In between the fa la la la la, I had time to read about snowflakes and avalanches, an example of surprise billing that makes me ashamed for my profession, an article on the year's best articles, and for all of you readers, a discussion of how to read a book.
McDonald's. Dell. Chrysler. Rolls-Royce. Sears. Trump. All are companies that bear the names of their founders. Does that matter? One would think not, but new research from Duke University claims that eponymous companies are more successful than others.
In a field like gender studies, what constitutes a respectable outlet? We can make progress toward answering that question by utilizing SCImago's ranking of academic journals.
NYU physicist Alan Sokal thought very little of the research performed by his colleagues in the social sciences. To prove his point, he wrote a paper that used plenty of trendy buzz words but made absolutely no sense. As he later explained, Dr. Sokal wanted to find out if a humanities journal would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." It would. His paper, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," was published in the journal Social Text in 1996, and his hoax has earned him a place in scientific history.
Gallup's recent poll on race relations asked a loaded question and lacked a control group. This is a recipe for very bad social science.
People prefer to ignore scientific reality in favor of politically correct myths. Specifically, we incorrectly interpret (positive) statements that describe the world as it is to be (normative) statements that prescribe the world as it ought to be. This confusion impedes scientific progress.