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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Update: 2023-01-20


Many of us are still cookin’ with gas, but should we? On this week’s On the Media, a look at why gas stoves, and the political flame-war over appliances, are back in the news. Plus, why new research says we’ve left the golden age of science and technology.

1. Paris Marx [@parismarx], the host of the podcast ‘Tech Won’t Save Us,’ and the author of ‘Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation,' on the longstanding debate on electric cars in the US, and whether they really do enough to lower carbon emissions. Listen.

2. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], a senior reporter covering climate at Vox, on how the controversy surrounding gas stoves is nothing new, and the gas industry's long PR campaign to convince the public that "cooking was gas" is just better. Listen

3. William Broad [@WilliamJBroad], a science journalist and senior writer at The New York Times, on new research published in Nature that suggests that our mad sprint for scientific breakthroughs has slowed significantly, and what this might mean for science. Listen


Comments (1)


The discussion of scientific discovery seemed to miss a critical consideration: a strengthened scientific method. Popper's (and Peirce's) contributions to the epistemology of science greatly improved the robustness of scientific findings. We should be thankful that scientific results increasingly stand the tests of time and that methods are better targeted. Moreover, the romanticization of "leaps" rather than steps seems unjustified and unrealistic. It seems to me than incremental progress is preferable--offering more exolanatory power--and less haphazardly reliant on flashes of insight. In fact, those supposed epiphanies (or, if one is a toddler, "aha moments") are likely merely illusory anyway. At best, purported leaps likely indicate a failure to make a connection to existing findings, and at worst, they may indicate an attempt to ignore, belittle, or steal others' contributions. Finally, the designation of a "leap" seems only to be made in hindsight. At the time they were made (or appeared to have been made), supposed "leaps" were part of a gaggle of other baseless pronouncements, most of which were less "leap" and more "lurch into a ditch". Calling the successful ones "leaps" is largely just selecting on the dependent variable... and most of those were really just steps marketed as leaps. I see little or no value in the proposed method, and quite a few shortcomings in its rationale.

Jan 21st








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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

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