For better science, call off the revolutionaries

first_imgEven in science, revolutions often go far beyond reason. This year, let’s hope that scientists of all stripes — but especially social psychologists — will slow down and start approaching one another with greater respect. For decades, the field of social psychology has captured the public imagination with high-profile research into how humans interact. Will people obey authority figures even when it involves hurting others? How do stereotypes shape human interactions? Are facial expressions of emotion universal across cultures? All of these are questions that social psychology tries to answer. But the field is in the midst of a revolution that could end up destroying new ideas before they are fully explored — a cautionary tale not just for this field, but for all of science.Spurred by new methods and statistical techniques, a group of “revolutionaries” — scientists and Internet bloggers both inside and outside the field — have taken it upon themselves to weed out “faulty” science. In forums such as the websites Data Colada, Replicability-Index, and Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, scholars are being urged to focus on replicating the results of past studies and to reconsider their own findings if subsequent research undercuts them. Read the whole story: The Boston Globe More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

100-year sentences plan to dodge Euro ruling

first_imgMurderers and others convicted of the most serious offences could be given sentences lasting hundreds of years to get round the European Court of Human Rights ruling on whole-life terms, the government has indicated.  In Vintner and Others v the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg ruled last year that whole-life sentences were a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights because they allow no possibility for a ‘right of review’.According to press reports today, a proposal to allow judges to sentence offenders for hundreds of years is one of the options being considered by ministers in response to the Strasbourg ruling.The change would not have much of an impact on the sentence served, but would allow for the potential of a review of the sentence.There are currently 49 offenders serving whole-life terms in jails in England and Wales.The move is part of the government’s drive to limit the impact of European human rights law on domestic policy.Today’s Telegraph reports a government spokesman as saying: ‘The European Court of Human Rights seems to be making decisions a million miles away from what the vast majority of the public think. They don’t want any possibility of the most horrible of criminals walking the streets again, and this plan could be a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.’last_img read more

McMillan Williams creditors poised for tiny return on £15m owed

first_imgUnsecured creditors to the collapsed south east firm McMillan Williams are owed more than £15m in total, administrators have revealed.An update on the administration of the firm – an almost ubiquitous presence on high streets in London and the south east until its pre-pack sale – estimates that 156 parties with claims can expect to recoup just 3.1% from the proceeds.The list of unsecured creditors includes £4.6m owed to directors, £6.7m to banks and £2m to landlords. Trade and expense creditors – many of them in the legal sector – are owed around £1.8m.The update sets out that a significant regular source of revenue was high-volume residential conveyancing: this service line declined in volume in late 2019 and the onset of Covid-19 severely restricted this revenue stream. Working capital was also affected by delayed settlements for clinical negligence and personal cases, for which the firm had made significant upfront investment.McMillan Williams was highly-geared, operating WIP and disbursement funding lines with lenders VFS and Doorway as well as a term loan and overdraft facility with Barclays. At the appointment of administrators, VFS and Doorway were each owed around £2m and are classed as preferential creditors, likely to claw back monies owed in full.The report states that in order to continue trading, the firm needed extra funding, and neither the business, its directors or its investors were in a position to help.The sale to Taylor Rose TTKW Limited was completed in May. The buyer has already paid £450,000 and is expected to pay a further £950,000 based on 75% recovery of the total value of PI and clinical negligence claims. Specialists assessing work in progress found personal injury and clinical negligence cases worth £10.7m, although much of this is tied up in agreements with funders.In total, 414 employees were transferred to Taylor Rose. Negotiations are ongoing with landlords for the 20 leasehold properties held in the McMillan Williams name.The firm had already started to make spending cuts in 2018/19, reducing its staff costs by more than £2m through shedding around 10% of its headcount in the previous 12 months. Remuneration of the highest paid director also fell, from £350,000 to £250,000.But despite apparent financial pressures, the firm continued to expand. By last year, it had grown to 26 offices across London and the south east and was still talking about growing the firm’s reach. As recently as last September, the firm qualified 23 trainee solicitors, claiming to be one of the largest providers of training contracts in England. This article has now been closed to comments.last_img read more