Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The 12 Most Outrageous Science Scandals Of 2015

…in chronological order.

Astronomers Clashed Over a Giant Telescope on a Sacred Hawaiian Mountain

Astronomers Clashed Over a Giant Telescope on a Sacred Hawaiian Mountain

Via Facebook: sacredmaunakea

For seven years, people have been protesting against the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, one of indigenous Hawaiians' most sacred sites. But the controversy exploded this April, when dozens of protesters were arrested.

The protests caused a painful split in the astronomy community, too. Some argued that the telescope would give back in scientific knowledge as well as jobs for local people, while others questioned whether the telescope was inherently exploitative. The fight is still going on; as of this month, the court invalidated the construction permit until after a lawsuit against the telescope has been heard.

Scientist Allegedly Faked Data in Study About Gay People Changing Voters’ Minds

Scientist Allegedly Faked Data in Study About Gay People Changing Voters’ Minds

Mathew Sumner / Associated Press / Via apimages.com

Michael LaCour, the young scientist who led a much-publicized study claiming that gay people advocating same-sex marriage can change voters' minds, allegedly faked the data, according to his co-author, renowned political scientist Donald Green. The problems came to light after three other researchers tried, and failed, to replicate the study. LaCour also seems to have misrepresented his funding: After the scandal broke, the grant agencies credited with supporting the study denied having any involvement.

LaCour apologized for misrepresenting his funding sources and deleting data, but claimed his results are solid. Meanwhile, other political scientists suggested that he also fabricated another study, about media bias.

According to his personal website, LaCour is now a "freelance statistical consultant at Beautiful Data Inc., a company specializing in data visualization and presentation."


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