Bad Science Reporting in Action

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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Doctor X » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:06 am

For which we blame you.

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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Anaxagoras » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:41 am

Here's a gem from the LA Times:

How to save at least 32,000 lives each year: Replace male doctors with female ones
Doctors from Harvard have an intriguing suggestion for saving 32,000 lives each year: Make sure all senior citizens who wind up in the hospital are treated by female doctors.
No, I don't think that's what they said. The study supposedly found a correlation. What it means is another question, although they did cite other research that suggests that women doctors are more likely to follow the recommended guidelines or something, and that this might be a reason. Also the male doctors in the study treated significantly more patients than the female ones. They did control for things like severity of illness at least.

Here's the study, fwiw:

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaint ... le/2593255

Anyway, since doctors don't just grow on trees, I don't see how you could just "replace" the male ones with female ones.
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:49 pm

Anaxagoras wrote:Anyway, since doctors don't just grow on trees, I don't see how you could just "replace" the male ones with female ones.
Easy.

Just declare them female.

Problem solved. :)
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:32 am

Nyarlathotep wrote:So today I have seen umpteen million variations on this headline


Have researchers discovered an alien MEGASTRUCTURE? 'Bizarre' star could be surrounded by a Dyson sphere built by extraterrestrials, researchers claim

(yes, I realize this is the Daily Fail. But I have seen variations on the theme from other, more respectable publications and none of them are much better)

This is a prime example of how the media gets science reporting wrong. Basically the researchers said that an 'alien megastructure" is one possible explanation for the weirdness they noticed with this star, but not the only one and far from the most likely, still it is likely enough that it bears further looking into.' Now, aliens even being in the running for an explanation is pretty damned exciting but its a far cry from the way its being painted as scientists finally discovering extraterrestrials.

Pretty much a textbook case of how the media fucks up reporting on scientific discoveries every single time.
NASA may have finally figured this one out, but as you might expect, those hoping for an "alien megastructure" will be disappoint.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6963
Mysterious Dimming of Tabby's Star May Be Caused by Dust
Just some plain old dust.

Image
One of the most mysterious stellar objects may be revealing some of its secrets at last.

Called KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian's Star, or Tabby's Star, the object has experienced unusual dips in brightness -- NASA's Kepler space telescope even observed dimming of up to 20 percent over a matter of days. In addition, the star has had much subtler but longer-term enigmatic dimming trends, with one continuing today. None of this behavior is expected for normal stars slightly more massive than the Sun. Speculations have included the idea that the star swallowed a planet that it is unstable, and a more imaginative theory involves a giant contraption or "megastructure" built by an advanced civilization, which could be harvesting energy from the star and causing its brightness to decrease.

A new study using NASA's Spitzer and Swift missions, as well as the Belgian AstroLAB IRIS observatory, suggests that the cause of the dimming over long periods is likely an uneven dust cloud moving around the star. This flies in the face of the "alien megastructure" idea and the other more exotic speculations.

The smoking gun: Researchers found less dimming in the infrared light from the star than in its ultraviolet light. Any object larger than dust particles would dim all wavelengths of light equally when passing in front of Tabby's Star.

"This pretty much rules out the alien megastructure theory, as that could not explain the wavelength-dependent dimming," said Huan Meng, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, who is lead author of the new study published in The Astrophysical Journal. "We suspect, instead, there is a cloud of dust orbiting the star with a roughly 700-day orbital period."
:(
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Doctor X » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:36 am

Oh you believe NASA, Anax? :freedom:

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"It was the criticisms of Doc X, actually, that let me see more clearly how far the hypocrisy had gone."--clarsct
"I'd leave it up to Doctor X who has been a benevolent tyrant so far."--Grammatron
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Anaxagoras » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:33 am

This has to be the worst kind: Sometimes they just report what somebody said in a Facebook post without verifying anything.

Energy Drink Results in Hole in Expectant Father's Skull? (Snopes)
A deleted Facebook post alleged that a man's energy drink consumption caused a brain hemorrhage requiring the surgical removal of part of his skull.

CLAIM
Energy drinks caused an expectant father to lose a large portion of his skull.

RATING
UNPROVEN
ORIGIN
More than a week after it was published, a 3 October 2017 Facebook post purporting to depict the aftermath of an expectant father’s brain hemorrhage and surgery went viral. The post, which was subsequently deleted from the Facebook page of photography company Endres Photography, described the testimony of a client named Brianna, who asserted that this life-altering event was caused by her husband’s excess consumption of energy drinks:

The doctors concluded (after running his tox screen and ruling out drugs) that this horrible event was due to his recent excessive energy drink consumption (a habit he had built when he started working longer hours and commuting).
Fox News was among the sites that picked up Brianna’s click-friendly story, but no one reporting on the topic appeared to look further than her Facebook post to verify whether the details were accurate or correct. Dates, locations, and other information necessary to verify her husband Austin’s purported diagnosis were missing from news accounts; instead, those reports incorporated quotes and screenshots from a single secondhand Facebook post. Articles on the subject did not even include statements from doctors verifying that the information presented was credible or medically plausible.
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Witness » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:58 am

↑ There's no lower limit, Anax. :mrgreen:
Let's keep it at "science reporting", not anecdote spreading.

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There's also a fun take on bad science methodology on this blog (mostly about psychology): https://hardsci.wordpress.com/2016/08/1 ... -syllabus/. Admittedly it's long, but worth a peek.

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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by Pyrrho » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:44 pm

Anaxagoras wrote:This has to be the worst kind: Sometimes they just report what somebody said in a Facebook post without verifying anything.

Energy Drink Results in Hole in Expectant Father's Skull? (Snopes)
A deleted Facebook post alleged that a man's energy drink consumption caused a brain hemorrhage requiring the surgical removal of part of his skull.

CLAIM
Energy drinks caused an expectant father to lose a large portion of his skull.

RATING
UNPROVEN
ORIGIN
More than a week after it was published, a 3 October 2017 Facebook post purporting to depict the aftermath of an expectant father’s brain hemorrhage and surgery went viral. The post, which was subsequently deleted from the Facebook page of photography company Endres Photography, described the testimony of a client named Brianna, who asserted that this life-altering event was caused by her husband’s excess consumption of energy drinks:

The doctors concluded (after running his tox screen and ruling out drugs) that this horrible event was due to his recent excessive energy drink consumption (a habit he had built when he started working longer hours and commuting).
Fox News was among the sites that picked up Brianna’s click-friendly story, but no one reporting on the topic appeared to look further than her Facebook post to verify whether the details were accurate or correct. Dates, locations, and other information necessary to verify her husband Austin’s purported diagnosis were missing from news accounts; instead, those reports incorporated quotes and screenshots from a single secondhand Facebook post. Articles on the subject did not even include statements from doctors verifying that the information presented was credible or medically plausible.
Story here, with photos

https://www.boredpanda.com/energy-drink ... na-austin/
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Re: Bad Science Reporting in Action

Post by sparks » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:53 pm

If true, I'm surprised the poor buggar is still alive. Didn't know one could lose half a brain and live. On the other hand: Republicans.
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