02 December 2011

Notes From Friday's Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal beat the Arizona Republic this morning, 2-1, in stories that caught my interest enough to read all the way through. The first started just below the fold on the front page and continued on page A16, entitled Scientists' Elusive Goal: Reproducing Study Results, somewhat elusive itself when it comes to meaning.

The article's main purpose was to reveal "one of medicine's dirty secrets:Most results, including those that appear in top-flight peer-reviewed journals, cannot be reproduced."(my italic emphasis). Not only the best journals but also scientists from places like Harvard Medical School could not have their work be reproduced by Amgen before it started spending serious money. This is not just an occasional failure either but at least half of actionable studies could not be reproduced. So, it is not just our friends in the climatology field who are fiddling their results. For some reason I am very sad.

The same issue of the WSJ featured an op-ed by Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and emeritus professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, entitled Absolute Certainty Is Not Scientific, in which he points out that "global warming alarmists betray their own cause when they declare that it is irresponsible to question them." Both articles are worth reading in their entirety.

Oh I almost forgot the Arizona Republic article that caught my attention. That was the news that Loretta Young, see the picture above from a 1933 movie, mothered a love-child with that cad Clark Gable, there he is to the left, back in 1935. Ms Young pretended she had adopted her own daughter. Apparently the daughter died recently, having put out the truth in a book a decade or two ago, which I missed. These things are treated differently these days, and the horses are not scared either. I am sad, but not as sad as I was about the WSJ article.

Of course, because we are newbies in this area, we always read Valley 101, written by Clay Thompson, the Back Page Sage of the Valley. There is always something useful or funny or both in his articles. And I like his writing style too.

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