• Oracles and Science: The Trouble with Predictions

    We all want to know the future, but what is the best way to make predictions? Assuming we don’t have a crystal ball, we have to find patterns in the available information and make our best, informed guess. This is what scientists do.

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  • The Cycle of Science

    Although the terms regularly used today are different, in practice modern science uses induction and deduction in a cycle. Data is collected, which is often used to build models. Where weaknesses in these models are found, more data is collected and different model designs are tested in order to make a better model.

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  • Why Geography?

    Because addressing modern problems require system approaches, understanding the time and space components of the processes involved is more important than ever. Unfortunately, for many people the study of geography ended with location facts and they have never been exposed to the fruitful endeavor of scientific geography. The opportunities to increase scientific knowledge from geographic research are so immense that the discipline of geography has struggled to define a focused mission.

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  • Is It ‘Deduction’ or ‘Induction’, My Dear Watson?

    Sherlock Holmes often talks about ‘deductive reasoning’, but was he really using deduction or induction. Although by definition these two approaches appear to be opposites, in practice, the differences between the two can be subtle.

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  • Is It a Scientific Theory or Hypothesis?

    This is a common question addressing a popular misconception about how science classifies the knowledge that it has accumulated. The levels of hypothesis, theory, and law often get interpreted as classes of confidence. However, this is not really right. The missing piece here is spatial scale!

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  • The Scientific Method: Does Anybody Really Use It?

    It can be hard to match what we learned about the scientific method in school with the scientific literature being published. Because the classic description of the scientific method is a bit idealized, I’ll attempt to summarize the process in a way closer to reality.

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  • What is Science?

    Science allows us to see the world in a whole new way.

    For my first blog post, it makes sense to start with the basics. And one of the most fundamental concepts for a researcher to establish is the definition of science. As a starting point, let’s begin with the definition from the Oxford dictionary (which is very similar to definitions found elsewhere): Science – “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” I think the key phrase in this definition is that science is a “systematic study,” …

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