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Médicos cubanos afirman haber devuelto movilidad y sensibilidad a discapacitados mediante trasplante de células madre
Pere Estupinya
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(English intro to Spanish lang post) The Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde published an extensive story claiming that 17 from 25 complete spinal cord injured people restored motor function, sensitivity and sphincter control after an adult stem cell transplantation clinical trial which started in 2009....

(English intro to Spanish lang post) The Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde published an extensive story claiming that 17 from 25 complete spinal cord injured people restored motor function, sensitivity and sphincter control after an adult stem cell transplantation clinical trial which started in 2009. Medical doctors that presumably conducted the study didn’t publish the details in any peer reviewed scientific journal. The story includes a video of the transplant recorded from inside the surgery room, and testimonies of several patients stating they’ve achieved significant improvements. The story even says that a quadriplegic was able to move his arms after the trial. Of course we have serious doubts about these results, which if true, would be the most remarkable ones in the history of cell transplantation for SCI (we’ve checked recent scientific...

[4/11/14: Updates with addition of Cyranoski's story on Feb. 17th, ahead of the others mentioned here.]

Everybody had the story this week: Haruko Obokata, who claimed to create stem cells by stressing embryonic-like cells, has been accused of scientific misconduct.

"The judgement is...

[4/11/14: Updates with addition of Cyranoski's story on Feb. 17th, ahead of the others mentioned here.]

Everybody had the story this week: Haruko Obokata, who claimed to create stem cells by stressing embryonic-like cells, has been accused of scientific misconduct.

"The judgement is the latest twist — but not the final word — in the bizarre story of stimulus-triggered activation of pluripotency (STAP), a method that researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, still say is able to turn ordinary mature mouse cells into cells that share embryonic stem cells' capacity to turn into all of the body’s cells," wrote David Cyranoski at Nature, just one of many stories that reported the disturbing development. This was a particularly interesting one, however, because...

  Just read a very important story and am not happy about it:

  Just read a very important story and am not happy about it:

   No, not about the subject matter even though it is dispiriting. Zuckerman digs deep into the expansion of corn, soy, and other farming in the northern tier of the plains - Minnesota, the Dakotas.. - to bring back a tale of vast acreage that had been mostly grazing land, and remained more or less like the post-Pleistocene landscape of recent millennia, being plowed up for farming. Land owners see prices for soybeans and corn so high that they can make money even off marginal land. The result is a collapse in game birds that hunters...

Just a quickie here. One finds sheer genius in this seasonal story. Don't know which is keenest, the AF modes hidden beneath the B modes in the microwave sky where inflation's blown-up gravity waves are splayed wide, or the deflaton (DEF-luh-ton). It had me going for several graphs. Then Blutarsky showed up...

Just a quickie here. One finds sheer genius in this seasonal story. Don't know which is keenest, the AF modes hidden beneath the B modes in the microwave sky where inflation's blown-up gravity waves are splayed wide, or the deflaton (DEF-luh-ton). It had me going for several graphs. Then Blutarsky showed up.

  Science's reporters have several of this sort up but this one seemed particularly well-concocted.

*UPDATE: OK, one more for now. Anybody see another outstanding member of this yearly science journalism outbreak let us know (...

His biggest mistake is not what people think
Faye Flam
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An interesting story ran on NPR recently, describing a “lost” paper of Einstein’s, which was never published because Einstein recognized that he’d made a mistake and therefore never submitted it for publication. Apparently there was some excitement surrounding this abandoned work because...

An interesting story ran on NPR recently, describing a “lost” paper of Einstein’s, which was never published because Einstein recognized that he’d made a mistake and therefore never submitted it for publication. Apparently there was some excitement surrounding this abandoned work because physicists had assumed it was a draft of a different paper – one that was published in 1931.

According to the story, Einstein’s Lost Theory Discovered, and It’s Wrong, this erroneous and never-published paper examined a possible explanation for then-recent observations by Edwin Hubble (also Georges Lemaitre), that the universe was expanding.

Faced with evidence that the universe was growing, Einstein apparently wanted to figure out why it wasn't filling up with empty space. His proposed solution is in this newly discovered paper...

Until today, the powerful language in the latest climate-change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generated scant coverage, and little or no demand from reporters for government reactions.

Coverage of any kind was meager yesterday, as I pointed out in...

Until today, the powerful language in the latest climate-change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change generated scant coverage, and little or no demand from reporters for government reactions.

Coverage of any kind was meager yesterday, as I pointed out in my previous post. Today, some others caught up, running stories from The Associated Press or writing off of the IPCC report and press release. But aside from the handful of reporters who went to Yokohama for the release of the report, nobody was doing much original reporting.

I found one example of the kind of story I was looking for when I opened The New York Times today. There Coral Davenport wrote a news analysis reporting that the new data puts...

Poco caso al repetitivo reporte sobre adaptación del Grupo de Trabajo-2 del IPCC
Pere Estupinya
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(English intro to Spanish lang post) Yesterday the IPCC issued the report “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” from its Working Group-II. Last September WG-I presented its report concluding that human influence in climate change is absolutely established, next week...

(English intro to Spanish lang post) Yesterday the IPCC issued the report “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” from its Working Group-II. Last September WG-I presented its report concluding that human influence in climate change is absolutely established, next week WG-III will present its report on mitigation, and finally next October, the 5th Assessment Report will be issued after the previous ones in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2004. This 5th Assessment report is supposed to be the basis for the negotiations in Lima-2014, and for the expected global agreement in 2015.

The report presented yesterday adds more scientific data, and is more specific about the real risks of different regions in the world. It also mentions adaptation practices that are giving good results. But it doesn’t offer new views about the problem. We all know that it’s not date what the planet needs now, but actions. Maybe for...

[Update 4/2: A couple of justifiably aggrieved friends at The Washington Post said the paper did more than run the AP.  Staff reporter Steven Mufson...

[Update 4/2: A couple of justifiably aggrieved friends at The Washington Post said the paper did more than run the AP.  Staff reporter Steven Mufson wrote a piece off of the report and the press release, with reaction from several scientists.]

On March 25, the Tracker's Charlie Petit predicted that few members of the Western press would fly to Yokohama, Japan for the release of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He was right. The problem, he explained, was that we've heard it all before and we'll be hearing it again and again.

It's the paradox of climate-...

Faye Flam
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Yet another scandal has broken over bad science, this time in the field of neuroscience. In a new paper published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the Netherlands claim that of 314 studies in the field, more than half relied...

Yet another scandal has broken over bad science, this time in the field of neuroscience. In a new paper published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers from the Netherlands claim that of 314 studies in the field, more than half relied on an erroneous assumption about the independence of the data and were  therefore likely to be giving false positive results. This bombshell wasn’t widely covered, but luckily it was explained clearly by Gary Stix at Scientific American. His story, Statistical Flaw Punctuates Brain Research in Elite Journals, is posted on his blog, Talking Back.

The post suggests that the stastistical flaw dosen't just punctuate brain researrch, it puctures much of it.

According to this new...

  News agencies in the Pacific Northwest have gone full bore with coverage in the week following the massive landslide in Washington's Snohomish County where a steep canyon wall, one that has suffered many slides in the past, suddenly surrendered again to gravity in a colossal avalanche. It surged across...

  News agencies in the Pacific Northwest have gone full bore with coverage in the week following the massive landslide in Washington's Snohomish County where a steep canyon wall, one that has suffered many slides in the past, suddenly surrendered again to gravity in a colossal avalanche. It surged across the Stillaguamish River, splintering trees on both sides. Like a thousand runaway locomotives it obliterated much of a rural community, ripping homes to pieces. As least 18 bodies have been recovered and about 30 people are missing. The river has backed up while it makes a new bed hundreds of feet from where it was.

  The region's largest newspaper, the Seattle Times, has risen far above the norm. I've not done a survey of media coverage but would be surprised if anybody surpassed the Times's breadth and speedy response. About three dozen reporters plus illustrators and others have been working long hours to get the facts. The all-staff assault paid...

I'm apparently not the only one to take a shot at Nate Silver's new news site. He's taking hits from all over.

Tabitha M. Powledge at On Science Blogs...

I'm apparently not the only one to take a shot at Nate Silver's new news site. He's taking hits from all over.

Tabitha M. Powledge at On Science Blogs wraps up much of the coverage--all of it negative, as far as I can tell. The principal line of attack is not a subtle one: Silver's new data journalism site lacks, uh, how should I put this...

Data.

Powledge quotes various commentators who have said that, and she also raises questions about some of the people Silver has chosen to cover science. Roger Pielke, Jr. and Emily Oster are idiosyncratic choices, to say the least.

Powledge thinks Silver will get better, because it always takes time for startups to find their footing.

...

E-cigarettes have largely escaped coverage, especially coverage by science and health reporters.

And when they do get covered, the most important thing about them is rarely explored in depth--whether they help smokers quit, or whether they encourage non-smokers to start.

Last December, Joe...

E-cigarettes have largely escaped coverage, especially coverage by science and health reporters.

And when they do get covered, the most important thing about them is rarely explored in depth--whether they help smokers quit, or whether they encourage non-smokers to start.

Last December, Joe Nocera, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, wrote a piece extolling e-cigarettes. He describes them as "an innovative device that can help people wean themselves" from smoking. "It has the same look and feel as the lethal product...but the ingredients that kill...

  The nation's leading newspaper is giving a high profile today to a stirring report from Brazil on evidence that people reached what is now its northeastern region at least 22,000 and perhaps more than 40,000 years ago.

  •  NY Times - Simon Romero:...

  The nation's leading newspaper is giving a high profile today to a stirring report from Brazil on evidence that people reached what is now its northeastern region at least 22,000 and perhaps more than 40,000 years ago.

Stirring, that is, to readers with little familiarity with a long-running and at times bitter debate over that very assertion. And, of course, relatively few American keep up on such things. To them this story will seem a great adventure into the early peopling of the Americas. It will offer a chance to ponder how science is extending knowledge of the epochal series of migrations to the New World, a vast settling that set the stage for the...

 It has been said that all news is local. Hardly any topic beats out weather when it comes to being right in the readers' backyards.

   In corollary fashion, the rising speculation among long range weather and climate forecasters that an El Niño of moderate to perhaps large...

 It has been said that all news is local. Hardly any topic beats out weather when it comes to being right in the readers' backyards.

   In corollary fashion, the rising speculation among long range weather and climate forecasters that an El Niño of moderate to perhaps large intensity is brewing in the tropical Pacific gets coverage in a very different fashion in Australia and southern and southeast Asia than it does in California. Or Peru. Or India. The US's Nat'l Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts chances of one occurring at 50-50 during the summer or fall. It's not much, but a significant one has not gotten odds that high for years. A paper in PNAS put the chances at 3 in 4. So it is news.

   ...

The email began this way:

Rotary International (www.rotary.org) can cover travel costs for a writer who secures an assignment with a top-tier U.S./global media outlet to write about its global humanitarian work.  Example: ...

The email began this way:

Rotary International (www.rotary.org) can cover travel costs for a writer who secures an assignment with a top-tier U.S./global media outlet to write about its global humanitarian work.  Example:  Travel with Oregon Rotarian Nancy Hughes and her team to visit a stove factory they help to establish near Antigua, Guatemala between June 18–27.

They tell me Guatemala is lovely in June...

The offer is apparently being tendered by the public relations firm GolinHarris on behalf of Rotary. The email goes on to explain why the stove project is important, the number of lives that can be saved by better stoves, and so forth.

I'm all for it. Who's against saving lives?

What I'm not for is to have sources pay for coverage. A reporter's obligation is to present what he or she learns to readers, viewers, or listeners...

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