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No Scientific Method Can Generate Integrity

first_imgThe frequency of articles about misconduct, fraud and reproducibility show that scientists’ integrity cannot be assumed by a “scientific method.”Scientists are only people. They are not immune to the temptations and failings of others. Peer review and the “scientific method” (if there is such a thing) can guard against some misinformation getting out, but no method is immune from character defects. All conclusions from data must pass through fallible human beings. The following reports show that problems of scientific integrity loom large, despite a method that is widely thought to protect against them.Another High-Profile FraudVaccine researcher Dong-Pyou Han doesn’t look happy in the photo in a Nature piece about the latest fraud.Rare is the scientist who goes to prison on research misconduct charges. But on 1 July, Dong-Pyou Han, a former biomedical scientist at Iowa State University in Ames, was sentenced to 57 months for fabricating and falsifying data in HIV vaccine trials. Han has also been fined US$7.2 million and will be subject to three years of supervised release after he leaves prison.His case had a higher profile than most, attracting interest from a powerful US senator. Han’s harsh sentence raises questions about how alleged research fraud is handled in the United States, from decisions about whether to prosecute to the types of punishments imposed by grant-making agencies.Is this proof science can keep its own house clean? Not necessarily. He was caught, yes—but only after years of deceit. “Han said that he began the subterfuge to cover up a sample mix-up that he had made years before.” How many others get away with fraud? Harsh as this sentence seems, some feel it isn’t harsh enough. “This seems like a very light penalty for a doctor who purposely tampered with a research trial and directly caused millions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on fraudulent studies,” Senator Charles Grassley (R, Iowa) complained. He also said, “I worry that other cases may go unnoticed or unaddressed if there isn’t a public outcry.”The ORI (Office of Research Integrity) appears about as effective at stopping fraud as the U.N. is in stopping terror. They probably wouldn’t have investigated this case at all without Grassley’s insistence, the article says. It ends on a depressing note: “once” when some in the ORI sought to conduct a formal investigation of the impact of penalties for fraud, the Obama Administration shut it down on the grounds that “it cost too much and people were unlikely to respond.”Reproducibility crisis “Experiments should be reproducible,” Finagle’s Rules jest. “They should all fail the same way.” The lack of reproducibility in preclinical trials is no laughing matter, three scientists reported last month in PLoS Biology:Low reproducibility rates within life science research undermine cumulative knowledge production and contribute to both delays and costs of therapeutic drug development. An analysis of past studies indicates that the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible—in the United States alone.That’s shocking. One might expect a few percent of reports to have problems, but why are over half irreproducible? Is it from carelessness? Is it fraud? This is affecting patients’ lives and hopes. The watchdogs are not sure of all the causes, but “one fact remains clear: the challenge of increasing reproducibility and addressing the costs associated with the lack of reproducibility in life science research is simply too important and costly to ignore.”The flaw is not limited to the life sciences. Nature wrote about the reproducibility crisis in cosmology. People are getting tired of astronomers “crying wolf” too often about spectacular findings, Jan Conrad writes:The past few years have seen a slew of announcements of major discoveries in particle astrophysics and cosmology. The list includes faster-than-light neutrinos; dark-matter particles producing γ-rays; X-rays scattering off nuclei underground; and even evidence in the cosmic microwave background for gravitational waves caused by the rapid inflation of the early Universe. Most of these turned out to be false alarms; and in my view, that is the probable fate of the rest….I also worry that false discoveries are undermining public trust in science. As cosmic phenomena come and go — not to mention endless speculation about hypothetical concepts such as parallel and holographic universes — why should anyone believe that any scientific result will hold?Conrad does not say that any  “method” can solve this. Instead, “To avoid further weakening of scientific standards and reputations, researchers need to stick to scientific best practice.” How, though, does that advice differ from any other field of human inquiry? “Best practice” is a moral judgment, not a methodological one. Critical examination, alertness to personal biases, rewards and punishments—these best practices are not limited to science. None of them, further, will work without people of integrity.Maybe this is just limited to a few fields, like cosmology and medicine. Nope, says Stuart Buck, a specialist in research integrity from Texas. He writes in Science Magazine, after pointing out famous cases of research fraud, “Nearly every field is affected, from clinical trials and neuroimaging, to economics and computer science.” Even if he’s right that “Most scientists aspire to greater transparency,” the point is that no “scientific method” protects against immorality. And even for the righteous, “if being transparent taps into scarce grant money and requires extra work, it is unlikely that scientists will be able to live up to their own cherished values.” It’s a familiar human foible in all walks of life, not just science.Calls for IntegrityThis headline from Carnegie Mellon sounds noble: “Top Scientists Call for Improved Incentives to Ensure Research Integrity.” Isn’t science supposed to be a “self-correcting process”? The article calls that a “notion”. It is belied by the problems discussed further down.  It may be comforting to know that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is making this a priority, but one might ask, “Who’s watching the watchers?” If the NAS guards lack integrity, it could become a conspiracy or racket. Will a simplistic “Scientific Method” solve this?“Science is littered with irreproducible results, even from top places, and it’s a widespread problem that looks different in different domains, but there are shared commonalities,” said CMU’s Stephen E. Fienberg (pictured right), the Maurice Faulk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences. “As a statistician, I understand how the role of data is critical. But determining how to set a policy to support data access is very complicated — there is not a simple set of rules.”The authors’ advice is littered with moral words: integrity, responsibility, ethics. “Additionally, universities should insist that their faculty and students are educated in research ethics; that their publications do not feature honorary or ghost authors; that public information officers avoid hype in publicizing findings; and suspect research is promptly and thoroughly investigated.” Can you crank any of that out of a scientific method?For those who idolize the Scientific Method as the pure, unadulterated path to Truth, study carefully what these articles are saying. Any truth claim must test itself (hear Nancy Pearcey on this). You can’t use the “scientific method” (if there is such a thing) on the scientific method. A method is assumed, not tested. Someone might counter, “Sure you can. You can test all the truth claims that come out of the scientific method against those that are not produced by the scientific method.” But what if the meta-researcher is a fraud? Then you would need another experiment to test the scientific-method-of-the-scientific-method against the scientific method. This creates an infinite regress of watchers watching the watchers watching the watchers. Nothing works without integrity — whether for the individual researcher or for the scientific community.The scientific method (if there is such a thing) is downstream of character; it is utterly useless without integrity. For integrity, there is no method. There is only obedience to a standard, such as “Thou shalt not bear false witness” and “Thou shalt not covet.” You cannot have science without the Ten Commandments. Science without an eternal guiding principle of ethics degenerates into majority rule, evolving standards, and whatever a given society is willing to tolerate at a given time, or what is imposed on them by people in power (think 1984).So Who watches the watchers? “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” This is the God who makes science possible. We are all accountable to our Maker.  Want to have a robust science producing reliable results? Guide on the words of the Author of the Ten Commandments.Resource: Listen to Dennis Prager on why the Ninth Commandment is essential for a healthy civilization (including science).(Visited 93 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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South Africa grants Canadian company mining licence

first_img6 October 2014 Exploration drilling at the Platreef platinum-palladium-gold-nickel-copper project, South Africa. (Image: Ivanhoe Mines )Construction work at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef Project will resume after South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) gave final approval of mining right for the development of the mine in Mokopane, Limpopo.The mining licence, given for an initial period of 30 years, authorizes the Canadian mining company to mine and process platinum-group metals, nickel, copper, gold, silver, cobalt, iron, vanadium and chrome at its Platreef discovery, on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex.Announcing the finalisation of the granting of the mining licence on Wednesday, 5 November, Ivanhoe Mines’ Executive Chairman Robert Friedland said the execution of the mining licence will enable the immediate resumption of preparations for construction at the Platreef site.“With the shared, ongoing commitments of the Department of Mineral Resources, our Broad-Based, Black Economic Empowerment partners and our supportive co-investors from the Japanese trade and industry consortium, Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef Project is going to become a sustaining foundation of jobs and support serving the common interests of our host communities in Limpopo province,’ Friedland said.Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi said the final approval of the Platreef mining licence shows the department’s commitment to ensure mining companies comply with South Africa’s mining laws, while attracting investment and growing the economy.“The final regulatory approval of the Platreef Project’s mining right is significant not only for the development of the project itself but it also signals the South African government’s determination to grow our country’s economy. The Platreef Project will attract foreign capital, create much needed jobs and contribute significantly to socio-economic development in areas surrounding the project,’ said Ramatlhodi.Adding, Ramatlhodi said he is confident the Platreef Project will satisfy the environmental, socio-economic as well as Black Economic Empowerment requirements as set out in South African mining law. “We look forward to a constructive partnership on this project between Ivanhoe Mines, the South African government, communities and workers,’ he said.Under a broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) structure announced earlier this year, the Platreef Project is now 26% owned by 20 host communities, employees and local entrepreneurs. About 150 000 people live in the 20 host communities that form part of the B-BBEE transaction and 187 local entrepreneurial companies, representing 333 individual shareholders, took part in the entrepreneurial subscription.Ivanplats, Ivanhoe Mines’ wholly-owned subsidiary, will work closely with the DMR to ensure that the Platreef Project’s host communities receive maximum benefits from the company’s operations, said Platreef Project’s Managing Director Patricia Makhesha.“After all of the discussions that have been held with stakeholders about these very significant benefits that will flow from the development and operation of the planned mine, we are about to begin seeing our words translated into meaningful actions,’ Makhesha said.Following the granting of the mining licence, Ivanplats will immediately halt retrenchment plans that it started at the beginning of November. Work at the Platreef site had been suspended since May this year pending finalisation of the mining licence.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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My 6th Commandment: Don’t Try to Be Something You’re Not

first_imgYou know what I’m talking about. You have had the same questions yourself, I am sure. But once we move beyond those obvious questions and the discussion gets deeper—down to the good stuff, where we all really start to learn about the greening of our industry—I occasionally get asked some different questions — second-level questions that are not as obvious.They are usually some variation on: What do I have to watch out for? What is my biggest risk? And my answer is the same, each and every time: Do not try to be something you’re not! You can’t fake this stuff any more than an Irish Catholic can fake his way into a Protestant pub in Belfast! (I know, because I tried it once). Well, I guess you can try it (I did), but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart!Where’s the beef?Not that being you is a bad thing; it’s just that it will be your death knell in trying to establish your credentials as a green professional, if your prospects see right through you.You tell me you are a manufacturer of “green” plywood, and I want to hear more than it is made from pre-consumer recycled content. You tell me you are selling green products for the lumberyard, and I want to see if you know more than what’s on the back of your company brochures. And if you are telling your sales prospects that you are a green builder or remodeler, you’d better be able to back that up, too.You can’t be part-time green and still call yourself green. Either you build green or you don’t. You can’t be a green professional and not have credentials like CGP, LEED AP, or LEED Green Associate to back it up. You can’t say you build green homes if you are not willing to submit the plans and construction methodology to the independent, qualified third-party analysis and testing of a recognized local or national green building program.There is no honor system anymore, folks. We had the chance as an industry to build right, and we blew it. If you are going to sell yourself as a green professional, you need to earn industry-recognized credentials to prove it, and you need to submit your products or homes to third-party review. So, don’t portray yourself as somebody you are not, and you will never violate my 6th commandment of building green. My advice to those involved with residential construction: if you are not sincere in your efforts to be a green builder/remodeler/supplier/architect, don’t try to be something you’re not. Quit fooling around, get out of the way, and do something you believe in. Otherwise, it will not be long before you are uncovered for what you are.Everyone wants to go greenOver the past several years I have traveled around the country, speaking to (and with) building professionals of all different types: custom builders and remodelers, midsize “custom” builders, and large production builders. I have also met with designers of every persuasion, from architects, engineers, and interior designers to do-it-yourself decorators with no credentials whatsoever. Some of my most powerful conversations have been with the most senior management of Fortune 500 suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers in the residential construction industry as well as owners of local mom-and-pop hardware stores.In every case, the conversation is about “going green.” Their business, my business, every business—and how we are all selling our products and services—is being impacted by the green tsunami sweeping over every aspect of our lives.Silk purse or sow’s ear?The most obvious questions I get asked regularly are: What’s green? Will it last or is it a fad? Can I really make money selling green? How do I “do” green? Other Blogs in this Series My 1st CommandmentMy 2nd CommandmentMy 3rd CommandmentMy 4th CommandmentMy 5th CommandmentMy 6th CommandmentMy 7th Commandmentlast_img read more

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Canonical: Businesses are struggling to hire IoT talent

first_imgBusinesses are struggling to recruit skilled Internet of Things (IoT) developers, which could be slowing the deployment of enterprise IoT solutions.In a report from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu OS, 68 percent of IoT professions say they struggle to recruit employees with the right IoT experience. Data analytics and big data skills are the most sought after, but 35 percent of professionals struggle to find an employee with that skill set.See Also: Four big trends pointing to a boom in healthcare IoT75 percent of professionals surveyed said data analytics and big data were key skills for any IoT expert, with embedded software development, data security, and cloud software development also ranked highly. Artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics were not considered as useful.Canonical included 360 IoT professionals, developers, and vendors opinions in the research.“When it comes to the internet of things, the business community is still overcoming a significant skills gap. Many businesses are concerned by their own lack of knowledge and skills within the IoT market and many business leaders are finding themselves running head first into a set of technology and business challenges that they do not yet fully understand,” said Mike Bell, executive vice president of IoT and Devices at Canonical.IoT to be ubiquitousHe said businesses need to realize that working in IoT should not require such an extensive variety of skills. What is needed, instead, is a simplification of the technologies behind IoT. “Within the next five years, we expect to see IoT technologies built into all aspects of the business environment,” he said.The lack of expertise could be one of the key reasons why enterprise IoT deployment is so low. In a survey of decision makers, 16 percent said their company had a comprehensive roadmap for IoT, with most taking a “wait and see” approach to the technology.The outlook for IoT deployment in the next few years remains positive, despite the perceived lack of skills. U.K. chip maker ARM estimates one trillion IoT devices by 2035, adding $5 trillion to the global GDP. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Tags:#business#Canonical#Connected Devices#enterprise#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#top#Ubuntu David Currycenter_img Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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Can Education and Coping Strategies Reduce the Effects of Childhood Maltreatment?

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDMilitary deployment can place additional stress on a family, sometimes resulting in childhood maltreatment. Emotional, physical, and/or sexual maltreatment can have devastating effects on child development. What are some protective factors that can improve outcomes for individuals who experienced childhood maltreatment? In a 2013 article published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, researchers examined protective factors that could reduce symptoms related to childhood maltreatment, and decrease the likelihood of adult personality disorders [1].[Flickr, School Nic Miriam 03 crop by Liberal Democrats, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015This study was conducted as part of the “Zurich Programme for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services” in Zurich, Switzerland. In this portion of the study, 680 residents of the canton of Zurich, ages 20 to 41 years, were given personality disorder (PD) questionnaires, a childhood maltreatment questionnaire, and coping questionnaires. The childhood maltreatment questionnaire included questions about emotional and physical abuse, emotional and physical neglect, and sexual abuse. Coping strategies included emotion-focused coping, problem-focused coping, and dysfunctional coping.In examining the interactions among childhood maltreatment, level of education, coping strategies, and symptoms of personality disorders, the following results were found:Individuals with low levels of education levels were less likely to use problem-focused coping resources.Surprisingly, in maltreated individuals, as problem-focused coping increased, dependent personality trait disorder scores increased.Consistent with other research, all forms of childhood maltreatment were related to dysfunctional coping skills.Implications for CliniciansFor adults who have experienced childhood maltreatment, increasing adaptive coping skills (such as ) and reducing dysfunctional skills (such as avoidance, denial, self-distraction or self-blame) may reduce symptoms of personality disorders. Problem-based coping skills to consider when developing a treatment plan could be planning, instrumental support, or active coping. Emotion-based coping skills might include; acceptance, emotional support, humor, or positive reframing.For more information on childhood maltreatment and the impact on brain development, review the MFLN webinar, “Trauma in Young Children Under 4-Years of Age: Attachment, Neurobiology, and Interventions”. Blogs related to childhood maltreatment include: “Child Maltreatment Prevention“; “Child Brain Development & Trauma”; “Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples Affected by Trauma”; “Therapeutic Book for Child Trauma”.More on protective factors: “What Leads to Better Outcomes for Children Who Witness Family Violence?”References[1] Hengartner, M. P., Mueller, M., Rodgers, S., Roessler, W., & Ajdacic-Gross, V. (2013). Can protective factors moderate the detrimental effects of child maltreatment on personality functioning? Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(9), 1180-1186. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.005This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

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GrammaTech: best practice guidelines to deliver safe and secure software systems

first_img Continue Reading Previous Acceed: vehicle PC with CAN, GbE, PoE, 4G, 3G and WLANNext Future Electronics has latest RSL10 Sensor Development Kit for IoT from ON Semi GrammaTech announced that Dr. Paul Anderson, Vice President of Engineering, has joined the MISRA committee to collaborate on world-leading best practice guidelines for the safe and secure development of both embedded control systems and standalone software.The Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) committee provides programming guidelines that are used by software teams building safety critical software, and are proven to lead to software that is easier to understand, easier to maintain and has less bugs. Currently, the MISRA committee is working to combine the AUTOSAR C++ 14 Coding Guidelines with the MISRA C++ 2008 coding standard into one single standardized document for the industry to utilize as a comprehensive guide.GrammaTech CodeSonar detects violations against the MISRA C and C++ coding guidelines, and also provides advanced, whole program static analysis using techniques like dataflow analysis, symbolic execution and advanced theorem provers, allowing it to find complex software defects that can lead to safety or security vulnerabilities. CodeSonar is used by project teams that build software that is safety and security critical for the aerospace and defense, IoT, automotive, medical and industrial industries, and provides users with a single environment to detect both coding guideline violations as well as software defects. MISRA support is a standard feature in CodeSonar and is available out-of-the-box to all licensed customers.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Tools & Software last_img read more

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Chelf = MJ?

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img

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