This is a fascinating problem that affects a lot of scientific modeling (in fact, I'll be talking about this in the second part of my series on gun violence research) — the more specific and accurate your predictions, the less reliable they sometimes become. Think about climate science. When you read the IPCC reports, what you see are predictions about what is likely to happen on a global basis, and those predictions come in the form of a range of possible outcomes. Results like that are reliable — i.e, they've matched up with observed changes. But they aren't super accurate — i.e., they don't tell you exactly what will happen, and they generally don't tell you much about what might happen in your city or your state. We have tools that can increase the specificity and accuracy, but those same tools also seem to reduce the reliability of the outcomes. At The Curious Wavefunction, Ashutosh Jogalekar explains the problem in more detail and talks about how it affects scientist's ability to give politicians and the public the kind of absolute, detailed, specific answers they really want.
Nature surveyed 300 scientists who've done media interviews about COVID. The results had some surprisingly positive notes — 85% said "their experiences of engaging with the media were always or mostly positive, even if they were harassed afterwards". But as you might expect, a significant chunk described some ghastly abuse. Fully 15% got death threats,… READ THE REST
On Sunday morning, residents of New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts were rocked by a massive boom that shook homes in the region and understandably freaked people the hell out. Early theories that it was a supersonic aircraft or earthquake were quickly proven wrong. So what was it? Most likely a meteor exploded above New… READ THE REST
Exciting vaccine news that's not about Covid: there's now a WHO-approved vaccine for malaria, a disease caused by a single-celled microorganism of the Plasmodium group— not a bacteria or virus. According to the NYT, this vaccine is "the first developed for any parasitic disease. Parasites are much more complex than viruses or bacteria, and the quest… READ THE REST
We all live with stress. Of course, parents are not only dealing with their own anxieties and worries, but trying to make sure their kids navigate the world safely as well. With school back in full swing, increased pressure at work, and the holiday season now bearing down like a freight train, it's no surprise… READ THE REST
What do dribbling coffee on your white shirt, getting caught in rush hour, and stepping in dog poop all have in common? They're some of the most annoying ways to start off your day. But none of these nightmares can even compare to the anger that bubbles up inside you upon realizing you have no… READ THE REST
Just like unexpected rain or the sudden realization that you're fresh out of milk after pouring a bowl of cereal, a case of writer's block can really ruin an otherwise perfect day. Whether you're working on a blog or drafting a catchy tagline for your business's website, writing the right words doesn't always come as… READ THE REST