Category Archives: science journalism

Another fail for the New York Times’s science section

This is the third time I’ve gotten the paper copy of the New York Times and read its “ScienceTimes” section, determining the proportion of all science articles that are about “pure” science that has nothing to do with our species, versus those articles about health, global warming, and the like that are relevant to human well-being. The previous […]

NY Times science section again lean on science, fat on human welfare

On December 9 I beefed that the New York Times‘s science section, perhaps the only stand-alone science section left in a major newspaper, appeared to be going light on pure science and heavy on human health and welfare (global warming, etc.). Carl Zimmer, one of their crack reporters, made a comment to the effect that […]

New York Times science section slashes science reporting unrelated to humans

Maybe I’m wrong, but over the years I’ve seen the Tuesday Science Times section of the New York Times become more human-centric—dealing with issues of health and other matters affecting our species, while cutting back on coverage of “pure” science: those wonders of nature that have no clear implications for the health and wealth of H. sapiens, but increase our appreciation […]

Evolution: theory, fact, or both?

I’ve long been uncomfortable with explaining, in public lectures, why evolution is both a theory and a fact. To do that properly, you have to explain what a scientists really mean by the word “theory” and why it’s not just an idle guess or speculation. But that can be confusing, because I always say that a […]

Nature to launch new ecology and evolution journal

This hasn’t been officially announced yet, but I learned about it last week and it’s not really a secret given that Nature is already advertising for editors (here and here) for a new journal whose description is in the second ad: Nature Ecology and Evolution — the latest member of the Nature family — will […]

Krauss on entanglement

Doesn’t the New Yorker need someone to write about evolution as well as cosmology? Once again, I’m both impressed by and jealous of Lawrence Krauss’s performance at that venue, and this week he writes about the new physics experiment that pretty much verified the idea of quantum entanglement and nonlocality. The piece, “Tangled up in entanglement.” […]

Scientists engage in civil disobedience, share copyrighted papers

I can’t say that I’m encouraging this activity as that would be encouraging scientists to break the law, but I will call your attention to a piece in The Atlantic describing a new development. Scientists, or anyone, can now request paywalled academic papers on Twi**er, and authors or others who have the paper (you surely have to use Twi**er to see the request) […]

Bad science journalism: The Express reports that scientists have “proved” that God didn’t create the universe

I should start giving an award for the Most Misleading Science Journalism of the Year. If I did, this article from The Sunday Express would surely be a contender. Here’s the headline (click on it to go to the article): The piece starts like this: A TEAM of scientists have made what may turn out to be […]

Worries grow about repeatability of scientific studies

At the beginning of September I wrote about a paper in Science produced by a large group called “The Open Science Collaboration.” That paper reported the repeatability of 100 papers whose results were published in three prestigious psychology journals. My brief summary of the conclusions is below, though my original post gave a lot more data: Only 35 of the […]

Elegance in science and The New Yorker’s take on the field

The short New Yorker piece, by Patrick House, “What is elegance in science?“, bothers me, and for reasons I don’t quite understand. I’d appreciate it if readers could have a look (you can read it in 5 minutes) and weigh in below. What bothers me consciously about the piece is that is basically says nothing, […]

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