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John Arnold Made a Fortune at Enron. Now He’s Declared War on Bad Science

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John Arnold Made a Fortune at Enron. Now He’s Declared War on Bad Science

Wired,

5 min read
5 take-aways
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What's inside?

Why does billionaire John Arnold put his philanthropy dollars toward advocating for scientific integrity?


Editorial Rating

8

Recommendation

The beauty of science is that it’s transparent and reproducible. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But according to the Reproducibility Project, only 40% of published study results can be replicated. Today’s science also overemphasizes positive results: Equally relevant insights that you can glean from failed experiments will never make any headlines. Billionaire John Arnold is out to reduce scientific bias using the same healthy respect for data that made him millions of dollars at Enron. getAbstract recommends this summary to scientists and science aficionados.

Summary

As a futures trader, John Arnold brought Enron $750 million in 2001, even as the company was in its death throes. After Enron's bankruptcy, he left with an $8 million bonus and a clear name. He started his own hedge fund and became a billionaire at age 33. At 38, he quit to focus on philanthropy, starting the Laura and John Arnold Foundation with his wife Laura, a former oil executive.

Their original goal was “to simply locate the most effective organizations and write them checks.” But when they analyzed data, those organizations proved harder to locate than initially thought. Many...

About the Author

Sam Apple writes for Wired and teaches science writing at the University of Pennsylvania.


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