Science & Society


J. Marion Sims by Jim.Henderson, CC BY-SA

By David T. Z. Mindich, St. Michael's College

On an October day in 1894, a group of New York City’s leading doctors gathered to unveil a statue in honor of one of the greatest surgeons of his day and the founder of New York’s Women’s Hospital, J. Marion Sims, an Alabama doctor and a man they called “the father of modern gynecology.”


For MSNBC, climate change is an opportunity to stoke anger over conservative “denialists.” MSNBC 5/12/14

By Matthew Nisbet, Northeastern University

Recent Pew Research Center studies offer valuable insight on the ideological makeup of those Americans most likely to voice their opinion in politics generally and the climate debate specifically, including the news sources they rely on to articulate their arguments.

The camera and lens that Wally Schirra and Gordo Cooper carried into space during their Mercury Program flights is going up for auction in a few weeks. 

Wally Schirra, a known camera enthusiast, said the Hasselblad camera they used was held in highest regard by photographers for its superior engineering, craftsmanship, and top-of-the-line quality. He reportedly purchased the Hasselblad 500c camera at a Houston photo supply shop in 1962, and brought it back to NASA for mission use preparation.
You may not have realized it, but women's voices are a big topic. For women, at least. 

I suppose it may be true. If someone asks me to describe the characters in television comedy "The Big Bang Theory", my natural response would be 'the guy that matches the stereotype of how people think physicists are, the actual physicist, the engineer, the psychologist, the girl who looked a lot better with longer hair and the girl with the squeaky voice.'

See? 16% of my responses were related to female voice. She did better than the Indian guy, I forgot him completely, but whatever her science degree is was completely left out, the voice sticks out.
How can the international community know it is election time in the United States? A whole raft of claims about science and why you should vote one way or the other will be produced. Some people have even claimed politics is hard-wired, which would mean that American Republicans and Democrats are distinct species, having branched off from the rest of the world in 1860.

While biologists laugh at the idea that voting preferences are biological, sociologists, psychologists and political scientists continue to match surveys to science and claim it might be true. What if only tall people voted Democrat and they only married other Democrats? Would that not shape evolution? Democrats would be tall and imposing and psychologists would say they will get their way more often.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) is very popular with people who have no serious issues, because it is free - if they have to wait a few weeks, it is no big deal. For doctors, it isn't so great. The cost to attend medical school is not high, around $15,000 per year, but in their first year they will only earn about $30,000 annually. A specialist is almost 50% higher and that is part of the reason why the UK is losing General Practioners, at the bottom of the wage scale, faster than they can replace them.


The far left in America loves government. Advocacy groups are always calling for new laws, new regulations, new bans and more layers of bureaucracy to put a stop to whatever they dislike. The right is increasingly suspicious of it, regarding every policy as a road to George Orwell's "1984".

That was not always the case. In the 1950s and '60s, it was the left who was on the right and the right was on the left. Government meant law and order and the right was opposed to anarchy and protests promoted by the left.



Confucius stands guard at Beijing's Renmin University. George (Sam) Crane, Author provided

By Sam (George T.) Crane, Williams College


Standing up for science. Credit: Sense About Science

By Lydia Le Page, University of Edinburgh

The 3rd annual John Maddox Prize has been awarded to Emily Willingham, a science writer in the US, and David Robert Grimes, a physicist at the University of Oxford, in recognition of their work in the face of public hostility.


Come play with us. For ever. And ever. And ever. Alex Eylar

By Baden Eunson, Monash University

Recently, the Danish Toymaker Lego announced its plans for a reality TV show to be launched in 2015, rumored to be based on the idea of Master Builders, the top “construction workers” in the insanely successful Lego Movie earlier this year.