Articles to 2011-09-22

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First the link to this week’s complete list.

Nice try by Godfrey to popularise his rather obscure research by linking it to another high-profile one and a resounding slap from Cerling for his presumptuousness. But we’re all so boringly subdued and polite today. Look at Nernst and Haber, when the former demonstrated that the latter had no idea what really was behind the Ammonia-synthesis he received the Nobel Prize for and went on to explain the real theory behind it, for how it ought to be done. Or at Newton on Leibniz if you prefer a true no-holds-barred punch up like on American television.

A big enough volcanic eruption can have measurable results far away and often has had. Transforming these effects into bodies, as Schmidt et al. have done, is based on a model, unfortunately a model that has already been debunked quite some time ago. See Milloy on Donora and Milloy on Franck.

Well, Suchow seals it for me. Now I shall never be published in nature, it’s the new Facebook-generation only and old fuddy-duddies are not wanted anymore.

I had read about the Dunning-Kruger effect years ago but never come round to listing the eponymous article in my database. Done now.

For the two articles by Calabrese I’ve also looked at Caspari 1948 and Uphoff 1949. The latter claims the opposite to Calabrese and Caspari, but its conclusion "A more detailed account of the work will be presented later." is a dead giveaway. That announced report has never appeared, which usually means the preliminary results turned out to be wrong. See [Dubben & Beck-Bornholt, Der Hund, der Eier legt, Rowohlt, Reinbek 1997, p. 86]

Spiegelhalter has a lot of good stuff for anyone writing papers with graphics in them. One point only: He harps on about readers with low numeracy skills, whom few if any of us write for, but in discussing colour he completely forgets the ten percent of the male key audience with colour deficient sight. Another good point he makes about percentages is "providing the reference class `days like tomorrow’ can help understanding". I’d like to amplify that. Quoting percentages without clearly stating percent of what is just as wrong as giving measurements as numbers without units. The worst violators here are geneticists.

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