Critique topples Nature paper on belief in gods

A widely-touted 2019 study in Nature which argued that large societies gave rise to belief in fire-and-brimstone gods — and not the other way around — has been retracted by the authors after their reanalysis of the data in the wake of criticism diluted the strength of their conclusions.  The article, “Complex societies precede moralizing … Continue reading Critique topples Nature paper on belief in gods

Graphs before anyone knew what they were

Michael Friendly and Howard Wainer have a new book out: A History of Data Visualization and Graphic Communication. They rewind back 400 years and discuss the beginnings of visualization, when nobody knew what a chart was. Putting this in my queue and hoping it’s back in stock soon.

Visualization still seems like a relatively new thing. It’s old.

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Information Graphic Visionaries, a book series

The Information Graphic Visionaries book series just launched on Kickstarter. Emma Willard, Florence Nightingale, and Étienne-Jules Marey are the subjects of three books, each including high-resolution images of the creators’ works and essays that provide historical context.

Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I like to flip through old works. It always amazes me what past visualization practitioners were able to make without a computer. Oftentimes the detail and creativity surpass what we see these days. So Visionaries should be a fine addition to the library.

Just one day in and the Kickstarter is about halfway to the goal.

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Information Graphic Visionaries, a book series

The Information Graphic Visionaries book series just launched on Kickstarter. Emma Willard, Florence Nightingale, and Étienne-Jules Marey are the subjects of three books, each including high-resolution images of the creators’ works and essays that provide historical context.

Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I like to flip through old works. It always amazes me what past visualization practitioners were able to make without a computer. Oftentimes the detail and creativity surpass what we see these days. So Visionaries should be a fine addition to the library.

Just one day in and the Kickstarter is about halfway to the goal.

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Happy DNA day 2021!

It was 68 years ago today that the famous Watson and Crick paper was published in Nature along with papers by Franklin & Gosling and Wilkins, Stokes, & Wilson. Threre's a great deal of misinformation circulating about this discovery so I wrote up a brief history of the events based largely on Horace Freeland Judson's book The Eighth Day of Creation. Every biochemistry and molecular biology student must read this book or they don't qualify to be an informed scientist. However, if you are not a biochemistry student then you might enjoy my short version.

Some practising scientists might also enjoy refreshing their memories so they have an accurate view of what happened in case their students ask questions.

The Story of DNA (Part 1)

Where Rosalind Franklin teaches Jim and Francis something about basic chemistry.

The Story of DNA (Part 2)

Where Jim and Francis discover the secret of life.

Here are some other posts that might interest you on DNA Day.



Ill of the dead

I have found it necessary, in the course of this volume, to speak of the departed; for the misgovernment of the Royal Society has not…

Exhibition of historical visualization

RJ Andrews, in collaboration with the David Rumsey Map Center, curated a collection of historical data visualization:

Data visualization leapt from its Enlightenment origins and into the minds of the general public in the 1760s. It cast more powerful spells throughout the following century. By 1900, modern science, technology, and social movements had all benefited from this new quantitative art. Its inventions include the timeline, bar chart, and thematic map. Together, these innovations changed how we understand the world and our place within it. Data visualization helped a new imagination emerge, wired to navigate a reality much bigger than any single person’s lived experience.

Bookmarking this for a closer look later.

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John Ray on species fixity and race

For since in nature the number of species is fixed and determined, since ‘God on the sixth day rested from all his labour’, that is,…

Getting medieval: Society says it is retracting 14 book reviews for plagiarism

More than a dozen book reviews by a history PhD student are under scrutiny for plagiarism concerns.  The reviews are published in the Al-Masāq Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean, a Society for the Medieval Mediterranean journal published by Taylor & Francis. The majority of the papers appear to be stolen whole works from other authors … Continue reading Getting medieval: Society says it is retracting 14 book reviews for plagiarism

Paper called “unscholarly, overtly racist” earns an editor’s note

The journal that recently ran a controversial essay on poverty and race has flagged it with an editor’s note letting readers know about an investigation into the work.  As we reported last week, Society, a Springer Nature title, published a paper by Lawrence Mead, of New York University, who argued that poor Blacks and Hispanics … Continue reading Paper called “unscholarly, overtly racist” earns an editor’s note