Category Archives: Science and the scientific method

Columbia Tosses Out Star Faculty Researchers for Failing to Pay 80% of Their Own Way

From a reader: “two eminent professors with decades of serious work have been dumped unceremoniously by Columbia because they could no longer bring in the grant millions for the university business to extract rent from. This is Ivy-league neoliberalism at its worst thanks to the spineless Democrats/Obama White House allowing government science funding to get pummeled while Bush’s tax cuts are preserved. “


Philip Pilkington: Abstraction, Language and Modelling in Economics

Alciphron is the title of the book by the philosopher George Berkeley that was most popular in his own time and is probably his least popular in ours. But in the Seventh Dialogue, Berkeley sketches out some very interesting ideas on human language — something that he recognised as being an absolutely central philosophical question and one that bears directly upon economics.


Bob Goodwin: Mainstream Medicine Capture of Wikipedia

Yves here. Wikipedia has become widely accepted as a highly credible source (I use it and even contributed in their recent funding appeal). It’s therefore important to know its limits and how they arise. Unfortunately, it appears, like most information sources, that it is subject to pressure, in this case, as Bob Goodwin contends, the medical-industrial complex.


Harvard Business School’s Garbage In, Garbage Out “Gender Equity” Experiment

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Readers may have taken note of a long article by Jodi Kantor in the Sunday New York Times magazine celebrating an experiment on the Harvard Business School graduating class of 2013.

The project was deemed a winner. More women students than ever graduated with academic honors. Student satisfaction levels also rose. Unfortunately, if you dig deeper, this “experiment” looks like a “garbage in, garbage out” exercise.


Ilargi: Capitalism, A Norwegian Rat And Some Cockroaches

Yves here. Ilargi takes up one of our favorite topics, how the fetishization of numbers and measurement is at best misguided and at worst profoundly dysfunctional, as we discussed in a 2006 article, Management’s Great Addiction.


The Global Race for Inventors

Yves here. I wonder if the pattern described in this article, which is basically a brain drain of inventors to the US, is playing a meaningful role in the degradation of public education in the US. Why do the elites need to care about home-grown “talent” if they exploit the investments in schooling made by other countries?


Patrick Durusau: Social Security Numbers – Close Enough for a Drone Strike?

Yves here. It’s important to understand the scope and caliber of the police state apparatus that’s in place. The fact that it’s “dirty” meaning error-ridden and incomplete, is likely the big reason you have analysts like Edward Snowden with wide-ranging access. You still need humans to make connections and interpretations (and that introduces another layer for errors and plants to occur). And that also no doubt is used to justify even wider-ranging and more intrusive searches, such as NSA analysts listening to personal phone conversations of soldiers stationed in Iraq. That sort of casualness leads to abuses like NSA snoops inviting their colleagues to listen in on phone sex.