首页 > > > [自然杂志].Nature.-.June.23.2011.pdf

[自然杂志].Nature.-.June.23.2011.pdf

[自然杂志].Nature.-.June.23.2011.pdf

上传者: zchgoood 2011-12-28 评分1 评论0 下载14 收藏10 阅读量950 暂无简介 简介 举报

简介:本文档为《[自然杂志].Nature.-.June.23.2011pdf》,可适用于文学艺术领域,主题内容包含ORIGINSPerplexingpikaparentingpuzzlesolvedbyparasitepTHISWEEKDEADPOETSDigi符等。

ORIGINS Perplexing pika parenting puzzle solved by parasite p.422 THIS WEEK DEAD POETS Digitization is coming to humanities research, like it or not p.420 WORLD VIEW US Supreme Court outcome is good and bad for climate p.421 Mismeasure for mismeasure A critique of the work of Stephen Jay Gould should serve as encouragement to scrutinize the celebrated while they are still alive. It is impossible to libel the dead, but equally impossible for them to defend themselves. That alone is reason for caution when it comes to questioning the work of scientists who are no longer with us. Such questions have grown into a fascinating cottage industry, with reports and papers taking issue with historical research, sometimes centuries after the fact. Notable examples include the 1978 critique by Gerald Holton, a physicist and historian at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, of data selection in the reporting of the electric charge on oil droplets by Nobel-prizewinning physicist Robert Millikan in 1913; and historian Richard Westfall’s 1973 exposure of mathematical fudging by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. Sometimes, such critiques are themselves questioned, such as in 2007, when Harvard biologist Daniel Hartl and Daniel Fairbanks, a biologist at Utah Valley University in Orem, came to the defence of Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, who was criticized by British statis- tician Ronald Fisher in 1936 over data that demonstrated genetic inheritance patterns in pea plants just a little too neatly. This month sees the latest episode: an assault on the work of US evolutionary biologist and celebrated author Stephen Jay Gould, who died in 2002. Although the critique leaves the majority of Gould’s work unscathed, it carries a special sting because it deconstructs a posthu- mous attack that Gould launched on nineteenth-century physician Samuel Morton. In a 1978 paper (S. J. Gould Science 200, 503–509; 1978) and in his 1981 book The Mismeasure of Man, Gould argued that Morton’s measurements of the cranial capacity of hundreds of skulls from worldwide populations, reported in works published between 1839 and 1849, were unconsciously biased, by what he claimed was the physician’s prejudice that caucasians were more intelligent, and there- fore would have larger skulls. As Gould was canny enough to realize, a charge of unconscious bias sticks faster in science than one of fraud. BLIND MEASUREMENT Now, in a paper published on 7 June, Jason Lewis, an anthropologist at Stanford University in California, and his colleagues test Gould’s assertions in detail (J. Lewis et al. PLoS Biol. doi:10.1371/journal. pbio.1001071; 2011). They remeasured the volume of some 300 skulls in Morton’s collection, which survives at the University of Pennsylva- nia’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, while taking care to blind themselves to knowledge of the population that each skull came from. Comparing their measurements to Morton’s, they find no evidence that his were distorted by bias. Still, because they couldn’t measure all the skulls, they do not know whether the average cranial capacities that Morton reported represent his sample accurately. (Cranial capacity varies mostly as a function of overall body size and stature, which is related to climate and nutrition, and there is no clear evidence of a link between cranial capacity and intelligence.) Lewis and his colleagues also claim to find errors in Gould’s state- ments about Morton’s data. For example, Gould claimed that Morton manipulated his grouping of samples to give the results he wanted, arbitrarily amalgamating Native American populations, while break- ing down those of people of European origin into subgroups. Yet, Lewis and his colleagues say that Morton reported average cranial capacities for subgroups of both populations, sometimes on the same page or on pages near to figures that Gould quotes and therefore must have seen. Furthermore, they say that Gould misdefined the Native American sam- ples, falsely inflating the average he calculated for that population, which Gould had used to show that Morton’s average was erroneously low. Although the new paper does not accuse Gould of intentionally mis- representing Morton, some of its authors have raised this possibility in interviews, noting that Gould’s oversights would be less troubling were he known to be a less meticulous scholar. At a minimum, Gould’s staunch opposition to racism, and desire to make an example of Morton, may have biased his interpretation of Morton’s data, opening Gould to charges of hypocrisy. Of course, Lewis and his colleagues have their own motivations. Several in the group have an association with the University of Pennsylvania, and have an interest in seeing the valuable but understudied skull collection freed from the stigma of bias (although, as for many nineteenth-century museum collections, its ethically dubious assembly will remain an issue). Second, their paper makes clear that they oppose the view, espoused by Gould and trumpeted by some social scientists, that the scientific method is inevitably tainted by bias. Third, in contrast to others who may have taken Gould’s politically correct message at face value, at least two authors have expressed the view that scientists must be free to establish the scientific facts even when the message may be misinterpreted by those with repugnant social goals. But these motivations are not a reason to discount the group’s critique. By documenting their methods and data, as they argue Morton did, the paper’s authors have made it possible for others to scrutinize their claims. Transparent documentation should allow science as a whole to be objective, even if individual authors are not. Just as important is the readiness of the scientific community to undertake such studies, and to see them through the sometimes dif- ficult publication process. The criticism of Gould was rejected by the journal Current Anthropology, and spent eight months in the review process at PLoS Biology. And although an undergraduate did publish a more modest study scrutinizing Gould in 1988, it is remarkable that it has taken more than 30 years for a research group to check Gould’s claims thoroughly. Did Gould’s compelling writing and admirable anti-racist motivations help to delay scrutiny of his facts? Quite pos- sibly, and this is regrettable. Although future historians will be happy to scrutinize our most persuasive and celebrated luminaries, today’s scientists should not leave the job to them. “Gould’s staunch opposition to racism may have biased his interpretation of Morton’s data.” 2 3 J U N E 2 0 1 1 | V O L 4 7 4 | N A T U R E | 4 1 9 EDITORIALS 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved NATURE.COM To comment online, click on Editorials at: go.nature.com/xhunqv Poetry in motion A quantitative approach to the humanities enriches research. The Oscar-winning 1989 film Dead Poets Society is an unabashedly exuberant story that appeals to the Lord Byron in each of us. Robin Williams plays a charismatic English teacher at a conserva- tive US prep school in the 1950s and, in one scene, gets his impres- sionable students to read a lesson from a poetry textbook aloud. The worth of a poem, they read, should be measured on two axes: its artistic perfection and its importance. As the schoolboys start to map out graphs in their notebooks, Williams cuts them off. “Excrement,” he announces — that’s what he thinks of the mathematical approach. A poem must be felt, not figured. He orders the boys to tear the page out of the textbook. “We’re not laying pipe,” he says. “We’re talking about poetry.” It is hard to disagree with the spirit of that moment. We should all be passionate about our academic interests, and daring enough to rip up hidebound rules that govern them. But the scene’s explicit disdain for quantitative analysis of text is as out of date as it is wrong. These days, it is the humanities scholars who equip themselves with quantitative skills who are most able to sound their ‘barbaric yawps’ over the roofs of the world, as Williams urged his students to do. As the News Feature on page 436 shows, the field of digital humani- ties is flourishing, led by scientists such as those behind the innovative Google n-grams viewer, which can be used to track the frequencies of words and phrases as they appear in 4% of the books ever published. Whether mapping the transmission of Voltaire’s letters across Europe, finding structural patterns in music across cultures or tracking the evolution of irregular verbs through time, these digital humanists have plenty to say. And they have the data to back it up. That is not to say that traditional approaches in the humanities will be disappearing any time soon, or that careful, interpretive readings by experienced scholars are as arbitrary as the learning-by-feeling espoused by Dead Poets Society. But digitization is marching on, and in all subjects, researchers who have their ears to the ground, rather than their heads in the sand, can hear the approaching drums. Every day, more and more of the media that make up both historical and contemporary culture are being converted to electronica. It seems just a matter of time before the humanities, like the social sciences before them, wholeheartedly embrace scientific methodology. And that should be reason to rejoice, not remonstrate. As Williams implored his young charges: carpe diem. Seize the day. Damned if they do An industry approach to greener hydropower is far from perfect, but it does offer a way forwards. The mighty Iguaçu Falls in Brazil are an excellent illustration of the power of water, so what better place for the hydropower industry to promote what it says is a fresh approach to its sus- tainability? There is ample room for scepticism about the effort — known as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (see page 430). It is an industry-led endeavour that requires next to nothing from the industry. It grades hydropower projects, but makes no judgement on what should happen to projects that rank poorly. And it is geared towards assessment of individual dams, independent of broader questions about energy-resource development. So far, so bad. Yet, if deployed properly, it could also be an invaluable tool to inject much- needed science and reason into a planning process that has operated with little of either for much too long. Developers and governments have historically assessed dam projects mainly on the basis of cost and power. Engineers simply survey the landscape to identify the easiest places to block channels, set up turbines and run power lines. Sediments, endemic species and the consequences of severing communication between headwaters and estuaries are very much secondary issues. Even people get short shrift, leading indigenous groups to mount the kind of intense pro- tests that last week saw the Peruvian government shelve plans for a massive dam in the Amazon. This standard approach has caused numerous environmental problems — such as siltation and blockages to migrating fish — in industrialized countries, which exploited their best hydropower resources long ago and are now trying to repair the damage. In some cases, the costs of improvement outweigh the benefits, and old dams are being decommissioned. But, in the developing world, hydropower projects continue to stack up. Countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America, in particular, are pursing hydropower with gusto, hoping to alleviate energy poverty and feed burgeoning economies. By one optimistic industry estimate, cumulative hydropower capacity could nearly double by 2030. Without a more coordinated approach, these countries are doomed to make the same mistakes. The new hydropower protocol comes courtesy of the International Hydropower Association, which consulted with environmental and human-rights groups, as well as representatives from finance and government, in an effort to set out some basic principles of sustain- able hydropower. After three years of work, the result is a way to assess dam projects on a range of criteria — from planning, governance and pub- lic engagement to ecology and hydrology. It is voluntary, however, and there are no minimum standards. The protocol asks all the right questions but fails to provide any answers. This has driven a wedge into the community of environmental and social activists that work in this arena. Critics argue that the protocol represents little more than a public-relations exercise that will allow bad developers to appear green while pursuing business as normal — often on projects that pre-date current environmental thinking. This may be true, but, unfortunately, in the politi- cal and corporate world such ‘greenwash’ is common. The new effort would at least cre- ate a common language with which to raise concerns, evaluate the best available science and negotiate improvements. The biggest shortcoming lies in the assessment of individual dams that have already been proposed for specific locations. Much better would be an approach to analyse entire river basins in an effort to identify the most suitable locations, as well as areas where special precautions should be taken. Indeed, it might well be that some rivers should be left to flow freely to preserve ecological integrity. The protocol does touch on these issues, raising questions about a dam’s role in the broader energy mix and about wider impacts from hydroelectric development. And it could yet offer a foundation to set minimum standards in these and other areas, so that companies would need to build and operate better dams, as well as integrate them into a more comprehensive energy strategy. For all of its faults, the protocol opens another bridge to a better future. Now it’s up to governments, banks and companies to make the journey across. “The hydropower assessment protocol asks all the right questions but fails to provide any answers.” 4 2 0 | N A T U R E | V O L 4 7 4 | 2 3 J U N E 2 0 1 1 EDITORIALSTHIS WEEK 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved NATURE.COM To comment online, click on Editorials at: go.nature.com/xhunqv Poetry in motion A quantitative approach to the humanities enriches research. The Oscar-winning 1989 film Dead Poets Society is an unabashedly exuberant story that appeals to the Lord Byron in each of us. Robin Williams plays a charismatic English teacher at a conserva- tive US prep school in the 1950s and, in one scene, gets his impres- sionable students to read a lesson from a poetry textbook aloud. The worth of a poem, they read, should be measured on two axes: its artistic perfection and its importance. As the schoolboys start to map out graphs in their notebooks, Williams cuts them off. “Excrement,” he announces — that’s what he thinks of the mathematical approach. A poem must be felt, not figured. He orders the boys to tear the page out of the textbook. “We’re not laying pipe,” he says. “We’re talking about poetry.” It is hard to disagree with the spirit of that moment. We should all be passionate about our academic interests, and daring enough to rip up hidebound rules that govern them. But the scene’s explicit disdain for quantitative analysis of text is as out of date as it is wrong. These days, it is the humanities scholars who equip themselves with quantitative skills who are most able to sound their ‘barbaric yawps’ over the roofs of the world, as Williams urged his students to do. As the News Feature on page 436 shows, the field of digital humani- ties is flourishing, led by scientists such as those behind the innovative Google n-grams viewer, which can be used to track the frequencies of words and phrases as they appear in 4% of the books ever published. Whether mapping the transmission of Voltaire’s letters across Europe, finding structural patterns in music across cultures or tracking the evolution of irregular verbs through time, these digital humanists have plenty to say. And they have the data to back it up. That is not to say that traditional approaches in the humanities will be disappearing any time soon, or that careful, interpretive readings by experienced scholars are as arbitrary as the learning-by-feeling espoused by Dead Poets Society. But digitization is marching on, and in all subjects, researchers who have their ears to the ground, rather than their heads in the sand, can hear the approaching drums. Every day, more and more of the media that make up both historical and contemporary culture are being converted to electronica. It seems just a matter of time before the humanities, like the social sciences before them, wholeheartedly embrace scientific methodology. And that should be reason to rejoice, not remonstrate. As Williams implored his young charges: carpe diem. Seize the day. Damned if they do An industry approach to greener hydropower is far from perfect, but it does offer a way forwards. The mighty Iguaçu Falls in Brazil are an excellent illustration of the power of water, so what better place for the hydropower industry to promote what it says is a fresh approach to its sus- tainability? There is ample room for scepticism about the effort — known as the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (see page 430). It is an industry-led endeavour that requires next to nothing from the industry. It grades hydropower projects, but makes no judgement on what should happen to projects that rank poorly. And it is geared towards assessment of individual dams, independent of broader questions about energy-resource development. So far, so bad. Yet, if deployed properly, it could also be an invaluable tool to inject much- needed science and reason into a planning process that has operated with little of either for much too long. Developers and governments have historically assessed dam projects mainly on the basis of cost and power. Engineers simply survey the landscape to identify the easiest places to block channels, set up turbines and run power lines. Sediments, endemic species and the consequences of severing communication between headwaters and estuaries are very much secondary issues. Even people get short shrift, leading indigenous groups to mount the kind of intense pro- tests that last week saw the Peruvian government shelve plans for a massive dam in the Amazon. This standard approach has caused numerous environmental problems — such as siltation and blockages to migrating fish — in industrialized countries, which exploited their best hydropower resources long ago and are now trying to repair the damage. In some cases, the costs of improvement outweigh the benefits, and old dams are being decommissioned. But, in the developing world, hydropower projects continue to stack up. Countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America, in particular, are pursing hydropower with gusto, hoping to alleviate energy poverty and feed burgeoning economies. By one optimistic industry estimate, cumulative hydropower capacity could nearly double by 2030. Without a more coordinated approach, these countries are doomed to make the same mistakes. The new hydropower protocol comes courtesy of the International Hydropower Association, which consulted with environmental and human-rights groups, as well as representatives from finance and government, in an effort to set out some basic principles of sustain- able hydropower. After three years of work, the result is a way to assess dam projects on a range of criteria — from planning, governance and pub- lic engagement to ecology and hydrology. It is volunt

该用户的其他资料

  • 名称/格式
  • 评分
  • 下载次数
  • 资料大小
  • 上传时间
  • 1
    40
    37.5MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    33
    36.4MB
    2011-12-28
  • 1
    34
    44.4MB
    2011-12-28
  • 1
    16
    28.0MB
    2011-12-28
  • 1
    25
    36.2MB
    2011-12-28
  • 1
    27
    27.7MB
    2011-12-28
  • 1
    16
    29.1MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    14
    27.2MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    17
    27.3MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    17
    17.2MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    20
    17.3MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

  • 1
    26
    14.9MB
    2011-12-28

    science原版文章,彩板,可以对其进行修改,未加密。。。 英文名:Science Magazine  《科学》是发表最好的原始研究论文、以及综述和分析当前研究和科学政策的同行评议的期刊。   该杂志于188…[立即查看]

用户评论

0/200
    暂无评论
上传我的资料

相关资料

资料评价:

/ 192
所需积分:1 立即下载
返回
顶部
举报
资料
关闭

温馨提示

感谢您对爱问共享资料的支持,精彩活动将尽快为您呈现,敬请期待!