Tag Archives: science

Bias against negative studies

We probably all agree that a publication bias against negative studies will severely distorts our opinion. To repeat an earlier Nature letter

Why negatives should be viewed as positives … This filtering of results undoubtedly biases the information available to scientists (see, for example “Null and void” Nature 422, 554–555; 2003). And communication is at the heart of science.

Here is an email that I received from the editor Continue reading Bias against negative studies

Just Science Week

The Just Science 2008 will start next week – and here is my last chance to say something non scientific: Science is a method, that has certain prerequisites, works under certain conditions while using techniques with strengths and limitations and is leading to certain conclusions evident to some but not all humans. Needless to say that from a protestant / Lutheran view that there are other ways to explain a phenomenon while providing even extra dimensions like giving an ethical justification.

Haldane / When I am dead / 1928: I am not myself a materialist, because, if materialism is true, it seems to me that we cannot know that it is true. If my opinions are the results of a chemical processes going on in my brain, they are determined by the laws of chemistry, not those of logic.

More at the recent immersion blog post

Kuhn is Kant on wheels

I liked that quote from Professor Lipton in a recent essay about the “World of Science” where he repeats his earlier “Kuhn is Kant on wheels“:

Like Kant, Kuhn held that the world described by science is a world partially constituted by cognition. But whereas Kant held that there is only one form the human contribution could take, Kuhn argued that the contribution changes as science changes. Kuhn is Kant on wheels.

I am more attracted by an objectivist than a constructivist view — where the world has its own structure that is only revealed by science (at least in part) and religion (also in other parts). As I am currently reading Klemke – probably one of the best books in the field – maybe that will change my mind? Nay, nay.

Face recognition, face value

With a new child, people are always asking if the baby looks like the father or the mother – probably a prehistoric social reflex to confirm that this is your offspring that you are caring about.
Face recognition clearly is a science of its own – a lot of heuristics and Bayesian computing – more at face-rec.org – and even a big business if you think of automatic passport control or age determination for goods that are only allowed for adults.
Face recognition works quite robust as I found in the advanced online demo at betaface.com. A new browser plugin from polar rose will even allows to annotate web pictures – Orwell meets Flickr.

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Science elite in Germany

Three German universities that have been elected into an excellence cluster. This oracle isn´t too bad for me ;-) as I have been raised close to the first and teached at both other universities.
Yes, I agree, there are some differences but – as science is done mainly by individuals or at least local teams – the differences are not so large and this election (for whatever criteria) doesn’t have so much meaning.
I believe, however, there will be some self-fulfilling prophecy, as on the longterm run these Universities will attract more excellent people – a point being missed in the current discussion. Yea, yea.

Addendum

Another 8 universitites enter the club: HU Berlin, FU Berlin, Göttingen, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Konstanz, Aachen and Bochum.

Blog together

Just read the entry of Janet D. Stemwedel about the 2007 North Carolina Science Blogging Conference, a “free, open and public event for scientists, educators, students, journalists, bloggers and anyone interested in discussing science communication, education and literacy on the Web.” Do not miss her tag “Shameless self-promotion” ;-) Three editors from The Lancet will take up to 49 registrants. Who can give me a free ride from Munich (bonus miles welcome)?