‘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

Frequent Exceptions to the Rules in the Social Sciences
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Post No.: 0250   Furrywisepuppy says:   Putting aside issues like intentional research fraud or unintentional mistakes from scientists and reporters here, it often seems like conclusions in the social sciences (e.g. psychology, economics, sociology, political science, linguistics) are more … Read More

Breaking News and Speculative Information
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Post No.: 0238   Furrywisepuppy says:   The ‘VIA’ analysis for assessing information stands for verifiable, independent and accountable. Reliable information is verifiable (so gather, assess and weigh up the evidence then place the facts in the bigger picture/overall context, … Read More

Opinions as Journalism, and Advertorials
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Post No.: 0231   Furrywisepuppy says:   Regarding newspapers or magazines, comparing the ‘proper news sections’ (the reporting of plain, verified and independently-gathered information with accountability to their sources) with the ‘opinion sections’ (such as columns and editorials) is like … Read More

Pseudoscience Masquerading as Science
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Post No.: 0223   Furrywisepuppy says:   Pseudoscience is presented to look and sound a lot like science but it’s not really science at all. For instance, a lot of media stories are about mere speculation (i.e. no actual study … Read More

False, Fabricated or Fake News
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Post No.: 0212   Furrywisepuppy says:   Especially amid the relatively new sectors of the media (namely online), but elsewhere too, the news is primarily about garnering eyeballs and clicks, about attracting attention and serving narrow self-interests – not necessarily … Read More

Checking the Methods and Results More Than the Given Conclusions
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Post No.: 0200   Furrywisepuppy says:   When reading academic papers, it is most important to read the methods and results sections, and then to make up your own mind based on these. The discussion and conclusion sections are potentially … Read More

The Publication Bias and File Drawer Problem
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Post No.: 0188   Furrywisepuppy says:   All experimental research in science should be reported and published in academic journals to have all of their details peer-reviewed by experts – not have their results kept concealed or just reported in … Read More

Not All Sources of Evidence are Equal
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Post No.: 0174   Furrywisepuppy says:   Direct evidence and primary information sources, which include videos, photographs and eyewitness statements – are the original sources of data. Indirect evidence and secondary information sources, which include newspaper reports, forums and blogs … Read More

Reading Numbers and Statistics in Science and the Media
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Post No.: 0167   Fluffystealthkitten says:   Always read statistics carefully – read what they’re saying exactly, not what you think they’re saying. For example, don’t read too much into outliers yet don’t completely ignore them either, and don’t over-extrapolate … Read More

The World is Generally Brighter Than You May Believe
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Post No.: 0151   Furrywisepuppy says:   A media broadcaster’s goal could be to, for instance, increase readership, increase revenues and/or support a particular political party or leaning. It’ll need to constantly make subjective decisions based on its own partisan … Read More

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