Science & Society


Does this count as homework? Credit: Rob Boudon, CC BY

By Mark Banks, University of Leicester


Lord Toast. Credit: Catarina Mota, CC BY-NC-SA

By Akshat Rathi, The Conversation and Flora Lisica, The Conversation

The 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18th. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think."


Could novels help us fight climate change? Credit: Asian Development Bank/flickr

By Stephanie LeMenager, University of Oregon

A frail risk analyst rediscovers his inner frontiersman in a devastating flood that hits Manhattan; an insightful rural woman glimpses the grace of god in the revelations of biological science; genetically engineered hominids who purr themselves to wellness inherit a devastated Earth.

A new review of literature suggests that while domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples, they aren't as high as previous studies have found, and the authors of the paper say the minority stress model may explain the high prevalence rates.

Previous studies indicate that domestic violence affects up to 75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. A lack of representative data and underreporting of abuse paints an incomplete picture of the true landscape, suggesting even higher rates. By comparison, 25 percent of heterosexual women report domestic abuse while heterosexual men have rates much lower.  


We've all been driving and come upon signs warning us that construction is happening and we have to slow down for the safety of workers and that penalties are going to be doubled. We see billboards with children imploring us to reduce speed because their parents are highway construction employees.

Then it turns out that there is no construction. Speed limit credibility is put to the test by those instances and as a result, people have been routinely ignoring speed limits, according to Dr. Ross Blackman, a scholar at Queensland University of Technology Centre for Accident Research&Road Safety - Queensland, who presented the findings at the Occupational Safety in Transport Conference on the Gold Coast in Australia.


Five years ago, it was good luck finding a hotel anywhere near the rural areas where natural gas extraction - fracking - was taking place.

The boom in natural gas meant a boom in employment and a boom in hotel rooms to keep workers. The wealth boosted Pennsylvania and other energy-dense states while most of the country remains mired in economic malaise. But over time people buy homes rather than rent hotel rooms and now there may be too many, says hospitality management scholars at Penn State.

"Demand is still high in many of the counties in the Marcellus Shale region, but the occupancy rate is starting to come down," says associate professor Daniel Mount. "The case could be made that this is a sign that hotels were overbuilt."


It seems that CERN and the American Physical Society APS have struck a deal to make every article published by CERN in certain APS journals  open access. 

The announcement I saw read this. 

In the modern era, a great deal of policy decisions are made by people who do not report to the public. If the EPA agrees to settle a lawsuit with canoers by calling water a pollutant, they can just do it, and stick local government with a $500 million liability. 



Under siege. Parents in confusion by Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

By Dennis Hayes, University of Derby

Students at the City Colleges of Chicago may have to do without textbooks until as late as mid October.  While the students are as bright as any they need their books, for reference, and a sense of security.  They need reassurance that what they are about to write on their homework is right.   My lectures, OneNote notes, PowerPoints, and websites can only make up for so much.  This is the case across many courses, at all campuses, in our for college credit curriculum. Not just my courses but many others as well.