Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:14 AM GMT on April 01, 2011
Jeopardy champion WATSON--the computer program that earlier this year decisively beat the two all-time human champions of America's favorite game show--has a new challenge. A modified version of WATSON has been appointed to direct a major new scientific organization, the White House announced today. The WATSON spin-off, dubbed HOLMES (short for Highly Objective Lore Machine for Examining Science), will head the newly created National Academy of Blog Science (NABS). The NABS, created in legislation passed by Congress last week, will replace the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as the premier scientific advisory organization in charge of advising Congress on scientific matters. "The creation of the National Academy of Blog Science is a huge step forward for America's businesses to help them become more competitive and create jobs," said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Bayinghound, who pushed the legislation through Congress.
Figure 1. HOLMES' predecessor, WATSON, clobbering the two all-time Jeopardy champions in a match earlier this year.
Dr. Hal N. Thousand, chief scientist for the Very Competitive Free Enterprise Institute (VCFEI), the pro-business think tank that crafted the legislation to create the NABS, lauded the choice of HOLMES to head the new advisory body. "The old National Academy of Sciences used archaic methods to determine the best science, relying exclusively on peer-reviewed publications. In the peer-review system, papers undergo a lengthy review process by multiple experts in the field, followed by revisions, followed by further review, finally ending in rejection or publication in a prestigious scientific journal. Ignored in the process is the tremendous amount of excellent non-peer-reviewed science published in blogs and in industry publications. HOLMES, once interfaced with the Internet, has the capability to search through all these relevant scientific works and rank the best science with a percentage probability of correctness--just like WATSON did during the Jeopardy championships. If there are popular blogs or a large body of corporate science challenging peer-reviewed scientific findings as being too uncertain, HOLMES will lower the probability of the peer-reviewed scientific result being correct. Thus, the advice given by NABS to Congress will be far more reasonable, taking in a wider range of opinions than those previously considered by the outdated National Academy of Sciences. Grant-based anti-industry "science" developed in ivory towers will no longer be accepted unquestioningly at the cost of jobs. The American tax payer can't afford it. This is the way a scientific advisory body should behave, since any scientific results that hurt corporate profits and thus jobs should be required to be virtually certain. Too often, this country has been misled by science harmful to American business interests, pushed by elitist, alarmist, money-grubbing scientists, out to pad their research grants by falsely crying wolf. It's time to cast down the high priests of this America-hating eco-religion, and let HOLMES, who is incapable of bias, make the decisions on what is the best science."
Dr. Frank Poole, spokesman for the Coalition of Environmental Organizations Against Insanity, who lobbied fervently against the new National Academy of Blog Science, commented: "It is ludicrous to put a computer that thought Toronto was a city in the U.S. during Final Jeopardy in charge of the world's most important scientific advisory body. WATSON also thought Wonder Woman was the first woman in space. This does not bode well for the future of American policy to be based on the best science."
Dr. Thousand countered that the new HOLMES computer would be unlike its predecessor, WATSON. "In the coming months, under HOLMES' new clear vision of science fact, the people will see the peer-review system of science for the corrupt farce that it is, and demand that it be abolished. We are already crafting new legislation to remove all government funding for scientific research that HOLMES judges to be anti-corporate, including all money for climate change research and for the Environmental Protection Agency. That kind of research must be done by concerned citizen-bloggers and by the corporations who might be affected by the scientific findings. Science in this country must be done the democratic way--every citizen will be able to weigh in on their favorite blog site and vote for what they think is the best science. HOLMES, with the aid of an adaptive scientific truth algorithm we are developing, will be able to use the will of the people and the best corporate and blog science to advise Congress on scientific matters, and a brave new world of science-based policy will be born."
April Fools! (I hope)
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