Public Relations (PR) and Publicity
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Post No.: 0538   Furrywisepuppy says:   ‘Public relations’ (PR) is said to be controlled internally by a company or its agents, whilst ‘publicity’ is said to be not directly controlled by the party that a news story concerns. The … Read More

Want to Make a Name for Yourself? Say Something Original
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Post No.: 0530   Furrywisepuppy says:   Any ‘health guru’ who wants to make a name for him/herself must ideally come up with some kind of proprietary USP or original piece of insight. So while passing genuinely healthy nutritional advice … Read More

Novel and Contradictory Findings
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Post No.: 0505   Fluffystealthkitten says:   Most real science is incremental i.e. genuine revolutions and paradigm shifts are incredibly rare – science can therefore seem boring to some. Meanwhile, the media and us, their audience, crave to discover and … Read More

The Tendency to Cherry-Pick Evidence to Confirm our Biases
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Post No.: 0491   Furrywisepuppy says:   It would be impossible to sift through all of the academic papers out there in the world ever so we must seek some fluffy shortcuts, such as relying on the verdicts of journalistic … Read More

Ecological, External and Internal Validity
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Post No.: 0479   Furrywisepuppy says:   In science, ‘ecological validity’ is the degree to which the settings, materials, procedures, timescales, etc. of an experiment approximate the real world it’s trying to emulate. So when people criticise a laboratory-based experiment … Read More

The Process for Obtaining the Best Truth We Can Say Right Now
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Post No.: 0473   Furrywisepuppy says:   The reason why the scientific process is the most reliable way to obtain the truth is because of the testing and challenging of beliefs and hypotheses, and the need for evidence. Things aren’t … Read More

Operationalisation and Operational Definitions
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Post No.: 0461   Furrywisepuppy says:   Many phenomena or attributes that we intuitively think exist cannot be directly measured, but their existence can be inferred via other phenomena that are measurable. Examples include ‘intelligence’, ‘health’, being ‘strong’, ‘beautiful’, ‘deadly’ … Read More

It Only Stands Out Because It’s Rare
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Post No.: 0428   Fluffystealthkitten says:   It’s absolutely fantastic, for example, to hear news stories about women in CEO positions or winning in mixed gender sports contests. But wouldn’t it actually be even more fantastic if we lived in … Read More

Ethical or Problematic Issues in Reportage
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Post No.: 0411   Furrywisepuppy says:   There are a multitude of ethical or problematic issues in journalism or reportage that we as the audience must be aware of. These include freebies – you may be surprised how many times … Read More

News Cycles, and Political and Local Biases
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Post No.: 0393   Furrywisepuppy says:   A perfect event at the wrong time is often ignored and wasted, whereas a bad event at the perfect time in the news cycle often gets picked up anyway. (Likewise, a perfect product … Read More

‘Too Long; Didn’t Read’ or ‘Too Lazy; Didn’t Read’?
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Post No.: 0382   Furrywisepuppy says:   It’s utterly crucial to read the articles – not just the headlines or summaries presented in news feeds or social media posts – and to read them carefully to the very end. News … Read More

The Biased Reporting of Our Correct Predictions
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Post No.: 0368   Furrywisepuppy says:   This is what tends to happen when people make specific and date-specific (as in not vague or indefinite) predictions about untypical events one or more years down the line in a complex and … Read More

Lies, Bull, Hype and Hysteria
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Post No.: 0343   Fluffystealthkitten says:   A liar knows for sure that what they’re saying is false, whereas a bull****er doesn’t know for sure whether what they’re saying is true or false, and doesn’t care – they’ll just make … Read More

Peer Reviews, and Dodgy Scientific Practices
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Post No.: 0332   Furrywisepuppy says:   With scientific experiments, scientists must declare their hypotheses before they begin gathering any data. This is because – especially if you’re going to measure a lot of different things and especially if you’re … Read More

Evaluating Sources and Following a News Story Over Time
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Post No.: 0318   Furrywisepuppy says:   When choosing a headline for a story, a good journalist should use the most well-supported scenario rather than a headline that’s only used to grab attention (clickbaiting), and then immediately follow it by … Read More

Surveys and Selection or Sampling Biases
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Post No.: 0308   Furrywisepuppy says:   ‘Selection biases’, or sometimes synonymously ‘sampling biases’, occur when there is a bias in how the participants or data point samples are selected for use in an experiment, study or survey. An example … Read More

Academics, Celebrities, Entrepreneurs and Expertise
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Post No.: 0291   Furrywisepuppy says:   Journalists seldom just ask random academics for their expertise – they’ll tend to actively attempt to find experts or ‘experts’ who’ll say the things they hope will be said for the sake of … Read More

History Written By the Victors
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Post No.: 0279   Furrywisepuppy says:   History used to be written (and rewritten) and spread by the victors or by whoever was in power at the time, with the accounts of the losers often being erased or denied. But … Read More

Dependent Variables and a Look at Probabilities
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Post No.: 0264   Furrywisepuppy says:   In scientific experiments, take care with distinguishing between independent and dependent variables – for instance, individual fair dice rolls are independent from each other because the result of one roll has no bearing … Read More

The Scientific Method is Our Best Known Tool for Objectivity
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Post No.: 0256   Fluffystealthkitten says:   The ‘scientific method’ specifies that a hypothesis must be empirically testable (testable via observations), falsifiable (there must be some way for someone to attempt to show that a hypothesis is false), logically consistent … Read More

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