Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Some science stories, consolidated

I don't want to post too many posts and I've been storing up links for the past few days. So I'll just post all of them in this. Hope you like at least some of it.

Climate conspiracy psychology paper retracted

In 2012, Lewandwosky, Oberauer, and Gignac published a paper "NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore,(Climate) Science Is a Hoax An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science" in Psychological Science. Using survey data, its primary finding was that people who are conspiracy theorists (e.g.: did the FBI kill MLK Jr) are also endorsers of scientific contrarianism (e.g.: that anthropogenic climate change is not a thing).


This study obviously angered some people, particularly people who are climate contrarians. So Lewandwosky, Cook, Oberauer, and Marriot-Hubble online published a second paper, in Frontiers in Psychology, discussing some of the feedback from the previous paper, which they referred to as LOG12. This second paper, "Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation" reported on how online commentators quickly jumped from just badmouthing the authors of LOG12 to attacking university executives, media organizations, and the Australian government. Note: all of these were comments made on public websites, so no one's privacy was in anyway violated, and no one not using their real name was cited with their real name.

The people who run climate contrarian websites did not like this new paper, mostly because it called them and their commentators out for being crackpots. So they did the logical thing: they threatened to sue the journal for libel. Frontiers in Psychology quickly "provisionally" withdrew the paper, and a year later they are retracting the article. The article remains visible online because a university is hosting it, and the university is more willing to put up with potential libel lawsuits than a journal.


Nate Silver: not a climate witch

Nate Silver is a guy you heard of if you were paying attention to the internet during the US 2012 presidential elections. He has a website nowadays. On it, he had Roger Pielke Jr. write a post on it about climate change's effect on the costs of weather disasters. In said post, Dr. Pielke claimed that increases in weather disaster costs are not caused by anthropogenic climate change. Dr. Pielke has made this claim multiple times before, to the point wherein Dr. John Holdren, science advisor to the White House, felt the need to debunk Pielke's claims.


This is apparently not the first time that Mr. Silver has had issues with climatology, his 2012 book apparently argued that climate model uncertainties are so large that they should be, for all intents and purposes, ignored, which seems like a really weird conclusion to come to.

Anthropogenic global warming: still a thing

The UN's World Meterological Organisation published its 2013 annual climate report. The 21st century continues to be warmer than the 20th. The WMO report spends a small bit of time focusing on Australia, wherein this trend is most obvious: one year of the 20th century was as warm, or warmer, than every year of the 21st.


Bit of a long write-up about how annoying climate contrarians are

To make it into a blurb: they're annoying because they're often asking questions that have already been answered, and generally wasting everyone's time. Which is why I still long for a downvote button on Kinja.


Which diet is best for health?

I don't know if this got onto the mainpage, I think it might have. Two researchers from Yale put together a paper trying to figure out which diet, including several current fad diets, is optimal. Long story short: A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention and is consistent with the salient components of seemingly distinct dietary approaches.


So don't eat fried bacon everyday and expect to live without some possible health side effects.

U.S. taxpayers paying for young-Earth creationist teaching

14 states currently bill public taxpayers for the costs of private pseudoscientific education. That means that the map earlier shown on both Observation Deck and io9's frontpage showing where YEC is being taught under-estimated the number of places wherein it is legal. Yikes.


Cosmos is talking to young-earth creationists/ID proponents

In spite of what a dude working at Answers in Genesis/the Creation Museum might claim, Cosmos is addressing YECs and ID proponents. It's addressing them by showing, in pop-sci language, why they're wrong. That's kind of the best way that science can work as an antidote for wrong ideas: explain in great detail why the wrong idea is wrong.


New Cambrian fossil ate plankton

Vinther et al. report on a new Early Cambrian anomalocarid that was a suspension feeder. That's basically the earliest known "large" bodied animal that occupied such a niche, showing that being a plankton bulk feeder has been a productive ecological strategy for half a billion years.

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