There'll be even more scientists than usual in Boston this weekend, and you know what that means

Science rally in Copley Square

Why, yes, of course, a Trump protest.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is in town for its annual meeting this weekend and some of the attendees are planning a #StandUpForScience Rally at noon on Sunday in Copley Square:

The rally builds on the growing and historic movement of scientists fighting back against the Trump administration and Congress’ efforts to discredit science and climate research and dismantle key scientific institutions within the government.



Free tagging: 



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Plenty of Omega Mu's at the rally


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Had to Google that reference, which is apparently older than most people alive in Boston.

Nerds are cool now, grandpa. Sorry all your bullying 30 years ago didn't work.

Grew up in a science-centric household

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Dad was a biologist employed by Harvard for decades. Let me tell you: there's plenty of assholes among scientists and in academia. Contrary to popular 'nerd' stereotypes, huge egos and narcissism abounds. Some put this down to hugh IQs and corresponding social deficits, maybe in some cases due to being on the Autism spectrum; whatever the reasons, it's a real phenomenon.


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older than most people alive in Boston? well, tell my parents that. They wouldn't get the reference coz they're too *old*. It isn't a day around here without a couple unhealthful doses of ageism.

Who is more likely to cure your brain disease?

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The waitress at Hooters or the "Omega Mu" working in the lab?

Not that these are exclusive - I'm sure some science students do work at Hooters - but, you know.

There is also Erica Ebbel.

Scientists discredit science

Science of nutrition and health is contradictory and infected with herd hysteria. Killed many more people that climate will. Look at yourselves, scientists, before you tell the rest of us what to do.

Science doesn't tell anybody what to do.

Science entails creating a hypothesis and then searching for evidence that the hypothesis is wrong, too broad, too narrow, etc., with the goal of then creating a better hypothesis.

There's nothing in there about telling anybody what to do.

Agree if you are talking

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Agree if you are talking about the bullshit that the health food industry promotes as science. The whole "organic" and juicing and all that are just new ways to promote product.
Unfortunately our government has been hijacked by the food business to promote crap (processed foods) that make them money.
That is not science, that is just business.
Just wondering the point of this - other than a meet up - which sounds fun enough - will politicians be hoisted by their own petards? Or business leaders who sell fake science crap be tarred and feathered?
Just wondering - I am sure there will be some fun outfits so probably worth a look.

Mainstream Media Misrepresents Science To Bait Viewers

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The media loves to sensationalize isolated studies to draw more viewers to their "news" programs. They'll have a study one day that suggests coffee causes cancer, and the next day another study suggesting coffee cures cancer.

Well, science doesn't work that way — it's not about any study being the definitive proof about anything. The work must be verified and the results independently repeated by other scientists. Through re-examination, discussion and collaboration, eventually a consensus is reached about what is most likely the true nature of any specific topic. Nonetheless, science is always open to new data that can refine, or even change previous beliefs.

Often, non-scientific people find it easier to latch on to some pre-programmed belief system, perhaps through what some religion or other person told them to believe. Science achieves enlightenment by seeking answers to questions that someone else already claims to have answered. It's hard for people who never question their own beliefs to understand that.

To sum it up

Science = Awesome
"Mainstream" Science Journalism = Sucky

Science isn't profession. It's a desire to expand humanity's knowledge through rigorous testing and evaluation.

studies are rarely replicated

rarely is an attempt even made to replicate studies. And when they are attempted and the results differ, it's rarely publicized.

Scientists are pretty much like everybody else. They come to predispositions through complicated life experiences. Science jobs don't actually pay very well and that might be part of what builds resentment and a depressive orientation on the part of scientists.

There is a distinct financial

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There is a distinct financial disincentive to attempting to replicate research. Grants and tenure tend to be distributed based on the novelty of the research published, and a replication attempt is generally not as novel as the original research. This isn't helped by an attitude in most of the broad science community outside of math and portions of physics and computer science that "numbers are magic" (you see this the most in psychology and economics, but large swathes of medical research can fairly be described as having that attitude*), which enables such things as p-hacking.

Scientists are people just like everybody else. We respond to incentives, we're lazy about a lot of things, and we're not all that smart.

*: e.g. “A Mathematical Model for the Determination of Total Area Under Glucose Tolerance and Other Metabolic Curves”, Mary M. Tai, Diabetes Care, 1994, 17, 152–154. Yes, the trapezoid method of integration, taught in Calc II (including AP Calc exams) for centuries is actually Tai's Model, discovered in the early 1990s.

Swirly you appear to be

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Swirly you appear to be trying to shut him down, why? Are only scientists allowed to have valid opinions about science? Not very welcoming.

What do you think about what he actually said?

Painter is correct, there are

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Painter is correct, there are plenty of issues in the execution of "science" - specifically the authoring, reviewing, and publishing of papers in journals. Negative results are rarely published. Many, many studies are not effectively reproduced.

None of this changes how the scientific method is defined or its utility. There *are* objective facts like the planet is warming or that vaccines are effective that cannot rationally be disputed.

But many scientists are smug, insular, and do very little to help laypeople understand very complex mechanisms like evolution.

Dietary recommendations like avoid saturated fat, eat hydrogenated oils instead, sugar is OK (huge scandal with sugar industry money driving such "research") were fully supported by the scientific community for decades, it was not just the food industry and the media.

The scientific community has a lot to answer for in its corruption of the scientific method, maybe if we were to accept responsibility for what has happened people would find our ongoing work more credible and accessible.

Opinions about science

Yeah sorry no, thats not how science works. You don’t need people’s opinion on a fact.

But many scientists are smug, insular, and do very little to help laypeople understand very complex mechanisms like evolution.

Do you fly? Did you type this on a digital device? Can you explain very complex mechanisms behind these systems? Better question, do you even care about those finer details? If the plane flys in the air, if your mobile phone works, you might as well just hand wave it away as sorcery.

I just don't understand why we have to dumb science down so the laypeople can understand it. Over simplified explanations just open the door for charlatans to poke dishonest holes in scientific theory and cast doubt on the policies they are trying to inform.

Nobody said anything about

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Nobody said anything about dumbing down, such contempt. Explaining things to people who don't understand them is called "teaching", if more of us invested in actually doing that effectively we'd have fewer Americans confused about important scientific issues.


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Americans don't want "teaching". They hate teachers. They pay them garbage especially relative to the rest of the world. They expect them to improve their kids magically and without any help. They change the channel to something more entertaining (Cosmos had a good first episode but then quickly dropped below 4M viewers for the rest of the series in 2014). They propose removing science from classes when they don't agree with the conclusions or it violates their dumbest religious beliefs. They say things like "everyone's opinion is equally valid".

Americans don't want things explained to them. They want their world view coddled. Dumbed down or not, it won't matter. And dumbing it down is about the only way to present them with new information that seems like it coddles their world view. If you give too many details or say that something is true...but only for specific cases...the rest of the time it's not, then they pick anyone of those contraindications and act like it's a contradiction and thus the whole thing is risible to them. So dumbing it down is often the only way to make any new information palatable to Americans. And even if you do, someone else who benefits from that fact being ignored or dismissed will come along with some other overly simplified dumbed-down bullshit to convince a wide enough swath that your truth wasn't good enough and there's a "controversy" and maybe we should just not learn anything about that until we "know more".

Americans have no tolerance for "teaching". They been lied to by commercial, political, and other elites, so now even academic elites get tarred with that same brush. They were told "the internet" is a vast store of information and now believe any information on there is good enough that they don't need an academic expert to put it in context or explain it. They WebMD their illnesses, they quote blog pages as if they were research papers, and they get their info from places that literally are called "InfoWars"...because wars are _always_ the smartest place to get the most accurate information on something.

And the way out of this? Is to *teach* them how to be better information consumers. It's the worst catch-22 in the world right now.

No, it isn't

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Lower on your link, it shows that US teacher are required to put in the 4th highest number of hours (and most give more). That would make their hourly rate one of the lowest.

Then there's this:

All of those other countries pay their teachers relatively well compared to other professional salaries in their countries. We pay our teachers about 30% of an equivalent worker who isn't a teacher. We treat our teachers like shit.

I dont think you understand

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I dont think you understand ratios. That doesnt mean teachers in Spain are paid well, it means other college grads are paid way more poorly in Spain because their private-sector economy sucks.

Seriously, people who work 3/4 of the year at a part time job don't get to complain that their salaries are low, when the median teachers salary is higher than the median *household* income in the U.S.


Seriously, people who work 3/4 of the year at a part time job

You are the one who seriously lacks a clue. Part-time job? You mean that working 6:30 am to 3pm and then several more hours in the evening is part time?

3/4 of the year? Omg you are dense. 3/4 of the year IN THE CLASSROOM, and the other months are teaching summer school or training/education required to keep the job, preparing and revising the curriculum for entire years of courses, etc.

Meanwhile, two of my sons' elementary school teachers are teaching in China, where they get paid TWICE what they made in MA as fully licensed professionals with a decade of experience. Know what else? SHORTER days (longer in class but no homework expectations) and MORE vacation!

Get out of here.

Coded Language

We don't need more Americans to understand the details of important scientific issues, we need them to understand them as researched conclusions that seek to drive needed action.

The desire its not to be taught when you speak about allowing the laymen to understand, its a desire to be given a simplified method to cast doubt on facts.

The Wright brothers knew damn

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The Wright brothers knew damn little about science - they were mechanics and engineers. And the standard 'scientific' explanation for how heavier-than-air vehicles fly was wrong for many decades. Your defense of science is scientifically illiterate. Don't feel bad - most people are just like you.

Just because you have an

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Just because you have an opinion does not make it valid. For example, the President's opinion is that he want the election in the largest landslide since Reagan. It's an opinion but its certainly not valid.

Not true.

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"studies are rarely replicated rarely is an attempt even made to replicate studies. And when they are attempted and the results differ, it's rarely publicized."

That's simply not true. A huge percentage of research is people trying to recreate others' findings. Read an actual scientific journal sometime. You're getting your misinformation from pop culture, not from actual scientists.

Did you even read any of the

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Did you even read any of the material on the link you just referenced? It is about irreproducibility of some studies. That means people are actually trying to reproduce the results, and are unable to, probably due to lack of scientific rigor of the original study.

Your link is not about how no one wants to replicate studies, fool.

I guess I am a fool because I

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I guess I am a fool because I cannot figure out why if a study "lacks scientific rigor" it was published in the first place?

Because the scientific

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Because the scientific journals weren't originally setup to detect fraud, intentional or otherwise. Science was originally considered a noble endeavor with patrons and benefactors, who were searching for universal truths.

Only later did people realize that once science became more like a normal profession, would it have to begin to be on its guard for the same malfeasance you see in any other job.

Define 'many'. Some, certainly.

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And that's actually one of the strengths of a robust journal system. Papers get published, and other scientists examine the work, critique methodologies, and debate conclusions. And set up new studies to evaluate them. Good work holds up.

As mentioned above, the system can be abused, either through poor management or deliberate deception. But errors (of both specific studies and the overall system of inquiry) tend to be uncovered and corrected in a relatively short time. Especially when compared to other structures of human understanding, like organized religion, which often stress control and consistency over accuracy, and as a result may preserve errors over very long periods of time (ie centuries).

Mz Frizzle said it best!


Science is not exact - it is Bayesian and iterative when refining understanding of complicated systems through structured inquiry.

Old people who ate yogurt every day

By on a Dannon commercial from the 1970s: I can't ask them, I don't speak that language. But they seem happy enough.

Man using computer

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likely looking through prescription glasses, into a box powered by electricity, sipping coffee flown here on an aeroplane, through a plastic lid...
Busting on science.
Wow dude, do you even hear yourself?

...All of which were

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...All of which were developed based on scientific advances.

you might need

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to crack the dictionary open and look up "science"
Electricity (the movement of atoms), plastics (the engineering of NEW materials not found in nature) Flight (physics anyone?), and optics (the study of the eye, light, anatomy) are CERTAINLY all disciplines that fall under the general term "science"
If you don't think scientists were involved in all the things I just listed, then I dunno what to tell you. Do you think antibiotics were developed and tested by hospital janitors? I don't get it.

You just proved your own ignorance.


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Ask older people how they are enjoying their longer life span, brought to them by science. Yes, science is behind cleaner water, cleaner air, better medicines, improved diagnostics and treatment, and the fact that the internet is there for you to be snarky on.

What is wrong with people? Is there not enough actual bad stuff going on the in country for you, so you need to turn your uninformed snark on scientists?


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It's hard for scientists to measure certain behavior, such as eating. If scientists want to find out whether coffee consumption reduces risk of cancer, for example, they ask people to fill out food diaries or validated questionnaires about their coffee intake.

Here's where it gets muddy. What constitutes a cup of coffee? Can people accurately recall the amount of coffee they drink in a week (because they are almost certainly not tracking it as they consume it, especially if they're asked to track their consumption over weeks, months, or years)? Does it matter if there is sugar or dairy in the coffee? Does the strength of the coffee matter? Does a Dunkaccino or a mocha martini count? Does decaf count?

Tracking coffee consumption is relatively easy, compared to other foods. Think about the challenges of measuring saturated fat or sugar. Scientists are working on developing better methods of measuring behavior (e.g., using technology) but the technology is not quite where they'd like it.

It's frustrating for consumers, who are trying to make informed decisions about their health, and for researchers, who want to reach meaningful conclusions.


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Studies that are trying to find the effect of one thing are really hard to do.

Like the example of coffee listed above - does drinking coffee help/hurt? Hard to get a good answer when you also have to control for 288956437879205489 things people do that could also help/hurt.

So news releases that say something super superficial like "COFFEE THE NEW CIGARETTES" that gets people writing about it but neglects to mention that the actual odds ratio comparing cancer rates among people who drank 5+ cups of coffee a day compared with people who hate coffee is something like 1.05 (95%CI 0.90-1.20).

That's my major beef with the way a lot of science gets reported.

Can't go. Have experiments

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Can't go. Have experiments running that afternoon. Busy doing Science! (instead of marching for science)


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Welp,I know what I am doing sunday now.. :-) Pictures will be taken for ya Adam. (and the rest of you can follow me on twitter)

And good day for it.. Partly Sunny with a high of 50.

Poster Source?

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Adam - where did you find that graphic for the promotional poster? I could not possibly be a bigger fan. I'm wondering if there's a larger version.

- Chris

Will they honor Mish Michaels or NOAA whistleblower?

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Will this science group or perhaps the Kennedy Library "Profiles in Courage Award" honor Indian immigrant and meteorologist Mish Michaels for her courageous views on the possible vaccine/autism connection and her openness to differing views of Global Warming, rebranded as "Climate Change?" Views that cost her a job at WGBH after rankling the liberals? Will they honor retired federal climatologist John Bates for blowing the whistle on manipulation of water temperature data by NOAA, in a desperate attempt to "show" warming hadn't paused decades ago? If not, they are pathetic.

Prime example

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Of someone who is woefully unable to understand the slightest scientific anything braying on like he must be an expert because he is woefully unable to understand the slightest scientific anything.

American Idiocracy. SMH.

2 / 10

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Come on, dude, I know you've got a better troll in you than this. You just rushed through the anti-vax part with no subtle digs at establishment Democrats, put the scare quotes on all the wrong words, and totally whiffed on your chance to tell us how we need to stop the communists from siphoning our precious bodily fluids. Why, I don't even see anything about wearing insulated hats all the time to keep Major League Baseball from reading our thoughts.

2 / 10, try harder.

Boiled fish

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You think you'd be more worried about the recent data that shows we're losing dissolved oxygen in the oceans faster than expected. You do know how fish breathe right? Then again, I'm guessing you're not burning a lot of oxygen these days given how brain-dead your comments are.

1) Mish Michaels isn't courageous. She's a moron who follows the old trope of "I'm just challenging science to do better" as if nobody ever thought to challenge immunologists to always improve vaccines or something. I respect anti-vaxxers. They say "Vaccines are going to kill us!". They're wrong, but they at least tell you where they stand. People like Mish say "I want 'better vaccines' so nobody dies!" as if that's not what the people who work in vaccines aren't doing every day or that the current vaccines are somehow more dangerous than they need to be. People like her use weasel-words to "suggest" there's an issue where none exists, where science is some of the strongest, where risks are known and predominantly controlled, and where scaring people into fear of extremely rare scenarios will do far more harm than good. That she can simultaneously challenge science to do better on vaccines while maintaining that she's determined global warming to be due to nature not man-made sources is astounding flim-flammery (it's ok to say global warming if you're talking about rising temperatures across the globe...the two terms aren't synonymous...but that's probably too much nuance for your primordial fish brain to handle).

2) John Bates disagreed with how certain data was reported, NOT the data itself. This was horrendously distorted by Congressional Republicans in order to foist their religious beliefs about climate change on the rest of us. Bates explained why he was being used as a patsy to the AP:

"Bates told the AP on Feb. 6 that there was “no data tampering, no data changing, nothing malicious” involved with his colleagues’ study. “It’s not trumped up data in any way shape or form,” he said."

So, your idolatry of John is misplaced. He doesn't agree with you. He thinks the data is real.