Instructables

The Scientific method? It has its failings, how can we make it better?

video The Scientific method? It has its failings, how can we make it better?
 Ambjorn Naeve invented a neat solar device over 30 years ago. But the practical idea and the mathematical concept fell through the cracks in the system.
Once upon a time, well to do people did "science" privately for fun. Peer review was not  the formalized process we have now. It was people copying each others experiments and making improvements. Nowadays, we in the rich world are more well to do than ever before but it seems this form of peer review has ended. Now, it seems everybody stands back and plays it safe, watching, consulting with "searches" and copying exactly some "proven" idea and doing nothing new.
I put up this video to try to shake people out of their complacency. The "scientific method" is not working as well as it should because people are not participating enough.
Lets get it back on track.
Who decides what gets researched and what gets ignored? Let us try to ask the right questions so that we can fix the problem and make the scientific method work better. For all of us.
Brian White
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kikazz3 years ago
Whoa, I didnt know that there was such conversation on this site. Awsome!
So uh you're saying society went "copy cat" on itself? Then you're asking we need a drastic change in the way we do things around here? I don't have doubts (on what I understand), but I can't comprehend what you're saying. I can't comprehend the video due to faulty speakers. It's just i got a headache so I can't think straight. Please clarify, thanks!
gaiatechnician (author)  nutsandbolts_644 years ago
Since the video, they did research on the pump at Queens university Toronto and perhaps there is more going on in California. (Results were better than they expected) http://www.appropedia.org/Pulser_pump should have the latest info. It took over 2 decades for that to happen. Why so long? One reason is that your attitude is widely shared by others. You have bought into the idea that the system works great. Another is that there is almost no funding for appropriate tech research. Thats a political problem which you are contributing too. Political appointees decide where the money goes. Scientists are just paid rats and highly directed rats in a rat race. (No funding for appropriate tech= no scientists researching appropriate tech) Its all about the money with most people. My prime minister in Canada is currently de funding climate research because he does not like the results. (Canada, biggest country in the world, perfectly positioned for arctic research too, decommissioning weather stations!) No funds, no research, no data. (So he buys a few more years for the owners of the tar sands). Also, from my experience in science college, the great stars were the people with big memories who went on all nighters with coffee before the exams. So is an open mind as important as a big memory to become a scientist? Apparently not in the race to get to be one! And this is real important. Because, if you only have access to what you can recall, you will not be capable of digesting the pulser pump, or the dual reflector on equatorial mount concept, or solar design t-square, or clam shaped solar cookers or the mechanical mathematician. (Thats my entire contribution and probably incomprehensible to most of the big memory people). It is not rocket science but if you switch off before you even look at it, it is pretty much impossible to engage your brain. Another great problem is leaders and followers. There are so many "monkey see, monkey do" people out there who attach themselves to someone that society has decided is a LEADER. So if he says something they treat it like the word of God. I have met some of those "leader" people. Very few of them are open minded and many have bought into their personality cult and do not hear the plebes. (Research has been done on that social problem by the way. They actually (unknown to themselves) tune out what the underlings say!) It does not even reach the higher part of the brain. (I have done this myself and it is a humbling experience when you look back and you realize what you have done). I cannot remember stuff to save my life. The only time my paper was ever handed around is when I forgot that there was an exam. So I had to make the whole thing up on the spot in a 2 hour exam. Pretty hard to do. So just maybe I had a deeper understanding than the super memory people who did superbly in later careers. Also, I would urge you to read this page from appropedia http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Status They are recognizing that roadblocks exist and they are trying to remove some of them. Do not get mad at me. I was just delivering the message. The message is that there are a whole lot of unofficial road blocks that prevent scientific research. Some are in our own heads.
Okay, makes sense. From my understanding, it all boils down to one common, human trait: selfishness. *eats raisin cookie*
gaiatechnician (author)  nutsandbolts_644 years ago
I do not think it is quite that simple. My x girlfriend was not religious or rich but she always contributed to the foodbank when she bought groceries. And it was quite a lot. Collectively the scientific community and their funders are doing a terrible job of contributing. It cost less than $100 to verify scientifically that the pulser pump worked but it took about 150,000 views of videos of them clearly working before anyone in that community lifted a finger. Thats outragous. And the EXCUSES that people gave for their refusal to lift a finger were so shallow too. Any of those environmentally friendly pop stars or actors could do a complete exhaustive review of the pump over a large range of conditions, film it and make 50 or 60 grand for themselves and be heroes. Like I said, it is not rocket science. Forget theory of 2 phase flow. Just test the damn thing with different heads of water, different power water speeds, and different pumping heights, etc and make the results public. Its that easy! And then I can forget the stupid pump once and for all. Hurah!
lol, straight to the point if that's what you're talking about.
gaiatechnician (author) 4 years ago
Just a note that  there is a research project about the pulser pump currently going on in Queens university Toronto.  (I found out yesterday)
They are using http://www.appropedia.org/Pulser_pump as their project page and they will post their final results on May 1st.
They have some pdf files of supporting research that may be very useful.
I think appropedia had some input into it getting started.
I also won a place in http://artandsciencefair.ca/ with the tracking solar accumulator project.  The  solar design t-square and clam shaped solar project was also accepted but an individual  can only have one project  so I chose the accumulator. (no lasers needed).
Brian
fishhead4554 years ago
I shall only put in my three cents worth because a couple of my favorite people have been drawn into the discussion:( Lemony, Kiteman). Each time gaiatechnician comes up with a new idea I( tried) many times to offer easier solutions to his rube- goldberg reinventions of the wheel. He seems to prefer to stay in his own world and tries to convince others that his is the newest and best solution to a problem that has already been solved. I gave up and have, consequently, relegated him and his notions to, well, somewhere other than in the forefront in my thoughts. But we all know that he will never give up...and I wish him all the luck he deserves.
gaiatechnician (author)  fishhead4554 years ago
Why did you not try to peer review what I did?  That is what science is all about.
Experiments.  You repeat my experiments,  and then say that it is stupid.
I did them and you did not.
You simply do not have the right to be offended.   Problems in the real world have multiple solutions.
And the people who need problems solved have different price points and different skills to apply to those solutions
gaiatechnician (author)  fishhead4554 years ago
Remember when people invented rube goldberg spinning wheels and and weaving devices? People (like you) thrashed the new devices. Just like you. Lemony and Kiteman were drawn in because of their idealogy, you because of your friendship and your defence of old thought. This is more proof that there is more to peer review and the scientific method than meets the eye. There is a heck of a lot of inertia, isn't there? Why are people unable to say, "yes, I would like to know more about the naeve wheelbarrow". If a leading scientist or large charity organization said they were interested in the naeve wheelbarrow, would people be offering their help? This video IS proving something. How can we adjust the scientific method to allow for this human failing?
gaiatechnician (author)  fishhead4554 years ago
"Rube-goldberg reinventions of the wheel" . Why thank you very much. I am doing charity research for very very very poor people. They cannot afford to buy your wheels. Eventually, (if they ever get told about them), they can make my devices. You are complicit in their poverty.
gaiatechnician (author) 4 years ago
Following from this video, I put on a playlist which is about how science works.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5099F55F935FC8EB
It includes a british scientist after a funding rejection and the same scientist after a successful proposal.  Here is what I get out of the playlist.   Scientists propose research to funding committees.  The funding committees decide which research gets the money.    So it is the FUNDING COMMITTEES who have absolute power over the DIRECTION in which science moves.
No money, no research, no movement.   This is why, over 20 years later, nobody has a clue how much oxygenation a pulser pump can do, how well it would transfer to big sites, how much water it would pump under specific conditions.
It is also why nobody has tweaked naeve's curved mirrors to make a super easy to make solar cooker with a one hour unattended use time for Hati.
The funding committees have no incentive to fund stuff of use to poor people, have they?  They do whatever their political or commercial taskmasters tell them to do.
tatay664 years ago
Reading all the personal attacks for this thread makes me sick. If you dont have anything constructive to say then dont say it. Making suggestions you know are beyond someones money and education doesnt make you sound smart it makes you look like the back end of a donkey.  By the way scientists do peruse the web looking at everything and researching anything that looks like it works for other applications. Thats what makes collaboration with others so enlightening they may miss something you see. For anyone here that knows it all i pity you. As far as peer review goes it didnt help Naeve, his design is excellent and there is both video proof and documented scientific evidence. http://kmr.nada.kth.se/wiki/Main/PointFocus#Sven_Eketorp By the way thats a college and he's a PHD.
rea52454 years ago
If you want something peer reviewed, submit a paper to a scientific journal. Scientists don't spend their days perusing the web looking for tinkerers that they can do peer reviews on. If you want to be noticed for innovative things you've made, patent them and start a business selling them. Posting a video to Instructables complaining that the scientific community has not recognized your accomplishments will not accomplish much. Also, if you don't have an audio editor, try writing a script before you start recording. That will keep your narration focused.
gaiatechnician (author)  rea52454 years ago
Why do scientists not spend their days perusing the web looking for projects? And surely students do look on the web for projects? So why not direct them to stuff that has not been properly checked out? My narration does not need to be focused. If you or anybody else feels strongly on the subject, you are free to post a video response on youtube or elsewhere. If you look on the instructabes website, you may see that your statements run counter to the instructabes ideology. I am already recognized for innovation. I wish to have systematic blockades to innovation and uptake of innovation removed. First I have to prove that the blockades exist. I think I have come a long way towards that. And it seems some of those blockades are idiological. Brian
Scientists don't spend their days perusing the web for projects because it's such an inefficient way to find new ideas. It's far better to have people with innovative projects identify themselves through scientific magazines, engineering magazines, patent offices, and even marketing departments. "Why not direct them to stuff that has not been properly checked out"? Because there are crackpots out there with perpetual motion machines, proofs that relativity is wrong, theories that viruses are a type of subatomic particle, disproofs of evolution, evidence that the moon landing never happened, and they all say that scientists have ignored their genius and that the peer review process is broken. Scientists don't have the time to chase down everything that someone claims is worth checking out. That's why someone who has something valuable must come forward with a demonstration of its value. "My narration doesn't need be focused": you're right, it doesn't. Just because every accomplished scientist, engineer, and inventor produces focused, concise presentations of their ideas, doesn't mean you have to. "I am already recognized for innovation": In 14 comments in Instructables? I thought you wanted something a little broader.
gaiatechnician (author)  rea52454 years ago
Scientists at universitys spend most of their time on administration and teaching.  They also write "proposals" to funding committees and the funding comittees reject most of the proposals. 
And many scientists do not have ANY idea why some proposals get rejected and others accepted!   You can check Nottingham university's "test tube" http://www.test-tube.org.uk/scientists.htm It includes interviews with the scientists after winning and after losing  in that lottery.
So funding committees? does that sound like a good way of financing and directing science?   It certainly could be used to control the direction that research goes in. I am pretty sure the control is political.
Brian
gaiatechnician (author)  rea52454 years ago
Can you see your reaction? I did not produce a single perpetual motion machine, did I? So your comment about not directing them to worthwhile stuff is a bit suspect. Directing does not mean researching everything. Just the stuff that fell through the cracks. And are scientists so badly trained that they cannot tell the difference? (don't mention cold fusion) For years, until Mat in Cornwall made his pulser pump model, I was accused of a hoax. And Mat's model is not going to stop people. Ambjörn Naeve did his work from 1976 onwards. You and I do not know anything about its parameters, do we? Nor does anybody else in the wider community. And in the scientific community? Nobody has a clue! Why not? Because good or bad, nobody BOTHERED to find out. And without verification, he just gets knocked off as some crackpot with poor english from sweden. And if you bothered to check, where the focal point of a parabolic dish is, is hugely important and it is problematical for tracking. Check out scheffler solar kitchens for the reason. (if you wish) Where is your curiosity? Can you not with your scientific training tell the difference between perpetual motion and for real stuff? If you only get your science education from peer reviewed journals, you sure miss a lot because they are pretty narrowly focused. I am not saying throw out the peer review system, I am saying modify it. It SHOULD take into account the internet. And with regard to what I have done, results and demos have been posted. Just nobody has bothered check them out. Do they have merit? You tell me. And if you tell me they do not, perhaps you can give reasons? Do you see the corner you have blocked yourself into? It is absurd to think that I can match what a focused group of students could do in a couple of hours comparing 4 or 5 different new solar cooker designs. It is absurd to think that I can check out all the different parameters of a pulser pump. And it is absurd to think that if I did, anybody would believe me.
OK, you don't like the association with perpetual motion, creationism, etc. Fair enough. I wasn't accusing you of those things, just pointing out that someone perusing the web for new discoveries (if scientists were to do such a thing) has to wade though so much garbage that it's nearly impossible to find good stuff. It's just not a good way to discover good ideas. But I think you'll like this even less: imagine if Edison had said "twenty years ago, I suggested that someone should try putting a filament of some material in a vacuum and running electricity through it. I left pamphlets in the laundromat where I wash my clothes and the supermarket where I buy food, suggesting that a bunch of students could experiment with different materials. But in twenty years, no one has done any research. What's the matter with the scientific community, that they haven't followed up on this?" This will be my last post on the subject. You may have the last word.
gaiatechnician (author)  rea52454 years ago
Edison employed people to do his research, and invent his inventions, didn't he? Invention factories. And when I was employed in research, I had to sign a non disclosure agreement and basically sign away my rights to any thought or invention that I came up based on what I researched. What a crock. I am unencumbered by that nonsense now. But what of scientists who are in research? How many of them can speak freely? Lots of them are tied up by Edison type legalese. How do you like that? Do these types of non disclosure agreements stifle invention? Do patents stifle invention? Of course they do. That is precisely what they are designed to do.
So your comment about not directing them to worthwhile stuff is a bit suspect

Not really - do a search for new engineering system or new power sysytem, you get millions of hits.

How many are woowoo?
gaiatechnician (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
It IS suspect. For starters, big pharma listens very actively to fokelore when they are hunting down new drugs. Where is the science in fokelore? They do not depend just on their own little brains for the next big thing. And I put all the details I had about the pulser pump on the web. And it was on educational cd that was sold to US schools 3 or 4 years ago. "all about pumps". And the video has been on an engineers without borders website for 2 or 3 years. That gets vetted, presumably by engineers but still amazingly, no extra figures or tests have surfaced. I give away something that I am sure will be valuable to many poor people, why exactly is kiteman attacking me? I am being attacked because nobody has verified what I have done. That does not seem fair.
Please, read what I wrote. I am not attacking you, I am attempting to correct your misconceptions. The internet is not peer-reviewed (else explain all the free energy, creationism, etc). Very little on the internet gets any sort of attention unless people know about it. Leaving things liying around on a website will not get you views unless you let people know it is there. Publicity.
CameronSS4 years ago
This instructs absolutely nothing, is technically inaccurate, and is hard to watch due to the rambling voiceover. Props for Ubuntu, though.
gaiatechnician (author)  CameronSS4 years ago
Please tell me the technical inaccuracy? As to the rambling voiceover, I have to record it in one go because I have no editor for ogg video yet. I believe there is a major flaw in how science is conducted and in how research is being funded and directed. I do not know what the flaw is exactly but with your help, we can identify and fix it. In the current market driven research climate, would newton have done his work on motion? And if he did, would anyone have peer reviewed it? Maybe not!
I do agree that this is less of an instructable and more of a look what I have done that has gone nowhere type of thing..... I might suggest that this topic would be better as a forum topic than video commentary. This would allow everyone to discuss the topic, and who knows possibly create a bettter system than Peer Review. That being said, I do agree with you that Peer Review is not a perfect system. As a Ph.D. student in biochemistry and molecular biology, I do understand the trials and tribulations of Peer Review, but as of now actual Peer Review (not what you are calling Peer Review in your video) is the best and most fair system that currently exists or that is plausible in today's international scientific world. As for your inventions, from what you have shown in the video, they look quite interesting (although I can not comment on their theory or functionality without fulls reading and comprehending the instructions to each.... which I sadly don't have time for (not too much free time as a Ph.D. student). However, giving you the benefit of the doubt (and assuming they all work), perhaps you should be going after Venture Capitalist to further your products as apposed to scientists..... the VCs tend to have A LOT more money!! :P (and us academics are constantly busy :S (experiments, grants, etc, etc, etc) Just my thoughts.
gaiatechnician (author)  Murf4 years ago
In my case, I am trying to make designs and processes that people in really poor places can adapt to their situations. Venture Capitalists would laugh and anyway how would they get their money back? Your comment "(and us academics are constantly busy :S (experiments, grants, etc, etc, etc)" illustrates part of the problem. I have worked in funded research. My boss made proposals that were designed to attract money. (Some he thought had no merit and he did not have the equipment needed to carry them out but he made them anyway because the money givers wanted to hear certain stuff and he needed the money). If the money givers had been more vigilant, some other scientist would have gotton that project and it may have been a success. In science, it seems that you mostly do what you are told by your non scientific bosses above (with a certain amount of willful disobedience) but what may be needed is a different kind of democracy where the opinions of some of the trained underlings are taken into concideration.
I am in concurrence with nugatron. I would also like to add my ha' penny; it seems to me financing is what is needed and indeed the proposed recipients of this research/ technology are poor. Give a man a fish and you've fed him once. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself or roughly the equival..you know what I mean. Perhaps publish your info. in target languages or start a non profit group and then you can perhaps fund them and help them do the research for themselves. The info. is much more valuable to them but since their internet access is probably limited it might need to be delivered by hand. Who knows, since it's a non profit, someone could probably get rich in doing so. I realize that none of the things I have just mentioned actually address the problems you've presented and that getting rich is also not what you've requested. And I'm certain that many would agree that a different kind of democracy is needed and not just in the scientific community. Unfortunately, IMO that type of change in not possible due to what has been previously stated. We may not have chosen the capitalist system but indeed the market is what dictates the choices or lack of choices that we are the recipients of. All you can do is plant seed.
gaiatechnician (author)  VagsmaCutter4 years ago
Thank you. A few people in Africa, India and elsewhere are interested and we do confer and change tack as necessary.
Funding may come to one group that I confer with, and another with funding does pick through my thoughts.
But really the problem for me is inertia, and the "it cannot be done" mentality.
If I can make a solar tracker with a crapped out digital clock or aquarium bits and a couple of old paint buckets, imagine what a couple of electronics students could do with the same idea? And there are hundreds of thousands of electronics students!
And the Ambjörn Naeve combined trough concentrator is a potential solution to a Humungus problem in solar tracking. To have a simple tracker time based tracker, you must spin the reflector on equatorial mount AND keep the focus of the parabolic dish on the axis of the mount. But that means that with changing seasons, your center of gravity changes so much that you need a far stronger tracking system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsyUVsBqU4 is a video of mine that trys to explain some of the problem. A guy called david delaney has a good explanation of how it is solved (somewhat) by scheffler solar kitchens in a different (technologically more advanced) way. It may be that because the Naeve device puts the focus in a quite different place, that these problems are easier to solve if the Naeve device is used instead of a parabolic dish!
BUT hardly anybody knows anything about the naeve device!
Which is a bit of a damper on thought, I can tell you!
Now, before I finish, I should note that Scheffler solar kitchens are a big deal and a large percentage of the solar kitchens in the world are Scheffler designs. But a technologically advanced design like schefflers (which does however use simple tracking) is out of the reach of poor people. My solution is to stay with simple tracking, and use an alternative to the scheffler paraboloid. (The paraboloid is on a strained frame where the amount of strain is changed to change the shape of the paraboloid with the changing seasons. I hope that with the Naeve device this would not be necessary. People get mad with me when I work with simple trackers. If simple trackers power the most used solar kitchens in the world, it tells me that they are not such a bad idea. In my case, I want to keep the simple tracker, (make it cheaper) and try to make the other part (the dish or dish alternative) easier to make and to use. Why are people so against that?
Anyways, I am planting the seeds. Here at instructables, should be the most fertile ground in the world.
But instead they are growing in much more barren places.
I think this thread sums up the current situation best. It's not that Science isn't working; it has an amazing history of technical achievement and deep understanding of the universe to its credit. However, it operates within a resource-constrained human world, and the system most of us have chosen to manage those constraints is the capitalist market. In any such system, there will be market failures, where human value is ignored because there is no easy way to connect it to capital value. Your work is very good, Gaiatechnician. As other commenters have noted, it's your obscurity that works against you, not necessarily the quality of your inventions. It's possible that better search and artificial intelligence in the network will someday bring your inventions to those who need them (and researchers to the further development of your inventions.) Indeed, the current version of the web is already giving you some attention where in previous eras you might have none. But for now, you will still need money and/or connections to have a greater chance of making your ideas common knowledge.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=826386

Well, that's my good deed for the day...
gaiatechnician (author)  Lithium Rain4 years ago
Your thread is outdated but thanks for trying. I have found that kino can take the video and convert it to mpg1 (but the picture quality disimproves).
Ah, sorry about that. Glad you found a solution.
gaiatechnician (author)  CameronSS4 years ago
Perhaps in the direct sense this instructs nothing. But indirectly, it may just ask very deep questions and instructs you to come up with the answers! Some of you might admit that one or two of my instructables are original and this one is no exception. Aiding originality is one of the aims of instructabes, I think. Perhaps some of the answers will help instructables stay fresh and original and maybe we will figure out a way to "Direct" people to areas where the market driven research effort has failed.
Then post it in the Forums, that's why we have them.
gaiatechnician (author)  CameronSS4 years ago
I posted in the forums and nothing happened. And really I think Ambjörn Naeve deserves a whole lot more than to be ignored. This spreads his idea far and wide. (The wheelbarrow idea especially needs to be an instructable) and I am far too busy this year to do it. There IS a problem with science and to a lesser extent with instructables. I won 2 prizes on instructables last year but they were not won by public acclaim. First one, i did the squeaky wheel and the judges added me to the finalists (even though I got few votes) and the second one, I was not paying attention but I do not think I got many votes either. As far as I am concerned Ambjörn Naeve did a brilliant thing back in the 1970's. And it was too "far out" for the public and for other scientists. In the current climate where forests are destroyed for firewood, it is way too important to ignore. The scientific community is failing science. Let us fix it.
lemonie4 years ago
This gist of this seems to be "why isn't anyone interested in my stuff". It's not science that isn't working it's your "marketing department". This might cost you a bit of investment, but build these things and sell them. Get a stand at a trade fair, get someone with cash to back you. If these things do actually work, you ought to be able to market them.
There are a lot of people with good ideas on the internet that are full of potential, "could be" and "probably", but haven't been developed into devices that can be bought and used.
Some suckers buy publications on "free energy" that are no use, take some tips and sell people things that are?

L
gaiatechnician (author)  lemonie4 years ago
Well, lemonie, people are interested in my stuff. And much of it is aimed at people that have no money. Have you ever sold anything to a poor beggar? The holy free market forgot to give the beggar any cash. But the begger still has needs. Anger and contempt comes first and perhaps then acceptance that there is a problem? Do not shoot the messenger. And stop posting links to perpetual motion scams. You are trying to label me by association and I do not like it one bit.
You say "couple of years on the internet nothing has happened", "and same deal nothing", "same deal nothing", "same deal, nobody has done any research on it", "no one cares".
The point about the "free energy" thing is that they can generate interest in bogus free energy - it follows that you should be able to generate interest in real free energy - it's an example of attracting interest / marketing ideas. You could rebuild some more of these and post them here for a start?

L
gaiatechnician (author)  lemonie4 years ago
What does that have to do with peer review? Do YOU think the solar wheelbarrow concept from Ambjörn Naeve has merit? Do you think it works? It does not have to be Naeve doing the experiment. It can be anyone. It does not have to be me doing a pulser pump experiment. It can be anyone. In fact others are much better qualified to do it than me. Naeve's device has gone over 30 years and we still know nothing of its capabilities! And you are lecturing me about marketing! Thats some peer review process we have going on! How come nobody has taken it on themselves to check this device out and peer review it in that amount of time?
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