Author Archives: Steven Hayward

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 6

Featured image Did any readers take note of the recent stories appearing in the news media that eating chocolate is actually good for weight loss, such as the June issue of Shape magazine which ran an article entitled “Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily”? Yesterday on the science website io9.com, German molecular biologist Johannes Bohannon explained how he pulled it off with a statistically weak study that several science journals accepted with »

The FIFA Scandal: As Usual, The Simpsons Was There First

Featured image I’ll defer to Paul at Power Line’s sports desk for the definitive understanding of the FIFA scandal, but it is worth noting that “The Simpsons” was on to the matter a while ago (just over 1 minute): »

Breaking: Hastert Indicted

Featured image This one is a stunner out of nowhere. News is breaking this afternoon of a federal indictment of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), for the crime of making “structured withdrawals” to avoid banking laws requiring reporting of transactions over $10,000—a law chiefly intended to hinder narcotics and other illegal activities. The seven-page indictment (PDF file) suggests a significant personal scandal, involving Hastert agreeing to make regular $50,000 »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 5

Featured image We began this new occasional series with the story of the Science magazine study about how people changed their mind on gay marriage based on a short conversations with a real live gay people, but in which the data was faked by the graduate student co-author, Michael LaCour. It now appears that LaCour, whose pending appointment at Princeton based on his work is in doubt, made up more than just »

Sanders Save the Children Fund

Featured image I’m starting to think Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign is going to supply a great deal of high quality entertainment in this presidential cycle. His economic ignorance—too many choices of deodorant!—is right out of the 1950s (but then, as Glenn Reynolds noted his morning, the whole Democratic field has a Lawrence Welk feel to it). Leave it to Remy to offer Bernie some fundraising help: Of course, Sanders is known to »

Uncommon Smackdown in the Commons

Featured image Very interesting first day of the new Parliament in Britain this morning, where some Labourites expressed their anger at the SNP—the Scottish nationalists who crushed Labour’s former stronghold up north and threaten to make Labour a permanent minority party—but which culminated in the Speaker of the House upbraiding the new SNP members for not being ready for prime time.  Just one minute long, and worth every bit: »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 4

Featured image Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet, the pre-eminent medical journal that was stung by one of the worst science frauds of the last decade (Andrew Wakefield’s phony vaccine-autism link paper), has a fascinating note reporting on the conversations at a recent conference of scientists in the UK about the problems of scientific review. A few of his statements are genuinely eye-popping: “A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m »

Memo to the Gas Industry: You’re Next

Featured image Lenin said capitalists would sell the rope with which they’d be hanged, which intersects Churchill’s famous definition that  “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Both of these came to mind a couple years back when the news leaked out that Chesapeake Energy had secretly given $26 million to the Sierra Club to boost the Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign that was compelling many »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 3

Featured image Our first installment in this series took note of the NY Times op-ed by Adam Marcus, managing editor of Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, and Ivan Oransky, global editorial director of MedPage Today (both are co-founders of retractionwatch.com), but now they’re back with another, longer piece at Nautilus that goes into more detail, and offers more shocking examples (such as the Japanese scientist who fabricated a whopping 183 papers that got »

The Law of Unintended Consequences Hits Liberals Again

Featured image We’ve noted here many times the economic illiteracy of the minimum wage, and even the media are picking up on the perverse effects the $15 minimum wage is having on low-margin businesses such as San Francisco comics shops or fast food restaurants installing touch screens to replace counter clerks (and how long before we have robotic burger flippers?), but this won’t deter liberals. When I explain to students the 1923 »

Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 2

Featured image We’ve been following the story of the apparently fraudulent article in Science about whether people will change their mind about gay marriage after a short conversation with a real live gay person (I guess watching Will & Grace and Modern Family reruns just doesn’t quite do the trick), as well as yesterday’s excellent op-ed in the NY Times about the pervasive problem of scientific journals and media credulity. Tomorrow’s New York Times »

New Explanation for The Warming Pause

Featured image We’ve reported before on various explanations for the current “pause” in global warming that we’re told is not happening, now going on for nearly 18 years. According to a study published last week in Nature Geoscience, the culprit may be the Indian Ocean: The Indian Ocean may be the dark horse in the quest to explain the puzzling pause in global warming, researchers report on 18 May in Nature Geoscience. The »

How Is “Liberation Theology” Still a Thing?

Featured image The New York Times reports on the front page today Pope Francis’s revival of “liberation theology”—a radical creed from the 1970s and 1980s that at the time I summarized as “Marxism with salsa.” Quoth the Times: [Pope Francis] is directly engaging with a theological movement that once sharply divided Catholics and was distrusted by his predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. . . Liberation theory includes a critique of »

John Nash, RIP

Featured image Sad news this morning of the car accident death, at age 86, of Nobel Prize winning economist and mathematician John Nash, made more publicly famous (if not entirely accurately) in A Beautiful Mind. A psychiatrist friend posted the following note on Facebook about the news: Let me try, surely in vain, to set the record straight as there are so many subtle but horrifying myths that the Left has created »

Behind Science Fraud

Featured image We reported here the other day about the latest fraudulent article in Science magazine, but don’t miss the op-ed about the broader problem of science fraud in today’s New York Times by Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky (who is one of the founders of RetractionWatch). Here’s the most relevant excerpt: Science fetishizes the published paper as the ultimate marker of individual productivity. And it doubles down on that bias with »

Standard Deviation Indeed

Featured image This photo is reported to be from the graduation program for Columbia University’s MA degrees in statistics. Two observations: First, the mode is fairly obvious. Second, I’m willing to bet that none of these graduates toted a mattress across the stage when picking up his or her diploma. »

Chris Pratt’s Pre-Emptive Apology

Featured image I haven’t really followed the acting career of Chris Pratt very closely, though I did enjoy him as the lead in the surprisingly effective Guardians of the Galaxy last year. He’s in the upcoming Jurassic World, and he’s posted on Facebook a “pre-emptive” apology that suggests he might be a Common Sense Fellow Traveler. This is a work of considerable literary skill: I want to make a heartfelt apology for »