Science Education & Policy

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control recently highlighted a campaign to convince up to 86 million Americans that they have pre-diabetes, a condition that doesn't even exist. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is concerned that health care costs under the Affordable Care Act have skyrocketed and millennials are opting to pay the penalty rather than get the health care, which could be twice as expensive. 

When you don't have much money, you have to prioritize, and that is a key issue that the wealthy elites who set off on insurance reform forgot to factor in. Massachusetts, which the Federal government claimed was a model for its Affordable Care Act, now has to spend 40 percent of its budget so that 25 percent of people can have even basic health care. That is not sustainable.

One progressive effort to wipe out racism today is to insist it's still omnipresent now but eliminate it from the past. So authors like Mark Twain, or even Ian Fleming, are shoved to the side if they examined the culture of their day uncritically. In the case of Mark Twain, even a black character who is clearly a hero has to be censored. 

So it goes in film media as well. There is a Disney film you can't buy in the United States, but you can buy in England, because it is racist in the United States. Yet the English brought slaves to America, Thomas Jefferson instead made importation of slaves illegal in 1808. And they don't think it is racist.

Children who participate in collaborative group work to learn about significant social issues become better decision-makers than their peers who learn the same curriculum through teacher-led discussions, a new study finds.

More than 760 fifth-grade students were involved in the study, which compared the efficacy of collaborative group work with conventional direct instruction at promoting students' ability to make reasoned decisions and apply those skills in a novel task.

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration sharply reduced the number of foreign work visas - the reason was protectionism, the belief that foreign workers were taking American jobs.

Things didn't work out as planned. Jobs instead went overseas and since we did not reduce student visas, Asian students learned at the best schools in the world and were forced to return home to compete with Americans, rather than becoming Americans.

The reason to force young people to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was because they are an easy profit center. They won't use much in the early years but they will when they are old, when a new generation of young people will be forced to pay.

It hasn't really worked out that way. While emergency room visits did go down slightly, visits were instead done more in an office for the difference, the cost of mental illness ER visits in this age group increased "significantly," as did diseases of the circulatory system, according to a paper in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

In the early days of food labeling and regulations, it was just about mandating honesty. If you go to buy mayonnaise, you shouldn’t have to wonder if it is mayonnaise, the government reasoned, so they passed a law in 1938 requiring honesty about ingredients. The charlatans went out of the business and the free market that remained embraced “better” ingredients as a marketing distinction. It worked well.

"Privileged" has become one of those words thrown at everyone who has been successful; it's generally a bad idea because it tells people nothing they do matters, social classes and wealth are fixed, and that cultural determinism rules it all.

Could alcohol abstinence campaigns like Dry January may do more harm than good?

The Dry January campaign estimates that last year over 2 million people cut down their drinking for January, but popular doesn't necessarily mean effective, and the claims lack rigorous evaluation. Like 'don't buy gas on Tuesday', it isn't really changing anything if people engage in the same behavior a little later.

Campbell Soup Co., which makes a variety of foods including the namesake soups and Prego pasta sauce, has declared their intention to put labels on their foods noting they are “partially produced with genetic engineering.”

Some are lamenting this will be a slippery slope to process labels being used as warnings, and undermining confidence in modern agriculture, while anti-science groups are hailing it as a victory. US Right To Know, an outreach group funded by organic food corporations and aided by the partisan attack site SourceWatch, is certainly declaring this a big win for their clients.