Here is a sampling of reaction to the news that a researcher who had done a lot of work on the compound resveratrol—found in red wine along with foods like peanut butter, and thought by some to have healthful, perhaps even life-extending, properties—stood accused of a vast fraud:
For years, connoisseurs of red wine believed their consumption improved their cardiovascular health. Today, they’re learning it may be a big lie.
Bad news, winos: Turns out, the University of Connecticut researcher who discovered that red wine has anti-aging qualities actually fabricated a shitload of data. Which means that your purple mouthed cry-juice might not be good for your heart after all.
Booze doctor lied, red wine is not good for you
Fraud sours findings on health benefits of red wine
Red Wine’s Health Benefits May Have Resulted from Falsified Research Data
A three-year investigation by the University of Connecticut has found that the director of its Cardiovascular Research Center falsified and fabricated data at least 145 times, in some cases digitally manipulating images using PhotoShop.
The researcher, Dipak K. Das, is best known for his work on resveratrol, a compound present in grapes and other foods that some research suggests can have beneficial effects on the heart and could slow aging, though recent studies have cast doubt on the latter claim.
The university has begun a process to dismiss Das, who has tenure.
Das has been quotedregularly in news articles, usually talking about resveratrol, and his papers have been cited often, as the blog Retraction Watch points out. But the importance of his research is unclear.
David Sinclair, a professor of pathology at Harvard University who is known for his discovery that…
There are good things about short psychology papers. They’re easier to edit and review, not to mention less time-consuming to write. A short paper on a CV looks just as impressive as a long one. Also, a short paper is more likely to be noticed by reporters with little to no attention span—especially if the result is interestingly contrarian—and thus bring the researcher widespread acclaim and riches. Or at least a mention in some blog.
The downside is that they tend to be wrong, at least according to a short paper titled “Bite-Size Science and Its Undesired Side Effects.” That’s because, the authors write, short papers often include experiments with smaller sample sizes, which have a higher probability of false positives. They’re more likely to suffer from “citation amnesia,” that is, the omission of previous studies that might provide context. These get left out because authors a…
A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry trumpeting the dangers of Ecstasy use received a lotofattention recently. Its findings were in direct contrast to a large study released earlier last year that reached the opposite conclusion.
Q. Your group financially supports MDMA research and also hopes to get FDA approval for the drug as a prescription treatment. One of the authors of this new paper says their findings provide the “strongest evidence to date that the drug causes chronic loss of serotonin in humans.” What do you say to that?
A. In fact there is nothing new to this claim. Government-funded researchers have been making these claims ever since the media started reporting on recreational Ecstasy use in the early 1980s. Most…
At least a dozen papers have been published that appear to show links between general intelligence and specific genes. But the authors of a forthcoming paper, to be published in Psychological Science, contend that those findings are all most likely false. I asked one of those authors, Christopher Chabris, who co-wrote the best-seller The Invisible Gorilla, a few questions via e-mail, and he was kind enough to answer:
So general intelligence is to some degree heritable, but previous attempts to pin down the particular genetic variants involved were flawed because their sample sizes were too small. Is that right?
This is pretty much correct. But I wouldn’t call those studies “flawed” in the sense of “designed erroneously.” When researchers started looking for…
In the wake of the announcement of Kim Jong Il’s demise, the above video of hysterically grieving North Koreans has been making the rounds. Why are the people of North Korea so upset over the death of the horrible despot who has starved and enslaved them? This 2010 paper, published in Critical Asian Studies, about the death of Kim Il Sung, Jong Il’s father and equally awful predecessor, has an answer:
There is no doubt that the death of Kim Il Sung on 8 July 1994, induced a profound shock and rupture in North Korea. The event, called the “Great National Bereavement” in North Korea, brought the entire society to an abrupt halt. Tens of thousands of mourners crowded the public spaces of Pyongyang to participate in what to an outside observer looked like an unbelievably genuine, colossal collective expression of grief. The scene of collective lamentation was at once familiar and…
Could the golden shiner prove the salvation of our democracy? New research involving the common minnow suggests that uninformed voters are important in blunting the effects of political extremists. Getty Images
As Congress proves itself increasingly dysfunctional and captive to extremists, lots of people may be asking themselves: What kind of fish-brained voters keep electing these guys?
A team of researchers led by a Princeton University biologist has now studied that question and concluded that without all our know-nothing fellow citizens, things might be even worse.
The team, led by Iain D. Couzin, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton, carried out its work with a type of fish known as golden shiners. The group trained some of the fish to associate…
Keeping up with the Joneses can be tough—especially when the Joneses have a house decked with 40,000 ornamental lights that blink in sync with Ozzy Osbourne, or a front yard mobbed with inflatable snowmen, or a roadside nativity scene that dwarfs Mary and Joseph’s accommodations in Bethlehem.
But people in at least some American communities do, indeed, scope out their neighbors when it comes to determining the scale of their Christmas or Chanukah displays, suggests an unusual line of studies based on observations of homes in several states.
How and where people take their holiday-decorating cues appears to vary by community. Residents of Parma, Ohio, for example, seem focused on not being outdone by the folks next door. In Daphne, Alabama, people seem much less influenced by their immediate neighbors than by others…
Washington — There’s a new bully on the intellectual block, shoving scholars around. Lots of them are caving into the threats. The bully’s name is “scientism,” the belief that science has a monopoly on all real knowledge. All other knowledge, scientism asserts, is simply opinion, irrationality, or utter nonsense.
That was the perspective Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered at an event titled “Can Science Explain Everything?” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week. Lisa Randall, a professor of physics at Harvard University, had a different take. The high-minded discussion that filled an auditorium and some overflow seating on a rainy night in the nation’s capitol might surprise the electorate, which often views intellectual affairs here as limited to bickering …
Back in January, a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology appeared to prove that ESP is real, that in certain circumstances (involving, as it happens, erotic pictures) people really can predict the future. Naturally, this got more attention than your average academic publication. At the time I talked to the author of the paper, Daryl J. Bem, who was reeling from all the media attention.
Now that nearly a year has passed, I wanted to see if any replications had been published. I e-mailed Stuart Ritchie, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Edinburgh, who, along with two colleagues, ran Bem’s experiments but didn’t get the same results. Their subjects couldn’t predict the future. This has been noted on blogs but, according to Ritchie, he and his colleagues haven’t had any success getting their paper published.