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Psych research findings not holding up?

The past several years have been bruising ones for the credibility of the social sciences. A star social psychologist was caught fabricating data, leading to more than 50 retracted papers. A top journal published a study supporting the existence of ESP that was widely criticized. The journal Science pulled a political science paper on the effect of gay canvassers on voters’ behavior because of concerns about faked data. Now, a…

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Cellular ‘Cheaters’ Give Rise to Cancer

Maybe it was in “some warm little pond,” Charles Darwin speculated in 1871, that life on Earth began. A few simple chemicals sloshed together and formed complex molecules. These, over great stretches of time, joined in various combinations, eventually giving rise to the first living cell: a self-sustaining bag of chemistry capable of dividing and spawning copies of itself. While scientists still debate the specifics, most subscribe to some version…

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Research Scientists to Use Network Much Faster Than Internet

A series of ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cables will weave a cluster of West Coast university laboratories and supercomputer centers into a network called the Pacific Research Platform as part of a five-year $5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The network is meant to keep pace with the vast acceleration of data collection in fields such as physics, astronomy and genetics. It will not be directly connected to the…

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Federal government to review GMO evaluation process

The Obama administration said on Thursday that it would update the way the government regulated genetically modified crops and some other biotechnology products, saying that the nearly 30-year-old system had become outdated and confusing and did not foster public confidence. “While the current regulatory system for biotechnology products effectively protects the health and the environment, advances in science and technology since 1992 have been altering the product landscape,” John P.…

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Pope Francis to Explore Climate’s Effect on World’s Poor

On Thursday, Francis will release his first major teaching letter, known as an encyclical, on the theme of the environment and the poor. Given the pope’s widespread popularity, and his penchant for speaking out on major global issues, the encyclical is being treated as a milestone that could place the Roman Catholic Church at the forefront of a new coalition of religion and science. Francis, the first pope from the…

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Academics Seek a Big Splash

Each July, many of the top economists in the world gather in Cambridge, Mass., at a conference hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. While the work they present comes in all shapes and sizes, from the highly technical to the trendy and provocative, the coveted first day of a key weeklong session is given over to research that will make a media splash. “I choose the papers,” said…

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Turning to Big, Big Data to See What Ails the World

Image from IHME website Like many fields, public health is in the midst of a data revolution: randomized control trials, pay-for-performance and value calculations, all based on data, are changing our ideas about what works and how to finance it. The impact of these new methods to gather and evaluate data pales, however, next to the Global Burden of Disease Report, an attempt to understand what sickens us and kills…

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Learning to See Data

FOR the past year or so genetic scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been collaborating with a specialist from another universe: Daniel Kohn, a Brooklyn-based painter and conceptual artist. Mr. Kohn has no training in computers or genetics, and he’s not there to conduct art therapy classes. His role is to help the scientists with a signature 21st-century problem: Big Data overload. Advanced computing…

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