Over the recent US holiday weekend, a blog post at a site primarily focused on investment raised the possibility that scientific progress might be hitting a wall. The author, who has a background in engineering and technology, illustrates his case with a series of four graphs that represent scientific discovery, all of which trend downwards, approaching zero. Based on these, things look pretty bad.
Oddly, the author himself provides one reason for these trends in his own article—and then rejects it. Along the way, the blog post provides some good lessons in understanding your sources. And, in the process, it inadvertently considers the nature of what we consider scientific discovery. Let's take a look at both of these issues.