Posts Tagged ‘Harvard’

Whither global warming? Not Harvard

February 10, 2015

Climate is an integral of local weather over time and space . If climate change (specifically global warming) does not show up as weather then it does not exist. From The Harvard Crimson:

Snow on Plympton

A student walks down Plympton St. on Monday evening, flanked by growing piles of snow. – Harvard Crimson

 As many Harvard schools cancel classes Tuesday for the third time in as many weeks — only its fourth snow day since one in 1978—administrators have begun to consider ways to compensate for lost instructional time. ……. 

……. Harvard has had only five snow days in the last four decades; before this semester, the only other two were in 2013 and 1978. …..

 …….. Between 2013 and 2015, Harvard has seen four of its five snow days in four decades. In 1977, before a snow day in 1978, former Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III joked that, “Harvard University will close only for an act of God, such as the end of the world.”

It wasn’t a joke.

Clearly snow days are to be taken as an Act of God where I take “God” to represent the natural variations in weather (and climate) which are beyond the wit of man to influence. But it does take some imagination for a winter snow storm to be equated to the “end of the world”. A summer snow storm might better qualify!

Marc Hauser actively manipulated data

May 30, 2014

Marc Hauser – and his supporters – have generally maintained that his misconduct was – at worst – negligence and certainly inadvertent. But the Boston Globe today reports on an internal Harvard report (obtained under FoI) which details wrongdoings rather more deliberate and sinister than Hauser and his friends have ever acknowledged or admitted.

The report is fairly damning.

Boston Globe:

But a copy of an internal Harvard report released to the Globe under the Freedom of Information Act now paints a vivid picture of what actually happened in the Hauser lab and suggests it was not mere negligence that led to the problems. 

The 85-page report details instances in which Hauser changed data so that it would show a desired effect. It shows that he more than once rebuffed or downplayed questions and concerns from people in his laboratory about how a result was obtained. The report also describes “a disturbing pattern of misrepresentation of results and shading of truth” and a “reckless disregard for basic scientific standards.”

A three-member Harvard committee reviewed 40 internal and external hard drives, interviewed 10 people, and examined original video and paper files that led them to conclude that Hauser had manipulated and falsified data.

Their report was sent to the federal Office of Research Integrity in 2010, but it was not released to the Globe by the agency until this week. ……… Much has been redacted from the report, including the identities of those who did the painstaking investigation and those who brought the problems to light.

Hauser, reached by phone Thursday, said he is focused on his work with at-risk youth on Cape Cod and declined to comment on the report.

The manipulation reported dates back at least to 2002 where he reported (presumably manufactured) data on a videotape of monkey responses which did not exist. In 2005 he altered data to make what was statistically insignificant become significant. Also in 2005, he discarded data after it had been found by a subordinate to have been inconsistent (presumably manipulated). Later, he tried to claim his mail ordering the discarding of the data as evidence of his innocence:

“These may not be the words of someone trying to alter data, but they could certainly be the words of someone who had previously altered data: having been confronted with a red highlighted spreadsheet showing previous alterations, it made more sense to proclaim disappointment about ‘errors’ and suggest recoding everything than, for example, sitting down to compare data sets to see how the ‘errors’ occurred,”

In 2007,

 a member of the laboratory wanted to recode an experiment involving rhesus monkey behavior, due to “inconsistencies” in the coding. “I am getting a bit pissed here. There were no inconsistencies!” Hauser responded, explaining how an analysis was done. 

Later that day, the person resigned from the lab. 

Hausergate: When did Hauser start making it up?

August 30, 2010

By all accounts Marc Hauser has been falsifying data at least since 1995.

Harvard probe kept under wraps

He joined Harvard in 1992 and the first known data falsification was in 1995, so Harvard colleagues and associates could not have been unaware of his creative use of data. All the journals which published his papers since 1995 and all his peers and reviewers must also have been aware of his fertile imagination. It could just be gullibility or it could be incompetence but they can have few other excuses.
Their silence is telling.
But when did his creativity start?

All his work must now be suspect. From his PhD in 1987 from UCLA, and through to his post-doctoral “work” at Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the University of California, Davis and at Rockefeller University, and all his production at Harvard, the presumption must be of  exaggerations (which is probably how it started) and falsification.

The magnitude of his fraud must encompass at least his salary and grants ever since he joined Harvard.

Misconduct at Harvard or is it scientific fraud?

August 11, 2010

Harvard does not want to say very much but the story was broken by the Boston Globe.

Harvard University psychologist Marc Hauser — a well-known scientist and author of the book “Moral Minds’’ — is taking a year-long leave after a lengthy internal investigation found evidence of scientific misconduct in his laboratory.

Scientist Marc Hauser’s studies include work on the cognitive and evolutionary underpinnings of language.

As reported in Nature:

A 3-year investigation has found evidence of scientific misconduct in publications by prominent Harvard University psychologist Marc Hauser, the Boston Globe reports today.

Hauser’s research, which has frequently been highlighted in newspapers and on television, has addressed the evolutionary roots of human language, mathematical ability, and morality. His 2006 book, Moral Minds, argued that the human brain is programmed to embrace certain moral principles. Earlier this year, Hauser co-authored a study that found no impact of religion on how humans respond to moral dilemmas (for more, see ‘Morals don’t come from God’).

But by then, Hauser’s lab was already the subject of a Harvard University investigation. According to the Globe article, the trouble centers on a 2002 paper published in the journal Cognition (subscription required). Hauser was the first author on the paper, which found that cotton-top tamarins are able to learn patterns – previously thought to be an important step in language acquisition. The paper has been retracted, for reasons which are reportedly unclear even to the journal’s editor, Gerry Altmann.

Two other papers, a 2007 article in Proceedings of the Royal Society B and a 2007 Science paper, were also flagged for investigation. A correction has been published on the first, and Science is now looking into concerns about the second. And the Globe article highlights other controversies, including a 2001 paper in the American Journal of Primatology, which has not been retracted although Hauser himself later said he was unable to replicate the results. Findings in a 1995 PNAS paper were also questioned by an outside researcher, Gordon Gallup of the State University of New York at Albany, who reviewed the original data and said he found “not a thread of compelling evidence” to support the paper’s conclusions.

This sounds more like fraud.

Not for the first time at Harvard and surely not the last.

How many “peers” have been duped along the way?

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