Science Education & Policy

The belief in Washington, D.C. political circles is that if kids have no choice, they will eventually eat whatever they are given. And they will grow to like it.

Does that work? In some instances it does, which is all the validation that culturally estranged people need to continue with a social experiment. The mistake they make is using the number of kids who take the food they are given and assuming that eventually it means the kids will eat it. 

Probably not, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, at least unless the government starts going into homes and controlling what they eat there as well.

Professor Anne Glover, the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission, has been sacked. 

Well, not technically, the European Commission is simply not extending her position. That is diplomatic speech for 'there are a lot more anti-science Europeans voting than there are researchers and they really do not like you.'  

There may be disagreement about whether or not telling teenagers to not have sex works but that could be due to puberty. In younger kids, cookie abstinence works just fine. Even the Cookie Monster can get kids to eat fewer cookies, and cookies are kind of his thing.

Deborah Linebarger, an associate professor in Teacher and Learning at the University of Iowa, studied a group of preschoolers who repeatedly watched videos of Cookie Monster practicing ways to control his desire to eat a bowl of chocolate chip cookies.

"Me want it," Cookie Monster sings in a video, "but me wait."

The Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan was released in June of 2014 and is seeking public comments until December 1st so if you want to yell about liberals or Big Oil, you are running out of time.

The plan is like most government policies, they picked a number out of thin air and will tell businesses to meet the standards or close up shop. The government lost a gigantic amount of money subsidizing legacy solar power technology and have realized that the only way solar can be viable without funding actual basic research is to make everything else expensive, so existing power plants have to reduce emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

When Ebola was the latest rage in mainstream media (that would be last month - poor people in Africa are so October of 2014) National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins was quick to capitalize on it - they could have had a vaccine by now, he claimed, if only funding had not been flat since 2004.

Science blogging was, naturally, quick to blame Republicans and The Sequester and whatever else would get Democrats to the polls in the run-up to elections. 

Kakadu National Park, Australia. Rita Willaert/Flickr, CC BY-NC

By Bob Pressey, James Cook University and Euan Ritchie, Deakin University

Blaming 'Jordan syndrome' doesn't really cut it. British celebrity Katie Price (R) on the red carpet before the start of the Vienna State Opera Ball in Vienna, Austria, 11 February 2010. Robert Jaeger/EPA

By Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, University of Leicester

The Drax plant in Yorkshire. Gareth Davies, CC BY

By Richard Tol, University of Sussex

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Gavin Andrew Stewart, CC BY

By Arnaud Chevalier, Royal Holloway and Olivier Marie, Maastricht University

Germany and the rest of Europe are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the associated communist regimes in Eastern Europe.