Science Is Biased

first_img(Visited 126 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 They admit it; you can’t get rid of bias in science. Big Science has too many problems of its own to dictate ethics to others.Science is supposed to be a better method to finding truth due to its methods and its self-correction procedures. The scientific method is supposed to provide checks against researcher bias, and peer review is supposed to guard against bias at another level. Finally, reproducibility should add a third layer of protection against bias. Sounds good in theory. It’s not working in practice.The reproducibility crisis has been recognized for years (see keyword search).  Science Magazine lifted the lid on the crisis a little higher, showing how bad it is:More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature‘s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.So much for that protection. At the peer review level, there’s more problems. Science Magazine also addressed implicit bias in peer review, recommending substantial changes in the practice (implying it has not been working up till now).At the personal bias level, “we all have it,” Marcia McNutt (editor of Science Magazine) admitted. In her view, it’s an evolutionary trait.We all have it. Implicit bias was the shorthand that allowed our distant ancestors to make split-second decisions (friend or foe?) based on incomplete information. It provided a razor-thin reaction-time advantage that could mean life or death. But today, we no longer need to assume that people who do not look or sound like us pose an immediate threat. Instead, successful organizations and people welcome those who do not necessarily look, think, and act like they do. They must overcome that implicit bias wired into the human DNA if they are to reap the benefits of diversity. To explore the extent of implicit bias in peer review, and what can be done to counter it, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science) recently convened a day-long forum of editors, publishers, funders, and experts on implicit bias in Washington, DC (see p. 1067).Questions arise at this statement. If implicit bias is wired into human DNA, it must be there to advance fitness (in McNutt’s worldview). Wouldn’t it make sense from that foundation to increase bias than try to overcome it? And Does Ms. McNutt see herself falling into the current trendy bias for diversity? Isn’t the business of science to find out the truth about nature, not worry about the trendy keywords “diversity” and “inclusion”?Another glimpse at scientific bias is seen in Chris Woolston’s piece in Nature where he shows that scientists, many of whom pride themselves on their critical thinking, get emotional when caught failing to be skeptical of their own skepticism. This was occasioned by an editorial in which science writer John Horgan accused skeptics of only picking soft targets. That stung, leading to counter-tweets by scientists. But even PZ Myers, the arch-enemy of creationism and ID, saw some light. “What Horgan did was point out that there are a lot of things to be skeptical about, and skeptics have a peculiar fondness for picking the easiest targets.” That’s bias. But which scientists would be willing to doubt their own skepticism itself?McNutt assures her members that the AAAS is working hard to overcome bias and to address the crises in peer review and reproducibility. Medical Xpress is looking at the contexts that lead to reproducibility failures. Considering the levels of failure so far, what confidence can the public have in academia’s ability to police themselves?If Big Science really believed in diversity, they would hire more conservatives. There’s no diversity in ideology in the AAAS, at Nature and in many universities. That’s a situation ripe for corruption and for intellectual blindness.Only the Christian worldview, with its Ten Commandments, can provide a moral foundation for science. That’s not to say Christians in science will always perform better. But they can account for the requirements of honesty and integrity (1/16/16) in science and in every area of investigation. People view science incorrectly if they think it has a superior path to knowledge, or the only reliable way to know things. That’s scientism, not science. Real science is mediated by fallible humans who need a moral compass.If one’s moral compass is produced by natural selection, it has no guarantees about finding the truth. For a revealing piece on the failures of “evolutionary epistemology,” read Sarah Chaffee’s piece at Evolution News & Views. Contrary to simple intuition, she shows how natural selection tends to obscure reality, not help creatures discover it. With a self-refuting worldview like “evolutionary epistemology,” science is doomed. The only rescue is a worldview that accounts for the orderliness and purposefulness of nature, from a Creator who commands, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” That goes for historians and preachers as well as for scientists and laymen.The hopeful side of that moral dictate is that humans are indeed capable of obeying it. We can, by logical inference, know what is true and what is false. And we must.last_img read more

OSU working on new data cooperative

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmers do more with modern agricultural equipment than just harvest crops; they also collect massive amounts of data — 500 bytes per corn plant during a growing season. Storing, managing and interpreting that data, however, is an enormous challenge, experts say.Scott Shearer, a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University and of chair of the college’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, is helping farmers with the undertaking through the creation of a new Agricultural Data Cooperative, an independent nonprofit organization that will be managed by Ohio State.The cooperative is part of the growing use of precision agriculture — the use of mobile technologies, sensor networks, cloud computing, spatial analysis and vast multidimensional datasets to help farmers feed the growing global population with higher yields while using fewer resources.“We’re learning how to use data to manage agricultural production,” Shearer said, noting the industry’s move toward an analytic process in which data collected about soil, climate and other factors produce individualized “prescriptions” for fields.Such a prescription might recommend multiple hybrids in a field, for example, or the changing of seeding rates from 28,000 to 36,000 seeds per acre, depending on the data analysis.There is often a disconnect, however, between the farmers collecting the information and businesses and institutions that could use it to create new products and knowledge, Shearer said.“We have this data stream and a lot of people thinking about how to generate value from this data stream,” he said.  “We want to support that and enhance it to the fullest extent possible.”The cooperative is a three-way partnership between farmers, agribusiness and land grant institutions. It will allow farmers to maintain control of their data while also helping to accelerate data aggregation.Shearer estimates that only 10% to 15% of farmers are sharing their data with agribusiness companies, due to apprehension over how the information will be used.“Farmers can move all their data to where they would like,” he said, and, through the cooperative, “we want to give them the confidence to do so.”Use of the data in university research could be substantial as well, as entomologists, plant pathologists and others come up with new methods for managing issues that cause devastating crop losses, such as soybean cyst nematode or harmful algae blooms.Ohio State’s Discovery Themes initiative, which is increasing the number of faculty working in global food security and translational data analytics, will be important to the cooperative’s success.Shearer looks forward to the value new data analytics faculty will add to the university’s already-rich expertise.“If you can aggregate a data set and have people with the analytical skills to extract value from it,” he said, “you can return that value to the people actively engaged in agricultural enterprises.“That’s a win-win for everybody.”last_img read more

Ohioans lending a hand for farmers in need

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmers around the country are responding to the need to help the ranchers hardest hit by the devastation from the wildfires in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.“Some of the pictures don’t do justice compared to the stories we’ve been hearing. The loss of livestock and the loss of genetics these people have been building for all of these years are devastating. It is crazy the magnitude this turned out to be. They lost their farms, their homes and their livelihood,” said Latham Farley, from Montgomery County who is involved with the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Ag Professionals. “This is such a huge problem in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. There is a drive and determination to help our neighbors and our fellow farmers there. It is awesome to see how people from around the nation have come together to help with this big need.”There are multiple efforts to provide assistance for the areas hit by wildfires from Ohio’s agricultural community.“The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is taking donations at the Beef Expo for the specific charities out there. If you want to donate, it is a great time to give monetary donations,” Farley said. “They need bags of feed. They need milk replacer for calves that have lost their moms. They need fencing materials such as metal fence posts, barbed wire and insulators. They need clothes, gloves, non-perishable foods — they lost absolutely everything. They have a loss of soil from some of the winds they are still having so they need manure and cover crop seed to slow down some of that soil loss.”Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals are also trying to raise funds for the cause.“We are trying to raise $40,000 for some of the targeted areas from the Young Farmers and Ranchers in about two weeks. We are trying to get the supplies they need,” he said. “We are trying to set up a weekend in each of the affected areas and coordinate that on a national scale to get everyone what they need, especially these young and beginning farmers. I think we can make a positive difference out there for the people who really need help.”Rose Hartschuh and her husband, Greg, farm in Crawford County, where they raise corn, soybeans, and dairy cattle. They are planning a trip to the wildfire area March 24 though 28 to deliver supplies and lend some helping hands to the relief effort.“It really started by reading the stories of these ranchers out west, specifically the ones in Texas who gave their lives protecting their animals. People do not understand how much farmers care about what they do. Those people really demonstrated that in a tangible way. They gave their lives to protect their livestock. I was just feeling like we needed to do something,” Rose said. “We started with a contribution of hay but it seems like there was more we could do if we were going to make the trip clear out there and do some things to make a lasting impact. We put an ask out on Facebook to see who would be interested in joining us and we were blown away by the response. From there we started putting together some plans. We reached out to the Kansas Livestock Association and they have been instrumental in helping us develop a plan for our time in Kansas and help fine tune the details.”The area has already received substantial amounts of hay from farms around the country and now the greatest need may be fencing.“It seems like they have a fairly good supply of hay. There is some need for some trucking to pick up hay and deliver it to where it needs to be. Fencing seems to be the biggest need so we are collecting fencing supplies like t-posts and barbed wire. Another need is cash. A lot of us have the desire to do something physical but money is just as important,” she said. “It sounds like fence building is going to be a pretty big project we are going to undertake. The Livestock Association is going to put us in touch with some ranchers who need help getting back on their feet. We hope while we are there we can make a difference in that way.”Please visit  this link for a form to pledge support or volunteer for the trip with the group from Ohio. If you would like to travel with the group, please complete the form by March 20. There has also been a fund set up to help move the donated hay to the affected areas. Checks can be made to Ohio’s Kansas Rancher Wildfire Relief Efforts and mailed to 6348 Parks Rd, Sycamore, Ohio 44882.last_img read more

Cold weather dairy calf care

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County, Ohio State University ExtensionCold winter weather presents some additional challenges to keeping dairy calves healthy, comfortable and growing. The biggest challenge is the increased nutritional requirement for body maintenance, especially for dairy calves in unheated facilities. Nutritional maintenance is what is required to keep all body systems functioning normally while maintaining a healthy body temperature and neither gaining nor losing weight. Cold weather nutrition requires understanding the concept of lower critical temperature. Lower critical temperature is the lower boundary below which the animal needs additional nutrients, primarily energy, to meet maintenance requirements. If the nutrient level is not increased, then the animal must burn fat reserves to meet the need. The lower critical temperature for calves from birth to 7 days of age is 55 degrees F. Between 7 and 30 days of age, the lower critical temperature is in the 48- to 50-degree F range. For older calves, the lower critical temperature increases to 32 degrees F.Cold weather nutrition for young calves is critical for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that calves are born with only two to four percent of their body weight as fat. This means that if diets are not meeting maintenance needs, the calf can quickly burn up fat reserves. Calves stop growing and worse, the immune system of the calf becomes compromised leading to sickness. Livestock depend upon an insulating hair coat to provide protection from the cold and to moderate that lower critical temperature. That is one reason that the lower critical temperature for older calves is higher as compared to younger calves, but it takes time and energy to grow and develop that hair coat. Breed of calf will also influence cold weather nutritional requirements because small breed calves, for example, Jerseys, have approximately 20% larger surface area per unit of body weight than a large breed calf, such as a Holstein.A rule of thumb for feeding calves housed in unheated conditions in cold weather is that for every 10 degrees F below 32 degrees F, the calf needs 10% more milk to meet its nutritional needs. At 0 degrees F, this requires 32% more milk. The best strategy to meet this need is to add an additional feeding. For example, if normally the calf is fed 3 quarts twice a day, add an additional 2-quart feeding. If milk replacer is used, it should contain at least 20% protein or in the 26% to 28% range for accelerated growth programs. The fat content should be at least 15%, and higher fat content milk replacers of up to 20% fat are preferred as temperatures decline. The solids content of liquid milk replacer can be increased in cold weather from a typical 12.5% to 16%, but be careful in going above this content as diarrhea can result, and recognize that the calf may not be receiving enough water. Always offer calves clean, fresh water in addition to milk or milk replacer. Another key to feeding calves in cold weather is to provide all liquids at 105 degrees F target temperature for consumption. With regard to free-choice water, this means offering water several times per day in cold weather. Beginning a few days after birth, offer calves free access to a calf starter grain mix with a minimum protein content of 18%.There are a couple of other management practices that help to increase calf comfort and aid in keeping calves growing and healthy in cold weather and these involve bedding, providing extra layers of cold protection and ventilation. Straw is the best bedding choice for calves. To provide the most effective thermal insulation, it has to be deep and dry. Calves can nestle down into the straw during cold weather. The goal is to provide enough bedding so that when the calf is nestled down, you don’t see its legs.  Dryness is important to keeping the calf warm. Test the dryness of the bedding by kneeling down into it. If your knees get wet, more bedding is needed. Calf jackets offer a good option to add another layer of insulation and cold protection for calves, especially calves under a month of age. Calf jackets should have a water repellent outer shell, an insulation that wicks moisture away from the calf, fit the calf well, be easy to wash and dry, and constructed to withstand outdoor environments. Do not forget about ventilation during winter months in closed structures. The goal is to provide adequate air turnover to prevent ammonia accumulation while avoiding any direct drafts on the calf. A general recommendation for winter weather is four air exchanges per hour.Cold weather calf care requires more time and labor, but it is necessary to keep calves comfortable, healthy, and growing.last_img read more

Stress task force offering help to struggling Ohio farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dairy farmers grapple with slumps in milk prices while the cost of feeding their cows keeps rising. For crop farmers, prices for corn and soybeans remain low, and many growers couldn’t plant either crop this year.The persistent spring rain created the state’s worst planting year on record and has contributed to a near-record low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.So much is out of a farmer’s control — weather, commodity and feed prices, a hike in international tariffs on American agricultural goods that has diminished demand for them.When rain this past spring kept farmers from planting, among the comments that circulated on Facebook was one offering a phone number for a suicide hotline.Now, perhaps more than ever, farmers might need help with how to keep their businesses afloat, how to find jobs off the farm, how to find clinicians to help deal with mounting frustration or despair that might come with running a business farming the land.Out of this tremendous need, staff with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) hope to offer assistance through their newly formed Rural and Farm Stress Task Force. The task force is made up of people who can help connect farmers and their families with specialists either within Ohio State University Extension or within the community.CFAES will be collaborating with Ohio State’s College of Social Work to know how to best respond to individuals who might be in need of emotional support, including knowing which mental health providers those individuals can seek out, regardless of where they live in the state.Across Ohio, some farmers face difficult decisions.“Nobody wants to be the one in a family to stop farming, especially if it’s been going on for generation after generation,” said Emily Marrison, a member of the task force and an educator with OSU Extension, the outreach arm of CFAES. “I don’t think we could ever make the assumption that the reason a farm closes down is because of poor management.”Many farms will be able to weather the financial storm, but some growers are seeking work off the farm or additional sources of income from their farm. The task force and all OSU Extension staff can point farmers toward resources to assist their businesses or to find new work or a counselor. In providing this help, the hope is to reassure and empower farmers.“Farmers are so resilient, or they wouldn’t be doing the job they’re doing,” said Dee Jepsen, co-chair of the task force and state safety leader for OSU Extension.For decades, farmers have dealt with weather challenges as well as shifts in markets and prices, and they have persevered. Sometimes with that strong will to persevere comes a resistance to seek help, Jepsen said.“They’re tough. They may not want to talk about their problems,” Jepsen said.Some might see their struggles to keep their farm viable as a sign of failure — personal failure.Even just admitting that or asking for help can be challenging, but that can also lead someone closer to a solution.In talking to farmers and their families in southeast Ohio, Amanda Bohlen, an OSU Extension educator in Washington County, has noticed a difference recently. She can see the toll on people’s faces. They look tired, worn down. They’re a little abrupt, more pessimistic, distant.Bohlen can easily empathize with them. Her husband, Kurt, grew up working his family’s dairy farm. This past April, they had to sell off the herd.“It had gotten to a point that it would have been cheaper for us to buy a gallon of milk from the grocery store, dump it into our tank, and resell it rather than produce our own,” Bohlen said.Kurt had to find another job, which led to a grieving process of relinquishing a profession that was all he knew.“It was the last of everything. The last time you were shutting off the milk pump. The last time you were closing the barn door,” she said.After a stint in excavation work and another on a dairy farm that later closed, Kurt accepted a job as an agriculture teacher. The job will be a change, for sure, so he’s nervous but also tremendously grateful.For more information on the Rural and Farm Stress Task force as well as a list of resources for those in the agriculture community, visit read more

Will Google Listeners Bankrupt Lala?

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The question period after today’s launch of Google’s OneBox music search focused a great deal on the project delivering users with easy “legitimate music” versus other illegitimate sources. While discussion was centered around squashing the millions of illegal torrent files available for download, the truth is that a number of streaming music sites like Grooveshark have worked hard to pen legitimate label deals. While some may wonder why iLike and Lala were chosen above others to benefit from the Google deal, many more are worried that the companies will be unable to offset label fees via premium subscriptions and advertising. Said rap superstar Mos Def, “I personally wasn’t happy to see how the labels responded to Napster. I thought that was a missed opportunity with the fans. It seems to me that this project revisits this with a better perspective towards the fans- not from an adversarial point of view. ” Still, many wonder whether this new fan-friendly discovery engine will bankrupt those footing the bill. While iLike likely has a huge amount of resources from MySpace, Lala is betting on the fact that users will use up their initial 25 song credits and take the plunge to premium. Last month MOG CEO David Hyman spoke to ReadWriteWeb about the launch of his subscription service. When asked if he would offer free listening, Hyman declined saying, “The problem with free services is that if too many people use them, you can’t offset the licensing fees with ad revenue. There’s only so much you can do with advertising, but the [pure] subscription model ensures that you’re running something sustainable.”In anticipation of a future European launch, one reporter suggested Spotify as a legitimate source for streaming music to Google VP of Search Marissa Mayer. Said Mayer knowingly, “Your suggestion is duly noted.” If Hyman is as confident in his hunch about freemium services as we think he is, he may even be hoping that Spotify cuts a European Google deal and burns through its cash before its US launch. It’ll be interesting to see if Google will be the catalyst in swaying listeners to pay for their purchases or if streaming music startups will continue to tweak and revisit their monetization strategies. For complete launch details visit Frederic Lardinois’ ReadWriteWeb coverage.Photo Credit: Ibrahim Lujaz Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#start#startups A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting dana oshirolast_img read more