Home

 

 

 

If Voltaire tweeted! An important message from the Enlightenment. Meme-ified 1763 added to my old little post on absence of evidence and deductive reasoning: Studies of cave paintings have shown...

A response from American Heart Association authors on my comment about errors and other issues with their statement on dietary fats is...surprising. I respond to the comment, with a post that's a trip into into the world of evaluating studies at Absolutely Maybe: Circling the Wagons, Science Style: AHA Saturated Biases Redux. With a reply at PubMed Commons.

 

 

 

Not beach reading, I guess! At Absolutely Maybe: 5 Tips for Understanding Data in Meta-Analyses.

And a look at an aspect of the past that surprised me: Why Pockets and Waves of De-Feminization in Science's Past Matter Now.

Over at Missing Scientists' Faces blog, Early African-American and hispanic biologists, a theoretical physicist & a mathematician in politics.

And new Wikipedia page on Anna Johnson Julian (1903-1994), the first African-American woman to earn a sociology PhD, civic activist, and part of a power couple - she was married to the famous chemist, Percy Lavon Julian.

 

 

 

Even by evidence food fight standards, the coconut oil furor this month has been heated! The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a presidential advisory, motivated by one of my main interests - conflicting meta-analyses. What they said about coconut oil got me interested. My post is at Absolutely Maybe - Saturated Biases: Where the AHA Advice on Coconut Oil Went Wrong. And I commented on PubMed Commons.

At Missing Scientists' Faces: A story nearly lost, an entomologist, a child prodigy and more.

New Wikipedia pages:

Helen Freedhoff - a Canadian theoretical physicist who studied the interaction of light with atoms and was doctoral supervisor to Schrödinger's grandson. She was Yoni Freedhoff's mother, and she died suddenly this month. Vale.

Alberta Jones Seaton - one of the first African-American women to gain a PhD in zoology, who led an adventurous life across several continents.

Jessica Ware - an African-American evolutionary biologist and entomologist who's an expert in dragonflies.

Georgia Ann Robinson - the first African-American woman police officer at the LAPD, and probably one of the first two in the US (a few weeks apart, in 1919).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our study of editorial expressions of concern was published in Research Integrity and Peer Review, and I blogged about my reflections on problems and solutions at Absolutely Maybe: 3 Things Expressions of Concern Reveal About the Publication System.

Also on Absolutely Maybe: The Case of the Missing Neuro Drug Trials. A look at a revealing study about unpublished trials and possibly failing drugs in particular - and why April 2017 is a game changer.

"Research isn't the final word anymore": an interview with The Scope radio podcast from the University of Utah.

Speaking of not the final word... Doctors have been shown to have as much implicit racial bias as other members of their community - and that presumably plays a part in disparities in healthcare treatment and outcomes. In a new systematic review, the authors came to the conclusion that their implicit bias does not affect doctors' clinical decision making. But that conclusion is not justified by their study: I wrote about why on PubMed Commons.

On Missing Scientists' Faces, another post: Trailblazing African-American STEM women in the '40s and '50s, breaking ground today, and back to the 19th century

New Wikipedia pages on African-American women scientists:

Hattie Scott Peterson (1913-1993), the first African-American woman to gain a civil engineering degree;

Alma Levant Hayden, a chemist, and the first African-American FDA scientist - she unmasked a major cancer treatment scam in 1963, and died young in 1967;

Harriet Marble (1885-1996), an early African-American woman pharmacist, who became a very successful businesswoman in Kentucky, and served as vice-president of the African-American National Medical Association.

This montage is Alma Hayden (left) and Hattie Peterson:

 

 

 

Went down the Twitter rabbit hole! Who's Who on Science Twitter and Who Counts, at PLOS Blogs. It walks through a recent study about this - I wrote a comment on PubMed Commons too: it's a great example of the impact of selection bias. And a bonus if you're on Twitter: data on how many followers people have (74% have up to 1,000). Thanks to Adam Dunn and Paige Newman for pulling those out of Twitter for me.

When I started systematically working on under-represented scientists from history on Wikipedia, I didn't realize that this would mean I would spend a lot of time learning about civil rights activists and lynching, too. Why is a story for later. But as I point out in my second Missing Scientists' Faces blog post this month, some people you can't just pass by and move on to look for more scientists. Another Missing Scientists' Face post: more historic photos surface, and the value of senior scientists' photos of their colleagues.

Here a new Wikipedia page for the amazing suffragist and anti-lynching activist, Nellie Griswold Francis (1874-1969), who wrote and lobbied into legislation Minnesota's Anti-Lynching Bill in 1921. The story of her and her husband, William T. Francis, involve singing, Ku Klux Klan burning crosses on the lawn, a grandmother who was a Congressman's slave, meetings with W.E.B. DuBois, Minnesota's first black diplomat - and contributing to the downfall of a government in Liberia. Yet between them, all there was on Wikipedia was a few sketchy paras on him.

In other news: Could science's reform movement be used against it politically? I'm one of the people Ed Yong interviewed on this: in The Atlantic. And by Julia Belluz in Vox, on combatting misinformation and why this has dominated my life for decades.

A forgotten pioneering African-American physicist & correcting the record: the month's first roundup of photos at Missing Scientists' Faces. The second one: a rare picture of the first African-American woman to gain a PhD in a natural science, mathematicians, and some more non-scientists of color, too.

And Mary Elliott Hill (b 1907), likely the first African-American woman to get a master's degree in chemistry: new Wikipedia page. Other new pages:

  • Pilar Thomas, tribal lawyer, and member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe of Arizona;
  • Georgia Caldwell Smith (1909-1961), Spelman College head of mathematics, and one of the first African-American women to gain degrees in mathematics, as well as a PhD awarded posthumously (she died from cancer after her dissertation);
  • Louise Nixon Sutton (1925-2006), another of the first group of African-American women to gain PhDs in mathematics - and the first one conferred to an African-American woman by New York University.
  • Thyrsa Frazier Svager (1930-1999), another of the first group of African-American women to gain PhDs in mathematics - she and her husband saved one of their professorial salaries to invest towards a legacy for scholarships for African-American and other minority students.

Debunking Advice Debunked: post at Absolutely Maybe. Correcting misinformation is something so important, you would think we would really be on top of how to do it, wouldn't you? Sigh!