Articles to 2019-10-18

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


Garnett et al. is rather unsurprising and neither is the size of the effect. Still they do offer quantitative confirmation and one point that needs to be stressed, because it's so rare nowadays: All their diagrams contain not just regression results but also raw data.


Peer review before publication is the best system we currently have, but it's still far from perfect. In this very blog strong criticism of negligent review takes up a lot of space. So it is not surprising that when trying to get rid of a contribution for entirely different reasons, a close look at the review for formal or substantial weaknesses is a promising line to follow.

Kupferschmidt documents a disturbing abuse of just that possibility. The attacker in this case is quite open about the fact that he found nothing wrong with the article in question and that his eagerness to suppress it is purely ad hominem and motivated by disapproval of the author alone. It is a sad day for scientific discourse, that the editors have let themselves be bullied into submission. A wrong and bad study should be allowed to sink on its own demonstrable weaknesses and not be suppressed by compliable mainstream correctness.


The fact that evolution is not purely stochastic but can be driven by environmental stress is about the best kept secret of biology and never spoken about to outsiders. It took me a log time and many slipped hints to catch on. Katsnelson et al. are going one step further and document a far reaching consequence of a strongly enhanced mutation rate.


I include science's working life here every week and always find it worth reading. Galton goes one big step further. Her contribution is worth archiving and citing time and time again. There was not much good about the East German party dictatorship, but their universities did enable many students to have children in their undergraduate years so that they were old enough for kindergarden by the time for graduation exams. Biologically the graduate years of working for the doctorate are already quite late and from what I often see of the tendency of older first-time parents towards helicopter parenting I consider it far from ideal.

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