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Monday News: Journalism failing science while Cat Videos enjoy a movie...

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DataGenetics also revealed the four digits that are lease used but advised “Now that we’ve learned that, historically, 8068 is (was?) the least commonly used password 4-digit PIN, please don’t go out and change yours to this! Hackers can read too! They will also be promoting 8068 up their attempt trees in order to catch people who read this (or similar) articles.”DataGenetics

It is incredible, gob-smacking even, how many women out there consider themselves to be feminists, and yet, stick them at a table full of men and they will go as mute as porcelain dolls. To wit: did you know that a whopping 80 per cent of females feel underpaid, yet two-thirds haven’t bothered to ask for more money, while the remaining third say that doing so was one of the most anxiety-inducing things they have ever done? Women, this must stop! We must pipe up when we feel like piping down, and not presume that it will make us “frightening” and “intimidating” to men.  Telegraph UK

Research on research—particularly on medical research, where sample sizes are often small—shows that lots of conclusions do not stand the test of time. The refutation of plausible hypotheses is the way that science progresses. The problem was in the way the work was reported in the press.Ecnomist

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

14 Comments

  1. CG
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 07:42:16

    “We must pipe up when we feel like piping down, and not presume that it will make us “frightening” and “intimidating” to men.”

    Yeah, not something I’ve ever worried about. In fact, I might go as far to say it’s an aspiration. What I do fear is having my opinions dismissed or minimized simply because of my gender.

  2. Crista
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 08:17:22

    To wit: did you know that a whopping 80 per cent of females feel underpaid, yet two-thirds haven’t bothered to ask for more money, while the remaining third say that doing so was one of the most anxiety-inducing things they have ever done?

    This! I’m getting an ulcer from dealing with my current employer. I found out while I was on maternity leave this summer that my pay would be cut in half when I returned. I tried to iron it out before I came back, but I got a lot conditional vague promises like “if you have a stellar September, then maybe we’ll raise your pay.” I found a new job with better pay, better hours, and better benefits, and now the current job is telling me I’m not giving them enough notice (I gave them 40 days). I guess it’s time to bring out my inner set of balls and stick to my guns.

  3. Lori
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 08:31:43

    I’d be interested in more complete studies regarding women and speaking up. Because it seems to me that, especially in the workplace, that the women who are assertive and speak up for themselves are the ones who are targeted as problem employees most often and dismissed more quickly.

  4. LJD
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 08:54:05

    And journalists often show an appalling lack of understanding of the difference between correlation and causation.

  5. Jen
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 09:31:19

    @Crista: Crista, stick to your guns!! I’m impressed you gave them 40 days. They don’t seem to be working hard to do right by you, so your 40 days is doing more than right by them.

  6. CourtneyLee
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 09:44:32

    The confusion between correlation and causation is one frustration of science v. journalism, but another is that one of the core falues of journalism is directly detrimental to science reporting. Journalists are constantly told (or they used to be, at least) that you must report on all sides of a story/issue to be fair and unbiased. This is bad when it comes to science reporting because journalists who are not scientifically literate–which is a lot of them–feel the need to acknowledge failed hypotheses as they would opposing viewpoints. That leads to people who are also not scientifically literate–which is a lot of them–thinking that the disproved hypotheses have much more weight than they do.

  7. Las
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 10:02:18

    Another issue with science reporting is that journalists often base their articles on just the abstracts, or, even worse, the press releases, instead of the entire paper, so what gets reported is often completely out of context or even contradictory to the paper’s conclusions. So many times I’ve read articles claiming that a paper stated something, and when I read the actual paper it turns out the finding weren’t statistically significant.

  8. Anne V
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 10:39:23

    There’s a Ben Goldacre book called Bad Science, which is really about bad science journalism and the fallibility/manipulibility of statistics – the writing is excellent and engaging – Goldacre’s outrage at the long and short term social consequences of bad science and bad science journalism is remarkable chiefly for it’s lucidity and rarity. He’s the science columnist for the Guardian, and based on Bad Science I imagine him to be in a near-constant frenzy of exasperation and fact-correction in the teeth of the merrily wrong.

    Seth Mnookin’s The Panic Virus is a very low-key indictment of the consequences of bad science and bad science journalism within the anti-vaccine and autism communities and on the ease of establishing disproven hypotheses and charlatans as authorities, given the general lack of understanding of the scientific process.

    I’m a microbiologist by training (although I work in an entirely different field) and I find myself spending an increasing (and surprising) amount of time explaining things I have always taken for granted that everyone knows (ie, basic atomic structure, definition of hypothesis, schrodinger’s cat, supersonic vs. subsonic, smallpox was indeed bad, bacteria are not viruses therefore antibiotics and antivirals are not interchangeable, why you need exposure to things to develop antibodies, amphibians are not reptiles, birds are not amphibians) to adults, many of whom have rather more degrees from much snazzier schools than I.

  9. Ridley
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 11:37:38

    We must pipe up when we feel like piping down, and not presume that it will make us “frightening” and “intimidating” to men.

    I’d be keener on this message if it didn’t focus so much on men. Many, if not most, women are just as meek and agreeable in a group of women as they are around men. I mean, just look at the reaction I get in Romancelandia whenever I speak up. Women are supposed to be nice, so sit down and shut up.

  10. Deb
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 15:43:19

    @CourtneyLee, I’ve screamed at my screen countless times when I’ve seen equivocation in science reporting. Right? We totally need to prove how fair and balanced we are about global warming- never mind that 98% of scientists agree it’s a real thing. And let’s not forget the monster that is pop science/pseudo science. Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina” is the latest, but there’s so many it’s hard to keep track. Obesity reporting is also a good time: it doesn’t matter how many times you show someone mortality statistics, they will insist that obesity always means someone is unhealthy.

  11. SonomaLass
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 17:02:15

    The most recent study I’ve seen discussed on women in group communication (and I’ve only seen this article, not the actual study or write-up) was here.

  12. Ann Somerville
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 18:53:30

    “It is incredible, gob-smacking even, how many women out there consider themselves to be feminists, and yet, stick them at a table full of men and they will go as mute as porcelain dolls.”

    Yeah, because male bosses never selectively fire or make redundant ‘difficult’ women. And men never target, harrass and intimidate women who speak up about what they want and don’t want (Rebecca Watson and the elevator shit just never happend.) People never set up websites and Facebook pages to name, shame, intimidate and endanger mouthy women.

    And women never collude in this at all to keep male attacks off themselves, oh no, or to curry favour with the powerful gender. Why, the number of times I have spoken up about this or that issue and never been chastised publicly for being ‘mean’ is just…zero. And of course people like Ridley have never been abused, insulted and outed for having opinions contrary to the masses either.

    Who wrote this shit? Oh, it’s the Torygraph. Always my go to publication for information on how to be a more assertive woman.

  13. Sunny
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 21:30:33

    @Ann Somerville: Seriously, could they victim-blame any more? Women don’t speak up enough — it’s not because they’re worried men will find them unpleasant, it’s because they’re worried men will harm or maybe even KILL them! Just being a woman on the internet seems to mean you need to have death threats and more sent to you constantly… but clearly it’s just because we don’t speak out against it enough!

  14. Sandypo
    Oct 02, 2012 @ 08:47:18

    Thanks for posting on other things besides romance writing. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what I signed up for but I find the other posts interesting and stimulating…plus its good information for your readers to have.

    Another good computer security fun fact. Facebook users should not post their real birthdays on their Facebook profile, but use a face one or remove the birthday altogether. Birth dates are often needed to prove online identity for security reasons. Posting your actual birth date gives hackers more ways to steal your identity for their own purposes.

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