Science & Society

The Shackled Man hypothesis rightly notes that if two people are running a race, and one has leg irons on, the shackled person is going to perform poorly. 50 yards into the race, if we remove the leg irons, claiming that everyone now has an equal chance to win is silly. 

For that reason, affirmative action when it came to college admissions made perfect sense two generations ago. We know there was institutional racism and we knew it would take time to cure (racists had to retire or die off, and each generation would be less bigoted, but that doesn't happen right away) so giving a minority that likely did not have access to the same education, but had no less ability, a temporary boost, was both ethical and unnecessary.
Government-funded science spends a lot of money promoting the idea that only government-funded science is real science, even though almost 60 percent of basic research and almost 100 percent of applied research is done by the private sector.

It has worked. When people picture a hard science like physics, they picture a university-based lab. In reality, physicists often leave academia for jobs in the private sector, pursuing careers that are traditionally not tracked in workforce surveys of the physics field. Investment banking loves people who can create models that may translate to the real world, for example.
The catalogue of the Johannesburg Public Library in South Africa contains a poignant entry – “Biko, Steve. Long 0verdue”.

The entry refers to I Write What I Like, a volume of collected writings by Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader tortured to death in police custody in 1977.

The library used to have six copies of the volume but they have all been borrowed and never returned.

Now that most colleges and universities have completed their spring semesters, course instructors are opening up sealed manila envelopes, all over the country, to read their teaching evaluations.

And, like each year, what they’ll find has been pervasively slanted by gender bias.

21 states have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that the expansion would be too expensive. And since California had to convince taxpayers with a state government mandate to remain revenue neutral on the program, based on promises by Democrats in Washington, D.C., and are looking at an $80 million deficit the moment Federal subsidies expire, it seems like those 21 states are right.

But economists at Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health argue that  the cost to hospitals from uncompensated care in those states roughly equals the cost of Medicaid expansion.


Renewable energy targets mandates and subsidies now in place in 164 countries powered the growth of solar, wind and other green technologies to record-breaking energy generation capacity in 2014. So to advocates that means CO2 emissions and growth do not have to go hand-in-hand. To critics, the fact that these alternative energy schemes only work when there are mandates and subsidies means fossil fuels should be cleaner, not eliminated.

According to REN21's latest Renewables Global Status Report, policymakers continued to focus on adapting existing policies to keep pace with rapidly changing costs and circumstances.


The environmental movement has been successful, according to humanities scholars at Michigan State University. Certainly that is where the money is. Though environmental groups and pro-science groups are industry and politically funded, only the pro-science groups are dismisses as industry-funded, despite that fact that one group, Union of Concerned Scientists, has more funding than all pro science groups in America combined. 


Decades ago, the American Council on Science and Health said that saturated fats were not as bad as was being portrayed and replacements would be worse. National Resources Defense Council and other scare-story-of-the-month groups had sided with yet another ban on food to get mainstream media attention and said anyone who disagreed must be a shill for Big Bacon. They wanted everything replaced with trans fats.

Now, science has been proven correct again and anti-science groups look foolish. The FDA has found partially hydrogenated oils have no value and some risk, so they are going to be banned unless companies receive an exemption. 


Vermont's somewhat odd GMO warning label law, which made sure to exempt anything that would impact Just Label It yogurt millionaire Gary Hirshberg's supply of dairy and import things like alcohol, restaurants and the Whole Foods deli section, is about to cost consumers millions of dollars.
Child fitness levels are falling at an even faster rate than first feared - and it has nothing to do with obesity, according to a new study. Of more than 300 pupils aged between 10 and 11 who took part, the researchers expected that children with a lower BMI would do better than the heavier children they measured six years ago.

But the follow-up to a 2009 study showed child fitness declined by 8% over the previous ten years - yet the children they tested were actually thinner than those measured in 2008.