotional and moral appeals to motivate their public. While the Democrats are hamstrung by an issues based approach to politics, Conservatives have mastered the art of creating an alternate world of political facts and reason (enabled by the Right wing media echo chamber) where the reality based community need not tread.
This week the note being struck is that liberal infiltrators (in the guise of “agent provocateurs”) are targeting the Tea Parties in order to smear and discredit them. Without any factual substantiation (and ignoring the racist, bigoted, and violent rhetoric that is common at the Tea Party gatherings) the Right has succeeded in reframing the narrative which surrounds the tea baggers. Now, freed from any responsibility for their own actions, the Tea Parties can point to some imagined villain as being responsible for all things disruptive and violent at their protests. [Read the rest from Chauncey DeVega via OpenSalon]
These people gotta lotta gall, in my opinion. I can see why it is important that some dude harasses a racist at a rally, don’t get me wrong, but let’s also keep in mind that there’s something to be said for attracting that type of element in the first place. The Nazis don’t feel comfortable just strolling down the street in most places — and frankly, this dude with the camera seems to be the only person who cares. Get serious, ninjas. Oh… and PLEASE!
The answer to all these questions is: It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter whether Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann is the bigger blowhard, or whether Shepard Smith is less biased than Wolf Blitzer. The fact is, if you’re getting your news from cable, you’re getting misinformed. You’re being told things are important that aren’t. You’re getting a diet of stories selected primarily for their strong visuals and sensationalistic details, not for their news value. You’re watching a lot of split-screen shots of people talking over each other so loudly that none can be understood.
In short: If you watch a great deal of cable news, you are making yourself stupider. Put down the remote control. Pick up a newspaper. You may not have that luxury much longer. Read more.
An article and president after me own heart.
Now, I don’t really want to get too caught up being surprised that Bill O’Reilly might have a soul – but I might not have a choice. I mean, seeing him posed for a photo with some children with the flag in the background isn’t surprising – he’s not Ann Coulter, and I’m not concerned that his lower jaw un-hinged and he ate them whole. But the Parade article that the photo is from – “What President Obama Can Teach America’s Kids” – is nothing I would have expected from the pundit. It’s no spectacular piece of writing by any means, but it does manage to be somewhat thoughtful and non-partisan.
Lesson Five?perhaps the greatest lesson the President can teach children: In America, anything is possible
This is something of a clich?, but never has it been more vividly illustrated. Barack Obama, a youngster in Hawaii without his parents around, has toughed it out and become one of history?s great stories, no matter what happens going forward. What he has achieved in his 48 years is simply astounding.
Consider the odds. The United States is a nation of more than 300 million citizens. Only one person is currently the Commander in Chief. That man had no fatherly guidance, is of mixed race, and had no family connections to guide him into the world of national politics.
That adds up to one simple truth that every American child should be told: ?If Barack Obama can become the President of the United States, then whatever dream you may have can happen in your life.?
But, all that said – he’ll probably just use it as evidence that he’s ‘fair and balanced’ the next time he screams at a 9/11 survivor or something. Slightly interesting, nonetheless.
I just couldn’t help myself…
um…what? I mean, this is some trite BS – and I’m not posting it to knock Palin – but instead to show what’s supposedly going on with the McCain camp.
But really – does O’Reilly want to get in her pants or what? Damn.
Let’s see: it’s overpriced [$100,000], it’s being sold by Neiman Marcus, and you could definitely find something simpler for a lower price somewhere else – sounds perfect for Caribou Barbie to me!
That would just make too much feckin’ sense, my ninjas!
In one of the latest attacks against Obama, Rudy “don’t I look great in these heels” Giuliani has recorded a “robocall” for the McCain campaign – “warning” voters that Barack is against mandatory sentencing. Here’s a transcript:
You need to know that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers. It’s true, I read Obama’s words myself. And recently, congressional liberals introduced a bill to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for violent criminals â€” trying to give liberal judges the power to decide whether criminals are sent to jail or set free.
With priorities like these, we just can’t trust the inexperience and judgment of Barack Obama and his liberal allies.
Um…what? “Liberal” judges? So a judge is “liberal” if she/he actually wants to DO HIS/HER FUCKING JOB and sentence people convicted of crimes? Really? What are judges for exactly if not to sentence people? Why not just hire referees for the courtroom – cut out all that extra school time and money.
In all seriousness though, our justice system is supposed to be set up so that the sentencing fits the particulars of a case – which makes “mandatory” sentencing inherently flawed. And the response from Obama? None, of course – as he actually understands the legal system. There is this, however, from his website:
Every leading expert body in criminal justice has opposed the use of mandatory minimum sentences, including the Sentencing Commission, the Judicial Conference, the American Bar Association, and leading criminal justice scholars.
But hey, what do they know. I mean, let’s face it – mandatory sentencing makes it so much easier to lock people away for longer sentences than are probably needed, keeping modern US slavery alive.
BTW Rudy – if Palin gets in the White House, expect the mandatory sentence for the getup you’re wearing in this photo to be 5 years. I hear guys in drag as huge hits in prison.