On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

Since years ago William Connolly got banned from editing global warming related posts due to profound bias finally realisation creeps in that it wasn’t a fluke. Wikipedia, facts by consensus, is quickly becoming just another desinformation site. Unfortunately it’s still the mainstay of any student or otherwise ill informed person so idiocracy is a mere waypoint to pass.

Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a research source most U.S. students rely on. But, according to a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, Wikipedia entries on politically controversial scientific topics can be unreliable due to information sabotage.

Co-author Dr. Gene E. Likens is President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Likens co-discovered acid rain in North America, and counts among his accolades a National Medal of Science, a Tyler Prize, and elected membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Since 2003, he has monitored Wikipedia’s acid rain entry.

Likens explains, “In the scientific community, acid rain is not a controversial topic. Its mechanics have been well understood for decades. Yet, despite having ‘semi-protected’ status to prevent anonymous changes, Wikipedia’s acid rain entry receives near-daily edits, some of which result in egregious errors and a distortion of consensus science.”

In an effort to see how Wikipedia’s acid rain entry compared to other scientific topics, Likens partnered with Dr. Adam M. Wilson, a geographer at the University of Buffalo. Together, they analyzed Wikipedia edit histories for three politically controversial scientific topics (acid rain, evolution, and global warming), and four non-controversial scientific topics (the in physics, heliocentrism, general relativity, and continental drift).

Using nearly a decade of data, Likens and Wilson teased out daily edit rates, the mean size of edits (words added, deleted, or edited), and the mean number of page views per day. While the edit rate of the acid rain article was less than the edit rate of the evolution and global warming articles, it was significantly higher than the non-controversial topics. Across the board, politically controversial scientific topics were edited more heavily and viewed more often.

“Wikipedia’s entry sees 2-3 edits a day, with more than 100 words altered, while the standard model in physics has around 10 words changed every few weeks, ” Wilson notes. “The high rate of change observed in politically controversial scientific topics makes it difficult for experts to monitor their accuracy and contribute time-consuming corrections.”

Likens adds, “As society turns to Wikipedia for answers, students, educators, and citizens should understand its limitations when researching scientific topics that are politically charged. On entries subject to edit-wars, like , evolution, and global change, one can obtain – within seconds – diametrically different information on the same topic.”

And still it’s  not clear whether acid rain or global warming actually existed/exists.

Cholesterol lowering drugs and memory loss

Cholesterol lowering drugs and memory loss

Talk about drawing the wrong conclusion! This ridiculous study, already widely touted, and it was just published Source JAMA, examined memory loss in statin and non-statin drug users. Here are the conclusions from the abstract:

Both statin and nonstatin LLDs were strongly associated with acute memory loss in the first 30 days following exposure in users compared with nonusers but not when compared with each other. Thus, either all LLDs cause acute memory loss regardless of drug class or the association is the result of detection bias rather than a causal association.

Please take a moment to process this…He admits that all cholesterol-lowering drugs induce memory loss, but that MUST be an artifact, since he tried the experiment with dissimilar drugs.Oh, and results contrary to the mainstream gospel are always caused by detection bias, because people are just so stupid, right?25% of the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain, where it plays important roles in such things as membrane function, acts as an antioxidant, and serves as the raw material from which we are able to make things like progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, testosterone and even vitamin D.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.Here’s how we did it.


Hé, Nanninga, lik m’n 69-jarige reet eens! De huichelarij van Annabel Nanninga, de Vrijheid van Meningsuiting en de Popper-paradox

Hé, Nanninga, lik m’n 69-jarige reet eens! De huichelarij van Annabel Nanninga, de Vrijheid van Meningsuiting en de Popper-paradox

volledig mee eens…. pseudo intellectuele kwatsch van een leuk uitziend meisje… Misschien als ze wat ouder is dat de wijsheid nog daagt.

Martien Pennings

“For it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument”

Huilt Clio? Ja, Clio schreit haar ballen uit haar geile slipje!

Niet meer zo ontspannen over je knieën wrijven, Sjonnie, en je ogen wat meer scherp stellen, want anders gaan mensen denken dat de interviewer hasj gerookt heeft. En dat water drinken is natuurlijk ook aanstellerij, al krijg je van wiet wel een droge bek, natuurlijk.

Ik denk dat je niet ouder dan 19 jaar moet zijn én een flinke joint geconsumeerd moet hebben om het zeer uiterst relaxte en lááánge interview te kunnen waarderen dat SjonniedeKwatkwitter had op SteenGijl met Annabel Nanninga die ook zéér ontspannen haar casual brabbelzinnetjes produceert. Vet cool allemaal, maar vooral vermoeiend. Maar het ging over de Vrijheid van Meningsuiting en dat onderwerp ligt me na aan het hart, dus ik…

View original post 2,292 more words

The world’s wellness obsession has gone too far

The world’s wellness obsession has gone too far

For starters, there is evidence suggesting that paying attention to your happiness, a crucial part of well-being, can actually make you less happy. In one study, two groups watched a video that usually makes people happy – a figure skater winning a prize. Afterwards, participants filled in a questionnaire to assess happiness. The only difference was that before viewing the video, one group read a statement emphasising the importance of happiness and the other group did not. Those who did not read the statement were more happy after the video. Consciously focusing on our happiness can backfire.

An obsessive focus on wellness can also make us more judgmental, potentially worsening societal divisions. Those who highly value well-being tend to view those who don’t come up to their high standards as “disgusting”, even if the truth is they can’t afford a personal yoga instructor or the latest lifelogging technology.

A fascinating stream of research in moral psychology has found that when feelings of disgust are triggered, we tend to rapidly make highly punitive moral judgements. For example, we are more likely to harshly judge people who “turn our stomach” and we ascribe morally unattractive traits to them, such as being lazy and untrustworthy.

While workplace programmes promise great things, they sometimes deliver disappointing results. For instance, some studies have found wellness initiatives only helped a small number of employees lose on average half a kilogram over a year. While any weight loss is not to be sniffed at, it is uncertain whether such modest results are worth the billions spent achieving them.


New Scientist

How to Make More Published Research True

John P. A. Ioannidis

Summary Points

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

The 10 stuff-ups we all make when interpreting research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Understanding what’s being said in any new research can be challenging and there are some common mistakes that people make.

Have you ever tried to interpret some new research to work out what the study means in the grand scheme of things?

Well maybe you’re smart and didn’t make any mistakes – but more likely you’re like most humans and accidentally made one of these 10 stuff ups.

Original Article