Friday, September 28, 2007

turn to the dark side

You start out writing politics but you find you have to get pretty deep in there with things that aren't to do with argument and morality.

As climate change becomes such an important issue, it's important to really understand the science, to get the difference between certainty and probability, to be able to sift knowledgably and rigourously through the reports, claims, theories and downright lies.

The information age has changed the nature of research. It is no longer about being able to find information, but to be able to gauge the credibility of the information.

In science, the only stuff to really trust is the peer-review system. There are august journals for every specialist field, and some very broad ones, and scientists publish their ideas, methods and findings in them. Then others who also have expertise can see what's gone on and comment, presenting their stuff to reinforce or counter what's said. Soon, everyone whose opinion is worth anything has weighed in and hopefully something like the truth - as best as we can ascertain it at that point in time - emerges.

So it is that I can find myself reading whole books on hydrogen as a fuel source or in the pages of the new edition of the mighty Science.

Despite being the most respected scientific journal on earth, not all of it is for the inquiring intellectual mind. Some of it best serves that joyously brainless smut-loving part of you that never left the playground. Check out this paper. Turn to the dark side.


Unknown said...

snigger - feels like I'm 8 again....

Anonymous said...

I think that the nature of research has always been about gauging the credibility of information hasn't it? I mean just cos it's the 'information age' doesn't mean that there wasn't loads of bullshit masquerading as unarguable fact in days of yore. Phlogiston, the Four Humours, the Divine Right of Kings. The list goes on.
Oh wait we still have that last one a bit today don't we...