Alan Smith

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China’s fake science industry: how ‘paper mills’ threaten progress

As part of his job as fraud detector at a biomedical publisher, John Chesebro trawls through research papers, scrutinising near identical images of cells. For him, the tricks used by “paper mills” — the outfits paid to fabricate scientific studies — have become wearily familiar.

They range from clear duplication — the same images of cell cultures on microscope slides copied across numerous, unrelated studies — to more subtle tinkering. Sometimes an image is rotated “to try to trick you to think it’s different”, Chesebro says. “At times you can detect where parts of an image were digitally manipulated to add or remove cells or other features to make the data look like the results you are expecting in the hypothesis”.…  Seguir leyendo »

The global stagflation shock of 2022: How bad could it get?

Only last year, many economists were expecting 2022 to be a period of strong economic rebound. Businesses would return to full operation post-Covid. Consumers would be free to splash their accumulated savings on all the holidays and activities they had not been able to do during the pandemic. It would be a new “roaring twenties”, some said, in reference to the decade of consumerism that followed the 1918-21 influenza.

Fast forward a few months and the more commonly cited parallel is the 1970s, when the Arab oil embargo helped create a prolonged period of economic hardship. Inflation surged to double-digit rates even as economies around the world stagnated — a painful mix of high prices and low growth known as “stagflation”.…  Seguir leyendo »