Summary of “How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science”

“The approach is to say, ‘I think I know what the underlying physical laws are that give rise to everything that I see in the system.’ So I have a recipe for star formation, I have a recipe for how dark matter behaves, and so on. I put all of my hypotheses in there, and I let the simulation run. And then I ask: Does that look like reality?” What he’s done with generative modeling, he said, is “In some sense, exactly the opposite of a simulation. We don’t know anything; we don’t want to assume anything. We want the data itself to tell us what might be going on.”
The apparent success of generative modeling in a study like this obviously doesn’t mean that astronomers and graduate students have been made redundant – but it appears to represent a shift in the degree to which learning about astrophysical objects and processes can be achieved by an artificial system that has little more at its electronic fingertips than a vast pool of data.
“I just think we as a community are becoming far more sophisticated about how we use the data. In particular, we are getting much better at comparing data to data. But in my view, my work is still squarely in the observational mode.”
These systems can do all the tedious grunt work, he said, leaving you “To do the cool, interesting science on your own.”
Whether Schawinski is right in claiming that he’s found a “Third way” of doing science, or whether, as Hogg says, it’s merely traditional observation and data analysis “On steroids,” it’s clear AI is changing the flavor of scientific discovery, and it’s certainly accelerating it.
Perhaps most controversial is the question of how much information can be gleaned from data alone – a pressing question in the age of stupendously large piles of it.
In The Book of Why, the computer scientist Judea Pearl and the science writer Dana Mackenzie assert that data are “Profoundly dumb.” Questions about causality “Can never be answered from data alone,” they write.
“Anytime you see a paper or a study that analyzes the data in a model-free way, you can be certain that the output of the study will merely summarize, and perhaps transform, but not interpret the data.” Schawinski sympathizes with Pearl’s position, but he described the idea of working with “Data alone” as “a bit of a straw man.” He’s never claimed to deduce cause and effect that way, he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think”

If you understand beliefs in this social perspective, where people are passing them from person to person, and we have to trust each other and can’t verify things for ourselves, it’s not unexpected that we would have some wacky beliefs.
You find people online who are also anti-vaxxers and communicate with them rather than people who challenge your beliefs.
They can make other people trust them in ways that would have been very difficult without social media.
Weatherall: People tend to trust their friends, their family, people who they share other affinities with.
Fake news is shared more often by older people than by younger people.
People just don’t trust others who have different beliefs from them.
If we have some sort of regulations about what sorts of news people could publish, for example, we can protect ourselves from misinformation.
Deliberate misinformation is shared much more often by older people.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM”

In looking at test scores across 67 countries and regions, Stoet and Geary found that girls performed about as well or better than boys did on science in most countries, and in almost all countries, girls would have been capable of college-level science and math classes if they had enrolled in them.
The more gender-equal the country, as measured by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the larger this gap between boys and girls in having science as their best subject.
What’s more, the countries that minted the most female college graduates in fields like science, engineering, or math were also some of the least gender-equal countries.
“Countries with the highest gender equality tend to be welfare states,” they write, “With a high level of social security.” Meanwhile, less gender-equal countries tend to also have less social support for people who, for example, find themselves unemployed.
Thus, the authors suggest, girls in those countries might be more inclined to choose STEM professions, since they offer a more certain financial future than, say, painting or writing.
When the study authors looked at the “Overall life satisfaction” rating of each country-a measure of economic opportunity and hardship-they found that gender-equal countries had more life satisfaction.
The life-satisfaction ranking explained 35 percent of the variation between gender equality and women’s participation in STEM. That correlation echoes past research showing that the genders are actually more segregated by field of study in more economically developed places.
The upshot of this research is neither especially feminist nor especially sad: It’s not that gender equality discourages girls from pursuing science.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a poor Victorian woman changed the way we do dinosaur science”

Fossils became the family business – and Mary was the sharpest fossil spotter.
Still in her early 20s, Anning became a legendary fossil hunter.
In Lyme Regis, she and her family opened “Anning’s fossil depot”, where her fossils were purchased for collections in the United States and Europe.
Many of the great geological luminaries of the day bought her fossils and went fossil hunting with her.
Most contemporary descriptions of Anning expressed surprised that a woman could be so knowledgeable, often with the implication that such knowledge in the “Fairer sex” is threatening.
One of the myths about Anning throughout the 19th and 20th centuries was the idea that she was barely literate: a kind of lower-class fossil prodigy who had little real input into the science of paleontology.
The science of field work, fossil preparation and so forth – often invisible – is necessary and important in itself.
The philosopher Derek Turner has mused about how the history of palaeontology might have been different if Anning was given the recognition and support she deserved: “What theoretical contributions might she have made? And how might our popular images of the fossil hunter have developed differently? Would we think differently about commercial fossil collecting? Would women be better represented and more visible in palaeontology today?”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Wonder Works”

These bodily symptoms point to three dimensions that might in fact be essential components of wonder.
In a similar spirit, Socrates said that philosophy begins in wonder: that wonder is what leads us to try to understand our world.
Wonder unites science and religion, two of the greatest human institutions.
Nowadays, we don’t think of museums as houses of curiosity, but they remain places of wonder.
Bringing these threads together, we can see that science, religion and art are unified in wonder.
An alternative possibility is that wonder is a natural by-product of more basic capacities, such as sensory attention, curiosity and respect, the last of which is crucial in social status hierarchies.
Extraordinary things trigger all three of these responses at once, evoking the state we call wonder.
If wonder is found in all human beings and higher primates, why do science, art and religion appear to be recent developments in the history of our species? Anatomically modern humans have been around for 200,000 years, yet the earliest evidence for religious rituals appears about 70,000 years ago, in the Kalahari Desert, and the oldest cave paintings are only 40,000 years old.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sports Science Is Finally Talking About Its Methodology Problems”

A few years ago, as I started researching my book about the science of exercise recovery, I found something curious: the methodological flaws that have roiled psychology were also lurking in sports science.
As I plowed through the published studies in the sports and exercise science literature, I saw many studies with small sample sizes, a journal system that appeared to be biased toward publishing studies showing that a treatment or regimen improves performance and studies that collected multiple measures in a way that could make it tempting for researchers to fish around for a favorable result.
Today at SportsRxiv, a place where researchers can share their unpublished studies to get feedback before peer review, 36 researchers have released an editorial urging the field to adopt practices that have been gaining traction in the social sciences to combat “Questionable research practices” such as p-hacking.
They’ve formed The Society for Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology, which is modeled after the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science that has brought psychology researchers together to develop better research practices.
In the former, researchers submit their hypotheses in advance and commit to a specific methodology and analysis plan, which they post in an independent registry.
This prevents researchers from playing around with different ways of looking at their data until they get an appealing result, said lead author Aaron Caldwell, a graduate student in exercise science at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
Registered reports, on the other hand, give researchers an opportunity to submit their studies to journals where they’ll be accepted or rejected based on the rigor of their methodology, rather than on the sexiness of their results.
The reaction so far has ranged from “This is good – it’s how science should be operating” to “Why are you trying to make science harder to do? It’s already hard enough,” Caldwell said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What 2018 Looked Like Fifty Years Ago”

2018 was a banner year for the art of prediction, which is not to say the science, because there really is no science of prediction.
In 1968, the Foreign Policy Association, formed in 1918 to promote the League of Nations, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by publishing a book of predictions about what the world would look like, technology-wise, fifty years on.
“Toward the Year 2018” was edited by Emmanuel G. Mesthene, who had served in the White House as an adviser on science and technology and who ran Harvard’s Program on Technology and Society.
It makes for distressing reading at the end of 2018, a year that, a golden anniversary ago, looked positively thrilling.
Two things are true about “Toward the Year 2018.” First, most of the machines that people expected would be invented have been invented.
Sharp-eyed observers in 1968 were already concerned about the warming of the oceans and the changing of the climate, but the atmospheric-science contributor to “Toward the Year 2018,” Thomas F. Malone, was excited by new technologies that would allow scientists to take control of the earth’s weather and climate.
The most prescient contributor to “Toward the Year 2018” was the M.I.T. political scientist Ithiel de Sola Pool, whose research interests included social networks and computer simulation.
“By 2018 the researcher sitting at his console will be able to compile a cross-tabulation of consumer purchases by people of low IQ who have an unemployed member of the family. That is, he will have the technological capability to do this. Will he have the legal right?” Pool declined to answer that question.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Do So Many Scientists Want to be Filmmakers?”

In his interview with us, molecular biologist Peter Gruss, former president of the Max Planck Society, a science research organization, stresses that science and art don’t occupy separate cultures, they never have.
The connection between science and art runs deeper, offers Hope Jahren, a geochemist and geobiologist, and author of Lab Girl, a memoir of coming of age in science.
In his recent biography of Leonardo da Vinci, veritable embodiment of the Renaissance, Walter Isaacson writes that Da Vinci’s science, his explorations of engineering, anatomy, geology, and botany, were not separate endeavors from his art, his painting and sculpture.
“Breakthroughs in art break up the hardpan of the soil and fertilize it, add compost to the mix, and then the fruit of science, the plant of science, can find its roots.” For instance, Murch says, the turn of the 20th century “Brought the development of motion pictures, which is basically the quantization of movement, breaking movement down into discrete frame movements. Then about 10 years later, along comes Max Planck and gives us the theory of the quantum. That’s around the same time that films began to be edited and put together to tell a coherent story out of parts that are not shot in sequence. So those two things, quantum mechanics and the development of motion pictures, work together.”
“I think it’s pretty interesting that science can top that for me right now, because there are just so many interesting things going on that I want to know more about,” she says.
“There are the ways they used-studying human interaction with the arts-but they also taught me science was a way to explore the universe. So I got a lot of my fascination for science from these humanities parents!”.
Now long into his career in astrobiology and exoplanetary science, and popular science writing-his latest book is The Zoomable Universe-Scharf says a connection with the arts and humanities ultimately makes better science.
“If scientists don’t retain a sense of humanity, a sense of connection to being human, it’s detrimental to their work. We’re all blinkered. We’re all inevitably biased by so many things in our culture and own personal makeup. Even the most hard-nosed, analytic scientist is not immune to that. It will skew the way they look at nature, it will skew the way they explore problems. My principle in science is an open mind. Always question and never shut off any avenue. For that reason, it’s important for scientists to retain a good connection to humanity.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “We Asked 105 Experts What Gives Them Hope About the Future”

Carole Joffe, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health and professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Davis.
Irwin Redlener, president emeritus and co-founder of Children’s Health Fund, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at The Earth Institute-Columbia University, and professor at Columbia University Medical Center.
Athena Aktipis, assistant professor of psychology and Lincoln Professor of Ethics at Arizona State University, director of the Cooperation and Conflict Lab, co-director of the Human Generosity Project, and chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance.
Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, PhD, associate professor at Tomsk State University’s Biological Institute and research associate at Purdue University’s department of forestry and natural resources.
Cynthia Selin, associate professor at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University.
Amy Webb, quantitative futurist, professor of strategic foresight at New York University Stern School of Business, and founder of the Future Today Institute.
Katherine Freese, George Eugene Uhlenbeck Collegiate Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and guest professor of physics at Stockholm University, Sweden.
Haley Gomez, astrophysicist and head of public engagement in the school of physics and astronomy at Cardiff University, UK. The faces and voices and bodies that are leading with imagination and hope and a grounded consciousness, often from the periphery.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Women were written out of science history”

The twice Nobel Prize-winning Curie and mathematician Ada Lovelace are two of the few women within Western science to receive lasting popular recognition.
One reason women tend to be absent from narratives of science is because it’s not as easy to find female scientists on the public record.
Even today, the numbers of women entering science remain below those of men, especially in certain disciplines.
The obituary criticized Ayrton for neglecting her husband, stating that instead of concentrating on her science she should have “Put him into carpet slippers” and “Fed him well” so he could do better science.
Then it moved to new institutional settings, leaving women behind in the home where their science became invisible to history.
This is where science began splitting into a hierarchy of male-dominated “Hard” sciences, such as physics, and “Soft” sciences, such as botany and biological science, that were seen as more acceptable for women.
The first women were elected as fellows of the Royal Society in 1945, and the French Academy of Science didn’t admit its first female fellow until 1979.
Although we must be careful not to overestimate how women were historically active in science, it is important to remember those women scientists who did contribute and the barriers they overcame to participate.

The orginal article.