John P. A. Ioannidis
Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted.
To make more published research true, practices that have improved credibility and efficiency in specific fields may be transplanted to others which would benefit from them—possibilities include the adoption of large-scale collaborative research; replication culture; registration; sharing; reproducibility practices; better statistical methods; standardization of definitions and analyses; more appropriate (usually more stringent) statistical thresholds; and improvement in study design standards, peer review, reporting and dissemination of research, and training of the scientific workforce.
Selection of interventions to improve research practices requires rigorous examination and experimental testing whenever feasible.
Optimal interventions need to understand and harness the motives of various stakeholders who operate in scientific research and who differ on the extent to which they are interested in promoting publishable, fundable, translatable, or profitable results.
Modifications need to be made in the reward system for science, affecting the exchange rates for currencies (e.g., publications and grants) and purchased academic goods (e.g., promotion and other academic or administrative power) and introducing currencies that are better aligned with translatable and reproducible research.
Continue full essay PLOS
An Outbreak of Epidemiological Hysteria
THERE HAVE been far fewer cases of, and deaths from, Ebola Virus Disease (hereinafter “Ebola”) during the period of the recent outbreak than from numerous other endemic diseases that primarily afflict Africans, such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and childhood diarrhea. Yet there is a widespread sense, in the media and among the public, that particularly urgent measures must be taken to combat Ebola. This is owed in large part to estimates of future cases produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their representatives have accompanied the presentation of these estimates with powerful rhetoric, as have representatives of other public health organizations. Headlines predictably focus on the upper bound of the CDC estimate, rather than providing the range. Yet both the WHO and the CDC have arrived at their distressingly high figures by ignoring epidemiological principles successfully applied since the nineteenth century. These indicate that Ebola infections and even cases may have already peaked.
Continue at International Review of Science
U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS
Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.
While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “Caliphate.”
The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.
What country conditions breed terrorism? Relative deprivation theory holds that instead of an absolute standard of deprivation, a gap between expected and achieved welfare leads men to political violence. My research examines whether levels of unemployment and higher education that reflect relative deprivation correspond with an increase in terrorist attacks. A recent surge in empirical studies of terrorism has shown that, contrary to popular belief, terrorists tend to be highly educated and from wealthier families than average. This study models relative deprivation by examining the effect of unemployment and tertiary education on levels of terrorism. I examine terrorist attacks from 1980-2008 across 56 countries to see whether the interaction effect of unemployment and higher education is positively correlated with an increase in the number of terrorist attacks. The results of my multivariate regression suggest that this interaction
may be somewhat significant in countries where there have been previous attacks. Additionally, while unemployment and population size are strongly correlated with increased instances of terrorism, higher education alone has no significant relationship with a nation’s levels of terrorism. I discuss possible reasons for the significance of these indicators and the policy implications of my findings.
Feminist activist women are masculinized in terms of digit-ratio and social dominance: a possible explanation for the feminist paradox
Guy Madison1*, Ulrika Aasa2, John Wallert1 and Michael A. Woodley1,3
1Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
2Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
3Center Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
The feminist movement purports to improve conditions for women, and yet only a minority of women in modern societies self-identify as feminists. This is known as the feminist paradox. It has been suggested that feminists exhibit both physiological and psychological characteristics associated with heightened masculinization, which may predispose women for heightened competitiveness, sex-atypical behaviors, and belief in the interchangeability of sex roles. If feminist activists, i.e., those that manufacture the public image of feminism, are indeed masculinized relative to women in general, this might explain why the views and preferences of these two groups are at variance with each other.
Frontiers In Psychology full article.
Turkey Voting For Christmas
By Alan | October 12, 2014 | BBC bias
Interesting take on the world from the BBC.
It has been telling us recently that Turkey is in a dilemma concerning ISIS. On the one hand it doesn’t want a terrorist state on its borders, on the other it doesn’t want to see the Kurds becoming more established and powerful.
So Turkey has plumped to support ISIS…probably not too hard a decision for the Islamist Erdogan who no doubt fancies resurrecting the Ottoman Empire.
Such a stance might also reflect the opinion of Israel as it faces the reality of what a terrorist state on its borders looks like.