Knowledge should stampede. But all too often it meanders, more like a river. It's just really hard to know what is true.
In fact, the research community is buzzing yet again about how we decide whether an experiment really shows what you think it's shown. For the short version of that story, see this famous xkdc cartoon.
Need a little more background on all this? Here's a quick imperfect intro:
Experimenters try to decide whether an experiemental result is just "noise" or random, like a kid who just got lucky and threw the ball into the basket, or if their experimental result is "real". Worse, maybe they repeat the experiment a lot and the same kid keeps making baskets, but what you don't realize is there is some other effect that's really causing the good result, like maybe the real issue is the kid's dad lifts him up :).
So the usual criteria for science comes down to something like saying (and I'm washing over a lot of subtlety here) "a result is pretty convincing if there's only a 1 in 100 chance that it was just luck." But by that criteria, 1 in 100 experiments will look like promising new knowledge but really just be luck. Which is fine if we saw the results of every experiment, then we could believe in 99% of the results. But for every experiment a researcher publishes, they may have down 10 or 20 or 100 experiments that didn't come out interesting. So it becomes much harder to say how many published results are really good evidence.
But don't be too disheartened. Scientists know this, and so there's huge emphasis on "body of evidence" and reproducing experiments by different groups and being cautious about new results. It just goes slowly :).
Back to News About Migration of Knowledge...
We just finished testing and polishing up the design for the new Kevin Sloan Migration of Knowledge puzzle.
Peek-preview below - we used a square grid of pieces to play off of - lots of very fun themed whimsies in this one!
We'll start cutting it next week and it should be in stock by the first week of March. Also coming soon - a very hard Jaguars tryptych with Mayan themed whimsies and APAK's Fruit of Dreams with adorable whimsies.