'net undermining experiments

James Kling 103322.523 at CompuServe.COM
Fri Jul 5 01:40:09 EST 1996

   I apologise for this cross-posting, but I think its relevant to 
all the groups.  Please respond to 103322.523 at compuserve.com.
   I'm writing a story on the internet's negative impact on science 
experiments.  We all know how it has made information transfer 
easier.  But what about over-dependence on this information? 
   Has reliance on the net in some way torpedoed an experiment or 
interfered with your science.  A hypothetical example -- a 
biochemist downloads the coordinates for the crystal structure of a 
protein, then does a series of modeling experiments assuming that 
these are correct.  He or she later realizes that someone posted 
incorrect coordinates, and the experiments are nil and void.  You 
can imagine many such examples.  If you've had any such unfortunate 
experience, I'd love to hear from you. If you'd prefer to be 
anonymous, that's fine (I understand). If you have any other ideas 
or insights as to how the internet could  have a detrimental effect 
on science, please let me know. 
   About me: I am a contributing writer to Nature Biotechnology, and
I've written for numerous other magazines.  I also have a master's 
degree in organic chemistry from Indiana University.

Jim Kling
Science Communications
El Paso, TX

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