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Getting it All Wrong

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Even with the best intentions, it’s possible to get things wrong. And with lesser intentions, being wrong becomes easy. First, James Hrynyshyn on The Island of Doubt reports that the IPCC will retract its 2007 prediction that global warming could melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. Although the IPCC promises “the best peer-reviewed science available,” this faulty prediction whispered its way from article to article in a game of journalistic telephone. Tim Lambert on Deltoid is grateful that the IPCC will correct their error, and observes that the current gaffe is getting more media attention than the actual 2007 report. But while the IPCC may have made an honest mistake, other sources seem to mix things up deliberately. Scicurious offers an example on Neurotopia, citing a perfectly good study which showed that stronger and/or more attractive individuals are more likely to prevail in conflicts of interest. In spinning this science, TimesOnline “had to go and say some rather false things,” translating attractiveness to blondeness and invoking the questionable phrase “warrior princess.” Dave Bacon on The Quantum Pontiff catches New Scientist in a similar bit of sensationalism, as they recently entangled “local field potential measurements in a monkey’s brain” with hardcore quantum mechanics. With interest coming at the price of inaccuracy, should we as readers let bygones be bygones?

Links below the fold.