Sunday, April 21


Last month a long thread evolved on Hacker News, a popular discussion forum, in response to my Nautilus article, “We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated.” Much to my delight, it generated a rich conversation involving scientists and non-scientists alike. That’s fitting, since our inability to independently replicate our results, I […]

A few years ago, I became aware of serious problem in science: the irreproducibility crisis. A group of researchers at Amgen, an American pharmaceutical company, attempted to replicate 53 landmark cancer discoveries in close collaboration with the authors. Many of these papers were published in high-impact journals and came from prestigious academic institutions. To the […]

In the first decades of the 20th century, people around the world began succumbing to an entirely new cause of mortality. These new deaths, due to the dangers of the automobile, soon became accepted as a lamentable but normal part of modern life. A hundred years later, with 1.25 million people worldwide (about 30,000 in […]

On The Tonight Show, in March 1978, the late astronomer Carl Sagan had lots to talk about. He had just published Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence—which would win the Pulitzer Prize—and Star Wars, released the year before, still captivated the public’s imagination. When Johnny Carson, the show’s then-host, asked Sagan […]

Recently a Quebec arts foundation required the Francophone rap group Dead Obies to give back an $18,000 grant they’d been awarded to record their newest album. The problem? A word count determined that the group had stirred too much English into their distinctive multilingual lyrics, falling short of the rule that 70 percent of the […]

Hope Jahren, a geobiologist and geochemist, wants to speak to you. For decades, she says, she’s been speaking to the same people, her scientific peers, and now it’s time for a change. “I wanted to write this book”—her memoir, Lab Girl, published today—“in order to talk to somebody new,” she told Nautilus recently. Her subject? […]

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