Science Education & Policy

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.

In the rush to solve mainstream media stories about airline passengers sitting on the place on the tarmac for hours and hours, the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2010 Tarmac Delay Rule glossed over concerns that it would lead to more delays and cancellations - exactly what has happened.

As a result, it takes most air passengers far more time to reach their destination for all pasangers than ever occurred for a few during lengthy tarmac delays, according to a study in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

At this time of year it is common to see food drives for the less fortunate - and then we see reports saying that low-income people are disproportionately obese and can't control themselves and need to be taxed more heavily in order to eat less.

How can it be both? Welcome to modern American food policy.

Academics writing in Marketing Science want poor people to spend more on food and analyzed six years of sales data from over 1,700 supermarkets across the U.S. to make the case that poor people will behave as elites want if the price of food is changed. 

The Code of Federal Regulations, which govern ‘standards of identity’, was created in 1938 specifically to prevent companies from selling fake food using established names and duping customers into thinking they got one thing while spending money on another.
With the release of a study that found gender bias in federal agencies that fund Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) research, Congresswomen Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are demanding immediate action to ensure gender equality in publicly funded research. 

Over half of patients with controlled type 2 diabetes have many more tests than is currently recommended by national guidelines, and this has been associated with overtreatment of the condition, suggests a large US study published in The BMJ.

Overtreatment is a concern because it can lead to higher costs in the healthcare system,  a concern due to runaway expenses causes by the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by officials and the public.

Since Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by lifestyle rather than a predisposition, "patients and doctors should question the value of routine tests."