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Science

Imagining a better way — for everything

Liked Things could be better by Adam Mastroianni (Experimental History)

Eight studies reveal a (possibly universal) bias in human imagination

The paper you just read could never be published in a scientific journal. The studies themselves are just as good as the ones Ethan and I have published in fancy journals, but writing about science this way is verboten.

For instance, in a journal you’re not allowed to say things like “we don’t know why this happens.” You’re not allowed to admit that you forgot why you ran a study.

Even in the world of science, where “wrong” answers are as useful as “right,” people want to look like they are smart and got it right first try.

And for writing, people conflate complex with quality, when in fact simpler communication can be more challenging to write because it cannot rely on an audience’s knowledge of jargon or the field and must fully explain everything from assumptions to method to reasoning to the implications of the results.

Love the radical approach to self-publishing scientific research — I’m curious how he feels about the quantity and quality of commentary he got on this compared to articles in a journal.

Because paywalling science really sucks. Limiting access to institutions deprives the public of access to humanity’s realm of knowledge, while excluding anyone but experts from participating in science (when let’s be real a lot of science is very MacGuyver/DIY-y in its tangibles — like the ecological research I worked on involved 5 gallon buckets buried in the dirt with damp sponges at the bottom and kiddie soccer cones binder clipped to tubes of wire fencing). Could democratizing research help with anti-intellectualism?

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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