Science Education & Policy

In almost 20 years, China's Research  &  Development (R&D) expenditure as a percentage of its gross domestic product has more than tripled, reaching 1.98 percent in 2012. 

That is a big improvement, it surpasses all 28 countries that make up the European Union, which collectively managed 1.96 percent. But where is the money going? 

By George Veletsianos, Royal Roads University

The belief that technology can automate education and replace teachers is pervasive. Framed in calls for greater efficiency, this belief is present in today’s educational innovations, reform endeavors, and technology products. We can do better than adopting this insipid perspective and aspire instead for a better future where innovations imagine creative new ways to organize education.

Though the rich get richer and the stock market is booming, which has led to claims by the administration that things are fine, the American public hasn't been this pessimistic about the future since Jimmy Carter was president. Pessimism has instead leaped 40% higher since 2009, when the Great Recession was in full swing.

It is not a "All your base are belong to us" world in video games any more.

Today, if you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary, according to a study by the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad University, Sweden. And games do.

The study confirms what many parents and teachers already suspected: young people who play a lot of interactive English computer games gain an advantage in terms of their English vocabulary compared with those who do not play or only play a little.

Deforestation along roads in Rondonia, Brazil. Source: Google Earth

By Bill Laurance, James Cook University

“The best thing you could do for the Amazon is to blow up all the roads.” These might sound like the words of an eco-terrorist, but it’s actually a direct quote from Professor Eneas Salati, a forest climatologist and one of Brazil’s most respected scientists.

In the world of mixed environmental and social problems, such as global warming policy, there is a tug of war between social authoritarian forces that want top-down laws and regulations and behavior control, and a grass roots strategy that believes awareness and people making better consumption choices will be superior.

A paper in the Journal of Consumer Research is evidence for the social authoritarians. It finds that responsible consumption shifts the burden for solving global problems from governments to consumers and ultimately benefits corporations more than society.

What the government sees as a quality university isn’t necessarily the same as what students see. University of Nottingham. Flickr/Simon Paterson, CC BY-SA

By Jane O'Callaghan Kotzmann, Deakin University

Prescriptions for opioid painkillers for chronic pain have increased in the United States and so have overdose deaths, but a new study focused on how the availability of alternative nonopioid treatment, such as medical marijuana, may affect overdose rates. 

States that implemented medical marijuana laws appear to have lower annual opioid analgesic overdoses death rates (both from prescription pain killers and illicit drugs such as heroin) than states without such laws although the reason why is not clear.

Nottingham Trent University, CC BY-NC-ND

By Alister Scott, Birmingham City University