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fMRI bugs could upend years of research

Good science

This is how science is supposed to work. Obviously the previously 'good' science is now 'oops science' but not intentionally bad...

Except, wait for the backlash from researchers who find their findings, at the very least 'tainted'. Which option is easier: Re-doing the work based on evaporated data and no grant, or slagging-off those bold folk who pointed out the Emperor had no clothes?

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Re: Good science

And now I suppose we wait to see if your predicted outcome in fact happens or if your hypothesis is also bad science. Real science is durn slow innit?

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Re: Good science

I'm sure they'll slag off the people who discovered the problem.

On the same note: It turns out people at the USGS have been manipulating climate data since 1996.

They won't say who did it, they won't say if they were punished, they did say no charges will be filed - and I imagine all the studies based on that data will still be cited, quoted, etc.

You'd expect that to be showing up in the news, wouldn't you?

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Re: USGS manipulating data --

-- link to evidence, or it didn't happen. That is all.

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Re: Good science

In medicine, as is increasingly true in other branches of science, research is largely conducted in the interests of corporations. This too often results not in a drive to learn and improve from mistakes, but to profit before the mistakes become obvious.

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Re: Good science

@Meldreth

RE: "You'd expect that to be showing up in the news, wouldn't you?"

If it isn't showing up in the news then where did you hear or read it? Come on Victor, you don't expect us to just accept your statement do you?

"I heard it on the internet" is Donald Trumps methodology. You've gotta be able to do better than that! I don't even demand a direct link to actual data - Just a note as to your general source will do for me so I can go and read up about it myself.

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Boffin

Re: Good science

It's reported in the Denver Post 1 July 2016.

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Re: Good science

The only Denver Post story I found on July 1st 2016 was about falsifying test results of chemical analysis for toxic metals, apparently done in an attempt to "correct calibration errors" on a mass spectrometer.

Nothing to do with climate data.

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/07/01/investigators-us-lab-worker-in-colorado-faked-test-results/

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Re: Good science

No, it's bad science. The measuring instruments were all (?) badly calibrated. With all due respect to the people involved in the experiments, they didn't check their equipment properly.

That's a problem nowadays, you get a big shiny beige box with knobs on it and you think it must be outputting the truth. Well it ain't necessarily so and the shiny beige box will always need some sort of calibration validation traceable back to something real, not just something repeatable.

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Re: big shiny beige box

I see this all the time - coming soon to a research department near you, users wanting to run their MRI analysis on their cell phones with an app.

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Pirate

Re: Good science

The measuring instruments were all (?) badly calibrated.

The problem is not the scanner; going from MR data to images does produce images that look quite like slicing your body and taking piccies of that, but it's less invasive. Living people tend to prefer it that way. The problem is the statistics software used to correlate bits of brain activity, and while it's essential to the research mentioned, I wouldn't classify it as 'instruments', those being something you can kick.

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Re: Good science

@Geoffrey W

If it isn't showing up in the news then where did you hear or read it? Come on Victor, you don't expect us to just accept your statement do you?

It isn't showing up in the MSM because they only regurgitate science press releases and anyone that goes against the 'settled science' is a non believer and should be prosecuted as several US Aturnies General are trying to do.

If they manage that then we will see all the 'adjustments' used to fit the climate science dogma exposed and the MSM will then get the news.

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Re: You can kick instruments

Point taken but consider a multi-million pound telescope, if it ends up taking a photo of the wrong galaxy it is probably the fault of the software in the pointing mechanism but it is still the telescope that is malfunctioning and I bet the telescope operators take a few calibration photos now and again just for a reality check.

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Re: You can kick instruments

Calibration is a regular part of any scientific instrument, both internal (do sensors respond in a reasonable way) and external (check against various known results from a totally different instrument using different software).

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Re: You can kick instruments

MRI, as a tool for looking inside your noggin while it's still more or less functioning*, is quite OK. Which can, and has been, calibrated by scanning corpses and cutting them up**.. What happens to be a problem is interpreting correlations in activity in different brain areas, for instance the physical stimuli as caused by consuming Coke (or coke), and the associated feelings.

* mine nearly wasn't, and MRI showed the cause, allowing the correct medical treatment. Guessing would have had well over 50% chance of being dead wrong.

** Or so I've been told by someone working at Philips Medical Systems.

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Re: Good science

Here's the $64K (USD) question...

Is the underlying data bad, or just the interpretation done by the software?

If the underlying data is good and preserved, its possible to redo the analysis, however I get the impression that the data wasn't saved.

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Re: Good science

@Ivan 4

I realise that but my point is, if the story of manipulated results isn't in the MSM then where did he read it? If he wasn't personally involved then he must have read it somewhere else. I just hope it isn't somewhere like World Net Daily unless they have other solid references.

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Link To Evidence

Here is a link:

http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/23/federal-lab-forced-to-close-after-disturbing-data-manipulation/

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Re: Good science

THis link: http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/23/federal-lab-forced-to-close-after-disturbing-data-manipulation/

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Re: Good science

Link from technical journal here:

http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i26/USGS-finds-data-fraud-closes.html

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Re: USGS manipulating data --

Link from technical journal here:

http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i26/USGS-finds-data-fraud-closes.html

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Re: Good science

"This too often results not in a drive to learn and improve from mistakes, but to profit before the mistakes become obvious."

Or, more likely, to produce the "desired" results.

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Re: Good science / USGS manipulating data

OK, so the same thing as the Denver Post story I linked above. Has nothing to do with climate in terms of global warming, but of measuring contaminants in the environment.

The poster who made the original claim in this thread didn't understand the article and instead saw what he wanted to see, "manipulation of climate science", causing him to make made a false claim. I'm sure he's not the only one making that mistake - he may not have made the mistake himself, but saw an article written by someone who made the mistake (or was trying to deliberately mislead people) and quoted a few blurbs out of context making it sound like the USGS was manipulating climate data like temperature records.

Some on the other side will point to stuff like this trying to make the case that all claims of climate manipulation are false or misunderstandings - even when they know damn well that's not the case.

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Re: Good science / USGS manipulating data

"Has nothing to do with climate in terms of global warming, but of measuring contaminants in the environment."

Well, that is disingenuous at best.

One of the tenets of global warming is that it is a man-made phenomenon driven by "contaminants in the environment."

Lets pick coal, one of those contaminants specifically cited in the article.

Government policy in this country is that coal is one of the factors driving global warming.

This is a quote from the NY Times from Interior Secretary Jewell saying that the federal policy on coal "...takes into account its impacts on climate change.”

So the main question is:

Why does a government lab knowingly manipulate data?

A logical assumption might be that it is done because the actual data does say what the government wants it to say.

Perhaps someone else has another explanation?

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Re: USGS manipulating data: bogus alarm.

Another explanation, Meldreth: as noted, this is an inorganic chemistry lab. Research included "...uranium in the environment, health effects of energy resources, and U.S. coal resources and reserves".

Nothing to do with global warming was mentioned, implied, or even a consequence of this particular chem lab's malfeasance.

Nothing.

Your claim -- "people at the USGS have been manipulating climate data since 1996" -- is utter whubchunkies. FUD. A lie by misdirection.

Oh, let's just be straight with each other: your claim was a lie.

Sayonara.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good science

Uh oh: think I just heard "...they only regurgitate...":. Another absolute 100% fact, it seems.

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Megaphone

Re: USGS manipulating data --

"link to evidence, or it didn't happen. That is all."

Will this do to start?

https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/tracking-us-temperature-fraud/

(He has since moved here: http://realclimatescience.com/ )

There are plenty more sources if you care to search on your own.

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Trollface

Re: Good science

I would rather think it is more akin to "newspeak" and "doublethink" where you believe as true what is told to you by the "authorities" (in this case "scientists") - whether or not it changes from day to day (or decade to decade).

How can people say, "See, this is how science is supposed to work" when the previous results and research are all batshit from the researchers arses? Ah! It is because today's "facts" and "research" overturn yesterday's truths.

I think it would be better if, rather than pretending it is fact / truth / knowledge, we all say instead, "I BELIEVE!" with the proviso: "My beliefs are subject to change / adaptation / maturation as I see fit."

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Re: Good science

" you get a big shiny beige box with knobs on it and you think it must be outputting the truth."

_THIS_ in spades. The current crop of researchers just blindly accept whatever "computer says" without crosschecking results or understanding _how_ those results were obtained.

Or even if they're actually using an appropriate tool. These are the same people who in woodwork class would be attempting to bang in nails using a carpenters' plane because it was on the workbench, or trying to add water to concentrated sulphuric acid in chemistry class after not reading the safety warnings.

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Re: Good science

"The problem is not the scanner"

The problem is that the raw data was not preserved. This is a fundamental violation of repeatability principles in scientific work. If this kind of "scientist" was around in the 1970s, the Ozone hole would have taken another 20 years to confirm(*)

(*) The software processing NOAA data dumped ozone readings that were "too high or too low", which is why the ozone hole took too long to be confirmed, but because the instrument raw data was kept, once the software error was realised, the entire dataset was rerun and the ozone hole's evolution became blindingly obvious. Without that data it would have taken at least another decade to get enough data to verify that it was growing and that it was man-caused.

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Re: Good science

"Is the underlying data bad, or just the interpretation done by the software?"

This question cannot be answered, as the underlying data (the raw input) has been dumped.

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Holmes

Re: Good science

All these people asking for proof of climate data manipulation is great, but has everyone forgotten climategate? It happened, we knew it happened, and no one got in trouble because it supported the official line that was to be toed...

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So the claim it was _climate_ data is completely false...

What was the cause of the error in reporting?

Did you want it to be climate, to the extent that you see a report about a bad lab practice with metals and read it as climate, and fail to retain or indicate that it is one lab rather than the whole orgnaisation (and people rather than person),

... or are you just unreliable?

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You are in a hole

and digging furiously.

I have concluded that you cannot be relied upon to report anything accurately in any context.

(And if you can't tell the difference between CO2 and coal, don't get involved in science please)

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raw data ... what is raw, and what is data?

My area of interest is photography.

The sensor in a camera gets photons, and something happens because of that, which produces voltages, which are recorded.

In order to produce a picture - what people actually want from a camera in the end - those voltages have to be processed into something to keep. Raw camera files are big - and less raw than the direct effects on the sensor, fairly direct though they are. The camera processes them into a JPEG image.

If you retain the raw file (often given as RAW, for no reason clear to me) you can repeat that processing, and you can do darkroom tricks on it. (In film days or terms the undeveloped negative is the raw data, but you can't even read it until you process it, which requires decisions which influence the picture produced. Operator effort and skill is involved)

Reuters was recently reported to have required photographers no longer to record raw files, in search of unedited unaltered images from wherever they are being taken.

SImilarly, I suspect there is rather a lot of raw data off those big magnetic whirry 3-D cameras and even though storage is cheaper, keeping it forever or even long enough to get it off the box is not entirely likely.

Bottom Line: only select Open Source software for medicine and science if you want to make it difficult to be prevented from detecting faults.

Now, Reuters

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Re: Good science

Climategate was bollux.

You can determine that with a thermometer and sufficient years.

Some interests preferred to pretend it wasn't happening, rather than change anything they did to make it happen.

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Re: raw data ... what is raw, and what is data?

Is it just me, or is that last but one paragraph (Bottom Line:) a monumental non sequitur? I use Open source software and recommend it, but I don't see it has much connection with whether or not the unprocessed data is discarded or not...

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Re: Good science

Climategate was bollux.

In that case why have the writers of the emails never repudiated their contents? How do you test the validity of a the contents of an email "with a thermometer and sufficient years"?

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Re: USGS manipulating data --

"Will this do to start?"

No, that won't do.

He has a BS in geology from Arizona State University and a Master's degree in electrical engineering from Rice University.

One of Goddard's earliest writings, an article for The Register, asserted that the National Snow and Ice Data Center's (NSIDC) data underlying a chart depicting 2008 Arctic sea ice loss was incorrect and that NSIDC seemed to demonstrate "a consistent pattern of overstatement related to Arctic ice loss." Ten days later, however, Goddard acknowledged that the data on which the graph was based was accurate.

I'd like something from a real scientist please.

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Re: USGS manipulating data: bogus alarm.

"utter whubchunkies. FUD. A lie by misdirection."

"your claim was a lie."

Oh, dear.

I think after the reading the articles I linked to and the information in my posts, any reasonable person would think my characterization was reasonable.

But we've left reason far behind, haven't we?

This is all about offending the god of the true believer now, isn't it?

Well, I'll leave you to rant and fume - must suck to be you.

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Re: USGS manipulating data: bogus alarm.

But we've left reason far behind, haven't we?

Much to The Git's amusement, Australia's climastrologists were so successful in their claim that "the science is settled", that their employer (CSIRO) sacked most of them. Why fund research where none is needed?

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Re: USGS manipulating data --

I'd like something from a real scientist please.

Like Al Gore, you mean? :-)

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Re: Good science

Not saving the raw data would be a definitely Bad Thing. One of the natural things, especially for unexpected or novel results would be for other researchers to want to analyze it in different ways or perform consistency or sanity checks using different analytic tools.

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Re: raw data ... what is raw, and what is data?

Open source software not only has nothing to do with whether raw data was/was not retained, but also cannot be assumed to be more correct or free from error than closed source. I also use, and recommend it, but do not delude myself that it is free from error, and I have plenty of examples to show it is not.

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Re: USGS manipulating data --

like this one?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11395516/The-fiddling-with-temperature-data-is-the-biggest-science-scandal-ever.html

and others found here??

https://www.google.com/search?q=climate+data+manipulation

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Boffin

Cargo Cult Science

Cargo Cult Science is a term coined by Physicist Richard Feynman to describe the lot of scientists that go through the motions of producing science, but they are not really contributing anything. It's usually caused by scientists who don't quite understand the underpinnings of their field (i.e. statistics). If you didn't yet read the book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!", then go get it, it's a delight.

Unfortunately it's not easy to identify cargo cult science -- in this example it apparently too 15 years. So don't get your hopes up for saving the corresponding scientific funds.

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Re: Cargo Cult Science

Cargo cult science is a bit harsh for most. I doubt very few of the researchers would or should have a clue about validating third party proprietary software. That is on the vendor to get it right since they wrote it and sold it. The researchers at some point have to trust others that they did their parts correctly. The bugs generate false positives apparently with some consistency makes spotting it more difficult. Random false positives (and negatives) will be washed out be careful analysis over time.

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Boffin

"Cargo cult science is a bit harsh for most."

Is it really too harsh? A whole research field went astray for 15 years, huge amounts of money were burned, scientific careers were made and unmade -- and nobody validated the experimental approach? Those scientists had 15 years of praise, now they deserve their five minutes of shame.

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Re: Cargo Cult Science

Cargo cult science is a bit harsh for most.

Sort-a. They underlying root cause is that statistics is not taught to biology/med science majors properly around the world.

You need to learn probability theory all the way inclusive of its dependencies from a mathematical standpoint such as calculus to be able to make sense of modern statistics used in Biology and Medicine. I do not know of a country which has that in the biology major curriculum. Chemistry usually studies a basic course which is clearly insufficient by today's standards. Biology and medical sciences - not a chance.

As a result, they cannot make sense of a false result even if it slaps them in the face like a Monty Python wet fish.

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