Newslinks 2015-5-21

A study saying gay advocates can change people’s mind has been retracted due to fraud. Facing questions of reproducibility and statistical irregularities, the grad student who collected all the data got really mealy-mouthed about it. Which has led everyone else to the conclusion that he faked all the data or at least enough of it to render the entire study worthless.

Nature looks at antibodies being responsible for poor reproducibility in biology. They may not be quite as easy to produce in identical mass quantities as everyone has been assuming.

The current trend in anti-aging is injecting young blood into older mice in the belief that it has antibodies and proteins that somehow rejuvenate or do not break down aging tissue. Other scientists say they’ve tried it and it doesn’t work, if anything it seems to accelerate the aging process. Bottom line: we still don’t know how or why we age. Note that the studies in support of this trend are backed by pharmaceutical companies who are pushing hard for FDA approval to inject these antibodies into people. It’s a business easily worth billions of dollars if it works on any level. Hell, it’s already a billion dollar business for cosmetics and crap that we can already be pretty sure does nothing and it would be a whale if it gets FDA approval whether it’s effective or not.

WSJ op-ed complains that affirmative action is discriminating against Asian Americans and holding them to higher standards than people of other races. Like Jews back in the old days, it might be counterproductive by giving the group an even higher reputation since such discriminatory acts ensures that only the most elite Asian students get into schools like Harvard. But it is deeply unfair.

WaPo covers Washington’s shadow work force, all the little people who do the unsung work that keeps Washington clean and moving along. Given the minimum wage trends and debates around inequality, Washington might do best to lead the charge by being more generous with their own workers.

ISIS taking Ramadi is shining on light on Iraq’s government. The image is that Iraq’s government is corrupt, incompetent, and disorganized. Frighteningly, ISIS seems to be none of those things.

Iran throws some cold water on nuclear negotiations by insisting there will be no inspections of Iranian sites, something that the Obama administration had included in its framework. Iranian leaders are accusing Americans of adding new demands and changing positions, which is also not a good sign of a deal.

North Korea claims it has developed the technology to make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile. US intelligence officials say this is all bullshit and North Korea’s evidence is fabricated.

A state-owned Chinese bank buys a large stake in a midsized Brazilian bank, apparently part of China’s drive to create closer ties with Latin American countries. China is pouring investment money into Latin American assets. It will be hilarious when they learn the word “nationalization” and figure out why American, European, and Japanese banks are MUCH more reluctant to do this.

China also unveiled an ambitious plan to advance manufacturing to the next level. They want to be a developer of technology rather than merely a place for cheap labor. Their industry goals pretty much lay out their cyberattack targets for the next decade.

The Navy dumps IBM over fears that China-based Lenovo bought their server business. Curiously, IBM put their server business up for sale because the Chinese had stopped buying them over fears in the Snowden leaks that the NSA had installed backdoors both with and without the company’s knowledge.

Chinese solar company Hanergy gets a kick in the balls in the stock market after their CEO missed the annual meeting. The stock plunged 47% before Hong Kong pulled the plug and suspended trading. It’s apparently common for CEOs in China to miss annual meetings but the company was very vague, simply saying he “had something to do”. I’m not sure if that means “sell all his stock and move with his mistress and kids to California before authorities shoot him in the head” or “banging models because the business is totally fine”. Being China, it could mean either. Or both!

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