Science & Society

Whether or not a coastal city floods during a hurricane depends on the storm, tide and sea level, and now a team of climate scientists show that the risk of New York City flooding has increased dramatically during the industrial era as a result of human-caused climate change. During "SuperStorm" Sandy in the fall of 2012 most of New York City's transportation tunnels flooded and the storm surge breached the sea walls on the southern tip of Manhattan Island at Battery Park, flooding subway tunnels.

 The strength of the surge is not just dependent on the storm's force, but also on the size of the storm, the state of the tides and sea level.

Goldenrod, Himalayan balsam, Chinese windmill palm: three plants, one problem. All are native to continents other than Europe, but were introduced to Switzerland as garden or ornamental plants. At some point they "escaped" into the wild, where they now threaten the native flora.

This phenomenon isn't limited to Switzerland: biological invasions happen on every continent every day. A major driver of this is global trade, which is increasingly shifting to the internet and being conducted on auction platforms like eBay. As a result, one click is all it takes to spread potentially invasive plants from continent to continent - and unintentionally encouraging biological invasions.

Monitoring online auctions

As much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, according to a paper in Global Environmental Change, which takes advantage of a recent spotlight on the sustainability of the world's seafood resources.

 The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended increasing seafood consumption to eight ounces per person per week and consuming a variety of seafood in place of some meat and poultry. Yet achieving those levels would require doubling the U.S. seafood supply, which could threaten the global seafood supply if more farming and less waste are not considered.

If you get money from a corporation, are you for sale?

It’s obviously a silly question, since almost everyone in America signs the backs of checks ratherr than the front of them, yet much of the public tends to think that if a scientist gets funding from the government or a corporation, they are mandated to produce a specific, pre-chosen result, even though those same people would not agree that their own “funding source” — an employer — controls their beliefs.

What can high school kids do with the Pythagorean theorem that's possibly useful AND cool? You can add in the experimental fact that the speed of light is a constant, c. Then you can derive the time dilation formula from special relativity (and this is just for starters). Here's one nice link to an online derivation with animation: link. Below is my daughter deriving the formula for herself, and it fit on her small whiteboard.

You can resist buying a candy bar while you're waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store--but you'll buy any pair of shoes that are on sale. Your best friend, in contrast, wouldn't dream of buying a pair of shoes he thinks he doesn't need, no matter how low the price--but he can't resist buying that same candy bar you so easily ignore. According to a new study in the Journal of Public Policy&Marketing, it is precisely those differences in self-control that researchers need to pay attention to when assessing the impact of public policies.

As the study reports, if you want to understand the effectiveness of a regulation or tax on a specific behavior, use a measure of self-control specific to that behavior.

Authors of a new report have examined the use of gender quotas to increase the number of women at the highest career levels in academia. 'Exploring quotas in academia', a report of a study conducted by EMBO in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, looks at the potential benefits and challenges that could arise from the use of quotas as one way to achieve better gender balance in academia. The report describes options for introducing quotas and provides information for decision makers who might consider implementing them.

Last week there was another very public case of a journal article being retracted as a result of academic misconduct. This time it was in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), with the lead author – Dr Anna Ahimastos, working at Melbourne’s Baker IDI – reportedly admitting she fabricated data.
Daraprim yesterday sold for $13.50 a tablet.  Today it's $750 a tablet according to many sources (NYTimes; CNBC, etc.). This 62 year old drug for treating life-threatening parasitic infections was acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals.  Patients might be newborns and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer and AIDS patients.

Who hasn't used Doxycycline?  It's a very old drug after all.  A bottle would set you back $20 in October of 2013.  Now it'll set you back by $1,849.  Nice.
Is the public jaded to Internet marketing campaigns concerning overseas crises?