Toasters and autism: basics of scientific method

Last week, I published a post talking about data manipulation and the importance of controls during an experiment. It turns out, this is a hugely complex subject, so I wanted to follow that whole train wreck with something a little simpler. Here are a few more examples of scientific method. My hope is that these will …

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Naughty, naughty: cherry-picking and data beautification

Once, a fellow scientist told me that their lab had published lots of papers without using the right controls for their experiments. What's more, they said they'd tried to repeat the experiments later, but were never able to get the same results as in the paper. Umm... what? Quick basic example of scientific method:  Make …

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Herd immunity: the proof in the pudding

A recent article in the US News talked about a really cool thing happening with human papillomavirus (HPV). It's the phenomenon called herd immunity, and it seems to be working. First, some basics on herd immunity. Many of you may have a good grasp on it already. For those who don't, PBS's NOVA gives a great description of it. …

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