Warriors confident Kevin Durant will return in NBA Finals, but when?

first_imgOAKLAND – Despite remaining sidelined for the past month with a strained right calf, Kevin Durant is still expected to return at some point in the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. But when?“We’re hoping he can play in Game 5 or 6,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Everything in between, I’m not sharing because it has gone haywire. There is so much going on it doesn’t make sense to talk about it. Hes either going to play or he’s not. So tonight he’s not playing.”Durant will miss Game …last_img

Chinks in the Scientific Method

first_imgV & V. That’s shorthand in project design for “validation and verification.” Does the scientific method provide V & V? We are all taught to think that peer review, publication and replication help science to be self-checking, so as to avoid error. Some recent articles show that ain’t necessarily so. It may sound good in theory, but in practice, the ideal doesn’t always match the real.Publish and perish: In Nature (480, 22 December 2011, pp. 449-450, doi:10.1038/480449a) Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky reminded readers of the world’s premiere science journal that in science publishing, “The paper is not sacred.” Peer review needs to continue long after a paper appears in print, they argued. Their concern was prompted by a 15-fold increase in the number of retractions over the last decade. During the same time period, papers increased by 50%. This is not necessarily bad, Marcus and Oransky continue, because it indicates corrections are being made. But what about bad papers that don’t get retracted? They pointed out disturbing cases where peer review was poorly checked by journal editors, sometimes with “massive” numbers of errors in a paper, under the excuse that peer review is supposed to be secretive. Often readers are given no explanation for a retraction other than, “This paper has been withdrawn by the authors.” Notice how extensive the problem is in their words:Editors have many reasons to pay more attention to retraction and correction notices. For one, scientists often cite papers after they’ve been retracted, and a clear, unambiguous note explaining why the findings are no longer valid might help to reduce that. But, more importantly, a vaguely worded note that includes further claims from researchers whose work has been seriously questioned, in turn raises questions about the integrity of the journal itself, and about the overall scientific record.Marcus and Oransky pointed to new online methods that might reduce the number of mistakes making their way into the corpus of “scientific knowledge”—even the radical idea that the new methods may reduce the publication of scientific papers in journals. But their article raises other serious questions. Since World War II we have been led to believe that peer review provided the V & V science needed. How do we know that new, untested methods will do better? To what extent are mistakes entering the corpus because of peer pressure instead of peer review – the demands of universities to measure a scientist’s performance by how much he or she publishes? How can scientists keep up with the growing volume of publications? They raised additional questions:There are other hurdles. How should scientists treat papers that are hardly read, so are never evaluated post-publication? Does a lack of comment mean that the findings and conclusions are extremely robust, or that no one has cared enough to check? Including readership metrics alongside comments should help here.The authors could only hope that additional scrutiny and new methods will “make the scientific record more self-correcting.” That implies that the self-correcting nature of science we have been trusting is not doing a very good job.Replicate and perish: In theory, scientific errors are caught because other scientists try to replicate the experiment. This may have worked for high-profile claims like cold fusion, but how would someone replicate a discovery of the Higgs boson without a second Large Hadron Collider? Earlier this month, Science Magazine printed a special series on replication. In the introductory article, “Again and Again, and Again,” (Science, 2 December 2011: Vol. 334 no. 6060 p. 1225, doi: 10.1126/science.334.6060.1225 ), Jasny, Chin, Chong and Vignieri began, “Replication—The confirmation of results and conclusions from one study obtained independently in another—is considered the scientific gold standard.” That’s the theory. In practice, they found enough dross in the crucible to be worried: “New tools and technologies, massive amounts of data, long-term studies, interdisciplinary approaches, and the complexity of the questions being asked are complicating replication efforts, as are increased pressures on scientists to advance their research.” The series of articles that followed showed why replication is often unreachable in the real world. How do you get a rare animal, say an ivory-billed woodpecker (or a Loch Ness monster, for that matter), to appear on cue, so that an observation can be replicated? Unique experiences in the field challenge the gold standard: “although laboratory research allows for the specification of experimental conditions, the conclusions may not apply to the real world,” they said. Consider, also, the difficulty of replicating medical tests, which might involve thousands of patients in longitudinal studies lasting years. Other questions the authors did not mention could be asked. To what extent does a shared paradigm, or shared beliefs, decrease the motivation to attempt replicating a popular result? Remember the recent decade-long fraud by superstar Diederich Stapel (11/16/2001, 11/05/2011). More significantly, if science cannot live up to its own ideals of peer review and replication, what right does it have to claim epistemic superiority over other departments in the academy?Reduce and perish: How big does a sample have to be to arrive at a sound conclusion? That’s what Medical Xpress asked in an article, “The perils of bite-size science.” Two psychologists are worried about a trend toward shorter papers and smaller samples (a principle applicable to any scientific field, not just psychology). Yes, people may enjoy reading shorter papers—but now there are more of them, and publishers have to do more work, contrary to their hope that word limits would simplify things. Worse, since small sample sizes can lead to false positives and wrong conclusions, “two short papers do not equal twice the scientific value of a longer one,” the researchers argued. “Indeed, they might add up to less.”Yet the psychologists’ implicit contention that longer, more detailed papers are more reliable may not be true. In fact, they pointed to other factors that can undermine the credibility of any paper, short or long. Consider these three steps to misinformation: (1) “surprising, ‘novel’ results are exactly what editors find exciting and newsworthy and what even the best journals seek to publish”; (2) “The mainstream media pick up the ‘hot’ stories”; (3) “And the wrong results proliferate.” The trend toward bite-size science is leading scientists away from the healthy skepticism on which science depends, the authors believe.Form a consensus and perish: Scientists like to be objective, not subjective. But Andrew Curtis (U. of Edinburgh) argues that science cannot rid itself of subjectivity. In his essay “The Science of Subjectivity” published in the journal Geology (open access, Geology v. 40 no. 1 p. 95-96, doi: 10.1130/focus012012.1), he reminded geologists that subjectivity is built into the scientific method:While the evidence-based approach of science is lauded for introducing objectivity to processes of investigation, the role of subjectivity in science is less often highlighted in scientific literature. Nevertheless, the scientific method comprises at least two components: forming hypotheses, and collecting data to substantiate or refute each hypothesis (Descartes’ 1637 discourse [Olscamp, 1965]). A hypothesis is a conjecture of a new theory that derives from, but by definition is unproven by, known laws, rules, or existing observations. Hypotheses are always made by one individual or by a limited group of scientists, and are therefore subjective—based on the prior experience and processes of reason employed by those individuals, rather than solely on objective external process. Such subjectivity and concomitant uncertainty lead to competing theories that are subsequently pared down as some are proved to be incompatible with new observations.Curtis presented a fairly positivist view that science will guide itself from the subjective to the objective. Subjectivity can even be good for science. “Allowing subjectivity is a positive aspect of the scientific method: it allows for leaps of faith which occasionally lead to spell-binding proposals that prove to be valid,” for instance. (He did not provide statistics of valid vs. nutty spell-binding proposals). But he cautioned readers to realize that even quasi-objective methods, like the popular Bayesian analysis, have built-in subjective aspects.A study of how geologists arrived at a consensus pointed to the influence of group dynamics. One study showed that geologists were influenced to change their previously-solid opinions as a result of interacting with colleagues. A particular geologist changed his mind twice because of what the group did. Curtis pointed to several studies that illustrated similar kinds of group dynamics at work. What is the upshot?The above studies significantly influence the way one should interpret consensus-driven results. Consensus positions clearly may only represent the group opinion at one instant in time, and may not represent the true range of uncertainty about the issue at hand (e.g., Fig. 1C). This is disturbing because consensus is often used in the geosciences.As an example, he pointed to climate change: “IPCC conclusions are all consensus driven—positions agreed between groups of scientists.” While consensus formation may soften the bias of the overconfident, “the group consensus approach may also introduce dynamic biases … which are more difficult to detect without tracking the dynamics of opinion. ” What this means is that the herd mentality operates even in scientific meetings. It takes courage to be a lone ranger, but the maverick might be right.Better late than never? Sigmund Freud is a fallen superstar, once exalted within the triumvirate of modern movers along with Marx and Darwin. He has even been compared to Copernicus. His theory of psychoanalysis spawned a whole industry of couch-side therapists, using Freud’s new vocabulary that lent scientific credibility to his ideas. Guess what: psychoanalysis never existed. That’s what New Scientist reported, based on new revelations that have come to light in The Freud Files:The Freud Archives, a collection of letters and papers, were deposited at the US Library of Congress by Freud’s daughter, Anna, to put them out of reach of unofficial biographers. This move also locked away Freud’s patients’ versions of their own problems.But now, as primary material is made public, parts of the archive are declassified and his letters re-edited without censorship, the legend is “fraying from all sides”.Freud was a legend in his time, and apparently a legend in his own mind. This should sound alarm bells. How could a large portion of academia be duped for so long? What legends are we following today that will be exposed as tomorrow’s frauds?Science for dummies: In a strange paper that sounds like a script for Revenge of the Nincompoops, Peter Fiske invited the scientific community to “Unleash Your Inner Dummy.” That’s right; in Nature itself (Nature 480, 7 December 2011, p. 281, doi:10.1038/nj7376-281a), he argued that “There is something to be said for letting go of the mantle of expert.” Intelligence, intellect, and prestige are valued in academia, but nincompoops have all the fun:Ironically, always playing the expert can be limiting, in terms of both contributions to science and career options. Sometimes, playing the dummy can be liberating and help to reveal opportunities that would otherwise have been overlooked. Dummies ask questions that experts assume were answered long ago. Dummies explore subject areas in which they lack knowledge. Dummies listen more and talk less.The mantle of expertise, in other words, can be a choke rag. Loosen up, he says, and ask the dumb questions. It’s OK to kick a sleeping dogma:Becoming a dummy frees you from dogma. Developing expertise can often mean ingesting unquestioned assumptions and accepted facts. Such received beliefs can lead to unchallenged group decision-making and prevent a community from recognizing a path-breaking discovery — especially when it comes from someone outside the discipline.What a radical concept. Could it be that the next great idea will come from a dummy, someone not tied to the paradigm? It’s happened. Moreover, Fiske argues, “Embracing your inner dummy is also a powerful tool for communicating science.” Scientists in the role of expert talk down to the public and think all they need is facts, when maybe it would be good for them to humble themselves and “seek to understand the audience’s cultural and ethical perspectives.” Let’s hear it for thinking outside the box.This journey into the engine room of science has been brought to you by the dummies at Creation-Evolution Headlines, who are too stupid to realize that evolution is a fact, because the scientific consensus says so. But oh, do we have more fun. Come out, come out, ye Darwin Dogmatists, and see the beauty of the cultural and ethical perspectives. Loosen your tie that binds you to the consensus. Ask the dumb questions. Do some peer review on peer review. Check to see if peer pressure is undermining the pier on which the amusement park of science sits. Exercise your autonomy: doubt a publication, question a Project Scientist, vote against the crowd. Trust not in a flawed human enterprise. Freud has fallen. Marx has fallen. Darwin is next. Turn in your false gods for a true One. Recognize that while logical thinking, clarity and accuracy are noble traits, they are not the exclusive property of scientists – a word invented in 1832 by William Whewell for natural philosophers, ostensibly to energize their group dynamics, but has resulted in an elitist class of self-proclaimed experts who know more and more about less and less until they know absolutely everything about nothing that really matters. You matter more than matter. It’s all about soul – the soul of science, which is faith in a unified, sensible, created order that points to its Source. Become a dummy in the world’s eyes, that you may begin to become truly wise (I Corinthians 2). (Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Strong finish for 2016 meat exports

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest U.S. pork and beef exports wrapped up an excellent 2016 performance with very strong December results, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).Pork export volume reached a record 2.31 million metric tons (mt) in 2016, up 8% year-over-year and 2% above the previous high in 2012. Export value increased 7% from a year ago to $5.94 billion. December pork exports totaled 222,635 mt, up 18% year-over-year, valued at $564.2 million, up 20%.Exports accounted for 25.8% of total 2016 pork production and 21.5% for muscle cuts — up from 24.2% and 20.8%, respectively, in 2015. December ratios were 28% for total production and 23% for muscle cuts only — up significantly from December 2015. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $50.20 in 2016, up 4% from the previous year. The December average was $56.06, up 24%.Beef exports increased 11% in volume (1.19 million mt) and 1% in value ($6.34 billion) from 2015. December exports totaled 116,847 mt, up 24% year-over-year. This was the largest monthly volume since July 2013 and the largest ever for December. Export value was $619.1 million in December, up 22%.Exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production in 2016 and 10.5% for muscle cuts – up from 13.1% and 10%, respectively, in 2015. December exports accounted for 15.6% of total December beef production and 12.1% for muscle cuts only — each up more than 2%age points from a year ago and the highest since 2011. Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $262.17, down 6% from 2015, but the December average was $301.97 – up 14% and the highest in nearly two years. Pork to Mexico sets fifth straight volume recordA remarkable second half pushed 2016 pork export volume to Mexico to its fifth consecutive record at 730,316 mt – breaking the previous record by 2%. Export value to Mexico totaled $1.36 billion, up 7% year-over-year and the second-highest on record, trailing only the $1.56 billion mark reached in 2014.“At this time of record-large pork production, it would be hard to overstate the importance of Mexican demand to the U.S. industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF President and CEO. “This is especially true for hams, as we are locked out of Russia — once a large destination for U.S. hams — and China’s demand for imported hams has moderated in recent months. So now more than ever, we need strong demand from our key customers in Mexico, and they have responded with extraordinary results. December exports to Mexico accounted for nearly $16 per head, and that’s absolutely critical to the entire U.S. pork supply chain.”Though down from the high levels seen earlier in the year, December pork exports to China/Hong Kong were still up 40% year-over-year in volume (47,242 mt) and 42% higher in value ($96 million). For the full year, exports to China/Hong set a new volume record of 544,943 mt (up 61%) and broke the $1 billion mark for the first time ($1.07 billion, up 53%).Other 2016 highlights for U.S. pork exports include: Japan remained the leading value destination for U.S. pork, though exports fell 5% in volume (387,712 mt) and 2% in value ($1.56 billion) compared to 2015. However, chilled exports to Japan set a new record of 218,211 mt, up 8%.Led by a record performance in Central America and a fourth-quarter surge in Colombia and Chile, exports to the Central/South America region increased 11% in volume (135,954 mt) and 9% in value ($334.5 million).Pork shipments increased to both Australia and New Zealand, as export volume to Oceania reached 69,963 mt (up 10%) valued at $197.3 million (up 3%).Exports to the Dominican Republic set another record in 2016, topping the previous year’s totals by 10% in volume (25,591 mt) and 6% in value ($56.4 million).Fueled by increases in China/Hong Kong and Canada and steady exports to Mexico, pork variety meat exports jumped 20% in volume to 523,199 mt and 24% in value to $999 million – just short of the record levels reached in 2014. Asian markets drive strong beef export growthDriven by strong demand for higher-value chilled cuts, beef exports achieved new value records in South Korea and Taiwan in 2016, and rebounded strongly in Japan.In Korea, December beef exports soared by 81% in volume (20,333 mt) and 88% in value ($130 million) from a year ago, capping a remarkable year in which exports totaled 179,280 mt (up 42%) valued at $1.06 billion — up 31% from a year ago and breaking the previous value record by more than 20%. Korea’s per capita beef consumption set a new record in 2016 of 34 pounds (carcass weight) – so the U.S. not only gained market share, but also capitalized on the market’s overall growth.Beef exports to Taiwan were also strong in December, with export value ($43.3 million) hitting its highest level ever. Full-year exports to Taiwan were up 25% in volume to 44,053 mt and 14% in value to $362.8 million.2016 exports to Japan were the largest of the post-BSE era at 258,653 mt, up 26% year-over-year. Export value totaled $1.51 billion, up 18%. Chilled beef exports to Japan totaled 112,334 mt, up 44% from 2015.“In addition to the strength of the U.S. dollar, U.S. beef overcame other severe challenges in these north Asian markets and achieved remarkable results,” Seng said. “Despite facing higher tariff rates in Japan compared to Australian beef, U.S. beef displaced its competition and won back significant market share. And the investment the U.S. industry made to rebuild consumer confidence in Korea is paying tremendous dividends, especially in the retail sector. We’re seeing U.S. beef featured regularly by retailers who were once reluctant to carry the product.”Other 2016 highlights for U.S. beef included:Beef exports to Mexico increased 7% year-over-year in volume to 242,373 mt, though value fell 11% to $974.9 million. While challenged by a weak peso, Mexico remains a key destination for muscle cuts such as shoulder clods and rounds, as well as for beef variety meat.Led by strong growth in Chile and a doubling of exports to Colombia, beef exports to South America increased 6% in volume to 22,810 mt, valued at $92.7 million (down 2%). The region should see further growth in 2017 with the reopening of Brazil.Exports to Central America were up 7% in volume (12,745 mt) with top market Guatemala up 1% and exports to Honduras nearly doubling. Export value was $71.8 million, up 1%.Fueled by a resurgence in Indonesia and solid growth in Vietnam, beef exports to the ASEAN region were up 41% in volume (29,920 mt) and 15% in value ($156.9 million). Indonesia expanded access for U.S. beef in early August. Despite being closed to many products through the first seven months of the year, U.S. exports to Indonesia set a new value record of $39.4 million.Beef variety meat exports increased 10% in volume (341,433 mt) and 4% in value ($902.2 million) in 2016. Liver exports increased 12% to 81,727 and reached a broader range of markets. While liver exports to Egypt – the largest destination for U.S. livers – increased 4%, further growth was achieved in Central and South America and with the reopening of South Africa to U.S. beef. Lamb muscle cut exports continue upward trendAlthough U.S. lamb exports were down in 2016, this was largely due to a sharp decline in variety meat exports. While total exports fell 11% in volume (8,248 mt) and 4% in value ($18.4 million), muscle cut exports increased 26% (2,239 mt) and 16% ($12.3 million) respectively. Leading market Mexico followed a similar pattern, as variety meat exports declined significantly, but muscle cut exports increased 9% in volume (965 mt) and 1% in value ($2.8 million). Emerging markets showing promise in 2016 included Bermuda, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.last_img read more

San Miguel to debut new import vs ‘team to beat’ Ginebra

first_imgAustria defended the team’s change of import. He said the team wanted an import who can be a complementary piece to reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.READ: McKines wishes players well, hopes SMB wins Grand Slam“What we’re thinking is to have a player who can matchup with the import of other teams like Justin Brownlee. What we want is somebody who an attack in the middle, shoot from the outside and who can bring down the ball. At least not a one-dimensional player,” he said.“Wendell is a good import, but he and June Mar play almost the same position. June Mar is already healthy that’s why want someone who can complement him, we want someone who can shoot from the perimeter,” he added.Austria expects war against Gin Kings, who he believes as this conference’s favorites.ADVERTISEMENT De Ocampo jokes as challenge on LeBron goes viral: I made him popular LATEST STORIES “The new import is already here. We was just not able to play because he still needs to accomplish necessary papers,” he said after the Beermen snapped a two-game slide with a 103-96 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.READ: PBA: San Miguel snaps skid, downs Rain or ShineFEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“But definitely, we will have a new import next game.”The Beermen made an eyebrow-raising move when they sent Wendell McKines home and took flak when Bridgeman underperformed, scoring only two points in his PBA debut in a loss to Alaska Saturday. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria said his new import Terrence Watson will make his debut against Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.Austria said Watson, who was tapped to replace Terik Bridgeman, arrived in Manila Wednesday morning.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance01:33Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters “Ginebra is playing really well and for me, they are the team to beat because of the arrival of Greg Slaughter.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more