Thanksgiving Science 2015

In the mood for some science on Thanksgiving? Me too, science is the one thing that has not...

Poll Averaging Was No More Accurate In 2012 Than It Is Now

In 2012, the enthusiasm for poll averaging reached a fever pitch. Very few people were critical...

Fossil Fuel Divestment: An Intellectual Placebo For The Wealthy College Near You

“Here’s my bet: the kids are going to win and when they do, it’s going to matter,” prophesized...

Would Shoppers Be Happy If They Know Organic Trade Groups Use Member Fees For Hate Speech?

Organic food has managed to wrap itself in both a health and ethical halo and a lot of the credit...

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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0® in 2006 and, since July of 2015, the President of the American Council on Science and Health.

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The Economist argues, as they would be expected to argue, given their free market leaning, that due to the glut of Ph.D.s and therefore the poor job market (in academia), it is a waste of time.   A Ph.D. who enters the job corporate world for anything except basic research has the wrong set of skills, according to corporate hiring managers, so it is actually better to hire a bachelor's or Masters degree and spend the time in the corporate world.  Numbers bear it out.  While a Ph.D. earns more than a bachelor's degree today the difference between a Ph.D. and a Masters is barely noticeable.
Wrestlers are taught to ignore an opponent's eyes and instead watch his waist - nothing much is happening that his waist won't be involved in whereas eyes can be misleading.    That means wrestlers are conservatives, according to new research coming out in Attention, Perception&Psychophysics.

Progressives follow eye movements more than conservatives, the authors contend.   That means that progressives (also, liberals, if you don't know what the word liberal means) and conservatives quite literally do not see the world in the same way.   The researchers measured reaction to 'gaze cues' - the tendency to shift attention based on another person's eye movements.  Essentially, they wanted to find out who looked more at what distracted someone else.
In the category of lesser-known holidays that could be celebrated on December 25th, the coronation of William of Normandy in 1066 A.D. as first King of what we know as modern England would have to be considered.    It was the last time a foreign nation would conquer the island nation and years later the Brits gave us all Shakespeare, Christmas Island and America.
What do you get when you cross Science 2.0, the cultural buzzterm that really took off in 2010 (and brought with it a whole host of colloquial meanings veering into 'web 2.0-ish, it means whatever you want it to mean' jargon) with a western world Christmas season?

You get an excuse to do a compilation of science articles, that's what.

So once again this year I have compiled topical articles from this year and seasons past.
Some detractors believe science is an 'old boys network' resistant to outsiders - if that were true, a group of young boys and girls wouldn't have their first journal publication.  At age eight.

Biology Letters has a study conducted by an English elementary school (Devon) and the young investigators  examined the way bees see colors and patterns (buff-tailed bumble-bee - Bombus terrestris).  Their lab?  A local churchyard.

Using the scientific method and time-honored experimental procedures, they "provide convincing evidence that bees can transpose between learned colour, pattern and spatial cues when encountering changes in a coloured scene." 
In the 1989 holiday classic "Scrooged", the chairman of the television network predicts that because there were so many pets in America they would become steady viewers in 20 years - which would be 2009.    So he asks network executive Bill Murray to introduce Door Mice instead of Door Men in their live Christmas Eve version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", in order to get a head start on appealing to television-watching pets.

Far fetched?   Perhaps, though singing mice are sure to get everyone's attention, not just your cat.