Science & Society

What if I told you that half of the studies published in scientific journals today – the ones upon which news coverage of medical advances is often based – won’t hold up under scrutiny? You might say I had gone mad. No one would ever tolerate that kind of waste in a field as important – and expensive, to the tune of roughly US$30 billion in federal spending per year – as biomedical research, right? After all, this is the crucial work that hunts for explanations for diseases so they can better be treated or even cured.

A group of academics have channeled their inner Bernie Sanders and written a wonderfully naïve op-ed about how to lower drug prices: Destroy the industry that made America the world leader in biotechnology.

It's simple. Let government control drug prices and then corporations will just do what they always do, but it will be a lot cheaper. It is so simplistic it could have been written by Paul Krugman in the New York Times. It is also in defiance of how science, creativity and medical advancement works, and would lead to a mass exodus of science jobs from America.

Someone forgot to tell James Beck that Oceanographers are supposed to work near an ocean. 

China and Taiwan have enhanced government ability to be more effective in ensuring food safety and guarding against food fraud, according to a July 13th panel discussion atthe Institute of Food Technologists meeting in Chicago.


When you can be arrested for letting your children go to the park alone, we might be a little hyper-vigilant, yet on the other side multiple times per week there is indignation that child protective services failed to stop some idiot parents who were harming a child. It may be the precautionary principle run amok but doctors and government workers are the people who will be sued if they are not going overboard looking for problems.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is making $100 million per year scaring people about food and other science. It isn't helping the public be any safer, it is just making people enjoy food less, according to a new study.


Though women outnumber men in all but tenured positions, there is concern that the numbers are still not high enough. If that is true, you wouldn't know it by filing patents with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office over the past 40 years.

This week I’ve had the privilege of having retired astronaut Woody Spring and Crash, a retired Navy test pilot, each of them with decades of DoD leadership experience as instructors at an advanced Test&Evaluation course.  Their friendly and enthusiastic willingness to pass on knowhow was infectious to myself and my classmates, military and civilian folks who really care about trying to do things right. 

More than 34 million children's lives have been saved since 2000 because of investments in child health programs at a cost of as little as $4,205 per child, according to a new analysis in The Lancet.

This analysis builds off the work of an international collaboration of researchers and, for the first time, creates a scorecard that allows governments, policymakers, and donors to track investments in child health and to link those investments to child deaths averted across countries in a comparable manner.  


Another Fourth of July is here, the time for backyard barbecues, picnics, cookouts, parades, swimming and fireworks.

One of those Independence Day pastimes, however, stands apart: fireworks. They’re a somewhat controversial topic in the US and are covered by a patchwork of different laws.