Today’s Links: May 7, 2012


MICHELLE NIJHUIS: “Should Scientists Be More Forthcoming About Their Flaws?
“Scientists practice a form of ‘secret anarchy,’ [Michael Brooks] says, a label he insistently—and approvingly, for the most part—applies to everything from recreational drug use in the lab to outright scientific fraud, departmental power plays, and general jerkitude. Science is a creative process, and sure, creativity often leads to some rule-breaking. But not all misbehavior is creative, as Brooks would have us believe. While both Einstein and Galileo fudged the calculations that initially supported their theories, they were the lucky ones. If they’d been wrong, their so-called ‘anarchism’ could have misled science for years. (Consider the discredited British medical researcher Andrew Wakefield, who was so enthusiastic about his theory linking vaccines and autism that he distorted children’s medical histories in order to support it.)”

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF: “Yes, Obama is a Hawk
“Obama may be worried about the perception that he is dove. He may need to respond to Republicans who say that he has ‘a fundamentally weak approach to rivals and rogue states like Iran, North Korea and Russia,’ as Baker puts it. But let’s not lose sight of his actual record. Obama isn’t straddling a line between hawk and dove. He is a hawk. It’s terrifying that isn’t clear to everyone, because it suggests the neoconservative desire for even more foreign wars is skewing the way that Americans conceive of hawkishness and dovishness. It suggests we’re defining ‘warmonger’ down.”

GLENN KESSLER: “Obama’s ‘Life of Julia’ Misleading on Social Security
“Note how carefully the Obama campaign’s statement is worded. It says that, under Obama, Julia “receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably.” It does not promise that projected benefits will not be cut, but it certainly implies that. […] This frame of the ‘Life of Julia’ series is fairly misleading. If Obama actually does something to improve the solvency of Social Security, benefits are likely to be cut in some fashion. If Obama — and future presidents — do nothing, benefits will also be cut.”


SURVEILLANCE – FBI Wants Backdoors in Facebook, Skype, Instant Messaging
“The Bureau has been quietly meeting with representatives of these companies, as well as Microsoft (which owns Hotmail and Skype), Facebook and others to argue for a legislative proposal, drafted by the FBI, that would require social-networking sites and VoIP, instant messaging and e-mail providers to alter their code to make their products wiretap-friendly.”

ANTITRUST – India Launches Antitrust Probe of Google
“India has launched an antitrust probe of Google Inc.’s online advertising business to investigate potential anti-competitive practices, government officials familiar with the matter say, marking the latest setback for the Internet giant in an emerging market where it has lofty ambitions.”

BUDGET – GOP Plan Boosts Pentagon, Cuts Social Services
“The Republicans who control the House are using cuts to food aid, health care and social services like Meals on Wheels to protect the Pentagon from a wave of budget cuts come January.”