In choosing the top articles of any year, there are always a few knobs to turn. A top article traffic-wise, for example, could be one from a prior year, since we have articles with millions of readers, and since we carry some press release stuff it could be one of those, and one person may have two.
And since Science 2.0 is all member-driven, no employees or corporate or government overlord, the people who might pick the candidates would most likely be the most active, and therefore one of the candidates. So instead we take it out of anyone's hands and just went by number of readers (not number of pageviews, since a controversial article can generate a lot more of those). And only one per author. And only 5 since, really, no one is reading 10 articles on a list.
So here they are, in no particular order, the Science 2.0 Top 5 Of 2015.
Transparency Weaponized Against Scientists by Professor Kevin Folta
In 2015, an organic-industry funded group called U.S. Right To Know, aided by strategy from the Democratic lobbying and PR group called SourceWatch, sought to create an "icy chill" in science by harassing researchers with Freedom of Information Act requests. No target was bigger than Professor Kevin Folta of the University of Florida, a leading agriculture advocate. By quote-mining emails and contending that a tiny amount expense funding by Monsanto meant he was on the take, they successfully incited their advocacy base - including threats on his safety and his family's.
Their strategy worked; Folta went silent rather than put his school, his family and science itself in peril, but not before writing this article about why it's a bad thing to use scientific transparency against scientists.
Many scientists and journalists, who criticized anti-climate change groups when that strategy was used, suddenly lost their voice when it came to agriculture, which means the lobbyists and industry shills for organic were smart - in a world where politics and science intersect, the people on the same side as anti-science groups politically are not going to speak up for science.
How Much Weight Can You Gain Due To Water Retention? by Kelly Everson
Your body is capable of retaining up to about five pounds of water a day, depending on the amount you consume and the kind of foods you take. The amount of daily workout and hydration levels for a particular day also determine how much fluid is stored.
The extra weight during your periods is a clear sign that your body retains more fluids, especially if you take meals consisting of fatty products, writes Kelly Everson.
Will Aspartame Critics Now Be Less Bitter? by Dr. Josh Bloom
The artificial sweetener aspartame was in the news again this year. Pepsi attempted to resurrect flagging sales of its diet soda by leveraging a study claiming it was a carcinogen and substituting it with another alternative (ironically, which is also considered a carcinogen - so is sugar). Dr. Josh Bloom, Senior Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the American Council on Science and Health, sought to, as he put it, "cut through the crap." He goes back to a flawed 2004 review which was thoroughly debunked, but as charlatans like Joe Mercola have shown repeatedly, promoting fear and doubt is easy. Science is hard.
Asteroid Flybys, "Blood Moons" And Armageddon Demystified by Robert Walker
Is anything going to happen on September 24th? Obviously nothing of interest outside some astronomers, but that didn't stop doomsday hysteria from taking hold. Then there was an eclipse on the 28th. And an even bigger asteroid on October 4th, which did nothing more than the one on April 14th.
Walker put fears to rest and continues to do so every time a new doomsday date rolls around, which is about every month.
Ancient Romans Ate Meals Most Americans Would Recognize by Joel Shurkin
What's for dinner in 56 BC?? Archaeologists studying the eating habits of ancient Etruscans and Romans have found that they ate a lot like us.
They had pork chops and a form of bacon. They even served sausages and prosciutto; in other words, a meal not unlike what you'd find in Rome today -- or in South Philadelphia.
Science 2.0 Top 5 Articles Of 2015