FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The crew from Victory Skateboards, has started construction of a temporary snow park along 93rd Avenue in Toboggan Hill Park.Volunteers were moving snow on Friday and will be building mini features such as boxes and rails. The course will follow 93rd Avenue and finish at the skate park.- Advertisement -Volunteers are welcome to help build the park. Cole Andrews with Victory Skateboards says construction won’t take long, especially if more members of the community come out and help with construction.You can contact Andrews, through Victory Skateboards for information about how you can help.Fort St. John City Council approved the project in December with a minimum of a $5 million liability insurance policy and additional insurance provided by Victory Skateboards.
Public trust in scientists exceeds their trustworthiness, experts warn.Nature is worried. People trust scientists too much. In the Nature Editorial this week (“Misplaced faith”), the subtitle is suggestive. “The public trusts scientists much more than scientists think. But should it?” On one hand, the editors are glad that polls show the majority of people giving scientists high marks for reliability despite a flurry of scandals in recent news. The recent retraction of that gay-marriage paper (see 12/12/14 and Science Magazine report; see more below) is a case in point. But on the other hand, they know better.Media coverage of the same-sex-marriage retraction was laced with portentous language, claiming that faith and trust in science had been profoundly shaken. Yet, as researchers who follow misconduct issues will know, faith and trust in science have survived worse in recent years.That should not be taken as an excuse to ignore the problem of research misconduct or to minimize its importance. And although high-profile fraud makes headlines, a broader and more common set of unappealing behaviours — from corner-cutting to data-juggling — lie under the surface. Convention says that a tiny minority of scientists cheats, yet academics and researchers frequently make the case that irregularities are widespread. A 2014 survey of hundreds of economists, for example, found that 94% admitted to having engaged in at least one “unaccepted” research practice (S. Necker Res. Policy 43, 1747–1759; 2014).… it seems that the wider public’s view of science and research is rosier than that of many people who are directly involved. For how long can this continue?As insiders, Nature’s editors get a view of science’s dirty laundry that the public is blissfully unaware of. And they’re not alone. Other writers have pointed out reasons to doubt the iconic image of the scientist in the white lab coat, altruistically researching nature’s secrets for the pure love of the truth.Influence or influencer? Anna Gielas, in a PLoS Blog printed on PhysOrg, turns scientific journals into carts pulling the horses. Rather than depicting them as channels for research dissemination, she argues that journals are often instruments that shape science and academia. Tracing the history of academic journals over centuries, she shows them to be dynamic, evolving instruments that often made or broke personal reputations and, sometimes, shaped political decisions. “I wish to learn how we have created this unique and intricate communication system,” she ends, “—and why we have endowed it with so much power.”Measurement power corrupts: What’s science without measurement? In The Conversation, Aussie academics Mike Calver and Andrew Beattie warn that “Our obsession with metrics is corrupting science.” Specifically, the process of ranking scientific papers by citations and other arbitrary measures lets some scientists game the system, and consigns other worthy research into dustbin of obscurity. Ranking has been a poor predictor of Nobel Prizes, they point out. (See also Nature‘s list of “sleeping beauty” papers whose merits were not recognized till after the author’s deaths.) Merlin Crossley, another Aussie dean of science, replies in The Conversation that “All academic metrics are flawed, but some are useful.” Useful to whom? He presents the “best-in-field” fallacy by arguing that it’s “better than the alternative.”Correlation not causation: Speaking of measurement, Science Magazine enjoyed a list of “spurious correlations.” These come about through “a technique known as ‘data dredging,’ in which one data set is blindly compared to hundreds of others until a correlation is identified.” For instance, one can show that “The number of civil engineering doctorates awarded in the United States between 2000 and 2009 was strongly correlated (95.9%) with mozzarella cheese consumption during the same period.” The editors comment, “Presented as a series of graphs prepared from real data sets, Spurious Correlations serves as a hilarious reminder that correlation most certainly does not equal causation.” It also implies that drawing valid conclusions requires honesty and training in logic.Conflict of interest: A Policy Forum statement in Science Magazine shows that scientists are also stakeholders in government decisions. Fifteen academics from Harvard, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Science and Democracy and some other foundations are upset that Congress is making “attacks on science-based rules.” But rules are not discovered by scientists; they are matters of policy decided by parties with competing interests (including taxpayers who have to foot the bill, and legislators who have to prioritize limited resources). Rules might be informed by science or metrics, but as we have just seen, metrics can corrupt if not properly interpreted. These academics vent the emotion of righteous indignation, pretending their own interests are not part of the equation.There is a growing and troubling assault on using credible scientific knowledge in U.S. government regulation that will put science and democracy at risk if unchecked. We present five examples, and the false premises on which they are based, of current attempts in the U.S. Congress in the supposed pursuit of transparency and accountability but at the expense of the role of science in policy-making.A look at their five examples shows it heavily weighted in favor of government regulation and the ability of scientific institutions to police themselves. At whose expense? And for which group’s interest?The scientific community needs to push back. Elected officials respond to constituents, and there are scientists in every congressional district. With leadership from professional societies and scientific organizations, scientists across the country should tell their members of Congress how much they value the opportunity to engage in informing policy and how important it is that these attacks on the process are defeated.They end by claiming they are all for transparency and avoidance of conflict of interest. Their concerns may well be justified in some of the specific cases they cite, but their own comments betray a lack of objectivity.Whose conflict of interest? Policies that attempt to control conflict of interest may themselves be flawed, an article on Science Daily suggests. Some scientists are objecting to the stringent rules of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on disclosure of financial ties to health industries, claiming that “there are negative consequences of such policies.” One thing seems certain; policies will be made by fallible humans who may not be aware of all the influences behind their decisions, or willing to admit them.Scientific fraud made several headlines recently. Most recently, the exposure of Michael LaCour at UCLA as a fraudster for his Dec. 2014 paper on gay-marriage persuasion was noted by Science Magazine (which retracted the paper last month), Nature, and major media outlets. But few are pointing out that his credibility should have been suspect at the start, since he is a gay activist and recruited only gay activists in his “experiments” on interviewing people—and they only tested the ability to persuade people for gay marriage, not against it. That seems hardly a controlled experiment. In other headlines, social psychologist Jens Förster is in deeper trouble after investigators found further evidence he “made up” his data, Science Magazine says (see 5/22/14). Förster still maintains his innocence. Nature reports that Paolo Macchiarini, inventor of the artificial windpipe, has been charged with misconduct for “misrepresenting the success of his pioneering procedure.” And in a PLoS Blog piece posted by PhysOrg, Beth Skwarecki asks an unusual question, “Was it unethical to hoax the world about chocolate as a weight loss ‘accelerator’?” It’s another story about P-hacking (tweaking significance measures) to pull a causation out of a correlation.When you envision a scientist, stop thinking of the cartoon drawing. Picture a real human being, just like yourself, getting out of bed each day and getting dressed to go to work. Like each one of us, the scientist is a complex mix of influences, beliefs, biases and desires. Many scientists usually work in an academic environment that is profoundly leftist in ideology and subject to speech codes or standards of political correctness (we admit exceptions, of course). The scientist has undergone years of rigorous study and practice, part of which constitutes indoctrination into certain ways of thinking. He or she attends conferences with colleagues at which habits of behavior are reinforced by groupthink, where independent thinking is tolerated only to a point. The scientist does not observe nature as a newcomer, but follows years of tradition, working on some specific puzzle in the current paradigm. Scientists are often dependent on government funds, or else support from private industry, which also influence their judgment. Like other humans, scientists desire fame and recognition for their work.Lest one argue that it’s the scientific community that protects against bias and makes science a self-correcting enterprise, let’s get real. A community is a collection of fallible individuals. Academia can reinforce bias as much as prevent it. Look at the articles above; journals, peer review and other aspects of self-correction can end up shaping policies and attitudes, even facilitating fraud. Nature just told us that people have an undue trust for science as it really us. Standards have evolved over the centuries; are we to believe that what Newton or Faraday did in their day was unscientific by today’s standards? Peer review is under attack from many quarters these days. Journals are evolving to adapt to social media. And how can they protect themselves from computer-generated fraud? (see Evolution News & Views article).Never forget that science cannot work without (1) a commitment to truth, and (2) honesty. Those are not discoveries of science; they are prerequisites for science. Logical reasoning requires both. So what are we to expect when evolutionary scientists tell us that crime is a product of evolution? (see PhysOrg). Carried to its logical conclusion, that rationalizes fraud as an evolutionary strategy. Science needs God to say, “Thou shalt not!” (see 5/24/15). The current flood of scientific misconduct is to be expected from a culture that has abandoned Biblical morality for evolving strategies, and truth for pragmatism.So what are honest truth seekers to think of science? We have to judge it based on the evidence and the logic, and on the individual researcher’s character. We cannot take a scientist’s word for anything. We need to be aware of the biases that influence their statements. We need to examine their “materials and methods” that formed the basis of their conclusions. We need the courage to fight a strong consensus when it is wrong. We need to complain when they fail to be truthful or honest. In a sense, we need to be scientists ourselves, if we take the root of science to refer to “knowledge.” Since knowledge is defined as a “justified true belief,” no scientific statement should be accepted at face value because “science says so,” but because its truth is justifiable.(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Descending down the templeThis week, we will walk through a rain forest and climb the highest ancient Mayan temple to log a difficulty 5, terrain 4 micro geocache.Located in the Orange Walk District in Belize, Lamanai High (GC19505) is known for the incredible experience that comes with finding the geocache. Not only is the temple the highest exposed structure of 108 feet (33 meters) for miles, it also provides a breathtaking view of the jungle and the nearby river.Lamanai, a Maya term for “submerged crocodile,” is one of the largest and longest inhabited ceremonial centers in Belize. It’s an imperial port city that includes ball courts, pyramids, and several exotic Mayan features. Hundreds of buildings have been identified in the two-square-mile area, among the tallest of them is a cleverly hidden geocache.It’s been said that “the difficult part is getting there.” Geocachers have the option of driving over rough roads or taking an organized day boat trip. Once there, the climb up the steep steps can prove to be a challenge despite the assistance of the rope. However, the final destination at the top of the High Temple provides a spectacular 360 degree view of the archaeological reserve, the exotic animals and forest, and the river.Since February of 2008, Thumbs Up! has drawn more than 70 geocachers to travel to this location and experience an exciting adventure to find a cleverly hidden geocache.Preparing for the climbThe geocache logs describe detailed and fun-filled adventures that may otherwise not have taken place. One geocacher wrote, “What an amazing journey Team Muddyloon experienced traveling to get to Lamanai High! After securing transportation for an hour long ride into the interior of the Belizean jungle, we arrived at a floating dock to board our boat for the second part of our journey. We set out at 34.6 mph up the twisting and turning crocodile ridden New River. Approaching some fishermen in a canoe, our driver slowed down while the fishermen pointed out a big green snake swimming swiftly to shore. Proceeding onward, we spotted numerous birds and the ripples of crocodiles along the shoreline.Approached by a localApproaching the ruins we felt like we had transported back in time, making us feel as if we were Indiana Jones. As we rounded a path the High Temple came into view. We stood in awe of the beautiful structure that was built over 3000 years ago and is still standing today. Now we had the daunting task of climbing the temple to the cache. As we reached the level the cache was hidden on we quickly searched and discovered the cache, signed the log and proceeded to the top of the temple. A beautiful 360 degree panoramic view granted us our final reward. Heading back down the river we were treated to unexpected bonus of seeing the branches of the trees along the river’s edge rippling and then seeing the long strong arms of some Spider Monkeys swinging towards us. One Spider Monkey dropped into our boat for a banana and to treat us to a close up view before swinging back into the jungle and disappearing from view. Thanks for an adventure of a lifetime!”Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching Blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to email@example.com.View from the topShare with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedExploring Belize and Guatemala One Geocache at a TimeOctober 21, 2014With 2 commentsFind your knight in shining armor. — Castle Northmoor (GCX612) — Geocache of the WeekJuly 30, 2014In “Community””BongEun-Sa Revivial” GCXNRW GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – January 24, 2011January 24, 2011In “Community”
The body of a 65-year-old woman from Rajasthan’s Barmer district, who died in Pakistan last week during her visit to her relatives, was brought back to India via the Khokhrapar-Munabao zero point road route on Tuesday. The Pakistan Rangers handed over the body to the Border Security Force at the India-Pakistan border.The deceased, Reshma, a resident of Agasadi village in Barmer district, went to Pakistan’s Sindh province along with her son Sahib Khan on June 30 to meet her sisters. She fell ill there a few days before she was scheduled to board the Thar Express connecting the two countries and died on July 25, a day before her visa was to expire.The Indian High Commission in Islamabad swung into action after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asked it through a tweet to help out Reshma’s family members who had submitted a memorandum. Though a prompt action was launched with the help of Pakistan government officials to facilitate repatriation of the body, it could not be brought by the Thar Express because of delay in legal formalities.BSF help soughtBarmer Collector Shivprasad Nakate said he took up the issue with the BSF to allow Reshma’s son to enter India along with the body through the road route parallel to the Thar Express’ railway line. The body arrived at the international border near Pakistan’s Khokhrapar zero point railway station and was handed over to the BSF after the gates at the fencing were opened.The body was first sent in an ambulance to Munabao for the immigration formalities and was later transported to Agasadi village, where Reshma’s four daughters and other relatives were waiting for it.The Khokhrapar-Munabao road route was utilised for the first time on Tuesday after the revival of rail link between India and Pakistan through the Thar Express in February 2006. A fortnight before the train started, former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, along with an 85-member delegation, had gone to Pakistan via this road to visit the ancient temple of Hinglaj and other shrines in Sindh and Balochistan.The rail link at Munabao was revived after a gap of 41 years.
Former Australian wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist will be the captain of Kings XI Punjab for the fourth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Gilchrist led Deccan Chargers to the trophy in the IPL’s second season. It was no wonder that he was the first player to be bought by Punjab during the players’ auction on January 8. Punjab proceeded to buy 10 more players, with only four Indian players, the backbone of any IPL team. They lost out on several players whom they started to bid for, only to be outbid by other franchises. Punjab would now have to fill up the rest of their squad with the uncapped Indian players and India Under-19 players. However coach Michael Bevan remains confident of Punjab’s prospects because of Gilchrist’s presence. Confirming Punjab’s decision to make Gilchrist as the captain of the team Bevan said, “The main reason we picked him was because he is the captain. Even if he is not at the peak of his career, I still feel he is a leader and he has a lot to offer.”
The Deccan Chargers have lost their place as an Indian Premier League franchise after it failed to meet an extended deadline to furnish a Rs.100 crore bank guarantee.The beleaguered owners of Deccan Chargers failed to produce the bank guarantee before the Bombay High Court, a condition that had been set for the struggling team’s survival in the league.Claim to fameThe Hyderabad-based company has won the second season of the IPL in 2009 held in South Africa under the captainship of Adam Gilchrist. Media group Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd had bought the franchise for an amount of USD 107 million on 24 January 2008.Why in newsReports quoting sources say banks and financial institutions that have lent money to Deccan Chronicle Holdings are being investigated for alleged irregularities in their dealings with the Hyderabad-based media house.The finance ministry has asked a two-member panel to conduct the probe, which is expected to take two months. A Mumbai based real estate company, Kamla Landmarc has bought the Deccan Chargers IPL franchise. Owned by Mr Ramesh Jain, the company undertakes construction of residential/commercial projects.