Archive for February, 2014

A lot to love in new release of software–v9 is mighty fine!

Here’s a shout-out for Valentine’s Day that there’s a lot to love in the new release of Stat-Ease software-see the major improvements here  Consultant Wayne Adams put v9 to fun use by developing equations that produced the 3D response surface renderings of the  heart and number 9.  Geeks rule!  (No offense, Wayne, I am one.)9_Model Graphs of R1-9(Equation Only) Heart_Model Graphs of R1Heart (Equation Only)

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The rarest of birds—a reproducible result from a scientific study

In The New York Times new column Raw Data, science writer George Johnson laments experimenters

“ways of unknowingly smuggling one’s expectations into the results, like a message coaxed from a Ouija board.”

– Science Times, 1/21/14

This, of course, leads to irreproducible findings.

As a case in point, only 6 of 53 landmark papers about cancer found support in follow up studies, even with the help of the original scientists working in their own labs, according to an article in the Challenges in Irreproducible Research archive of Nature cited by Johnson.

That is discouraging but I am not surprised.  I feel fairly sure that the any assertions of import get filtered very rigorously until only ones that reproduce reliably make it through.

The trick is to remain extremely skeptical of initial reports, especially those that get trumpeted and reverberate around the popular press and the internet.  Evidently it is human nature to then presume that when an assertion is repeated often enough then it must be true, even though it has not yet been reproduced.  Saying it’s so does not make it so.

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