Cool Links

Confirmation bias prevents academia from giving Republicans a fair shake (global warming deniers!) but more objective people will scratch their heads wondering how a majority party that supposedly dislikes science drafts spending bills that increase funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards (NIST) and Technology and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
We keep being told how vital it is for us to stay competitive in the 'green energy race' - Energy Secretary Steven Chu reiterated it again in his Congressional hearing last week.

But a race for what? China heavily subsidizes ridiculously inefficient solar cells so heavily subsidized American companies can afford to buy them - but nobody really wants the product. It doesn't work.
In the 1960s Cold War paranoia led to the discovery of the most violent explosions in the Universe, which once again goes to show you the military accomplishes more good than academics think it does - at least those humanities people, anyway.

At the height of the Cold War the U.S. was concerned about the possibility of covert Soviet nuclear tests so they sent up a series of satellites to look for tell-tale flashes of radiation. These satellites began seeing something strange; flashes, but they were signals of astronomical origin. After decades of debate, it was shown that these were caused by the explosion of the most massive stars. 
Psychology Today, which has been to psychology woo what Huffington Post is to medical woo, ironically has an astute columnist calling out the shoddy research methods we have been ridiculing in psychology for years.

Dr. Karen Franklin notes that while the Diederik Stapel incident is the latest, it isn't isolated.  Racism in baseball umpires, ESP, if there has been a popular tripe study thrown out to catch headlines, someone in psychology has used lousy pseudoscience to create it.
I have said too many times to count we should not be subsidizing failed, inefficient technology like solar cells.  As with the ethanol fetish of the 2000s, solar energy has been spearheaded by a government leader who surrounded himself with scientific true believers rather than objective scientists who would look critically at claims. The billions wasted on keeping inefficient technology afloat could instead have been spent on basic research that might actually get us real solar technology.
Scientists didn't like when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) turned his gaze on rampant spending waste at the National Science Foundation but locking in on waste - military, science funding, you name it - is what he does, in true conservative fashion.
This isn't limited to psychology but it was written about psychology studies so that goes in the title. It certainly can apply to almost any study dealing with people.

Razib Khan at Discover highlights a Psychological Science paper(1) by Simmons and Simonsohn of Penn and Nelson of Berkeley that outlines ways to institute more rigor in studies.  They write:
Tomorrow, more than 1,300 Pop Warner cheerleaders will join Science Cheerleader members in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ for the “World’s Largest Cheering Team” – a record set in China during the 2008 Olympics. Former NFL and NBA cheerleaders will lead the youth cheerleading squads in a five-minute cheer that touts the importance of science and engineering.

Pop Warner and Science Cheerleader will attempt to bring this record to the United States by breaking it at the Pop Warner Eastern Region Cheer Championships held at the Sun National Bank Arena.
There is no evidence that Dutch social psychologist Diederik Stapel had faked any data for his Ph.D. work, just evidence he had faked a whole lot since.  Still, a panel recommended The University of Amsterdam look into his work and perhaps revoke his doctorate "on the grounds of exceptional academically unworthy conduct."
Sometimes you have to take a chance; President Obama has decided to 'reassess' the Keystone XL pipeline project, which is really just a way to delay it until after the 2012 election.

Cost; over 100,000 jobs in the US.  That's bad, right?  It depends on what the priority is.
Only government could come up with this ingenious plan: President Obama’s Agriculture Department has announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of... Christmas trees.

Yes, that's right, if you buy a Christmas tree you are apparently still unconvinced how awesome they are so the government must tax you, waste half just by being government, then spend the other half wastefully marketing Christmas trees to everyone.
Professor David Gelernter is a pioneering computer scientist who earned renown by connecting computers together into collaborative networks.  He has claimed since 2008 that Apple, Inc. pirated his technology - ironically Apple head Steve Jobs claimed in a new biography that Google had pirated Apple technology, which had to have made old guys at Xerox PARC giggle, since the original Mac OS was so pirated they even wrote the business plan on Xerox computers at Xerox PARC.
California is a jumble of progressive confusion.  People like to pay $15 a dozen for organic, free range chicken eggs and subsidize solar energy, for example, but a clothesline - the most emissions free way to dry clothes ever, invented by ancient man - is illegal in most neighborhoods, and someone making homemade bread and selling it, a practice that got a lot of families through the Great Depression, is in violation of various laws.

Apparently only Big Organic is allowed to sell delicious foods where the chain of custody is well known by the creator and the consumer.
A new study says public school teachers earn way too much - public school teachers take home total compensation that's 52% higher than "fair market levels" for professionals with similar cognitive abilities.  Summer vacation is what does it. Normalizing for hours worked,  teachers worked an average of 36.5 hours per week at an average wage of $34.06 an hour,  more than 61% of the other occupations the researchers examined, like architects, psychologists, chemists, mechanical engineers, economists, and journalists.
Real combat is scary but for helicopter pilots it just got a little more like a video game. 

The latest version of the Army’s attack helicopter, the AH-64D Longbow Apache Block III, will have the usual enhancements everyone expects to see -  fly faster and higher, etc. - but will also have something really interesting; Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) control, which means the pilot can now control the flight path, weapons systems and sensors on a drone.  That's multiple eyes and attackers from one crew.  Currently Apache crews coordinate with drone operators via radio.
Autism diagnoses may have officially jumped the shark when being smart, organized and antisocial is 'on the spectrum' - basically, 65% of the population can be qualified and a whole lot more in science and engineering.
It takes a little bit of madness to work in the Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo. Dr. Nico Dauphine has it in spades.

Like often happens with zealots, love began to turn into hate.  And so cats must be dead.  Didn't she ever hear of the circle of life? While she was at the bird center, she was studying how domestic cats affect wildlife but she apparently got into home experimentation as well; she was busted putting rat poison into a bowl of cat food outside an apartment complex last March. 
Vermont Democrats want their constituents to know they are getting something done to protect Vernont jobs - they want to make it a felony to sell Maple syrup that is not authentic.

If you have lived in a place with Maple trees, you know the process; you stick a spigot in a tree when the winter thaw arrives and hang a bucket on it and delicious sugar water arrives.  Then you empty the bucket into a vat and create a ridiculous amount of carbon emissions boiling it down to a thick syrup.
Ol' man Sol doesn't just screw with Earthlings.  Earth got "epic" geomagnetic storms during the last few days, allowing southern states to see the Northern Lights, and now Mars is on the list.
Is sitting around with your friends and talking while you drink coffee too time-consuming?  Do you think that 5 Hour Energy Drink tastes creepy?

The folks at AeroShot have some good product news for you; inhalable caffeine.

Sure, the little lime-flavored puffs jolt you with 100 mg of caffeine, the same as a large cup of coffee, but they also throw in niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.  If you like your herbal mental placebo, it is sweetened with Stevia.