Tag Archives: Links

Some Links About Understanding Science

Some Links About Understanding Science

Because I can’t think about what to write about next, I’m going to give you all a bunch of links that have helpful information about science in general, and some of the things I find myself referring to or referencing when I talk about science.

Understanding Science: An overview is geared towards students and teachers at the K-12 levels. It has some good explanation of what science is (and is not) and how it is “done.”

Introduction to the Scientific Method is a little higher order than this, and also includes definitions of terminology that is misunderstood. . .like the difference between Theories and Laws.

The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper outlines how a piece of research is written up for submission to a science journal. It’s different from your school project, and I think it’s important to note that the Abstract is not as definitive of findings as news reports make it out to be!

What is Soft Science? defines the difference between the methods and results of soft science vs. hard science. It’s some good things to know.

The Sufficient-Component Cause Model will help you understand what “correlation is not causation” means.

“The National Coalition for Health Profession Education in Genetics (NCHPEG), with support from the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR), developed this site to provide sufficient genetics background to allow social and behavioral scientists (SBS) to engage effectively in interdisciplinary research with genetics researchers.”

How Scientific Peer Review Works This is a good article that explains what peer review is, and presents a fairly balanced view of its benefits and its shortcomings.

Related to peer review, this piece from Nature discusses the “Impact Factor” of scientific publications.

Journal Selection for MEDLINE® Indexing at NLM is a FAQ about how a journal is selected to be included in National Library of Medicine at the NIH.

ADHD Diagnoses up 24 percent. . .

ADHD Diagnoses up 24 percent. . .

among patients served by Kaiser Permanente who were seeking diagnosis.

This article by Stephanie O’Neill, via Southern California Public Radio, shows a common problem with science and medical reporting. This article, at least, includes a link to the study, full text, so you can see the methodology and results instead of just the abstract.

You don’t really need to read the whole thing to see the giant flaw, though. It’s right here in the second paragraph of the article:

The study of nearly 850,000 patients ages five to 11, who were seen at Kaiser’s Southern California hospitals, found a 24 percent jump in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD fro 2001 to 2010.

Not random, not controlled, not blinded in any way at all. Of course rates are going to look like they’ve jumped dramatically if your population for the study includes only people who came in requesting diagnoses for things. There’s some decent generic information in the study, there are some population concentrations that might be interesting to look at in a better-designed piece of research, but that’s not showing up in the headlines.

No, everyone in the media and on the internet is clutching their pearls about this dramatic increase. Cue the storm of conspiracy theorists insisting that this is proof that ADHD is an imaginary problem created by Big Pharma. Watch the comments of people saying it’s reflective of our horrible society that doesn’t discipline children properly and/or lets them watch too much TV and play too many video games. Note the absence in any of these reports of the obvious flaw in the methods, or even the mathematical acumen to figure out that this “dramatic jump” actually means 1-2 more children out of every hundred.




I couldn’t help it, I had to look at every single one of these bad real estate photos:


Many of them are examples of bad photography, but there’s more than a smattering of truly appalling decor and lack of common sense on the part of the realtor/occupants. (Like #255, featuring a pooping dog, and put up like that on the MLS!)

Cat Treats

Cat Treats

Ellie and Emma have made their way out to the kitchen, where they found that there’s even more food than in the bedroom. Ellie let us clip her nails the other night. And while she’s not too keen on these, Emma and the dog love these:

Tuna Treats

1 can solid white tuna in water
1 egg
1/4 cup corn meal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon brewer’s yeast

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the tuna and its water into a bowl. Mix. Add the corn meal, flour, and yeast, and mix well.
Roll the mixture out into a skinny log, and cut or pinch off pieces that are about 1/2 teaspoon each. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes. Freeze or refrigerate extras. These are just soft enough to break into smaller pieces for small cats or cats that eat too fast!