Articles to 2013-11-30

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

What Bissell seems to imply is that, if a result published as a general feature for a certain kind of cells turns out only to be valid for one single proprietary cell line as used in the authors’ laboratory, a failure of replication is meaningless, because with the identical, original cells it can be replicated even if with no others. I contend that to the contrary just this situation is exactly what replication was instituted for at the dawn of science four centuries ago and that with today’s far more complicated setups with far more possibly unnoticed confounders it has become more important than ever.

Johnson points in the same direction. With an exponential rise of the number of publications plus a lack of replication, the number of spurious results rises at least proportionally and to stop us from drowning in noise the bar against pure chance has to be raised accordingly.

Conlon et al. may offer a way to avoid breeding resistancies, but with the proven incapability of medicine to contain the flood of antibiotics abuse I expect that too to be invalidated in just a couple of years.

Archaeological artefacts don’t complain about strong fields or noisy machines but can be of unwieldy shape or size and archaeologists are notoriously short of money. So maybe Inglis et al.’s breakthrough may prove valuable to them as well.

Hartman et al. provide a plausible hypothesis. But contrary to their article their results, while not disproving it, do not demonstrate it either. A strong and continuous demand may well have led to more intensive breeding in villages surrounding Jerusalem with the manuring of fodder, resulting in just the isotopic signature they have found.

Goebel et al. too offer no more than a plausible hypothesis. To accept their result as proof, one would have to assume a single datable find among many other undateable ones to also be the oldest, an assumption straining credibility beyond the breaking point.

Following Overpeck and Routson et al. (I could not access Cook) it seems that European climate optima coincide with bad drought in North America. If so and if there really is an ongoing climate amelioration just now, it may well spell trouble for American agricultural yields and thus for most of the current world’s surplus.

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