Science Reporting Has Become a Fake-News Scandal

first_imgOne reporter in a campus Press Relations office shouldn’t be able to influence the world’s view of science.Look at this over-the-top headline from Cambridge University: “Bag-like sea creature was humans’ oldest known ancestor.” I mean, really. Come on. This is your daddy?Credit: Cambridge UniversityYou’re not looking at a medieval helmet, but an artist’s impression of a “microscopic, bag-like sea creature, which lived about 540 million years ago,” according to some anonymous reporter in the Cambridge press office with a hyperactive imagination. The tiny fossil, about 1 millimeter in diameter, was found in China by sifting through sand. Exaggerations that this represents a ‘human ancestor’ should be subject to swift reproach by reasonable scientists. But they weren’t. Instead, all the world’s media immediately jumped to promote this new ‘finding of science,’ differing only in the creativity of their own over-the-top headlines and how much they enlarged the original artwork.Scientists find ‘oldest human ancestor’ (Pallab Ghosh at the BBC News)Tiny, 540-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor Didn’t Have an Anus (Laura Geggel at Live Science)Ancestor of all vertebrates was a big mouth with no anus (New Scientist staff and press association). This report claims that the conical structures are precursors of fish gills.This bag-like thing is your ancestor (Fox News Science)The normally-conservative Fox News story even includes a video with four excited young reporters gushing over how this 1-millimeter organism that hid among grains of sand hundreds of millions of Darwin Years ago is “our great-granddaddy” that “plays a key role in evolution” and shows “the evolutionary connections we have to animals that don’t look like us at all.” Not a word of skepticism can be found in any of these reports, even though the original paper in Nature says nothing about ‘ancestor’ or ‘human.’ Co-author Simon Conway Morris, a Cambrian fossil expert, would probably disdain any such characterization (see him in the film Darwin’s Dilemma, where he confirms the abrupt appearance of Cambrian animals—a very anti-Darwinian confession).How did it come to this, that journalists would become DOPE pushers?A welcome breath of skepticism appeared on the American Council on Science and Health website. In “How to Spot a Fake Science News Story,” Alex Berezow rips into the mess that science journalism has become. We last encountered his opinion on 2/04/13 where he challenged New Scientist and got them to admit their bias. Now, after a total of six years as a science reporter, he says he has “reached two disturbing conclusions about the craft” –First, too many science journalists don’t actually possess a well-rounded knowledge of science. In many cases, regular reporters are asked to cover complex science and health stories. What we end up with is entirely predictable: Articles that are nothing more than rehashed press releases, topped with click-bait headlines based on exaggerations and misunderstandings of the original research….Second, science journalists are every bit as biased as their more traditional counterparts, perhaps even more so. They routinely hold double standards in regard to analyzing science policies. They conflate scientific evidence with science policy, immediately labeling anyone “anti-science” if he or she disagrees with their cultural beliefs. Worse, science journalists feel no inhibition whatsoever to cheerlead openly for their favorite politicians and to heap scorn upon those they dislike. Just read Twitter.Those observations fit the “bag-like human ancestor” hype exactly. We have called out this problem repeatedly (see, for instance, 12/23/16, 12/16/15 and other entries in the category Issues/Media). Berezow follows up with 9 tips for spotting Fake Science: e.g., #5, “The article is sensationalized; i.e., it draws huge, sweeping conclusions from a single study” (hear that, Pallab Ghosh?). His tip #9 is witty; “The article is about evolutionary psychology” – thus he calls all of it fake science. Berezow’s article led to a lively discussion in the Comments. Berezow’s article was welcomed at Evolution News & Views, where David Klinghoffer listed 10 tips of his own for spotting fake news about intelligent design. (Note: Berezow is not an ID advocate, but Klinghoffer suspects “proponents of intelligent design will be nodding in affirmation as they read his excellent post.”)On a related story, veteran journalist and author Tom Bethell has a new book out: Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Evolution Debates. David Klinghoffer introduces it on Evolution News & Views with a challenge to science reporters: “A skeptical look at evolution is not beyond your powers.”We are one science site that does what the others should be doing: journalism. We check the empirical data on which claims are based with a critical eye. If it’s good work, we say so and show why. If it’s bad, we say so and show why. You don’t get rehashed press releases here. You don’t get cheerleading here. We cast down idols of the Bearded Buddha and clean up the mess of sacrificial brains left at his feet. That’s why our readers are so loyal. Now, help spread the word. (Visited 120 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Economy bounces back

first_imgThese two sectors – finance, real estate and business services, and wholesale, retail and motor trade – are among the three biggest in South Africa’s economy, accounting for 20.7% and 14% of GDP respectively in the second quarter. Manufacturing accounted for 15.9%. South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth was higher than expected in the second quarter, rising 4.9% quarter-on-quarter and 4.5% year-on-year, with mining and manufacturing bouncing back and agriculture also showing strength. Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said the data confirmed that a recession in South Africa was unlikely, although a more realistic appraisal of the state of the economy would only be possible once third- and fourth-quarter statistics became available. Strong performers in the second quarter were agriculture (nearly 20% growth), mining (15.6%) and manufacturing (14.5%). Busa said in a statement on Tuesday that, while it saw the second-quarter growth as largely a rebound following the country’s electricity crisis in the first quarter, the figures indicated that South Africa’s overall growth outlook remained positive. An improved outlook for international oil prices and inflation in the medium term also suggested that, though inflation could worsen in the months ahead, interest rates might have peaked. “If so, there is the potential for interest rates to begin to decline in about mid-2009,” the organisation said. But the country’s wholesale, retail and motor trade sector (including hotels and restaurants) shrank by 2.2%, its first contraction since 2001, as the combined five percentage point increase in interest rates over the past two years took its toll on consumer spending. 20 August 2008center_img Busa based its evaluation on the positive outlook for SA’s agricultural sector this year, improved reliability in the electricity supply, and the continued high level of capital investment in the country, especially the R500-billion investment in infrastructure the government is set to make over the next three years. SAinfo reporter. Sources: Finance, real estate and business services were similarly affected, with growth in the sector slowing further, from 4.9% in the first quarter to 2.3% in the second quarter. Releasing the latest figures on Tuesday, Statistics South Africa said that real quarterly GDP increased by 4.9% in the second quarter, compared to 2.1% growth in the first quarter. While 2008 would still be a tough year for businesses and consumers, Busa forecast economic growth of at least 3% for 2008 – well below the 5.1% South Africa achieved in 2007, but better than many have predicted in the context of a global economic slowdown. Statistics South AfricaBusiness Unity South AfricaSouth African Press AssociationBusiness Reportlast_img read more

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Let My P2P Go: Uncle Sam Eyes File Sharing Again

first_imgjolie odell Tags:#p2p#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img In the wake of a leak of an international trade agreement on online file-sharing and copyright violation, U.S. House representatives are introducing legislation to curtail the greatest of American freedoms: the illegal download.Let’s not kid ourselves, dear readers. P2P’s best use cases all revolve around the liberation of data, software, music, movies, and other copyrighted and rather expensive content. You may direct your angry emails to Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY-Dem.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.Towns is sponsoring the Federal Secure File-Sharing Act. Click the link and read it.At the outset, the bill proposes the banning of P2P software use for government employees and contractors “and for other purposes.” The bill mandates the long-term examination of “each open-network peer-to-peer file sharing software program” that might currently be in use by government and law enforcement personnel.Towns cited the exposure of sensitive information via such networks as the reason for the bill. He cited the following leaks as proof of the need for stricter P2P regulations:Schematics for the President’s helicopter, Marine One.Financial data on Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.Location of a U.S. Secret Service safe house for the First Family.Specifics of a House Ethics Committee document containing a list of ongoing investigations.But let us be realistic: Copyright claims, Creative Commons concerns, and IP violations are the molten core at the center of any legislation on P2P networks. And based on recent internationally agreed-upon efforts to uphold the claims and wishes of copyright holders, the U.S. government seems to be introducing yet more legislation to restrict piracy.Are P2P networks truly responsible for such serious security breaches? Or are these claims merely politically motivated scapegoats for government to crack down on user behaviors – behaviors that may need more examination than legal discipline?Most importantly, if this bill is made law, will it act as a precedent for stricter policing and eventual shutdown of P2P networks altogether? Or are we reactionary skeptics who need to calm down and quietly resume our download of our Hello, Dolly torrent files? Choose your own adventure in the comments. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Ishige proves she’s more than a pretty face as she makes a name in MMA

first_imgHer picturesque appearance doesn’t help her cause either, but with two stoppages under her belt Ishige knows she can break the stereotypical appearance of a fighter.“I always say martial art is my passion and when someone loves to do something, they give every thing to do it,” said Ishige. “Martial arts is my passion, I really give it all.”“It isn’t just me, there’s Angela Lee and Ann Osman they showed the world that girls can’t just do ballet or tennis, we can fight, and our abilities are the same as men’s.”ADVERTISEMENT Gonzales happy with Batangas’ q’finals feat despite exit MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rika Ishige. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOMACAU—Rika Ishige walked to the ONE Championship panel at The Venetian Thursday decked in a black Chinese sundress with a white feather boa draped around her neck—a stunning figure in the middle of a crowded hall.Her voice sounded of childish excitement, a stark contrast from what she’s about to do on Saturday at Cotai Arena here.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Ishige is on her third fight in ONE Championship, this time against Filipina debutante Jomary Torres in the Kings & Conquerors card.An event of such magnitude, especially in Asia, is set to catapult Ishige into greater heights—from an anonymous pretty face from Thailand to being the country’s “face” in female MMA.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“It’s an honor because last year nobody knew me,” said Ishige as she giggled from her realization. “But this year everybody knows me, I want to make not only the Thai women proud, I want to make Thailand proud and inspire everyone.”Standing a hair above five feet and weighing 48 kilograms, Ishige doesn’t look like someone who fights for a living. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’last_img read more

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Joel Embiid’s big night leads 76ers past Nets in possible playoff preview

first_imgWintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving JJ Redick scored 18 points and Ben Simmons had 16 points and eight assists for the 76ers, who snapped a two-game losing streak.The game matched teams that would’ve met in the first round of the playoffs had the postseason started Thursday. The 76ers have a strong hold on the No. 3 seed in the East with seven games remaining, and they moved three games ahead of idle Indiana.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“We might see them in the playoffs, so it was good to see where we’re at, especially after two losses,” Embiid said. “I’ve been feeling it. I’ve been getting ready. I’m excited.”Embiid has a bad taste in his mouth from last season’s second-round exit via Boston. In that series, Embiid was forced to wear a mask to protect an eye injury. He’s preparing for a deeper postseason run this time around. “It’s definitely going to be a different story,” he said.Embiid did his damage inside and outside against the Nets. The All-Star center got off to a fast start, scoring 14 of Philadelphia’s first 19 points while making five of seven shots, including all three 3-point tries.Joe Harris scored 22 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 19 for Brooklyn, which is clinging to a playoff spot.The Nets began Thursday sixth in the East, but dropped to seventh with Detroit’s 115-98 win over Orlando on Thursday. Brooklyn is a half-game in front of No. 8 Miami and just one game ahead of the ninth-place Magic and two games clear of No. 10 Charlotte.“We have to be better to beat a team like this,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess View comments Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Google Philippines names new country director Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. TIP-INSBrooklyn: Allen Crabbe (right knee) missed his sixth straight game. … The Nets dropped to 17-22 on the road. … Brooklyn struggled from the free-throw line, shooting 19 of 29. … Russell, who was averaging 28.3 points on the road trip, scored 13.Philadelphia: Assistant coach Billy Lange accepted the head coaching job at Saint Joseph’s University on Thursday. Lange’s duties coaching the defense will be assumed by Jim O’Brien. … Philadelphia improved to 30-9 at home and 13-7 since adding Tobias Harris.UP NEXTBrooklyn: Open a three-game homestand Saturday against Boston.Philadelphia: At Minnesota Saturday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Brooklyn finished a grueling seven-game road trip 2-5. And it doesn’t get easier for the Nets, who are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season.Brooklyn’s remaining six-game schedule includes contests against Boston, Toronto, Indiana, Miami and a pair vs. Milwaukee.“We have to recharge our batteries,” Atkinson said. “It’s been a long trip. We have to somehow get that juice back. We lacked a little juice tonight.”Philadelphia surged to an early lead and never let go.Helped by making eight of their first 10 3-point attempts, the 76ers led by as many as 20 points in the first half before settling for a 68-58 lead at the break. The Nets closed to within six at 71-65 and had a chance to cut it to four with Rodions Kurucs at the line for two free throws 2:42 into the third quarter. But Kurucs missed both foul shots, and Philadelphia ran off 10 straight to take a 15-point lead.“It’s really bitten us,” Atkinson said of the free-throw shooting. “You have to make your free throws.”TECHNICALLY SPEAKINGThe teams received a combined four technical fouls. Three of the fouls came in the first half, all from referee Scott Foster for arguing calls. For Philadelphia, Embiid and Jimmy Butler were whistled for techs, while Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell received one. Simmons was called for a tech in the second half for dissent.HEAD GAMEEmbiid, Butler and Mike Scott wore tie-back headbands. It was Embiid’s idea, and the big man said he might stick to the fashion statement after draining three 3-pointers. Bucks stop Clippers, but Antetokounmpo aggravates ankle MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, center, drives to the basket as Brooklyn Nets’ Jared Dudley, right, and Ed Davis, left, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid is raising his game in anticipation of the playoffs.Embiid had 39 points, 13 rebounds and six assists to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 123-110 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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