Daily Archives: April 6, 2019

Court upholds USEPA policy barring grantees from advisory panels

“This is an action arising out of a directive by the Environmental Protection Agency that prohibits scientists in receipt of certain EPA grants from serving on the agency’s federal advisory committees. The complaint alleges that the directive was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706.

Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), on grounds of lack of standing, finality, ripeness, and justiciability, and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

It is perhaps worth noting at the outset what this case does not involve. It is not about the best way to develop and implement our national environmental policies, or who are the proper people to assist in that process. And of course it is not about the wisdom or effectiveness of those policies. Rather, this case involves a fairly narrow set of issues: in substance, whether a specific EPA conflict-of-interest directive violates federal law, and whether plaintiffs are the proper parties to assert such claims. Based on established federal law, and for the reasons set forth below, the challenged directive is not subject to judicial reversal, and accordingly the complaint will be dismissed.” click here

Facebook ad algorithm out of control

“Facebook’s advertisement targeting system can’t help but discriminate, according to a report, which claimed it discriminates by race and gender even when told not to.” click here

Meta-analyses are very squishy when something is made up out of nothing

S. Stanley Young and Warren B. Kindzierski. Evaluation of a meta-analysis of air quality and heart attacks, a case studyCritical Reviews in Toxicology  https://doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2019.1576587

It is generally acknowledged that claims from observational studies often fail to replicate. An exploratory study was undertaken to assess the reliability of base studies used in meta-analysis of short-term air quality-myocardial infarction risk and to judge the reliability of statistical evidence from meta-analysis that uses data from observational studies. A highly cited meta-analysis paper examining whether short-term air quality exposure triggers myocardial infarction was evaluated as a case study. The paper considered six air quality components – carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter 10 lm and 2.5 lm in diameter (PM10 and PM2.5), and ozone. The number of possible questions and statistical models at issue in each of 34 base papers used were estimated and p-value plots for each of the air components were constructed to evaluate the effect heterogeneity of p-values used from the base papers. Analysis search spaces (number of statistical tests possible) in the base papers were large, median 1⁄4 12,288 (interquartile range 1⁄4 2496 ” 58,368), in comparison to actual statistical test results presented. Statistical test results taken from the base papers may not provide unbiased measures of effect for meta-analysis. Shapes of p-value plots for the six air components were consistent with the possibility of analysis manipulation to obtain small p-values in several base papers. Results suggest the appearance of heterogeneous, researcher-generated p-values used in the meta-analysis rather than unbiased evidence of real effects for air quality. We conclude that this meta-analysis does not provide reliable evidence for an association of air quality components with myocardial risk.