Summary of “Science is a public good in peril”

The rise of the 20th-century research university in the United States stands as one of the great achievements of human civilisation – it helped to establish science as a public good, and advanced the human condition through training, discovery and innovation.
While there is virtually no research exploring the precise impact of perverse incentives on scientific productivity, most in the academic world would acknowledge a shift towards quantity in research.
Warnings of systemic problems go back to at least 1991, when the NSF director Walter E Massey noted that the size, complexity and increased interdisciplinary nature of research in the face of growing competition was making science and engineering ‘more vulnerable to falsehoods’.
The NSF defines research misconduct as intentional ‘fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results’.
Since 1975, in life science and biomedical research, the percentage of scientific articles retracted has increased tenfold; 67 per cent of the retractions were due to misconduct.
From climate science to galvanic corrosion, we have seen research published that denigrates the scientific ethos, and undermines the credibility of the scientific community and everyone in it.
We can openly acknowledge and address problems with perverse incentives and hypercompetition that are distorting science and imperilling scientific research as a public good.
Fourth, universities can take measures immediately to protect the integrity of scientific research, and announce steps to reduce perverse incentives and uphold research misconduct policies that discourage unethical behaviour.

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Summary of “How One Psychologist Is Tackling Human Biases in Science”

In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title “Why most published research findings are false.”1 Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, it didn’t actually show that any particular result was wrong.
The problems of false findings often begin with researchers unwittingly fooling themselves: they fall prey to cognitive biases, common modes of thinking that lure us toward wrong but convenient or attractive conclusions.
“Seeing the reproducibility rates in psychology and other empirical science, we can safely say that something is not working out the way it should,” says Susann Fiedler, a behavioral economist at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany.
Medical reporter Ivan Oransky and science editor Adam Marcus, who run the service Retraction Watch, put it this way: “When science works as designed, subsequent findings augment, alter or completely undermine earlier research The problem is that in science-or, more accurately, scientific publishing-this process seldom works as directed Much, if not most, of what gets published today in a scientific journal is only somewhat likely to hold up if another lab tries the experiment again, and, chances are, maybe not even that.”8.
“Like many graduate students, my idealism about how science works was shattered when I took research methods.”
“Like many graduate students, my idealism about how science works was shattered when I took research methods”, he says.
10 He is convinced that the process and progress of science would be smoothed by bringing these biases to light-which means making research more transparent in its methods, assumptions, and interpretations.
Nosek has instituted a similar pre-registration scheme for research called the Open Science Framework.

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Summary of “How eating sugar affects your body and brain”

In the late 1960s, a food industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation paid three Harvard researchers $6,500 to discount research that increasingly showed links between sugar and heart disease and to point the blame at fat instead, according to an analysis of historical food industry documents that was published the fall of 2016.
The report those Harvard scientists published transformed the American diet, causing people to steer clear of fatty foods, which led many to sugar-packed snacks instead. But as a significant body of research now shows, excessive sugar consumption can be devastating for our health.
Even though we’re now more aware of the risks of too many sweets, there are still plenty of myths about sugar and what it actually does to us.
Sugar is just the name for a simple carbohydrate, and there’s always been some sugar in our diets.
The problem is that today the average American consumes more than twice what the US Food and Drug Administration – and four times what the World Health Organization – recommend as safe.

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Summary of “Building A.I. That Can Build A.I.”

“We are following the same path that computer science has followed with every new type of technology,” said Joseph Sirosh, a vice president at Microsoft, which recently unveiled a tool to help coders build deep neural networks, a type of computer algorithm that is driving much of the recent progress in the A.I. field.
All of them are selling cloud-computing services that can help other businesses and developers build A.I. “There is real demand for this,” said Matt Scott, a co-founder and the chief technical officer of Malong, a start-up in China that offers similar services.
Google is investing heavily in cloud-computing services – services that help other businesses build and run software – which it expects to be one of its primary economic engines in the years to come.
Neural networks are rapidly accelerating the development of A.I. Rather than building an image-recognition service or a language translation app by hand, one line of code at a time, engineers can much more quickly build an algorithm that learns tasks on its own.
Building a neural network is not like building a website or some run-of-the-mill smartphone app.
In building a neural network, researchers run dozens or even hundreds of experiments across a vast network of machines, testing how well an algorithm can learn a task like recognizing an image or translating from one language to another.
Google said AutoML could now build algorithms that, in some cases, identified objects in photos more accurately than services built solely by human experts.
At the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are building techniques that could allow robots to learn new tasks based on what they have learned in the past.

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Summary of “Where the STEM Jobs Are”

In a recent analysis, Edward Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, focused on the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment forecasts in STEM categories.
In the decade ending in 2024, 73 percent of STEM job growth will be in computer occupations, but only 3 percent will be in the physical sciences and 3 percent in the life sciences.
A working grasp of the principles of science and math should be essential knowledge for all Americans, said Michael S. Teitelbaum, an expert on science education and policy.
Unemployment rates for STEM majors may be low, but not all of those with undergraduate degrees end up in their field of study – only 13 percent in life sciences and 17 percent in physical sciences, according to a 2013 National Science Foundation survey.
Computer science is the only STEM field where more than half of graduates are employed in their field.
Insight Data Science Fellows Program, which has offices in New York, Boston, Seattle and Palo Alto, Calif., began its first training program five years ago and now has 900 alumni working at companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Amazon and Microsoft.
Dr. Faham joined the seven-week Insight Data Science Fellows program in 2015.
Data science is distinctly different from neuroscience, Dr. Das said, but some of the tools she employs, like a machine-learning technique called artificial neural networks, do take their inspiration from the brain.

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Summary of “How to Free Yourself From Toxic Situations That Are Bringing You Down”

The answer lies in developing habits which yield highly successful results.
These habits can be adopted by a simple change of mindset.
In order to do so, we need to know what are the best habits to follow for achieving success in life.
A simple Google search for “Successful habits” will give you 181,000,000 results.
To have successful habits, one needs to actually do them.
To really inculcate productive habits into our routine, we need to write them down.
A person who inculcates growth mindset among their list of habits is bound to succeed as they are willing to accept both success and failure in equal measure.
In conclusion, a rewiring of your mindset to acclimatize to these 6 habits can lead to dramatic changes in life and successful results.

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Summary of “‘We can’t compete’: why universities are losing their best AI scientists”

According to a Guardian survey of Britain’s top ranking research universities, tech firms are hiring AI experts at a prodigious rate, fuelling a brain drain that has already hit research and teaching.
Pantic said the majority of top AI researchers moved to a handful of companies, meaning their skills and experience were not shared through society.
Many of the best researchers move to Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
Ghahramani sees no sign that industry’s demand for talented AI researchers has peaked.
“Universities will have to train enough people to meet the demand, and that’s a challenge if lecturers and postdocs are being lured into industry. It’s like killing the geese that lay the golden eggs. Companies are starting to realise that and some of the major tech companies are starting to give back to universities by sponsoring lectureships and donating funds.”
He said universities should also focus on researchers’ career development, giving free access to external training and teaming up with business schools to broaden researchers’ knowledge.
Ghahramani believes UK universities will have to become more flexible about researchers holding joint positions.
“They need to be flexible about intellectual property arrangements. They need to be flexible about PhD students who might want to spend time in a world-leading industry AI lab. That’s what we need to get around the problems. The universities that have been flexible have benefited,” he said.

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Summary of “A Pill to Make Exercise Obsolete”

Evans refers to the compound as “Exercise in a pill.” But although Evans understands the mechanism behind 516’s effects at the most minute level, he doesn’t know what molecule triggers that process naturally during exercise.
One of the most significant challenges facing anyone who wants to develop an exercise pill is that the biological processes unleashed by physical activity are still relatively mysterious.
Tavassoli came across his drug, Compound 14, more or less by chance, while designing a way to screen a new class of cancer drug, and he still seems somewhat bemused by the fact that his lab is now a front-runner in the race to develop an exercise pill.
For anyone wanting to develop an exercise pill, these new data are both promising and daunting.
Anyone who wants to market an exercise pill must therefore get it approved as a treatment for a disease that does meet the F.D.A.’s criteria, in the hope that, once it is on the market, its use will spread to encompass a wider range of conditions.
There are a handful of other contexts where a short course of an exercise pill could be extremely useful.
A taste for exercise, I gradually realized, was something that all the pill researchers had in common.
“In a lot of people’s eyes, the development of an exercise pill is a bad thing,” Evans said.

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Summary of “To stay young, kill zombie cells”

Although many cells do die on their own, all somatic cells that divide have the ability to undergo senescence.
“We were not sure if they were doing something important.” Despite self-disabling the ability to replicate, senescent cells stay metabolically active, often continuing to perform basic cellular functions.
Senescent cells have also been identified in the placenta and embryo, where they seem to guide the formation of temporary structures before being cleared out by other cells.
In 2008, three research groups, including Campisi’s at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, revealed that senescent cells excrete a glut of molecules – including cytokines, growth factors and proteases – that affect the function of nearby cells and incite local inflammation7, 8, 9.
There’s a silver lining to these elusive twilight cells: they might be hard to find, but they’re easy to kill.
In November 2011, while on a three-hour flight, David read van Deursen and Kirkland’s just-published paper about eliminating zombie cells.
Kirkland, together with collaborators at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, initially attempted a high-throughput screen to quickly identify a compound that would kill senescent cells.
Finally, senolytic drugs will clear only senescent cells that are already present – they won’t prevent the formation of such cells in the future, which means that senescence can continue to perform its original tumour-suppressing role in the body.

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Summary of “This New Study Shows That People Who ‘Think Backwards’ Are More Successful”

If you’re like most people, your brain will start firing on all cylinders at this point, formulating a plan of what you’re going to say, what materials or supporting research you can bring, and how you’re going to present yourself in the best, more professional way possible.
It might seem like an arbitrary question, but according to new research from the Korea University Business School, how you choose to plan your path to success can have a major impact on the outcome.
Backward planning leads to higher levels of success The researchers ran a series of studies asking participants to plan for an important event or goal, like the meeting with their boss or launching their new company.
In one study, they asked students to create a study plan for a final exam in either chronological or reverse order.
They compared the students’ results against their planning method and found those who planned backwards performed better than those who planned forward.
Backward planning keeps the final goal always in sight The researchers attributed these results to the fact that when we’re told to start at our goal, it makes it feel more attainable and closer to coming true.
They also found that people perceived they had a clearer set of steps to hitting their goal when planning backwards and felt more confident in the choices they were making.
Using backward planning in your own life So how does this apply to our original scenario: the big boss meeting?

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