Silly Science ?‏

[UPDATE 27 July 2010: More silly climate science, why do they do it?] 

24 May 2010

Hello all,
 
These fun filled science items have just been racing around the global scientific blogs …
… and I just can’t resist passing them on 🙂
 
Silly Science? #1: 
 
Trick question – Which of these two images are the most scientifically accurate?

Exhibit A ?: 
 

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/polarbearparty.gif

OR …

Exhibit B ?:

  http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/05/revkin-gleick-and-olson-on-gang-who.html 

Answer: Both are! Because they’re both equally inaccurate!

Both are equally deceptive as both are made up images, that is Photoshopped, that is fake.

Now, apart from the fact that penguins live at the south pole and polar bears live at the north pole, the bigger problem is:

 One of the world’s 2 leading science journals, Science, just published a letter (252 signatories, 10% of the US National Acadamy of Science members ie. 90% didn’t sign) complaining about deceptive “deniers” attacking innocent climate modellers …
 
… with … (wait for it) … a deceptive photoshopped picture of a polar bear alone on a small piece of ice! Wonderful! It seems that this picture may have been a good choice to accompany the text of this Science article after all 😉 
 
As one widely published commenter remarked:
“. . . it matters if you publish a letter of outrage, complaining about being smeared as dishonest, and yet your article is accompanied by a photograph that is tainted by the word “Photoshop” which virtually EVERYONE in today’s society knows symbolizes one big thing — WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH.”

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/05/peter-gleick-fires-back.html

 An embarassed Science Journal took away that Photoshopped image soon after.

Sometimes you just have to laugh 😀

——————————————————

 
The Monkees- Hey Hey We're The Monkees
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgyZCgw6kdw&feature=related
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
We go wherever we want to,
do what we like to do
We don’t have time to get restless,
There’s always something new.
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees

 

Silly Science? #2: 
 
Hello Blue Eyes
 
Synthetic cell (Science)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10132762.stm
 
Craig Venter seems to have just created the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1190719

But … the BBC seems to be worried:
 
“And even some of the scientists who work in the field have told me they worry that we lack the means to weigh up the risks such novel organisms might represent, once set loose in the real world.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/susanwatts/2010/05/assessing_the_impact_of_venter.html

However, as one article sees it, Craig seems to be happy 😉 ………………  

“In a move that’s been hailed as one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the century, a group of scientists have created a synthetic bacterium that looks like Craig Venter.
 
The team artificially synthesised a genome in the lab and inserted it into an empty bacterial cell, which promptly remodelled its outer wall into a picture of Venter’s face.
 
“Before today, there had only been one genome in the world with the right sequence of nucleotides to encode my face,” said Venter, speaking from his secret volcano lair. “Now there are two, and I can’t help but think that things have greatly improved. “

 
Venter_mycoplasma
 
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/05/20/scientists-create-first-ever-synthetic-bacterium-that-looks-like-craig-venter/
 
However … as a more rational and critcal thinking blog put it: 
 
Organisms must compete in Nature’s jungle
 
“Nature is continually trying new life forms on a truly gigantic scale and testing them against each other. Very few get to take over the world even briefly and even they soon succumb to evolving predators, parasites and competitors.
Anything a piddling little human mind — or even one as big as Craig Venter’s — can design is going to be easy meat for the waiting hordes of predators, parasites and competitors. Don’t forget that organisms are food.”
http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/organisms-must-compete-natures-jungle
  —————————————————————————————-
 
Silly Science? #3: 
 
Straight after the UK Met Office has suffered many failed “Barbeque Summer” predictions:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8462890.stm
 
met_coldseat.jpg
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/8443687.stm
 
… we find that the US govt. hurricane predicition department NOAA is continuing to have problems too:  
 

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/21/noaa-goes-for-national-press-club-with-hurricane-outlook/#more-19777
 
But how about their (NOAA’s) predictions for just hurricanes?
2009 4-7 (3) wrong
2008 6-9 (8) fair
2007 7-10 (6) wrong
2006 8-10 (5) FLAT WRONG
2005 7-9 (15) FLAT WRONG
2004 6-8 (9) wrong
2003 6-9 (7) fair
2002 6-8 (4) WRONG

Interestingly, here their performance looks much worse. Only TWICE in the last 8 seasons has the actual number of hurricanes fallen within the range of predictions by NOAA in May.

So much so that Washington Think Tanks …
“The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been wrong about its hurricane forecasts three out of the last four years, and 7 out of the last 11 years.”
http://www.nationalcenter.org/HurricaneForecast.html

  
  
… are publishing satirical YouTube videos just before NOAA makes it’s next hurricane prediction 
 
Dr. Hansimian's Hurricane Forecast
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faDJzjbTfd4
 
“Via press release: Washington, DC: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s track record in predicting the number of Atlantic hurricanes is so abysmal that a trained chimp could do better, says The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.”
 
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/18/think-tank-says-trained-chimp-can-predict-hurricanes-better-than-noaa%e2%80%a6-and-puts-it-to-the-test/
 
NOAA has delayed its yearly hurricanne forecast for a few weeks now …
 
… one wonders why 😉 
………………………………………………………….
 
Silly Science? #4:
  
And finally 😉
 
Maybe this isn’t really silly science ?
 
Humans: Why They Triumphed
How did one ape 45,000 years ago happen to turn into a planet dominator?

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/rational-optimist-wall-street-journal
“… the notion that what determines the inventiveness and rate of cultural change of a population is the amount of interaction between individuals. Even as it explains very old patterns in prehistory, this idea holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead—because ideas are having sex with each other as never before.”
 
[Cover_Main]
 
“Trade is to culture as sex is to biology. Exchange makes cultural change collective and cumulative. It becomes possible to draw upon inventions made throughout society, not just in your neighborhood. The rate of cultural and economic progress depends on the rate at which ideas are having sex.
 
Dense populations don’t produce innovation in other species. They only do so in human beings, because only human beings indulge in regular exchange of different items among unrelated, unmated individuals and even among strangers. So here is the answer to the puzzle of human takeoff. It was caused by the invention of a collective brain itself made possible by the invention of exchange.

 
“There’s a cheery modern lesson in this theory about ancient events. Given that progress is inexorable, cumulative and collective if human beings exchange and specialize, then globalization and the Internet are bound to ensure furious economic progress in the coming century—despite the usual setbacks from recessions, wars, spendthrift governments and natural disasters.”
 
“The process of cumulative innovation that has doubled life span, cut child mortality by three-quarters and multiplied per capita income ninefold—world-wide—in little more than a century is driven by ideas having sex. And things like the search engine, the mobile phone and container shipping just made ideas a whole lot more promiscuous still.”
 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703691804575254533386933138.html?mod=WSJ_hp_editorsPicks
 
That’s all folks!
 
Best regards,
 
Your monkey’s ancestor’s descendant Brady 😉

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