Kommentare zu Zeitschriftartikeln aus 2011

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(11-12-28) Articles to 2011-12-28

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

And once more another proposition of the "our forebears were all idiots", "tradition is always wrong", "new and different is always better" school has fallen flat on its face in the light of objective evidence ...

(11-12-21) Articles to 2011-12-21

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

I’m sorry, but the reply by Priyadarshi et al. is total and utter nonsense. When the Tsunami came, and for several hours after, all four reactor blocks and cooling systems were intact ...

(11-12-15) Articles to 2011-12-15

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

Finally Crocker & Cooper come round to addressing the crux of the fraud problem. Wicherts strongly reminds me of Richard P. Feynman on cargo cult science – diligently copying the outer trappings of what scientists do ...

(11-12-07) Articles to 2011-12-07

First the link to this week’s complete list.

I know breast feeding is a bit of a pet subject with me, but according to Caspi et al. its effect on IQ is quite pronounced, about ½ σ, for all but a small genetic minority.

According to Molkentin & Giesemann there are real measurable differences between organic and mass produced milk. ...

(11-12-01) Articles to 2011-12-01

First the link to this week’s complete list.

I find it very funny how the innocuous little story from the list of Oct 22nd draws out the feminists of both sexes in Gerardin. Structurally it’s very similar to the ones about Santa [nature 456 (2008), 1007--1008] and Neanderthals [nature 453 (2008), 562] but neither of those has such well organised lobby groups with vested interests behind them. With all the power and finance in lobbying I’m never sure ...

(11-11-23) Articles to 2011-11-23

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Crocker makes some pertinent points but completely ignores the facts starting to come out. From Callaway and Vogel of last week it becomes clear, there was more than one warning sign in his data that ought to have aroused suspicion. They didn’t. The scientific method relying on reproducibility and reproduction has completely failed here. ...

(11-11-17) Articles to 2011-11-17

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Ramsden et al. are in conflict with decades old dogma. The next step must be to find out, what drives these changes.

The article to go with Callaway and Holmes is broken on the nature website and so far they have not seen fit to do anything about my error report.

(11-11-05) Articles to 2011-11-05

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Unfortunately Attar and van Bakel are unable to give any hint about the time when the cultivation of psychoactive hemp came about. Sherratt sees it used in the earliest Neolithic but offers little proof.

Knappett is another example of climate-culture interaction.

(11-10-27) Articles to 2011-10-27

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Mostly it’s seminar reading for the new semester this week.

(11-10-22) Articles to 2011-10-22

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It will perhaps surprise no one, that I violently disagree with Farrington. The declaration of human rights is exceedingly recent and slavery was abolished in the scientific part of the world very shortly before. It’s still rampant everywhere else. The moral superiority of earlier societies is pure Rousseauan daydreaming ...

(11-10-08) Articles to 2011-10-08

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I don’t quite see the point d’Costa et al. try to make from their results. Fleming did not invent or engineer the penicillium fungus but only discovered its effects. The fungus and other antibiotic organisms have coexisted with bacteria for probably millions of years, so resistance genes as such are not surprising at all. ...

(11-09-29) Articles to 2011-09-29

The link to this week’s complete list.

This week it’s just the list. Enjoy.

(11-09-22) Articles to 2011-09-22

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 ...

(11-09-15) Articles to 2011-09-15

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The basis of science is the reproducibility of results and the basis of the scientific method is in actually reproducing them. Due to lack of funding and the race for "new" results this is rarely done any more and Richard Philipps Feynman already decried the end of the scientific age decades ago. The most recent case of Diederik Stapel was not exposed because his results were found to be false, they weren’t as probably no one has tried, but by what are essentially ad hominem attacks by his colleagues and coworkers. Although these allegations of fraud are probably true and the retractions correct, this is not an example of the scientific method at work but rather the rules and methods of mediaeval scholasticism.

(11-09-08) Articles to 2011-09-08

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Zhao 2010 is beautifully dismantled by Samanta and Medlyn. On top of their thorough analysis I note that Zhao’s figure 1 shows no discernible trend whatsoever except for that inevitably introduced into any limited series by the arbitrary choice of start and end points. ...

(11-09-01) Articles to 2011-09-01

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Hamann et al. show that from the age of three years on human children are more willing to share unequal rewards if they are gained through cooperation than if by chance or lone effort while chimpanzees do not make this distinction. Seeing that foraging for fruit is a lone effort while hominids have relied on cooperation for millions of years this looks like a sensible adaptation. ...

(11-08-26) Articles to 2011-08-26

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This week I have nothing whatsoever to add to the abstracts. Happy reading.

(11-08-18) Articles to 2011-08-18

First the link to this week’s complete list.

In centuries past it was hard to antagonize the church or the monarch and still keep your university position. This has passed but as Kupferschmidt demonstrates in the case of Edzard Ernst another powerful religious belief system coupled to vested financial interest ...

(11-08-11) Articles to 2011-08-11

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Finally there is some sense talked about nuclear power in Germany. However, who reads Scientific American? Kuczera et al. will have no effect whatever on the self-declared educated, convinced that nobody can be trusted, who actually knows the least bit about what they’re talking about. ...

(11-08-05) Articles to 2011-08-05

First the link to this week’s complete list.

Isn’t economics wonderful? Those beautiful diagrams in Beale et al. would represent a distinct improvement to quite a few arts exhibitions. And isn’t it a noteworthy science of renown, that can warn about and predict a danger four years after it happened? ...

(11-07-28) Articles to 2011-07-28

Melhuish and Sammons confirm one of my preconceptions, that with all the good others can do, the main and largest influence on children’s attainment are the parents, though I am somewhat surprised at how little the father seems to matter. My other preconception is summarily disproved though. ...

(11-07-21) Articles to 2011-07-21

Johnson et al. are another attempt to replace guesswork and unfalsifiable storytelling by quantitative and testable results. („Man kann zwar ohne Mathematik einen Gegenstand sehr geistreich besprechen, man kann aber nicht ohne Mathematik etwas Zusammenhängendes in innerlich zusammenhaltender Weise überdenken. Unerquicklich und unzusammenhängend sind die Abschnitte, in denen die Mathematik noch nicht Fuß gefaßt hat.“; Georg Simon Ohm) ...

(11-07-14) Articles to 2011-07-14

There are again several contributions to the Out of Africa question. According to Argue and the comment by Trueman H. floresiensis seems to have split from the tree earlier than H. erectus. Argue sees the Dmanisi specimens ...

(11-07-08) Articles to 2011-07-08

The most interesting result in Shannon is hidden in his figure 3. From it it seems that 18 years is the lowest possible reasonable age of maturity. Regarding the natural variance ...

(11-07-01) Articles to 2011-07-01

As always Boyd and Richerson are pure gold. It seems humans are not smarter than apes, in fact according to Whiten 2009 they seem to be less so, but base their success on being better plagiarists. Naturally then among themselves too it is plagiarists that are most successful and rise to government, so the treatment of former Dres. Guttenberg, Koch-Mehrin and Chatzimarkakis is quite unfair. On a more serious note ...

(11-06-24) Articles to 2011-06-23

Voigtlaender proves once more, how looking at only last fortnight’s history does not suffice to understand today’s problems. The problems of peoples living together, multinational states, and minorities are just as pressing now as they ever were and the solutions that worked best and longest in the past are often not those, current political correctness approves of....

(11-06-17) Articles to 2011-06-17

I’m ninety percent sure, that Misarti must be nonsense. Looking at their graphs they measure trace elements in soil at concentrations up to 10^9 ppb, i.e. purity. ...

(11-06-09) Articles to 2011-06-09

Subbotsky and Quinteros are not particularly convincing. Their main result seems to be the different behaviour in the low-risk condition. Psychologists seem to assume, all their subjects are stupid. ...

(11-06-03) Articles to 2011-06-03

In Lorenz the real result is a significant improvement of the collective estimate under social feedback, which is the opposite of what the title and wording in the report imply. By taking group diversity as an estimate of the residual error, it grows relative to that estimate, ...

(11-05-26) Articles to 2011-05-26

Carrier seems totally irrelevant. Sexual selection always leads to dimorphism and humans are not optimised for standing but for long distance running. ...

(11-05-19) Articles to 2011-05-19

According to Johnstone the much vaunted Teamfähigkeit can lead to arbitrariness in decisions, if there’s too much of it around. Some people need to put the subject at hand above their standing amongst their peers.

Kean reminds me of Feynman again. ...

(11-05-13) Articles to 2011-05-13

The results by Duckworth are not really unexpected. Insofar it’s surprising, that to my knowledge this question has not been asked before....

(11-05-06) Articles to 2011-05-06

Erickson, especially the comment by Coen, Lawlor, and Kenny, is a gross example of wishful thinking distorting the reporting of results that did not come out as expected. ...

(11-04-28) Articles to 2011-04-28

A quiet week. Last week science arrived twice, this week not at all again.

Here’s the link to this week’s complete list.

(11-04-23) Articles to 2011-04-22

The Indus civilization did not live along the Indus after all, according to Lawler.

Gioia and Fessler have important safety implications for children and young adults....

(11-04-14) Articles to 2011-04-14

There was a commentary to Clément in science’s online magazine.

Rak and Wang are an example for a coupled and nonlinear connection between diet and symptoms. Dietary treatment based on simple linear assumptions is bound to fail.

Here’s the link to this week’s complete list.

(11-04-08) Articles to 2011-04-08

At first glance Walton looks just too good to be true and my first assumption was, this would turn out to be a case of a longitudinal study changing what it tries to observe (Zwane, pnas 108 (2011), 1821). Closely looking at the methods I could find nothing to fault them though, and it does indeed seem to be valid....

(11-03-31) Articles to 2011-03-31

Roebroeks contradicts the hypothesis (Ragir 2000, Laden 2005, Wrangham 1999) that the release of nutrients enabled by cooking was important for the hominid development very early on.

Brumfiel and Ferguson talk sense about Japan’s nuclear problems. N. B: Just now the news announced that the Japanese political "elite’s" conclusion was to stop building new and safe plants and prolong the planned lifetimes of the much inferior old ones. I’m all for social participation of the mentally retarded, but does it have to be in parliaments and government? ...

(11-03-25) Articles to 2011-03-25

Nothing this week that I feel compelled to add my personal comments to. I refer you to the abstracts in the list.

Here’s the link to this week’s complete list.

(11-03-18) Articles to 2011-03-18

This has been a quiet week. I have mainly been reading up on cultural evolution and group selection.

Here’s the link to this week’s complete list.

(11-03-12) Articles to 2011-03-12

Current archaeological textbooks relate how the retinue of a dead queen donned their best garb, lay down in orderly rows and voluntarily drank cups of poison. Baadsgaard has scanned some skulls in a CT and found them neatly bashed in by the spike of a then current battle axe. ...

(11-01-01) Articles to 2011-01-01

Anderegg uses a funny definition of expert. (See also commentary by Bodenstein.) Somebody with fifty and more peer reviewed articles on one subject obviously is an expert of renown in my eyes. At 500, 700, or more than 900 articles I have serious doubts, if the author can have read them all, he certainly can’t have provided much to their content.

Kerr and Dessler report a correlation of just 0.02 with a regression fit depending on one or two outliers ...

(11-03-03) Articles to 2011-03-03

Ayala contradicts all those culture pessimists and shows that not everything of value deteriorated with the Neolithic. Where would be be without wine?

Borojevic is sure to concern not only plants and I wonder ...

(11-02-27) Articles to 2011-02-26

science has a big supplement about data, data management and storage. Curry and Reed are the two most interesting articles.

I ought to take Clauset to heart really, ...

(11-02-19) Articles to 2011-02-18

Antonov-Schlorke and Guissani are in conflict with received wisdom, that in pregnancy the fetus and especially its brain are preferentially supplied in malnutrition. For primates and in the first trimester this is clearly not the case. An extra warning for pregnant girls ...

(11-02-12) Articles to 2011-02-11

There’s something wrong with Tucker-Drob. The ten months group shows no correlation to parent’s status at all. So either status does not correlate to intelligence ...

(11-02-05) Articles to 2011-02-04

Richard P. Feynman already called modern pedagogics a pseudo-science. Now Karpicke demonstrates the fruitlessness of highfalutin learning techniques and proves the old experienced elementary teachers right, who have always stressed the importance of repetition and testing.

Miller sure won’t be read by epidemiologists. ...

(11-01-28) Articles to 2011-01-27

Iona, de Dreu is a textbook example of how not to do diagrams. ...

(11-01-24) Articles to 2011-01-23

Huang confirms something I learnt empirically on a youth-leaders’ seminar decades ago. Three other articles by Huang and Galinsky are in press but no preprints yet.

If you wanted to pretend reading more than the compulsory literature, Iona, then ...

(11-01-15) Articles to 2011-01-14

That Neanderthals ate plants does not surprise, but that they already cooked cereals does (Henry 2011).

According to Die Welt the Neanderthals died out from freezing to death ...

(11-01-07) Articles to 2011-01-06

Nothing new in Eisenstein but those two pages comprehensively review the current state of research.

The conclusion of Lalueza-Fox is anything but obvious. ...

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