Visit also: http://frackingfreeireland.org/food-for-thought/opinion/
Independent Newspaper report on Prof. Davies.
Frack Off U.K on the Durham University Report
Frack Off U.K. on Prof Davies.
Professor Davies and the Industry sponsored body “Shale Gas Europe”.
As part of your anti-fracking activities, you have all faced this argumentation from the shale gas industry or from fracking proponents: “America has drilled and fracked more than 1 million wells over the past 60 years, and in all that time there has never been a proven case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking.”
You may already have some arguments to answer to this false claim, but maybe not arguments to answer to all the elements of this statement, or maybe arguments you not always find convincing enough.
If this is the case, I very strongly recommend you have a look at this excellent article published on Ecowatch, which quickly and very clearly debunk the claim with solid arguments: http://ecowatch.com/2013/11/08/industry-mislead-americans-on-fracking/
Outrage, But No Surprise At DEP Corruption Charge
Fellow citizens of Pennsylvania, we have a serious problem. The suspicion that PA DEP is colluding with the gas industry, a belief long held by many living in the Marcellus Shale, has just been supported by the sworn testimony of two whistleblowers. Two employees from within the PA DEP, Taru Upadhyay and John Carson, have given depositions describing outrageous breaches of trust by the PA DEP, alleging they deliberately failed to report the presence of metals, which are known hydrofracking-related contaminants, in water wells it tested in the Marcellus Shale:
In addition, the following volatile organic compounds commonly found in the Fracking process were also found in the wells and not reported:
Don Hopey has been reporting in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the DEP has systematically been producing incomplete lab reports on water wells affected by hydraulic fracturing and has been using those tainted reports to refute the claims of those Pennsylvanians whose water has been affected by drilling operations.
These are VERY serious allegations. People in PA usually only request water testing by the DEP because they suspect their water has been contaminated. PA Rep. Jesse White is rightly calling for a State and Federal investigation. If the PA DEP has been deliberately altering or obstructing test data and telling people their water was safe, then, as Rep. White says “anyone who relied on the DEP for the truth about whether their water has been impacted by drilling activities has apparently been intentionally deprived of critical health and safety information by their own government”.
Many throughout PA have waited months for DEP water test results, only to find out that they were mysteriously hung-up in Harrisburg. many have experienced disceprancies between the costly independent water tests they ordered from private labs and “official” test results from the DEP. As a result, many have long suspected misconduct or some form of obstruction at work within the DEP. I’m one of them. But this week’s revelations are jaw-dropping for even the most jaded conspiracy theorist. They leave me shocked and outraged.
This egregious behaviour represents a naked example of putting corporate profits ahead of public health and safety, even at the cost of poisoning our water and our faith in government.
What a sad contrast with what we’ve seen in the last week as federal, state and municipal governments mobilized an unprecedented and moving response to Hurricane Sandy. All across the eastern seaboard we are mourning the lives taken by this storm and sending our thoughts to those whose loved ones have been lost. While we reel from its effects, we’re also aggrieved that these extreme weather events, which grow in intensity and destructiveness every year, are only beginning to be acknowledged as effects of climate change. Fracking and other extreme techniques for extracting and increasing our reliance on fossil fuels only stand to make it worse.
Pennsylvania’s citizens have had enough of being exploited by big oil and gas. They deserve an immediate and thorough investigation into this brazen, and what seems to be illegal conduct of Krancer and Corbett’s DEP. If the whistleblower’s allegations and the Post-Gazette’s reporting turn out to be true, we should call for the impeachment and/or recall of the Corbett administration.
Science is broken. Psychology was rocked recently by stories of academics making up data, sometimes overshadowing whole careers. And it isn’t the only discipline with problems – the current record for fraudulent papersis held by anaesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, with 172 faked articles.
These scandals highlight deeper cultural problems in academia. Pressure to turn out lots of high-quality publications not only promotes extreme behaviours, it normalises the little things, like the selective publication of positive novel findings – which leads to “non-significant” but possibly true findings sitting unpublished on shelves, and a lack of much needed replication studies.
Why does this matter? Science is about furthering our collective knowledge, and it happens in increments. Successive generations of scientists build upon theoretical foundations set by their predecessors. If those foundations are made of sand, though, then time and money will be wasted in the pursuit of ideas that simply aren’t right.
A recent paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that since 1973, nearly a thousand biomedical papers have been retracted because someone cheated the system. That’s a massive 67% of all biomedical retractions. And the situation is getting worse – last year, Nature reported that the rise in retraction rates has overtaken the rise in the number of papers being published.
This is happening because the entire way that we go about funding, researching and publishing science is flawed. As Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner point out, the reasons are numerous and interconnecting:
• Pressure to publish in “high impact” journals, at all research career levels;
• Universities treat successful grant applications as outputs, upon which continued careers depend;
• Statistical analyses are hard, and sometimes researchers get it wrong;
• Journals favour positive results over null findings, even though null findings from a well conducted study are just as informative;
• The way journal articles are assessed is inconsistent and secretive, and allows statistical errors to creep through.
Problems occur at all levels in the system, and we need to stop stubbornly arguing that “it’s not that bad” or that talking about it somehow damages science. The damage has already been done – now we need to start fixing it.
Chambers and Sumner argue that replication is critical to keeping science honest, and they are right. Replication is a great way to verify the results of a given study, and its widespread adoption would, in time, act as a deterrent for dodgy practices. The nature of statistics means that sometimes positive findings arise by chance, and if replications aren’t published, we can’t be sure that a finding wasn’t simply a statistical anomaly.
But replication isn’t enough: we need to enact practical changes at all levels in the system. The scientific process must be as open to scrutiny as possible – that means enforcing study pre-registration to deter inappropriate post-hoc statistical testing, archiving and sharing data online for others to scrutinise, and incentivising these practices (such as guaranteeing publications, regardless of findings).
The peer-review process needs to be overhauled. Currently, it happens behind closed doors, with anonymous reviews only seen by journal editors and manuscript authors. This means we have no real idea how effective peer review is – though we know it can easily be gamed. Extreme examples of fake reviewers, fake journal articles, and even fake journals have been uncovered.
More often, shoddy science and dodgy statistics are accepted for publication by reviewers with inadequate levels of expertise. Peer review must become more transparent. Journals like Frontiers already use an interactive reviewing format, with reviewers and authors discussing a paper in a real-time, forum-like setting.
A simple next step would be to make this system open and viewable by everyone, while maintaining the anonymity of the reviewers themselves. This would allow young researchers to be critical of a senior academic’s paper without fear of career suicide.
The aim of the session is to find practical solutions to these problems that science faces. It will involve scientific researchers, journalists and journal editors. We’ve made some suggestions here, but we want more from you. What would you like to see discussed? Do you have any ideas, opinions or solutions?
We’ll take the best points and air them at the session, so speak up now! Let’s stop burying our heads in the sand and stand up for good science.
Pete Etchells is a biological psychologist and Suzi Gage is a translational epidemiology PhD student. Both are at the University of Bristol
Frack-off.org.uk article on Gas Mafia & British govt