Science Education & Policy

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."

Though most government workers enjoy a good life - in the last decade salaries rose to 'compete with the private sector' and they were the only group that has not suffered unemployment under the lingering recession - they are not immune from criticism. Recently there have been calls to reduce benefits for teachers and a group of academics are proactively defending them.

Coastal communities around the world are being increasingly exposed to the hazards of rising sea levels, with global sea levels found to be rising faster over the past two decades than for the bulk of the 20th century.

But managing the impacts of rising seas for some communities is being made more difficult by the actions of governments, homeowners – and even some well-intentioned climate adaptation practitioners.

Representatives from more than 190 countries will travel to Paris next week in emissions-belching vehicles to dine on five-course meals and talk about creating a process to reduce greenhouse gases over time.  Then 170 of them will ignore it while the ones with few CO2 emissions will claim they are doing their part. 

An economics paper in Science estimates that the Paris pledges can reduce the probability of the highest levels of warming, and increase the probability of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, if they are implemented and numerical models are accurate. 

With over half a million robotic surgical procedures performed last year, this mode of surgery is quickly becoming a standard in the medical industry, particularly for urology and gynecology. Yet, no standard for training the surgeons behind the robot exists today. Since the start of robotic surgery, there has been a need for a universal training system to ensure surgeons are fully prepared to deal with any situation they encounter in the operating room.

A simple test using a raisin can predict how well a toddler will perform academically at age eight, according to a new paper. Using just the piece of dried fruit and a plastic cup they have devised a test based on how long a 20-month old child can wait to pick up a raisin in front of them. 

When I was an elementary school student, schools in my hometown administered IQ tests every couple of years. I felt very scared of the psychologist who came in to give those tests.

I also performed terribly. As a result, at one point, I was moved to a lower-grade classroom so I could take a test more suitable to my IQ level.

Consequently, I believed that my teachers considered me stupid. I, of course, thought I was stupid. In addition, I also thought my teachers expected low-quality work from a child of such low IQ. So, I gave them what they expected.

Last month, it was announced that Belgium based Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and London based SABMiller have agreed to merge for around $106 billion, the third largest deal in corporate history. The new company will produce an estimated one third of all beer sold worldwide.

Why would anyone agree to a higher tax? The most common technique is to convince enough citizens that someone else will pay for it. Vermont is happy with higher taxes when voters know they will get far more money from the federal government than they ever pay but most people are more skeptical. Social Security is always a decade away from insolvency because the money is spent right now.

And sometimes voters can be convinced that a tax on X will only be used on Y. California recently had a referendum on education funding, which was going to be narrowly applied - but politicians did not tell voters that it was going to be narrowly applied so they could use other education funding for other purposes.

The accuracy and reliability of expert advice is often compromised and needs to be interrogated with the same tenacity as research data to avoid weak and ill-informed policy, according to risk analysis scholars writing in Nature.