Science & Society

Spend any time in American science media and you may find some of them are pretty far out of the political mainstream; so far out, they may not even be friends with anyone who has not always voted the same way as them.

So it's unsurprising that much of science media once perpetuated the claim that 'science votes Democrat.'  Humans are fallible and confirmation bias is sneaky. As was apocryphally attributed to New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael after the 1972 Presidential election and a Richard M. Nixon landslide victory, "I don't know how Nixon won. No one I know voted for him." (1)
Research that found links between abortion and breast cancer also found men who had 'much opportunity to participate in parties' were more likely to have stomach cancer. Credit: burningmax/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

By Louise Keogh, University of Melbourne

Jack The Ripper is famous - everyone in the Western world has heard of the unsolved case of the Whitechapel serial killer who preyed on prostitutes for a few months in 1888.

There were only five (or six) of those murders almost 130 years ago yet today there are 17 different grisly tours in London's East End about them. 


The pressure's on JJ Abrams and the new Star Wars films.Credit: wiredphotostream, CC BY-NC

By Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Manchester Metropolitan University


We come in peace. redgum, CC BY-NC-SA

By Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

My Kickstarter project has closed having raised  $220 out of the needed $2500 to help me either publish some scientific papers or to buy a telescope for astronomy students to use. Instead of money I got discounts on the publication fees from the journal Science Open Research, I was invited to publish for free in The Winnower, and the International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics. So my Kickstarter got one of my papers published, and the other two closer to being published. In that sense my project was also a success.

Not all students returning to school this month will be up to date on their vaccinations and a new paper in Gender&Society by Jennifer Reich,a professor of Sociology from the University of Colorado Denver, correlates it to the class privilege of their mothers.


It's no secret that anti-vaccination hotbeds correlate to income and other lifestyle choices. Put a pin in a Whole Foods store in California and you can find a hotbed of anti-vaccine sentiment in the parking lot and surrounding neighborhood. In America, red states have overwhelming vaccine acceptance while blue states are where the problems are occurring.

A look at 634 couples found that the more often they smoked marijuana, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence.  

The scholars attempted to clarify inconsistent findings about domestic violence among pot-smoking couples that primarily has been based on cross-sectional data (i.e., data from one point in time). Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study found:

  • More frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by husbands.

  • Husbands' marijuana use also predicted less frequent IPV perpetration by wives.


For 'credence' services such as auto-repair, health care, and legal services, when more service providers care about the customer's well-being, society as whole may actually be worse off.   

Why? Because the benefit to the customers for the service is difficult to assess before and even after the service. For example, when an auto mechanic tells a customer to make some repairs, the average customer is unable to discern the veracity of the recommendation. The risk of not doing repairs is unknown until a breakdown, if any, occurs. But if repairs are undertaken, their value may never be known.