Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Most scientific studies cannot be reproduced

A new report looking at a number of important research studies has found that almost all could not be reproduced, and that the research was often fraught with fraud and “political groupthink.”

For this study, researchers tried to reproduce the results of “53 landmark studies in oncology and hematology.” Researchers were only able to replicate the results of six studies. “People have found similar results in psychology and economics. Different fields are affected different amounts,” Randall told The College Fix. “As a rule of thumb, fields that use statistics intensively are more likely to have troubles than fields that don’t.”

The report hypothesized that there are a number of different reasons for irreproducibility that include such things as “flawed statistics, faulty data, deliberate exclusion of data, and political groupthink,” among other reasons. “Actual fraud on the part of researchers appears to be a growing problem,” the report also states.

The report also singled out the field of climate science as having significant problems along these same lines, especially in areas of its statistical research.

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  • Localfluff

    Medicine seems to have severe problems with this. Maybe because of several reasons. First, health is individualistic so individual diagnoses is necessary to make any substantial progress in medicine. Second, medical doctors maybe have too much personal authority. When one is sick one really wishes and wants to believe that there exists some authority that can cure it. Third, for the former reason, financing and practicing medicine has become heavily politicized. Fourth, most people hate statistics, it is completely contrary to our intuition and it isn’t straight forward math either. One also has to understand the concrete reality of what is actually being measured. Social sciences are often hopeless when it comes to their statistical analyses (astronomers however take statistics very seriously). Much medical research seems to be based on quite small samples, and there are huge selection biases. Not least because of the individual variations.

  • wayne

    Jordan Peterson– the problems with social psychology
    (JRE #877 excerpt)

  • Phill O

    Thanks Localfluff I loved Chemistry Math and Physics, including statistical mechanics. When we were all using slide rules, there was a lot more people educated on the significance of digits (figures). Now , graduates are lacking somewhat.

    The life sciences (human and animal research) have a very good idea of the control group. Environmental sciences (includes climate sciences) seem to have rejected this concept. The ozone mistake is a prime example. Too often having the technology to document some parameter leads to premature conclusions or conclusions which go well beyond what the experiments can offer. Research grant funding (or the competition for it) is a driving force as is the publish or perish conundrum. When research is carried out for monetary goals (research grants from government or industry) too often the brain gets wired to get results expected. I had one supervisor who had a reputation of excluding data that did not fit his story.

    Too often, the time frame of the experiments is too short. When it comes down to the study of human behavior, there are so many variables that even a best guess is difficult. This is not to say that the social sciences are flawed, but it is much more difficult to make concrete conclusions.

    The statement of theory as fact is too often employed. Climate science a prime example.

    One other aspect comes in: The higher the degree the more and more is learned about less and less. Then we think ourselves bright and star making broad statement we have little deep knowledge. David Suzuki is a real good example of this.

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