[ASC-list] ASC-list Digest, Vol 73, Issue 20

Susan Kirk skirk at iprimus.com.au
Tue Dec 14 21:26:30 UTC 2010


Maybe I don't understand the process of publication in a science journal.
This is my (albeit simplified) understanding.  An experiment is conducted
within certain parameters or controls and the results are then deciphered.
The results of the experiment must be able to be replicated with the same
result.  I thought this experiment was then 'peer reviewed' meaning other
scientists would test it out.  At this point any shortcomings in any of the
basic science ie control measures use of equipment etc etc would come to the
fore. If there were shortcomings then the reviewers would say to the authors
go back and do it again.  I imagined that once a paper was published it had
gained a fair amount of credibility but now it appears that the research
goes into additional peer review.  How long does this go on for?  At any
stage is the research discredited/disregarded or accepted as truth? If we
dont discover the uncertainties which, in this case were sent around the
blogosphere, how else we will discover them.  Are we the public privy to the
objections?  I can't see where.

Niall is correct.  NASA overcommitted itself with sensational spin that in
turn seduced the journalists.  The result, the findings became the truth,
instead of research, none of which contributes to the public understanding
of science.

I understand that there is a growing consensus that there are issues with
the veracity of this research as Helen has pointed out.

S



On 14/12/10 9:00 PM, "asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au"
<asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. Re: [ExternalEmail] Re: Bacteria spits out arsenic and
>       scavenges P (Matthew.Levinson at csiro.au)
>    2. Thinking Critically About Sustainable Energy (Stephan Kern)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 09:17:21 +1100
> From: <Matthew.Levinson at csiro.au>
> To: <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] [ExternalEmail] Re: Bacteria spits out arsenic
> and scavenges P
> Message-ID:
> <B039DE0B62CBDE46AB819FC14FA7A72D019121309B at EXNSW-MBX04.nexus.csiro.au>
> 
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
> 
> Do critics of the blogosphere's reaction realise how much of the best science
> writing is happening on blogs? These aren't (all) undergrads or hobbyists -
> when they talk about "bloggers", they're talking about top flight science
> writers and scientists writing for the online arms of Discover, Wired, Seed,
> etc.
> 
> And the reverse chronology blog feed is a style of writing that's just really
> well suited to science. Instead of the story beginning and ending with the
> latest embargoed paper, it's ongoing, updated as new facts come to light - in
> many cases with writers that are following the journals (often in their own
> discipline). 
> 
> And in this case, they picked up issues with the paper that virtually all the
> mainstream media went for. Did having Science and NASA on the stand draw
> everyone's guards down? Ed Yong was involved right though, and his post-mortem
> really captures it. It seems like NASA messed up the PR, then got a hint of
> what a lot of politicians and businesses have seen in the past year or two
> when the social media world senses it's being taken for a ride.
> 
> Really interesting case study for anyone interested in the shifting media
> balance and science communication, that's for sure.
> 
> Matt 
> 
> 
> ________________________________________
> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On
> Behalf Of Helen Sim [Helen.Sim at csiro.au]
> Sent: Monday, 13 December 2010 1:39 PM
> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
> Subject: [ExternalEmail] Re: [ASC-list] Bacteria spits out arsenic and
> scavenges P
> 
> I don't think there's any doubt about the voracity of the findings, but their
> veracity is a different matter.
> 
> - H
> 
> On 13/12/10 12:22 PM, Niall Byrne wrote:
> 
> A good topic.
> 
> I don?t think this is a debacle ? it?s just science ? with the blogosphere
> over-reacting partly because of a clumsy media alert from NASA that
> overpromised.
> 
> I liked this comment from the blog you cited.
> 
> ?If question remains about the voracity of these authors findings, then the
> only thing that is going to answer that doubt is data.  Data cannot be
> generated by blog discussion? Talking about digging a ditch never got it dug.?
> 
> Science is messy, peer review is messy and sometimes it?s good for us to be
> exposed to that.
> 
> 
> 
> Niall
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ________
> 
> Niall Byrne
> 
> Science in Public has moved to:
> 
> 82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood  Vic  3015
> Our postal address is PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015
> Our landline stays the same - 03 9398 1416.
> 
> Niall?s mobile: 0417 131 977
> Sarah?s mobile: 0413 332 489
> 
> niall at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au>
> Twitter scienceinpublic
> Full contact details at
> www.scienceinpublic.com.au/blog<http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/blog>
> 
> From: 
> asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au>
> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Susan Kirk
> Sent: Saturday, 11 December 2010 1:49 AM
> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: [ASC-list] Bacteria spits out arsenic and scavenges P
> 
> OK well all is good.  Jessie Shore assures me this is the place to
> communicate.  So lets get started.
> 
> There has been much said this week about the arsenic eating bacteria that
> apparently means we are inhabiting the earth with extra-terrestrials.  There?s
> a whole # devoted to it over at twitter.  My question to the whole debacle
> was, ?If the controls were flawed WHY was the experiment published??
> 
> Here?s a pretty good timeline of the event
> http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/12/10/arsenic-bacteria
> -a-post-mortem-a-review-and-some-navel-gazing/
> 
> S
> 
> Susan Kirk  Bcomm
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> --
> ------
> Helen Sim
> Media Liaison and Public Relations
> 
> CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
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> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 09:20:23 +1030
> From: Stephan Kern <SKern at riaus.org.au>
> To: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: [ASC-list] Thinking Critically About Sustainable Energy
> Message-ID:
> <17094CB8564A9040B2D54019D7EDD0941A89D24BDC at RIA-EXCH01.riaus.internal>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> 
> Hello Everyone,
> 
> After six months, the Thinking Critically about Energy series is finally
> complete-  and you can now view the entire TCASE series at the new  RiAus On
> Demand Site
> http://riausondemand.org.au/feature_series/thinking-critically-about-sustainab
> le-energy/
> 
> A big thanks to all our speakers for helping produce such an interesting and
> informative series.
> 
> 
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