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Science

Why Published Research Findings Are Often False 453

Posted by samzenpus
from the race-to-publish dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Jonah Lehrer has an interesting article in the New Yorker reporting that all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings in science have started to look increasingly uncertain as they cannot be replicated. This phenomenon doesn't yet have an official name, but it's occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology and in the field of medicine, the phenomenon seems extremely widespread, affecting not only anti-psychotics but also therapies ranging from cardiac stents to Vitamin E and antidepressants. 'One of my mentors told me that my real mistake was trying to replicate my work,' says researcher Jonathon Schooler. 'He told me doing that was just setting myself up for disappointment.' For many scientists, the effect is especially troubling because of what it exposes about the scientific process. 'If replication is what separates the rigor of science from the squishiness of pseudoscience, where do we put all these rigorously validated findings that can no longer be proved?' writes Lehrer. 'Which results should we believe?' Francis Bacon, the early-modern philosopher and pioneer of the scientific method, once declared that experiments were essential, because they allowed us to 'put nature to the question' but it now appears that nature often gives us different answers. According to John Ioannidis, author of Why Most Published Research Findings Are False, the main problem is that too many researchers engage in what he calls 'significance chasing,' or finding ways to interpret the data so that it passes the statistical test of significance—the ninety-five-per-cent boundary invented by Ronald Fisher. 'The scientists are so eager to pass this magical test that they start playing around with the numbers, trying to find anything that seems worthy,'"
Google

Google Caffeine Drops MapReduce, Adds "Colossus" 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-upgrade dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With its new Caffeine search indexing system, Google has moved away from its MapReduce distributed number crunching platform in favor of a setup that mirrors database programming. The index is stored in Google's BigTable distributed database, and Caffeine allows for incremental changes to the database itself. The system also uses an update to the Google File System codenamed 'Colossus.'"

Comment: Re:Sounds pretty fair (Score 2, Informative) 432

by dtbw (#33172864) Attached to: Ex-SF Admin Terry Childs Gets 4-Year Sentence
"Because I am in IT, for some reason I must make myself available weeks or months after the fact to provide passwords." No, but if your management or your customer directs you to grant access while you are still employed you are required to do so regardless of your opinion of their technical expertise. You might take pride in your network but guess what. It's not YOUR network. You're just paid to maintain it. Just document the access request to cover your rear and do what you're told. If they screw up the system, you are not obligated to restore it if you wish to resign or have already been fired. You already gave the them access they need to fix it themselves or hire someone else.
Security

Two Unpatched Flaws Show Up In Apple iOS 171

Posted by samzenpus
from the rotten-apple dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "The technique that the Jailbreakme.com Web site is using to bypass the iPhone's security mechanisms and enable users to run unapproved apps on their phones involves exploiting two separate vulnerabilities. One of the vulnerabilities is a memory-corruption flaw that affects the way that Apple's mobile devices, including the iPad and iPod Touch, display PDFs. The second weakness is a problem in the Apple iOS kernel that gives an attacker higher privileges once his code is on a targeted device, enabling him to break out of the iOS sandbox. The combination of the two vulnerabilities — both of which are unpatched at the moment — gives an attacker the ability to run remote code on the device and evade the security protections on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The technique became public earlier this week when the Jailbreakme.com site began hosting a set of specially crafted PDF files designed to help users jailbreak their Apple devices and load apps other than the ones approved by Apple and offered in its official App Store."
The Internet

Woman's Nude Pics End Up Online After Call To Tech Support 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-was-your-service-today? dept.
Tara Fitzgerald couldn't find the nude pictures she planned on sending to her boyfriend, but instead of just taking more, she decided to see if a Dell tech support call could fix her problem. Apparently the tech support guy found them. Unfortunately, he then put them up on a site called "bitchtara."
Cellphones

Android 2.1 Finally Makes It To Droid 132

Posted by timothy
from the for-all-your-robot-needs dept.
MrSmith0011000100110 writes "The lovely people over at AndroidCentral have broken the announcement that Android 2.1 is finally coming to the Motorola Droid, with actual proof on Verizon's Droid support page (PDF). I don't know about my Droid brethren, but I'm pretty excited to see the new series of Android ROMs for the Droid phone that are based on a stock Android 2.1. As most of us know, the existing 2.1 ROMs can be buggy as hell and either running vanilla 2.1 or a custom ROM; but this phone is still a tinkerer's best friend."

Comment: It might look nicer but (Score 3, Insightful) 683

by dtbw (#31353664) Attached to: Ubuntu Gets a New Visual Identity
I would be happier if things like mounting digital cameras worked consistently from one release to the next without scouring the web looking for the latest hoop to jump through. Yes I can find the answer and make it work but a lot of potential converts will give up and pop the Windows 7 install disk in.
Space

Lake On Titan Winks From a Billion Kilometers Away 139

Posted by timothy
from the next-time-send-chocolate dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "NASA's Cassini spacecraft took an image of Saturn's giant moon Titan earlier this year that serendipitously provides proof of liquid (probably methane) on its surface. The picture shows a glint of reflected sunlight off of a monster lake called Kraken Mare (larger than the Caspian Sea!). Scientists have been getting better and better evidence of liquid methane on Titan, but this is the first direct proof."
The Courts

Piracy Case Could Change Canadian Web Landscape 156

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the embrace-file-sharing-already dept.
meatheadmike writes to tell us that a recent Canadian court case brought against the Canadian Recording Industry Association by isoHunt Web Technologies, Inc, could drastically change the web landscape in Canada. "The question before the British Columbia Supreme Court is if a site such as isoHunt allows people to find a pirated copy of movies such as Watchmen or The Dark Knight, is it breaching Canadian copyright law? 'It's a huge can of worms," said David Fewer, acting director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa. 'I am surprised that this litigation has gone under the radar as much as it has. I do think this is the most important copyright litigation going on right now.'"
Image

Colorado Woman With Flammable Water Fears Blast 10

Posted by samzenpus
from the smoke-on-the-water-fire-in-the-sink dept.
Amee Ellsworth says she is terrified that her home could blow up because of natural gas that has seeped into her water supply. She can ignite the water with a lighter from faucets in her kitchen or bathroom. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission determined the gas is coming from a leak in one of eight active gas wells within a half-mile radius of the Elllsworth's home. Amee should look on the bright side. Not everyone gets to take a shower that cleans and sterilizes all at once.

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