first_imgThis year’s RunDonegal Women’s 5K has raised €7,513 for the Brid Carr Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.The event, which was hosted by Finn Valley AC on Sunday, March 31st, had an entry of 706 – the second biggest number of participants since the race was established.The proceeds from the 2019 Run Donegal Women’s 5K were presented to the family of the late Brid Carr – a native of Glencolmcille who died from ovarian in 2014 aged 54. She had been living in London with her family when she passed away. This was the third year the Brid Carr Fund was selected as the main beneficiary from the Run Donegal Women’s 5K – it also benefitted in 2015 and 2017.Speaking at the cheque presentation in the Finn Valley Centre, Patsy McGonagle of Finn Valley AC, said the event was a great success again this year.“We had over 700 competing and we’ll try to build on that. The organisation was great. Events like the RunDonegal Women’s 5K are good for women and good for awareness. It’s such a positive thing. If somebody had told me 30 or 40 years ago that there would be over 700 women running in the race for women only, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.Martin McHugh, Patsy McGonagle, Neil Martin, Pauric Carr, Patsy Doherty, James Boyle and Padraig McEnaneny pictured at the cheque presentation at the Finn Valley Centre. (Photo: Danny Nee)“But it’s a great success story and great credit to the Grace Boyle, Bridgeen Doherty and Rosemary Foy for the work they’ve done behind the scenes. Well done and keep the enthusiasm up. Repeating the success year on year and improving it year on year is the real challenge,” he commented. Race director, Grace Boyle, recalled the early days of the annual event.“Back then there were very few women running and we decided to put on a women’s only race in an effort to entice more women to get out and get active. When you go to a 5K now there are more women that men,” she said.“There was one case this year that really brought it home as to why we hold this event every year. A woman came to us who had suffered from cancer. When she was going through her treatment she wondered if she’d ever get back to walking a 5K again. She came along and did this year’s RunDonegal Women’s 5K and that was the success of the race this year. She was so proud of herself and we were so proud we could facilitate the likes of that woman,” she added.“We couldn’t be as successful without the professionalism of Neil Martin and Patsy McGonagle and we are so lucky to have them and Finn Valley on board with us. Every cent that came in for this race will go directly to the Brid Carr Fund. There wasn’t one cent spent on anything.“Our t-shirts were sponsored by Tim Kelly in London, our water was sponsored by Celtic Water and I even pulled in Isobelle Doherty from the Donegal Hospice to help with the numbers and the sponsorship of prizes. So everything was sponsored and that really is something. “We are delighted to be associated with ovarian cancer research and it is the way forward. We all know we have to get to the bottom of what’s going on and we have to get the cures.“We’re delighted to be associated with the Carr family and Rosemary, of course, is a very good friend of ours. I’d also like to thank Martin McHugh for organising the sponsorship of the water. Before I die there’s one thing I want to do and that is to get 1,000 entries for this event. I think we are getting there and I do believe next year is the year we will achieve that.”Thanking the various sponsors for their generosity and support, Rosemary Foy, a sister of the late Brid Carr, paid tribute to those who helped out on the day.She explained that the project being supported by the Brid Carr Fund was coming to an end in July, adding that consideration was being given to starting a new project. On behalf of the Carr family, Pauric Carr extended his gratitude to all involved with the RunDonegal 5K.Rosemary Foy, Bridgeen Doherty, Isobelle Doherty and Grace Boyle at the RunDonegal Women’s 5K cheque presentation at the Finn Valley Centre. (Photo: Danny Nee)Padraig McEnaneny, CEO of Celtic Water, congratulated the organisers of the event.“It’s a credit to all involved and hopefully it will inspire other people to get out there and raise money for vital causes,” he said.“I wish you all continued success and if you are looking for help next year, we’d be glad to support you,” he added.Next year’s RunDonegal 5K has been fixed for Sunday, April 5th.RunDonegal Women’s 5K raises €7,513 for Brid Carr Ovarian Cancer Research Fund was last modified: May 23rd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ChequeFundPresentationrundonegallast_img read more

19 Dec / 2019

Scientist, Heal Thyself

first_img(Visited 292 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 People who play “King’s X” in the science lab had better be aware of their limitations and vulnerabilities.Science can be viewed as an organized way to seek knowledge about natural phenomena. It involves observing, publishing and review. But science is a big tent, granting undue prestige to some questionable fields, and granting undeserved reputation to individuals and institutions unaware of their biases and blind spots. Most importantly, science’s ideals cannot be met without character qualities like honesty, integrity, and allegiance to the truth, because every paper, every article, and every database must pass through the fingers of fallible human beings. If science were a mechanical method to crank out knowledge, there wouldn’t need to be continual chastisements and admonitions coming from within its own institutions, like these recent examples. Look at the temptations to sin in scientific communities:Dirty MoneyMore Scientists, Institutions with Links to Jeffrey Epstein (The Scientist). Ivory tower elites had better not be too quick to point the finger. In this article, reporter Catherine Offord points back: “Researchers continued to meet and accept funding from the wealthy donor even after he was convicted of sex crimes in 2008.” How many secular media reporters have covered this scandal? Talk about dirty money! Scientists are not immune from temptation. Do they get a “King’s X” from accusation because they wear the “Trust Me: I’m a Scientist” shirt?A number of scientists and research institutions continued to maintain links with convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein after he was sentenced to prison in 2008, BuzzFeed News reported yesterday (August 26). While some of the payments and meetings he had with members of the research community were already public knowledge, others were identified by the news site through public records requests.HypocrisyPeer reviewers need a code of conduct too (Nature). Here’s a piece on the theme, “Who watches the watchers?” Linda Beaumont gets angry at the very peer reviewers who, in her experience, need some review on their behavior by watcher-watchers. She has witnessed that the reality is not the ideal it is made up to be.Learning to accept criticism is part of surviving the fierce competition in research. But an invitation to review the work of a peer, usually anonymously, is not a licence to patronize, intimidate or otherwise act in a way that would be unprofessional in the workplace. Such reviews are unnecessarily discouraging, particularly to an early-career researcher with limited experience of the system.SelfishnessWhy I said no to peer review this summer (Nature). A senior scientist and veteran reviewer, Jennifer Rohn, explains why she no longer feels a “moral obligation” to review every paper coming across her desk, especially when she is on vacation. “Moral obligation”? There’s the M-word again. Her reasons provide a glimpse into ulterior motives in the peer review system. They are not always pure. When she was younger, she explains, she felt obligated to take the requests out of a sense of reciprocity: her reviews would help her own reputation, or lubricate grant applications: “having this paper accepted and published quickly would surely help our next bid with a major funder.” That doesn’t sound like pure love of the truth. Duty is a quality that can be sacrificed for expediency. To the degree that’s how she feels, how trustworthy will her reviews be if the funder might not like the conclusions?In theory, we all have a duty to keep the wheels of peer review spinning. There is an unspoken pact of reciprocity in our tight-knit research community. Science has long operated like this: the expectation is that for every paper of mine being poked and prodded at by peers, I’m spending a roughly equal amount of time inspecting work by others. And because I know it’s frustrating to wait for a decision on a paper, why would I want to irritate a colleague by causing delays?PrideHundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database (Nature). Scientists are vulnerable to another deadly sin: pride. In this article, Van Noorden and Chawla find a bit of a Good Old Boys Club going on in academia, where insiders pat each others’ backs to pad their reputations. Getting cited is supposed to be a measure of the value of research. In many cases, it is more a measure of how well insiders know how to play the rigged game.The world’s most-cited researchers, according to newly released data, are a curiously eclectic bunch. Nobel laureates and eminent polymaths rub shoulders with less familiar names, such as Sundarapandian Vaidyanathan from Chennai in India. What leaps out about Vaidyanathan and hundreds of other researchers is that many of the citations to their work come from their own papers, or from those of their co-authors.Blindness to BiasGeneric language in scientific communication (PNAS). This is a meta-paper: a paper about papers. Four psychologists examine the kind of language psychologists use in their research, apparently painfully aware of the scandals in the “soft sciences” of psychology and psychiatry. Sure enough, they find unexpected sources of bias in the very language psychologists use. Whether intentional or not, words can obfuscate rather than illuminate. This problem is not limited to psychology. How many scientists in all fields consider this blind spot?Scientific communication poses a challenge: To clearly highlight key conclusions and implications while fully acknowledging the limitations of the evidence. Although these goals are in principle compatible, the goal of conveying complex and variable data may compete with reporting results in a digestible form that fits (increasingly) limited publication formats. As a result, authors’ choices may favor clarity over complexity. For example, generic language (e.g., “Introverts and extraverts require different learning environments”) may mislead by implying general, timeless conclusions while glossing over exceptions and variability. Using generic language is especially problematic if authors overgeneralize from small or unrepresentative samples (e.g., exclusively Western, middle-class). We present 4 studies examining the use and implications of generic language in psychology research articles…. We found that generics were ubiquitously used to convey results (89% of articles included at least 1 generic), despite that most articles made no mention of sample demographics. … We highlight potential unintended consequences of language choice in scientific communication, as well as what these choices reveal about how scientists think about their data.Misplaced TrustModelling hubris may lead to “trans-science”, a practice which lends itself to the language and formalism of science but where science cannot provide answers.A short comment on statistical versus mathematical modelling (Nature Communications). Much of science relies on models. The best of models, however, are only simulations of reality. Often they leave out factors that could be consequential. “While the crisis of statistics has made it to the headlines, that of mathematical modelling hasn’t,” this article begins. “Something can be learned comparing the two, and looking at other instances of production of numbers. Sociology of quantification and post-normal science can help.” Post-normal science? Is that like last year’s Word of the Year, “Post-Truth”?Andrea Saltelli reveals a hidden crisis where ghosts of “methodological abuse” and “wicked incentives” that have haunted statistics are making apparitions in the more-trusted field of mathematical models:While statistical and mathematical modelling share important features, they don’t seem to share the same sense of crisis. Statisticians appear mired in an academic and mediatic debate where even the concept of significance appears challenged, while more sedate tones prevail in the various communities of mathematical modelling. This is perhaps because, unlike statistics, mathematical modelling is not a discipline. It cannot discuss possible fixes in disciplinary fora under the supervision of recognised leaders. It cannot issue authoritative statements of concern from relevant institutions such as e.g., the American Statistical Association or the columns of Nature….Yet if statistics is coming to terms with methodological abuse and wicked incentives, it appears legitimate to ask if something of the sort might be happening in the multiverse of mathematical modelling.She points out a truism: “All model-knowing is conditional on assumptions.” If statistical models can be misleading, why not mathematical models, which also rely on assumptions? Need examples? Her next sentence should be put into textbooks:Modelling hubris may lead to “trans-science”, a practice which lends itself to the language and formalism of science but where science cannot provide answers. Models may be used as a convenient tool of displacement – from what happens in reality to what happens in the model. The merging of algorithms with big data blurs many existing distinctions among different instances of quantification, leading to the question “what qualities are specific to rankings, or indicators, or models, or algorithms?” Thus the problems just highlighted are likely to apply to all of these instances, as shown by the recent alarm about unethical use of algorithms, the disruptive use of artificial intelligence exemplified by Facebook, or the well documented problems with the abuse of metrics, which is now reflected in an increasing militancy against statistical and metrical abuses.DishonestyCivic honesty around the globe (Science). Here is a curious paper. Four economists from America and Switzerland decided to run the scientific method on honesty. They basically found that people were more apt to return wallets that had more money in them. That’s an interesting thing to know, but wait for the commentary (below).Civic honesty is essential to social capital and economic development but is often in conflict with material self-interest. We examine the trade-off between honesty and self-interest using field experiments in 355 cities spanning 40 countries around the globe. In these experiments, we turned in more than 17,000 lost wallets containing varying amounts of money at public and private institutions and measured whether recipients contacted the owners to return the wallets. In virtually all countries, citizens were more likely to return wallets that contained more money. Neither nonexperts nor professional economists were able to predict this result. Additional data suggest that our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to viewing oneself as a thief, both of which increase with the material benefits of dishonesty.Their work was published in Science, “Financial temptation increases civic honesty.”It’s an interesting “result,” to be sure, and may well be true. We have no particular reason to doubt it. But notice that to trust this paper, and the analysis by Shaul Shalvi quoted above, you have to assume the researchers are honest! What if they were not? Oh, but it was peer reviewed. But what if the reviewers were in on the scam? Who watches the watchers? One can certainly imagine ulterior motives for the research: prestige for oneself or one’s institution, necessity (“publish or perish”), or influence by funders or stakeholders desiring a certain outcome. The point is that without honesty and integrity, there is no science at all.Chuck-in-the-Box pops up in unexpected places.Careful readers of this last paper will notice several citations to the “evolution of altruism” and other such Darwinist mumbo-jumbo in the references. To the extent the authors believe that stuff, one could assume they wrote this paper for their own self-interest. If they were truly consistent, all their behaviors stem from the pursuit of personal fitness, not truth.Now, if they believe in the Ten Commandments and strive to follow them, that might be a valid foundation for trust. But even then, if their methods or assumptions are flawed, they might only be right by mistake.last_img read more