Even in an ideal system, some flawed research would slip past reviewers. And pity the science-desk reporter who can make the front page, or get page views, only by exaggerating with "holy cow!" language. But as science and technology play ever-larger roles in our lives, technical journals must run a tighter ship, while the mainstream media need to exercise skepticism regarding self-promotional claims from researchers. Of the $135 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to science, increasingly it looks like a fair chunk is spent on fraud. If the fraud were by Halliburton, pundits would be scandalized. Why is fraud by scientists any different?
Kudos to Science, the most important technical journal, for establishing a new review system for research data. And check out the invaluable Retraction Watch, where two independent scholars, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, have done more to police scientific misconduct than have megabucks-funding institutions.
TMQ Named President, CEO, CFO, CTO and Chairman of the Board of Tuesday Morning Quarterback Enterprises: A TMQ bête noir is Washington grandees who, when headed to the private sector to cash in, not only put their names on the shingles of hired-gun consultancies but bestow upon themselves glorified titles. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen is, for instance, not merely the boss of The Cohen Group, he is the chairman and chief executive officer. Chosen after an exhaustive search!
Now it seems former White House chief of staff Mack McLarty has named not one but two firms after himself, bestowing on himself a pair of glorified titles. He is chairman of McLarty Associates and also chairman of McLarty Companies. Twice chosen after an exhaustive search!
The Basketball Gods Chortled: Tiny Mount Saint Mary's of Maryland made the NCAA men's tournament; enormous cost-no-object University of Maryland did not.
TMQ Exclusive: TMQ has learned the eighth actors-pretend-to-knuckle-walk film, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," will be followed by a sequel called "Brunch on the Planet of the Apes." The next X-movie will be called "X Men: Out of Gas," which should have been the title of the most recent iteration.
Bartender, Glen McKenna for the House: HIMYM ("How I Met Your Mother") took a final curtain call, taking along Glen McKenna, the imaginary scotch favored by the show's characters. A movie would have sold a product placement to an actual whiskey. On television, characters rarely quaff any recognizable brand -- the dean on "Veronica Mars" savored 40-year-old Glen Kraken. Television will show characters drinking -- especially neat whiskey, which is the macho way to drink, including for women -- but avoid showing a recognizable bottle, as old broadcaster codes said this encourages the young to buy the same brand in order to imitate TV stars. Using that logic, cigarette smoking is now rare on television, even in noir drama, because broadcasters fret about making impressions on the impressionable.