December 04, 2014

7:03 PM | It’s impossible to conduct research without software
No one knows how much software is used in research. Look around any lab and you’ll see software — both standard and bespoke — being used by all disciplines and seniorities of researchers. Software is clearly fundamental to research, but we can’t prove this without evidence. And this lack of evidence is the reason why […]

December 03, 2014

8:44 PM | Eric Garner’s Killer Won’t Be Indicted
Another grand jury somehow manages to avoid indicting a cop who put an unarmed man in an illegal chokehold and, ignoring his pleas (“I can’t breathe!”), strangled him to death.   Eric Garner’s crime was peddling untaxed cigarettes on the sidewalk.  He was a husband and the father of six.  And he was a black man.  […]
4:33 PM | Because I Love You
Working on a bunch of stuff, so almost no time to blog, but in eavesdropping on a Twitter conversation about the various awesomenesses of the Scots, combined with the lethal power of bagpipes, I came across this: It seems to me we could use — certainlly I can — a daily leaven of the absurd to help […]

December 02, 2014

7:49 AM | On (confused, confusing) "belief-fact" distinction -- a fragment
From revised version of The Measurement Problem:   I use the phrase “believe in” to mean simply “accept as true.” By attaching “belief in” to a survey or assessment item, I mean to convey that such an item certifies a respondent’s simple acceptance of, or assent to, some state of affairs—evolution, say, or global warming—without measuring the respondent’s comprehension of the evidence for or mechanisms behind that state of […]
3:32 AM | Survey Looks at Grossest Workplace Habits
Coughing, sniffling, sneezing and nose-blowing are common sounds of the workplace during the winter months. While most of us do our best to tolerate the sights and sounds of cold and flu season, some workplace behaviors are downright gross. An online survey of U.S. adults revealed that 81 percent [...]
2:43 AM | Keeping Your Parking Lot in Top Shape
No one likes being sued. Unfortunately, America has become a litigious society. Whether you weren’t warned that your coffee was too hot or you slipped and fell on your untied shoelaces, it always seems to be someone else’s fault. Reducing potential liabilities on your property is an integral part of ensuring patron safety, reducing insurance premiums, [...]
2:13 AM | Bitten by Dog While on Smoke Break: Will he get Workers’ Comp?
A restaurant cook was taking a smoke break when he was bitten by a co-worker’s dog. The restaurant denied the cook’s workers’ comp claim. How did a court rule in this case? Sean Sovern worked one day a week as a line cook at the 1912 Hoover House Restaurant in Waynesboro, PA. He also had [...]
1:52 AM | (VIDEO) Training Exercise Simulates Underwater Helicopter Crash
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December 01, 2014

4:20 PM | Accepted papers and programme for Recomputability 2014
I am co-chairing Recomputability 2014 next week, an affiliated workshop of the 7th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Utility and Cloud Computing (UCC 2014). The final workshop programme is now available and it will take place on Thursday 11 December in the Hobart Room at the Hilton London Paddington hotel. I will also be presenting our […]
7:55 AM | Distrust of "trust in science" measures--crisis solved?
As interesting things come in over the transom, I put them in a pile--right next to the transom--marked "to read."  At this point, the pile is taller than the transom itself! I'm not joking! And just this second I have descended the ladder after placing this newly arrived item on top of the pile: Trust in science and scientists can greatly influence consideration of scientific developments and activities. Yet, trust is a nebulous construct based on emotions, knowledge, beliefs, and […]

November 30, 2014

5:05 PM | Warning: Advanced Math[s]
(read the full NYT review here)Filed under: Mathematics, Science communication

November 29, 2014

7:44 PM | Conference report: NAPCRG (North American Primary Care Research Group) Annual Meeting 2014
What were the highlights of the US meeting this year? Apart from cake for breakfast, much was going on as primary care researchers gathered in Times Square from across the world...conference report here

November 28, 2014

6:25 PM | No Shave November: A New Discovery to Treat Prostate Cancer
Movember: A moustache (started in England) growing charity even in November that raises funds and awareness for men's health. Source During the month of November men everywhere opt out of shaving and sport their best mustaches in support of men’s health. As if it were fate, scientists published discovery this month that could prevent tumors from spreading. Researchers found a way to stop the body from producing a molecule found in new blood vessels that result in new prostate cancer […]
4:28 PM | Group conflict and risk perceptions: two accounts
This is just the first post in a series to address a very small question that I’m sure we can quickly dispose of. But here’s the question: I’m sure the vast majority of you need no further explanation.  But for newbies, this is a “tweet” from “Fearless Dave” Ropeik, the public risk perception expert who correctly believes it is irrational to worry about anything.  Likely you all remember the discussion we recently about how Fearless Dave had […]
2:06 AM | Liberals trust in Supreme Court plummets! Less than 25% of them would agree to have Steve Breyer housesit for them when they want on vacation!
Actually, I think all we can say is that neither liberals nor consersvatives hold the U.S. Supreme Court in as high regard as they both old scientists. But the Court shouldn't feel bad.  Nearly everyone is less respected than scienitstis.      

November 26, 2014

11:30 PM | Toys for girls and boys
This week an image has been doing the rounds on Twitter, showing a letter to parents printed on the back of a pamphlet from a LEGO set: Originally posted on reddit, it unsurprisingly went viral but with many questioning its authenticity. However, it has been confirmed as genuine by LEGO UK: The text is from […]
10:13 PM | Eastern European countries snub neighbours’ science policy
Looking East of an imaginary line going through Berlin and Rome all the way to the Urals creates a broad outline of what Eastern Europe is, in the widest geographical definition. What is striking about this broad region is the number of similarities between different countries, not least in science, as I report in this EuroScientist magazine. And yet it is equally surprising how little these countries exchange good practice. Specifically, scientists and policymakers will talk for hours about […]
4:06 PM | Annual CCHSR lecture: Rabbi Baroness Neuberger
All welcome to our annual lecture. 5pm on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Robinson Way, Cambridge, CB2 0RE.
3:17 PM | Asked and Answered In Ferguson — A Tale of Two Times Stories
Here’s a fact The New York Times seeks to explore in the wake of the decision to let the killer of an unarmed youth go free: A nation with an African-American president and a significant, if struggling, black middle class remains as deeply divided about the justice system as it was decades ago. A Huffington Post-YouGov poll of 1,000 adults […]
8:59 AM | Multi-morbidity and the Emperor’s New Clothes: a challenge for primary care researchers
Are single disease guidelines and indicators are going out of fashion? Well they are with people interested in multi-morbidity. The argument is straightforward. Single disease guidelines are usually based on trials which exclude people with multiple complex problems. So how does the physician know how a cholesterol guideline developed from trials on 65 year old more
4:24 AM | Don't make free, reasoning people choose between learning posterior predictive model checking & *being who they are*!
Holy smokes--  former Freud expert & current stats legend Andrew Gelman is using the "disentanglement principle" to teach Bayesian statistics to frequentists! I'm not kidding! For crying out loud, if he can pull that off, then surely science communicators can overcome cultural polarization on climate change.  

November 25, 2014

3:52 PM | "Conservatives lose faith in science over last 40 years"--where do you see *that* in the data?
Note: Special bonus! Gordon Gauchat, the author of PSPS, wrote a reflective response that I've posted in a "followup" below.  I can't think or write as fast he does (in fact, I'm sort of freaked out by his speed & coherence), but after I think for a bit, I'll likely add something, too, since it is the case, as he says, that we "largely agree" & I think it might be useful for me to be even clearer about that, & also to engage some of the other really good interesting points […]
1:58 AM | Business cost of obesity-related absences: $8.65B per year
A new study calculates the financial hit U.S. businesses take each year because of absenteeism related to obesity. The study also shows how these costs vary from state to state. The research from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows that obese workers miss from 1.1 to 1.7 days more per year compared [...]
1:36 AM | Tape measure falls 400 ft., hits and kills worker
This is why all workers at construction sites must wear hard hats. A tape measure slipped off the belt of a construction worker at the top of a tower, hit a piece of metal equipment on the way down, and then struck another worker on the head, knocking him unconscious. The worker was taken to [...]
1:14 AM | Key Considerations When Throwing a Company-Sponsored Holiday Party
As the holiday season approaches, many companies are planning and throwing parties for their employees without considering and taking steps to minimize the potential liability that can result. While holiday parties can be a great morale booster, they can be filled with potential problems, especially when alcohol is served. Indeed, alcohol plus a party atmosphere [...]
12:55 AM | (VIDEO) Compactor Rollover Nearly Kills Operator
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November 24, 2014

7:21 AM | Study sheds light on Serbia’s research productivity: good output, poor quality
Serbia’s production of research papers listed in Thomson Reuters has boomed since 2006, thanks to a government policy of requiring publication in JCR-listed journals in order for scientists to be promoted and get government funding. This is according to a bibliometric analysis published in Scientometrics earlier this year. It looked at 14,293 articles with authors all coming from Serbia and published between 2006-2012. Romania and Hungary published more articles (23,107 and 16,042 […]

November 23, 2014

4:28 PM | Weekend update: Does marching around in costumes help overcome cultural polarization? Comparative data might help answer this Q
Someone should do some research on the effectiveness of this "communication strategy" as a means of extinguishing the cultural conflagration surrounding the issue of badger infestation in UK.  Who knows-- what's learned might help us to learn to defuse other hyper-charged risk issues in US, like GM foods and raw milk. Those close to the effort have a strong sense-- the kind that certainly is unlikely to lead them astray-- that costumed marchers banging symbols, blowing whistles & […]
3:42 PM |

November 22, 2014

4:57 PM | Weekend update: Decisive proof of "conservative distrust in science"? You tell me...
This worked pretty well before, so why not try again? Recently I posted some data on right-left political outlooks, religion, and positions on disputed science issues and asked you, the 14.33 billion readers of this blog, to say what inferences the data support.  The responses, including one submitted by Chris Mooney in his Washington Post Wonkblog, were really interesting, and led to an informative set of exchanges, which continued when I finally added my own assessment.  I'm […]
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