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Posts Tagged "politics"

@ScientificAmerican

Playing Politics: The Science of ElectionsSA‘s Latest E-Book

Scientific American launched its e-Book program this summer, starting with The Science of Sports: Winning in the Olympics. Each month, we add new titles selected from the most relevant issues facing science today. For October, our newest e-Book reminds readers that politics makes strange bedfellows. This maxim becomes even more vivid when politics is put under [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Political Leaders Gather at D.C. Reception to Discuss Scientific American‘s Special Issue on Cities

Mariette DiChristina at podium, speaking

Congressional staffers, federal agency senior personnel, non-profit leaders and scientific organization executives joined Scientific American Editor in chief Mariette DiChristina at a recent reception to celebrate the magazine’s special issue on cities. “Celebrating cities in many ways is celebrating what is best in us,” DiChristina told the crowd as she kicked off the evening honoring [...]

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Cross-Check

Why Gaddafi’s Death Doesn’t Fill Me With Joy

I was going to let the demise of Muammar Gaddafi pass without comment—after all, what does the murder of this tyrant have to do with science, right? But a bizarre essay in The New York Times on October 26, “Dictators Get the Death They Deserve,” by the historian Simon Windbag—I mean Sebag—Montefiore, has pushed my [...]

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Cross-Check

“Gene-whiz” science strikes again: Researchers discover a liberal gene

Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Or so religious conservatives would have us believe. But liberalism is in our genes. Or so researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University would have us believe. Yes, the inevitable has happened. Just before Election Day—surely not a coincidence—scientists report an association between liberal political views [...]

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Culturing Science

What The Ruling on Gene Patenting Means

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Although I mostly think about conservation, ecology and nature, I have a soft spot for medicine and, in particular, genetics. It’s partly due to my own family history and experience, partly my interest in how people think about medicine and death, and partly my 6-month internship at Nature Medicine, which began more than two years [...]

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Doing Good Science

Professors, we need you to do more!

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…though we can’t be bothered to notice all the work you’re already doing, to acknowledge the ways in which the explicit and implicit conditions of your employment make it extremely difficult to do it, or the ways in which other cultural forces, including the pronouncements of New York Times columnists, make the “more” we’re exhorting [...]

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Doing Good Science

Fear of scientific knowledge about firearm-related injuries.

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In the United States, a significant amount of scientific research is funded through governmental agencies, using public money. Presumably, this is not primarily aimed at keeping scientists employed and off the streets*, but rather is driven by a recognition that reliable knowledge about how various bits of our world work can be helpful to us [...]

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Doing Good Science

Science, priorities, and the challenges of sharing a world.

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For scientists, doing science is often about trying to satisfy deep curiosity about how various bits of our world work. For society at large, it often seems like science ought to exist primarily to solve particular pressing problems — or at least, that this is what science ought to be doing, given that our tax [...]

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Doing Good Science

Is it worth fighting about what’s taught in high school biology class?

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It is probably no surprise to my regular readers that I get a little exercised about the science wars that play out across the U.S. in various school boards and court actions. It’s probably unavoidable, given that I think about science for a living — when you’ve got a horse in the race, you end [...]

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Doing Good Science

The Research Works Act: asking the public to pay twice for scientific knowledge.

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There’s been a lot of buzz in the science blogosphere recently about the Research Works Act, a piece of legislation that’s been introduced in the U.S. that may have big impacts on open access publishing of scientific results. John Dupuis has an excellent round-up of posts on the subject. I’m going to add my two [...]

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Doing Good Science

Is being a good scientist a matter of what you do or of what you feel in your heart?

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If the question posed in the title of the post seems to you to have an obvious answer, sit tight while I offer a situation in which it might be less obvious. We recently discussed philosopher Karl Popper’s efforts to find the line of demarcation between science and pseudo-science. In that discussion, one of the [...]

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Doing Good Science

Dividing cognitive labor, sharing a world: the American public and climate science.

It’s not just scientists who think science is up to something important. Even non-scientists are inclined to think that scientific knowledge claims have a special grip on our world, that they are likely to give us information or insight that will help us move through that world more successfully. But scientists and non-scientists alike recognize [...]

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Guest Blog

Where Are the Real Errors in Political Polls?

2012 United States presidential election results by county, on a color spectrum from Democratic blue to Republican red. (Credit: Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan)

“Clinton crushes Biden in hypothetical 2016 matchup: Poll.” This was the headline of a MSNBC article on July 17, a full two years before the election in question. In the fine print, NBC reported that the margin of error was around 2 to 5 percent, which would appear to be small enough to trust the [...]

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Guest Blog

In Indonesia, a Worrying Silence on Climate Change

Resilient coral. A colony of table coral that broke down, recovered and is now growing into other direction.

Dive into the limpid waters off Indonesia’s resort island of Bali and you’ll spot the beginnings of an environmental success story. Older reefs are recovering from the devastating coral bleaching of 1998 and 2009. New corals are now taking hold. On shore, local fishermen also see improvement. There are, at long last, more and bigger [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Ebola Quarantines: Can we stop the charade now?

Pribilstan Quarantine Sign

“I’m a believer in an abundance of caution but I’m not a believer of an abundance of idiocy.” Ashish Jha, MD Quarantine craziness has continued since my last post, with more states joining in the fray. The sudden silence since Election Day has been quite striking, but since the irrational hodgepodge of regulations persists, here [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Quarantines: Chaos and Confusion

Will history repeat? The Plague Doctor

There has been a quantum change in the past few days as to how healthcare workers (HCW) returning from the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are being treated. This was prompted by two cases. First, Dr. Craig Spencer, a physician with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, aka Doctors Without Borders) developed a [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix

CDC Public Health Preparedness Funding

“Against stupidity, even the gods strive in vain.” — Fredirich Schiller I’ve been glued to the Ebola news, riding the roller coaster of emotions. While  very impressed with CDC’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden’s, initial press conference (10/2/14), I became infuriated at the subsequent statements from Lisa Monaco, Homeland Security Advisor, and the tragicomedy of the [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Covert Operations vs. Public Health: What is the Government Thinking?

Graffiti on USAID poster - David Lisbona/flickr

My attention having been riveted by Ebola, I missed this startling news last week: U.S. Agency for International Development sent young people undercover to Cuba to incite anti-government activism. Their cover was an HIV prevention workshop. This short-sighted idiocy was apparently aimed at making Cuba more “democratic,” by overthrowing Raul Castro, though that small nation [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Plan B: My politically incorrect take on the news

Protest over Savita Halappanavar's death - separation of Church and State

Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland, staring into distorting mirrors. The ongoing fight over Plan B has again precipitated this disquieting feeling. There is such a disconnect between some stated outcomes that are claimed as being desirable and actions that don’t support that. In this case, probably most people would agree that elective abortions [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Elections Have Consequences: Fungal Meningitis and Compounding Pharmacies

Antikamnia calendar

32 deaths. 461 cases…and counting. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know about the nationwide outbreak of an unusual fungal meningitis caused by Exserohilum rostratum, a plant fungus. The outbreak is now linked to a single pharmacy in Massachusetts, New England Compounding Center (NECC), which compounded a variety of drugs used for injection, [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Molecules to Medicine: Plan B: The Tradition of Politics at the FDA

In my last post, I focused on flaws in the medical device approval process. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ “FDA at a Crossroads” meeting also covered problems with drug approval. This is perhaps no better illustrated than by the disappointing decision by Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius’ to deny the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, over-the-counter [...]

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Observations

New GOP Leaders Embrace Science but Don’t Hug Trees

man hugging big tree trunk

Congress can be…chaotic. Last Thursday night, President Obama unveiled plans for immigration reform, and literally challenged Congress to stop him. The next day, Speaker of the House John Boehner said that the GOP would be suing the White House over unconstitutional changes to the Affordable Care Act. It’s a mess. But for science—and scientific research—there’s [...]

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Observations

Ted Cruz Is Not 100 Percent Wrong That Net Neutrality Is ObamaCare for the Internet

President Obama announced his support Monday for net neutrality. And Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz let loose one of his biggest howls, tweeting: “Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government. — Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014 Cruz really really does not like net [...]

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Observations

Science in a Republican Senate: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Lego version of the 3 characters in the classic movie "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"

The Republican Party is widely predicted to win control of the Senate as a result of today’s midterm elections. In broadstrokes, that outcome portends a green light for the Keystone XL Pipeline, a blow to the Affordable Care Act and a push for corporate tax reform. But what would a GOP-controlled Senate mean for scientists [...]

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Observations

Smartphone App Takes Morality Science out of the Lab and into the Real World

Image of the Smartphone Experience-Sampling Signal (SMS linking to smartphone survey). Courtesy of Wilhelm Hofmann.

Just when it seems there’s a mobile app for just about everything, psychologists have shown there’s room for one more: they are using smartphones to help them better understand the dynamics of moral and immoral behavior out in the community. A team of U.S., German and Dutch researchers has used Apple iOS, Google Android and [...]

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Observations

Google Gives the Internet Amnesia in Europe

Logo of the Court of Justice of the European Union courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the Internet’s greatest assets is also perhaps its biggest curse—it never forgets. Except in the European Union, where a court last month ruled that people have the right to have certain sensitive information about themselves deleted from Google search results. (pdf) As of Tuesday morning, the region’s most popular search engine has received [...]

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Observations

Fight over Solar Power Returns to White House Roof [Video]

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The sunshine that warms Washington, D.C. is once again generating electricity for the White House. After an absence of nearly 30 years, the Obama administration has announced that a 6.3 kilowatt photovoltaic installation of the “typical size for an American house,” is back on the White House roof and generating power. The Obama administration had [...]

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Observations

26-Minute Execution Deemed “Humane” in Ohio Analysis

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When Ohio executed convicted rapist and murderer Dennis McGuire in early 2014, it set off a maelstrom of controversy. Ohio used a drug cocktail that appeared to leave McGuire gasping for air for some 11 minutes until he was pronounced dead—26 minutes after the initial injection of his drugs. (Scientific American wrote its May editorial [...]

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Observations

DIY Opioid Antidote Gets Fast FDA Approval

Evzio is designed to be user-friendly

Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of injury in the United States. More people between the ages of 25 and 64 now die from overdose than in car crashes—and prescription drugs are largely to blame. Opioids are particularly dangerous, killing more than 16,000 people in 2010. Prescription opioid overdoses now claim more lives each year [...]

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Observations

Toxins in Nutrition Supplements Still Escape FDA Oversight

Image: Womenshealth.gov

When young and middle-aged adults started showing up at the hospital with liver failure last spring, doctors in Hawaii struggled to find the thread that connected the patients. They found it in the form of a popular sports supplement, OxyElite Pro. The supplement was linked last May to severe hepatitis, but the U.S. Food and [...]

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Observations

How to Reconcile Big Data and Privacy

White House image, courtesy of CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade

In many ways “big data” and “encryption” are antithetical. The former involves harvesting, storing and analyzing information to reveal patterns that researchers, law enforcement and industry can use to their benefit. The goal of the latter is to obscure that data from prying eyes. That tension was at the core of a conference this week [...]

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PsySociety

Mind The Gap: Overestimating Income Inequality

MoneyCash

I’m thrilled to be breaking my dissertation-imposed “mini-hiatus” this week with a series of guest posts over at the BPS Research Digest, where I’ve been asked to take over guest hosting duties for the week and write a few pieces on some recent awesome Social Psych research. First up — recent research has given us [...]

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PsySociety

Weiner’s Wiener? Too perfect to be a coincidence.

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In case you haven’t heard, Carlos Danger — AKA shamed former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner — recently got in trouble once again for exposing his infamous…well, his infamous wiener. Everyone’s had fun ragging on Weiner for his online gaffes. Two years ago, Weiner accidentally exposed a meant-to-be-privately-sent picture of his privates to the entire [...]

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PsySociety

I’m Excited About The Royal Baby (And It’s Okay If You Are Too)

Royal Wedding - The Newlyweds Greet Wellwishers From The Buckingham Palace Balcony

It’s official. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to the “royal baby” on July 22nd, a bouncing baby boy who will one day be the King of the United Kingdom. Although many Americans are thrilled to partake in the Royal Baby fanfare, I’ve also seen a lot of discussions revolving around the questionable morality of [...]

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PsySociety

Fighting Fair: How To Tackle Crucial Conversations On Facebook & Twitter

ArguingPeople

When’s the last time you had an online fight?       Unfortunately, most of us probably won’t have to try particularly hard to recall the last time that this happened.  In a recent survey, 76 percent of almost 2,700 respondents indicated that they have witnessed an argument over social media, 88 percent of respondents [...]

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PsySociety

Fox News Fact Check: Are studies on maternal employment all tinged with political bias?

Fox News

Last week, the anchors at Fox News made headlines when they covered the recent Pew Research Center finding that 40% of all households in America have a female primary breadwinner. About 1/3 of these households consist of two-parent households where the mothers make more money than their husbands, and the remaining 2/3 consist of single [...]

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PsySociety

Fox News Fact Check: Is it bad for lower-income kids if Mom has a job outside the home?

Fairbalanced

Last week, the anchors at Fox News made headlines when they covered the recent Pew Research Center finding that 40% of all households in America have a female primary breadwinner. About 1/3 of these households consist of two-parent households where the mothers make more money than their husbands, and the remaining 2/3 consist of single [...]

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PsySociety

Will changing your Facebook profile picture do anything for marriage equality?

HRC Equality Logo

As SCOTUS debates the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and DOMA this week, Facebook users all over the nation have become part of a burgeoning social media trend. Supporters of marriage equality have been changing their profile pictures to the icon on the left, a version of the Human Rights Campaign logo designed specifically to indicate [...]

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PsySociety

If the Supreme Court is biased, which way does it lean?

Shakespeare

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare, Hamlet According to a poll from the Pew Research Center that has come out just in time for this week’s historic decisions on marriage equality, we should all be concerned. As it turns out, there’s a tremendous amount of bias [...]

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PsySociety

Legalizing same-sex marriage: Politics, personalities, and persuasion tricks.

In honor of the big decisions occurring this week in SCOTUS regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, I am re-posting a slightly edited version of this piece from the archives of my WordPress blog. This was originally posted in June 2011, shortly after New York legalized same-sex marriage. You [...]

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PsySociety

Stalin, Mother Teresa, and Rob Portman: What do they have in common?

File:Rob Portman portrait.jpg

Rob Portman, Republican senator from Ohio and one-time contender for Romney’s would-be VP slot, announced on Friday that he has reversed his very public stance against gay marriage. As the well-known conservative stated in an Op-Ed piece on Friday, he now believes that “if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love [...]

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Talking back

Are Delta-FosB, or 5-HTT the Obama Genes?

The Atlantic featured a captivating fantasy in its November issue about a scenario to assassinate the U.S. president in 2016 by using a bioweapon specifically tailored to his genetic makeup—a virus that targeted the commander in chief and no one else. A great plot for a Hollywood thriller. But will we really see four years [...]

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