Five very interesting articles recently popped up on the web, suggesting that current science is much more interesting than the average Joe might think:
- At FiveThirtyEight*, Christie Aschwanden’s Science Isn’t Broken gives a great exposition on scientific fraud, p-hacking, and why science is much more difficult than most folks realize.
- Robert Matthews, writing in UAE’s The National, says Lone researchers with radical ideas may hold the keys to science’s unanswered questions. One of those “loners” is “Eleonora Troja, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who studies X-rays, had hoped for years to detect the light from a neutron-star merger, but many people thought she was dreaming.”
- FiveThirtyEight’s Rebecca Boyle, in Two Stars Slammed Into Each Other And Solved Half Of Astronomy’s Problems. What Comes Next?, describes that dream coming true and a revolution in astronomy that occurred in just 3 weeks this past August.
- In The Serial-Killer Detector, the New Yorker’s Alec Wilkinson tells the story of Thomas Hargrove’s one-man Big Data project to categorize and analyze murders in the United States (751,785 since 1976) with the goal of tracking down serial killers. From the description, is appears Hargrove has done yeoman’s work combining Small N and Big Data techniques with great success. “Hargrove thinks … that there are probably around two thousand serial killers at large in the U.S.” Yikes!
- Want to get in on the action? At ScienceAlert.com, Mike McRae tells how Now You Can Build Your Very Own Muon Detector For Less Than $100, and possibly contribute to a Big Data project supporting stellar astronomy.
*ESPN’s website that analyzes sport statistics, election polling, and (apparently) anything else that catches their analysts’ eyes.