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 »

Not dark yet, part 2

Featured imageWUMB’s Saturday morning radio show Highway 61 Revisited devoted its four hours yesterday to a celebration of Mr. Bob’s birthday today. Host Albert O played songs written by Dylan nonstop. Given the limits imposed by applicable law, he filled out the show with cover versions. It was an illuminating exercise. The variety of artists to have covered Dylan is wide. The Band, Solomon Burke, the Byrds, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, »

Not dark yet

Featured imageToday is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns 74. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, Dylan’s alma mater. A Dylan »

An uncertain kazoo, cont’d

Featured imageOn May 20 President Obama traveled to New London to deliver the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy. The White House transcript of the speech is posted here; the White House video is posted below. The White House blog posted photos featuring excerpts of the speech and the president in heroic poses here. In the Middle East, we see Iran asserting its power from Iraq and Yemen to Syria »

Happy Memorial Day To Me!

Featured imageMemorial Day is a holiday set aside to honor those who have died in America’s wars. Every year, many millions of Americans celebrate the day appropriately. At the same time, Memorial Day is also commonly seen as the beginning of summer. For lots of Americans, the day has no higher meaning than to fire up the grill and put on some burgers or brats. There isn’t much wrong with that, »

Standard Deviation Indeed

Featured imageThis 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 imageI 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 »

The Week in Pictures: Tactical Setback Edition

Featured imageISIS rolls over Ramadi and Palmyra, and Obama calls it a “tactical setback.” Hillary’s missing emails are a “tactical setback.” Riots in Baltimore and Ferguson? A “tactical sectback.” If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare subsidies next month in King v. Burwell? A “tactical setback,” I’m sure. Iran getting a nuclear weapon? Well it won’t happen on Obama’s watch, so it will be a “tactical setback” for someone else. And »

Democrats Say: We Fear Marco!

Featured imageThe New York Times headlines: “Prospect of Hillary Clinton-Marco Rubio Matchup Unnerves Democrats.” As well it should: They use words like “historic” and “charismatic,” phrases like “great potential” and “million-dollar smile.” They notice audience members moved to tears by an American-dream-come-true success story. When they look at the cold, hard political math, they get uneasy. An incipient sense of anxiety is tugging at some Democrats — a feeling tersely captured »

Is Hillary’s Candidacy Just Another Business Deal?

Featured imageJennifer Rubin notes this morning that Hillary’s obviously terrible campaign skills are getting noticed in the mainstream media. It’s so bad that Hillary is actually going to launch her campaign a second time next month with a big public rally. It is said that a lot of second- and third-tier Republican candidates (Carson, Huckabee, Fiorina, etc) are only running to enable them to get nice post-campaign media contracts from Fox »

A Police-Involved Shooting In Omaha

Featured imageOn Wednesday, Omaha police officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Marcus Wheeler, 26, who was wanted for an earlier shooting. Wheeler opened fire on the officers and killed one of them, Kerrie Orozco, 29: Officer Kerrie Orozco, 29, died at Creighton University Medical Center shortly after the 1 p.m. shooting, Schmaderer said at a news conference. Schmaderer said the suspect, 26-year-old Marcus Wheeler, also died at the hospital. »

Hillary’s Real Benghazi Problem

Featured imageYesterday the State Department released a handful of Hillary Clinton’s emails relating to Benghazi. They have been selected at least twice for release to the public, once by Hillary’s minions and once by the Department, so no one expected any bombshells. Nevertheless, I find them surprisingly interesting. This post addresses what I think is the most important point. I will cover a few smaller matters in a future post. This »

Obama’s big shtick

Featured imagePresident Theodore Roosevelt’s preferred diplomatic approach was to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” President Obama, by contrast, speaks falsely and carries a big shtick. Yesterday he carried his shtick to the Adas Israel congregation in Washington, DC. Obama held himself out as a friend of Israel. He likened his attitude to Israel to his attitude to the United States. He has “high expectations” of both. I take no »

Is ISIS crazy?

Featured imageISIS’s capture of Palmyra has aroused fears that the terrorists will smash the archaeological treasures of this ancient Semitic city. The fears are justified, given ISIS’s conduct in places like Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Mosul. But according to Nicolas Pelham, writing in the New York Review of Books, even as ISIS forces made a great show of destroying some antiquities on display in the museum in Mosul, the leadership was planning »

Today’s Energy Unicorn: The Scent of Musk

Featured imageWhat is it about Elon Musk? People must think his name is “Steve Jobs” in some obscure Slavic language. Sure, I think the Tesla is cool, and think they might lead to something useful some day, but right now they’re a boutique toy for affluent people. (A friend who drives a Tesla in a Midwestern state has a custom bumper sticker: “How do you like my coal-powered car?”) And I »

Obama expounds the limits of Iran’s anti-Semitism

Featured imageIn the course of his recent interview of President Obama — painful reading from beginning to end — Jeffrey Goldberg asked a somewhat challenging question regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. “You have argued,” Goldberg observed, “that people who subscribe to an anti-Semitic worldview, who explain the world through the prism of anti-Semitic ideology, are not rational, are not built for success, are not grounded in a reality that you »

More evidence that the criminal justice system is too lenient

Featured imageThe big local news in the Washington, D.C. area is the capture of Daron Wint and his arrest for the murder of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife and 10 year-old child, and his housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa. According to reports, Wint worked for the company Savopoulos owned and operated. The case against Wint appears to be extremely strong. Therefore, for purposes of this post, I will assume he committed the crimes. Wint »