Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 16th, 2012

Media failing the American public: Will not report candidate positions

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The economist Dean Baker points out something that amazes me: the refusal of the media to report on the candidates’ stated positions. I would think the candidates themselves should be outraged: surely they believe that their positions should be fully and accurately reported, don’t they? In an article in TruthOut, he writes:

In principle, the country faces a choice this fall between a moderate conservative, President Obama, and Governor Romney, an extreme conservative who wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare and eliminate most of the services that the public expects from the federal government. The reason why this choice only exists in principle is that the media have worked hard to conceal Rep. Paul Ryan’s extreme positions from the public. Now that Governor Romney has implicitly embraced these positions by selecting Representative Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, it remains to be seen whether the media will do it job.

First, in spite of all the name calling about President Obama being a Kenyan socialist, he has pushed an agenda that most Republicans would have been comfortable with twenty years ago. His health care plan was put forward by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1992, before Governor Romney put it in place in Massachusetts. His Wall Street reform leaves the too-big-to-fail banks bigger than ever, even after they helped to inflate a housing bubble, the collapse of which brought the economy to its knees.

And, running large deficits in a downturn was a practice that Obama could tie to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and both Bushes. It would be difficult to find a policy pushed by our Kenyan socialist president that would make a Nixon Republican unhappy.

By contrast, Representative Ryan has an extreme right-wing agenda that predates both Great Society and the New Deal. He has put forward plans that would cut and privatize both Social Security and Medicare. He has also called for essentially zeroing out most categories of federal spending.

While Ryan supports current levels of military spending, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of his budget shows that there will be essentially nothing left for anything else by 2040. The CBO analysis of the Ryan budget (prepared under his direction) shows that spending on all items other than health care and Social Security would fall to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2040 and to 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050. . .

Continue reading. I very much fear that people will not understand what they are voting for this fall.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 August 2012 at 8:20 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government, Media

Irreproducible results in science

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The Journal of Irreproducible Results  is a science-humor magazine, but irreproducible results in serious journals is no joke—and is increasingly common. Nina Bai has an article in The Scientist on the problem and one effort toward ameliorating it:

In 2009, Science published a paper linking chronic fatigue syndrome with the mouse virus XMRV, prompting a flurry of subsequent studies—none of which could replicate the findings.  The paper was retracted last year.  The following year, Science published a paper describing a strain of bacteria that incorporated arsenic instead of phosphorus into its DNA backbone, only to publish two studies refuting the findings this July. In this case, the journal has not asked the authors for a correction or retraction, citing the self-correcting nature of the scientific process.

And these high profile examples are by no means isolated incidents. In 2011, scientists at Bayer Healthcare in Germany recounted their dismal experience in trying to validate published research on new drug targets: in more than 75 percent of the 67 studies they attempted, Bayer’s labs could not replicate the published findings. This past March, researchers at Amgen reported a similar problem, successfully reproducing the results of just six of the 53 hematology and oncology studies they attempted.

Indeed, published studies whose findings cannot be reproduced appear to be on rise, and while some such studies are later retracted, many stand, collecting citations, either because no one has tried to replicate the data, or those who have, successfully or not, cannot get their studies published.  A new partnership by the start-up Science Exchange, an online marketplace for outsourcing experiments, and the open-access journal PLoS ONE hopes to address the issue of scientific reproducibility.  Announced yesterday (August 14), the Reproducibility Initiative provides a platform for researchers to volunteer their studies for replication by independent third parties.  Studies validated through the initiative will earn a certificate of reproducibility, similar to a Consumer Reports recommendation for a particular car model.

“We think that, long term, there will ultimately be a shift from rewarding highly unexpected results to rewarding reproducible, high-quality results that are really true,” said Elizabeth Iorns, a former breast cancer researcher and CEO of Science Exchange.   Whether or not the new incentive system will have a broad impact on the scientific community, however, remains up for debate.

The Reproducibility Initiative takes advantage of . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 August 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Science

Oscar Peterson explains some jazz styles to Dick Cavett

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Interesting little segment via JazzOnTheTube.com:

Written by LeisureGuy

16 August 2012 at 7:55 am

Posted in Jazz, Video

Trumper Coconut & the Progress

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As always, a superb lather from the Omega soft silvertip. The fragrance of Geo. Fr. Trumper’s Coconut Oil shaving soap is quite pleasant, and I enjoyed taking my time with lathering. Probably that helped the overall shave, a particularly pleasant one. The Progress is a fine razor, and I must bring it out more often. With a Swedish Gillette blade, I enjoyed three quite smooth and easy passes. A splash of Paul Sebastian, and “progress” will be the theme of the day.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 August 2012 at 7:24 am

Posted in Shaving

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