Truth in duplication:
There is a sobering article I just reread.  (Jonathan F. Russell If a Job is Worth Doing, it is Worth Doing Twice NATURE vol. 496 no. 7443 April 4, 2013)  The point is that scientific experiments need to be repeated by other teams.  Part of me thought that was routine.  The whole notion of science is that discoveries should be rechecked to prove they are general rules and not just happenstance.  Another part of my read any number of science articles without noticing that I never read one that was a repeat study simply done for confirmation.  I suppose I thought they were published elsewhere than the flagship journals I have been reading.  But the matter of the rarity of such confirmations merited a guest editorial in one of the high profile journals I do read.  The author has defended a PhD thesis and is finishing medical school.  It is all most impressive.  Furthermore his work is in genetics so I must write him and invite him to consider the work I am doing. 

My own work, as I mentioned in the paper M.L. Herbert & M.G. Lewis Fluctuation of fertility with number in a real insect population and a
virtual population African Entomology 21(1): 119–125 (2013) the study cries out for replication.  Although we went into the project with ample evidence that it ought to work even I was surprised by the result. 

To simplify matters a great deal, what we did was put some fruit flies in a large cage with plenty of food and counted them every day for two years.  The numbers rose and fell just as one would expect if Mendel was wrong and a safe and well fed population does not simply increase exponentially without limit.  This is seriously low cost science although it does take a bit of patience.  What is at stake is an unappreciated law of science.  That is before one even considers the importance of the impact that law is having on the world right now. 

Over the two years the population cycled more than 4 times.  That means it could in effect be repeated in six months.  That would make a really good high school science project.  I hope somebody is game.

By the way, I just looked at a note in NATURE (C. Glen Begley Six Red Flags for Suspect Work NATURE vol. 497 no. 7450 May 13, 2013 page 433).  It would appear that things are worse than they seemed just yesterday.

There have been 83 visitors over the past month.

Home page.