When science is unreliable

first_imgNicole C. Nelson, Radcliffe’s Katherine Hampson Bessell Fellow, examines scientists’ assumptions about the natural world and how they play into their research. This year at Radcliffe, the assistant professor of science and technology studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will delve into the scientific reproducibility crisis, a recent phenomenon in which subsequent scientific investigation has found many supposedly stable findings to be difficult to replicate.Nelson will give a talk about her research titled “The Truth Wears Off? The Reproducibility Crisis in Historical Perspective,” on Feb. 6 as part of the Radcliffe Institute’s Fellows’ Presentation Series.Q&ANicole C. NelsonRADCLIFFE: What is the reproducibility crisis, and how did you become interested in it?NELSON: The reproducibility crisis is a recent phenomenon wherein scientists have found themselves unable to reproduce results that they thought were well-established. A study published in 2012 by the pharmaceutical company Amgen reported that its in-house scientists could replicate findings from the published literature on cancer in only six out of 53 cases (11 percent). That study got the attention of a lot of people in the biomedical community, including me.RADCLIFFE: What have been your methods for studying discrepancies in scientific results?NELSON: I’ve been doing oral histories with scientists to uncover the moments when they began to realize that the discrepancies they were seeing were part of a larger problem. Inconsistent results happen all the time in science, but there’s a tendency to dismiss these as just problems with a particular method, or with a particular lab. With my research partners, I’ve also been assembling a large database of opinion pieces, editorials, review articles, and newspaper articles, which we’ll analyze to identify key moments when the conversation about reproducibility starts to shift from a series of isolated events into something more systemic.RADCLIFFE: What are the ramifications of such widespread scientific inconsistencies?NELSON: One of the potential ramifications of the reproducibility crisis is that it might erode public trust in science. The public image of science has long been out of sync with the reality. We like to think of science as giving us truth and certainty, but what it actually gives us is a way to challenge our beliefs and weed out the predictions that don’t align well with what we see in the world. That’s a harder message to communicate, but I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we need to stop relying on the science-truth shorthand. Otherwise, nonscientists get the misleading impression that science is broken when they see findings being challenged and overturned.RADCLIFFE: Who are your heroes?NELSON: I’ve long had an academic crush on Anne Fausto-Sterling. Her research is hard to categorize. She works at the intersection of biology and gender studies and moves back and forth between humanistic and scientific methods, which is why I like her so much.RADCLIFFE: Which trait do you most admire in yourself?NELSON: That I can get myself to do things that I fear (most of the time, at least).RADCLIFFE: Who is your muse?NELSON: Enigmatic people or counterintuitive events really get my brain going. I love the feeling of gradually coming to understand something that at first seemed inscrutable to me. It’s a useful trait to have for doing ethnography, but I probably occasionally annoy people in my personal life by needling them with too many questions.RADCLIFFE: What inspires you?NELSON: Scholars who build communities that are rigorous, inclusive, and supportive. There’s a tendency in some corners of academia to assume that rigor means delivering devastating critiques, which can make academia feel isolating. I think the feminist science studies community does an especially good job of making sure that supporting each other and taking each other’s work seriously are not mutually exclusive.RADCLIFFE: What is your greatest triumph so far?NELSON: I’m enormously proud of my first book, “Model Behavior,” which explores what laboratory science looks like when researchers go in with the assumption that the phenomena they’re studying are complex. That, and my Radcliffe fellowship!RADCLIFFE: What is your fantasy career?NELSON: If I weren’t an academic, I might try my hand at teaching sewing or designing sewing patterns. I remember how transformative it was for me when I first realized that I could make clothes to fit my body rather than trying to remake my body to fit into off-the-rack clothes, and I’d love to share that feeling with others.RADCLIFFE: What is the most challenging aspect of being a Radcliffe fellow?NELSON: There’s very little that’s difficult about being a Radcliffe fellow! All the staff at the Institute put so much work into making it an ideal place to do research. Right now I have a three-minute commute to my office, dozens of interesting people to talk to, and all the (decaf) espresso I can drink — what’s not to love?This interview was edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

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Do you know your community?

first_img 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Sarah Marshall Sarah Marshall is a consultant in the credit union industry, and can be reached for partnership and speaking opportunities through Your Credit Union Partner. Her background in community development includes … Web: https://yourcupartner.org Details The word ‘community’ is tossed around a lot. For some of our credit unions, it is part of our name. A growing number of us identify as community development credit unions.  Most of the time, the way we think about community is fairly simple. A community is the local area that we serve, or the people we market toward. The typical definition is fairly generic, and most of the time people don’t apply a lot of thought to what community means anymore. In a world where community has lost meaning, brands that build a community stand out. These brands often have good marketing, but their marketing is good because they have a clear identity. This means people are attracted to the brand, and find an element in the brand that matches their ideals and values. The strongest brands connect with people and connect people – giving them a sense that they are part of a community. Community is people, not place: It is easy to think of community as a local geographic area. Credit unions with community charters frequently think of their physical boundaries. Our natural tendency is to think of buildings and physical spaces as the community. Keep in mind that locations are important, but only because they give people a space to form community. A strong community remains stable even when buildings close or move. If your credit union becomes a center of community, your organization is at a significant advantage. Workshops, financial literacy courses, and relationships with loan officers and member services representatives go a long way toward creating community. There may be other ways your credit union can do this too – think of ways your credit union can be a presence, not just a financial institution. How many banks really stand out as community centers anyway? Community is relationships: Community is formed because of a common bond between people. This is something that credit unions should understand intuitively. People tend to group and spend time with people who are similar to them in some ways. Although organizational culture is a different subject, people are often attracted toward jobs because in some way it is a match for their personality. Credit unions were formed with a common bond. Culture can change over time though, and it is important to stay up to date on the pulse of your membership. Their relationship to your credit union is evolving. Make sure your credit union stays on top of what the people you interact with value and need. This happens by building genuine relationships with your members. Community is engagement plus ownership:  This one is especially for community development, CDFI, and low-income designated credit unions. To be part of a community involves a feeling of ownership. If you define yourself as a credit union with a mission to serve underserved markets, but they aren’t engaged in and leading what you are doing, then you are just a ‘development’ credit union.  One quick way to gauge this is through the diversity of your board and management team. Management and staff should be reflective of your community. A credit union serving underserved markets should provide ownership to those in the community – meaning your community should be represented on your team. Hosting community can build a strong loyalty to your credit union. People remain where they feel valued, welcomed, and engaged. Learn more about those who come through your door to build a strong, engaged member base. last_img read more

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TS Melissa Fading in Atlantic, as South FL Deals with Rough Ocean Conditions

first_imgTropical Storm Melissa, which has been causing rough conditions along our coast during the weekend, is about to fade away.According to the National Hurricane Center, the 45-mph storm is weakening and is now expected to become a post-tropical remnant low by Sunday night or Monday.Melissa formed off New England as a subtropical storm on Friday, as thunderstorms surrounded the nor’easter that has been affecting people from New York to Boston.After becoming a tropical storm on Saturday, Melissa was moving east in the Atlantic Ocean, and away from North America.Northwest swells from the storm have combined with onshore winds to kick up our seas as high as nine feet during Sunday.According to our news partner, CBS12, large breaking waves, strong rip currents and beach erosion remain likely, and a small craft advisory is still in effect for boaters.In related news, the NHC says in its 2 p.m. Sunday advisory that a “vigorous” tropical wave with a 70 percent chance of development is moving off the African coast. The advisory states, “Showers and thunderstorms are beginning to show signs of organization, and environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for the development of a tropical depression during the next few days while the disturbance moves west-northwestward to northwestward over or just east of the Cabo Verde Islands.”Strong winds in the upper atmosphere are expected to prevent any further development of the system.Two other disturbances, one over the southwestern Caribbean Sea and the other in the central Atlantic, have a 20 percent chance of development.Upper-level high pressure will continue to bring South Florida mainly dry weather through the middle of the week. A slow-moving front and higher moisture will begin to increase our shower and storm chances by the end of the week.last_img read more

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Leading players target English women’s matchplay

first_img24 Jun 2016 Leading players target English women’s matchplay Leading players will head to Holme Hall Golf Club in Lincolnshire next week for the English women’s open match play championship, from 30 June – 2 July. They include Lincolnshire’s India Clyburn (Image © Leaderboard Photography), who is a past English girls’ champion and has played in winning England teams at the women and girls’ Home Internationals. She’s joined in the field by fellow Woodhall Spa member, Billie-Jo Smith. This is the first time Holme Hall has hosted a national championship and the club is throwing itself behind the event. Manager Andrew Watson said: “We had the regional women’s county match week recently and that was a real eye-opener. “The members really enjoyed it and there’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for this championship. I’ve got a long list of volunteers willing to help with everything from ball spotting to scoreboards.”  The heathland course is where Tony Jacklin played his golf as a junior and, says Watson: “It’s the closest I have ever seen to a true inland links course. In the afternoons we get the breeze from the Trent and Humber which can make the back nine a challenge.” He added: “It’s a second shot course. If you can get your drive in position you have a good chance for a birdie.” The field includes Cornwall’s Sammie Giles who won this trophy in 2014. She played for England in last year’s winning team at the women’s Home Internationals, alongside another competitor, Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe). English girls’ champion Emily Toy (Carlyon Bay) helped England win the girls’ Home Internationals, while Mimi Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) has represented England at U16 level. Players from further afield include Gabrielle MacDonald, who was Scottish amateur champion in 2014, and compatriot Gemma Batty who recently won the Slovenian international. All competitors play 36 holes on the first day and the top 16 players go forward to the match play stages. Click here for more details and start timeslast_img read more

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