These final assorted links were found in draft mode. – Amy
- Postdoc leaves academia (fMRI emotion research). “I actually ran into that process in three different labs, two of which were at TopUniversityA with PIs who I highly revered and respected. It’s just how it goes in those fields…remove all of the negative results, don’t actually report the ridiculous number of fishing expeditions you went on (especially in fMRI research), make it sound like you mostly knew what you were going to find in the first place, make it a nice clean story. When my colleagues (from a well-known, well-respected emotion research lab) were trying to talk me into removing all of the negative results and altering what my original hypothesis was, literally saying “everyone does it…” that was it for me. I had a sinking feeling that everyone did do it that way and that I couldn’t trust the majority of work I had to depend on/reference myself. The level of denial in psychology and human neuroimaging research that this process just clogs the system with useless BS is something I just can’t stomach.” Devastating criticism — especially finding the same thing in three different labs. I believe nothing involving fMRI and psychology. My friend Hal Pashler wrote about this. At UC Berkeley, the fMRI machine used by psychology researchers malfunctioned for years. Nobody noticed. Only when someone from UC Davis got different results at Berkeley was the problem detected.
- interview with me about the Shangri-La Diet. The questions do a good job of making the mechanism clear.
- Little or no benefit of antidepressants when children are asked
Thanks to Nile McAdams and Alex Chernavsky.
Thanks to Alex Chernavsky.
Thanks to Aaron Blaisdell and Peter Lewis.
- How little is known about tinnitus
- Michael Lewis on Greg Smith’s book. Published months ago. “The dystopia often imagined in the world of artificial intelligence—in which computers somehow take on a life of their own and come to rule mankind—has actually happened in the world of finance. The giant Wall Street firms have taken on lives of their own, beyond human control. The people flow into and out of them but have only incidental effect on their direction and behavior.”
- The price of admission to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Businessmen seeking ministry contracts learned of Zhang’s nomination and offered to help. . . . Zhang, using a slush fund provided by the businessmen, cloistered 30 experts from mostly ministry-affiliated universities and research institutes in a hotel for 2 months, during which time they churned out three books on high-speed rail technology that were credited to Zhang.”
- Why was Matthew Shepard killed? I have not yet read this book (I will) but it sounds so good I am happy to publicize it before that. It is being ignored. It supports a theme of Ron Unz and this blog, that lots of what we are told is wrong.
- Someone leaving graduate school at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne explains why he is leaving only a few months before finishing his Ph.d. His complaints about professional (academic) science resemble mine — for example, the dominant role of will this help my career? in all decisions.
Thanks to Joyce Cohen and Allan Jackson.
If you google “Ranjit Chandra” (a famous Canadian nutrition researcher), the second result is this page, created by me, which lists many articles about a scandal that Saul Sternberg and I did a lot to to uncover. We pointed out that several details of one of Chandra’s papers were impossible. I did not create the page to harm Chandra, but it does: For the rest of his life, anyone curious about him will find out about the scandal. It is a scarlet letter with capital S and capital L.
I suspect this is why Leiden University recently fired a scientist without naming him/her.
Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) has fired an employee who has committed fraud in the collection of research data. An internal inquiry showed that the employee deliberately manipulated laboratory research. The employee has confessed and accepted the dismissal. Additionally, the LUMC withdraws two scientific publications by this employee. The fraud was discovered by immediate colleagues at the Rheumatology Department.
A deal was struck. The employee won’t contest the firing, the medical center won’t name the employee in the press release. The employee didn’t want the scandal to follow him/her for the rest of their life.
I disagree with this deal. As a result of the employee’s fabrication, a clinical trial was started in which sick people ingested or had injected a powerful drug. The university claims no one was hurt (“It is clear that at no time a dangerous situation has arisen for patients”). I have no idea if anyone was hurt, but the potential for damage was great. Last night a friend told me about a Traditional Chinese Medicine drug that a friend of hers took. It worked for years and then one day stopped working. It came from China. It turned out the Chinese manufacturer had run out of the crucial ingredient and had substituted an animal tranquilizer. Her friend was really damaged by this. Chandra’s data might have caused people to take too many vitamins.
The medical center employees who handled this case (presumably very high up in medical center administration) treated the rest of us — who deserve to be warned about the fabricator — not so differently than the fabricator did: as people who don’t matter. Who don’t deserve protection.
More A comment at Retraction Watch says the anonymity is Dutch tradition: “The names of the people are not published so that these people have a chance of rebuilding their lives in the future. In the Netherlands even people who have committed serious crimes do not have their full name or photo published in the press.”
Thanks to Alex Chernavsky and dearime.
Thanks to Nandalal and Bryan Castañeda.
In response to allegations that Terry Deacon, a Berkeley professor, plagiarized from Alicia Juarrero, a professor at a community college, UC Berkeley created a website that (among other things) tried to smear Michael Lissack, one of the accusers. Less obvious is that the committee that investigated the allegations ignored their core: The overlap with Juarrero is relentless. It goes on and on. Juarrero explained this to me when I asked her what she thought of the committee report:
I’m disappointed, but not surprised. Not sure what the difference is between “reckless” (which their definition of plagiarism includes) and “negligent” (which they critiqued as a “novel interpretation” of plagiarism). I’ll tell you how my cri de coeur spreadsheet came about: as I read Deacon [Incomplete Nature] I got angrier and angrier, so I decided to start the spreadsheet. The index in my own book [Dynamics in Action] is very bad (my fault, my inexperience) and so I was having a hard time finding the parallel material in my own work. I knew I had said something to that effect somewhere in the book but couldn’t remember where and couldn’t find the entry in my own index. But suddenly, a pattern emerged: All I had to do was read on a few pages or paragraphs further down from the previous “problem,” and there would be the next item. This happened over and over again in huge chunks of the work (which I highlighted to point out the big chunks of seriatim similarities) — it’s the seriatimness (!) that’s so damning and to me, clear evidence this wasn’t just someone who vaguely remembered what I had said in a talk and then reconstructed the ideas for himself. The sheer number and sequential nature of the similarities are just too improbable to be a coincidence, or two people working in the same field. He was quite clever about it. He hid it with neologisms, talking about whole-part instead of top-down causality, insisting that self-organization is not enough (and then turning around in advocating it), etc. And, of course, not discussing intentional action, which is the explicit subject of my book. Continue reading “Why Alicia Juarrero Got Mad at Terry Deacon”
Terry Deacon is a professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley. I have blogged about the accusation of plagiarism (using Alicia Juarrero’s ideas without citing her) against him. In addition to the website accusing him of plagiarism, there is now a website at berkeley.edu (UC Berkeley) meant to restore his reputation. It contains the report of a UC Berkeley committee that concluded there was not enough evidence to be sure Deacon had gotten certain ideas from Juarerro, whom he had heard talk about them. Except in one instance, they could also not conclude the opposite — that he did not get certain ideas from Juarrero. There wasn’t enough evidence to be sure of that, either.
The new website attempts to discredit Michael Lissack, one of Deacon’s accusers. Here, in its entirety, is how the website describes Lissack:
Continue reading “New Terry Deacon Website”
The panel that chose the winners of the first John Maddox Prize — Colin Blakemore, a British psychologist, Tracey Brown (Sense About Science), Phil Campbell (Nature), and Brenda Maddox — deserve a prize for Most Contentious Award. The Maddox Prize is supposed to be awarded to people who have excelled at:
any kind of public activity, including all forms of writing, speaking and public engagement, in any of the following areas:
- Addressing misleading information about scientific or medical issues in any forum.
- Bringing sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate.
- Helping people to make sense of a complex scientific issue.
The first winners, announced in November, were Simon Wessely, a British psychiatrist, and Fang Shi-min, a Chinese journalist. Criticism of Fang is here. Criticism of Wessely is here (in the comments) and here. One of his papers is here. Wessely is best known for promoting the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In particular, “he and his colleagues demonstrated substantial overlap in symptoms between chronic fatigue syndrome and clinical depression. . . . He subsequently developed a treatment approach using cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques, which in many cases brought about substantial improvement.”
The puzzle is that this is considered significant. Maybe people with CFS are depressed because they have CFS? Maybe this is why CBT helps them? A statement explaining the reward does not answer this objection. As for Fang, I have no idea if he deserves the prize. I would be surprised if members of the prize committee could judge for themselves the accuracy and value of his work.
Thanks to Dave Lull and Alex Chernavsky.