The Junk-Bond Salesmen of Science: A Tribute

[UPDATE:  see links below* for the titles of predatory journals] In honor of the posts of Michelle Nijhuis and Christie Aschwanden, too many posts to link to, about the detection, prevention, and treatment of bullshit. I hate being lied to.  I purely hate it.  I hate it with a cold, hard hate.  I understand that […]

Another Cup of Bull Honkey

Greg Mortenson is the subject and coauthor of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea, a book that chronicles his noble plight to build schools in far-flung parts of Pakistan. The tale is heartwarming, inspirational, and, according to allegations made by Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes in 2011, rife with half truths and outright lies. In his lengthy takedown […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Memories

When I was about four years old, a squirrel found its way into our house. My dad and his brother pursued it while my mom and I cowered in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn. Eventually one of the men killed it with a hammer. I don’t remember seeing the corpse, but I have […]

Jonah Lehrer, Scientists, and the Nature of Truth

Last week the journalism world was buzzing about — guess who? — Jonah Lehrer. Yes, again. We knew about the science writer’s self-plagiarism and Bob-Dylan-quote fabrication. Last week a New York Magazine exposé by Boris Kachka claimed that Lehrer also deliberately misrepresented other people’s ideas. Kachka’s piece led to some fascinating discussions about whether it’s possible to […]

Lies about Astronomy

The coordinate grid was laid against the sky to fix the stars and for centuries it seemed to work as planned.  Recently, however, its framework has been found to be not inertial.  So slowly, almost asymptotically, the grid moves with respect to itself — abrading, degrading — and therefore deteriorates.  In fact, Declination -14 now […]