Science & Society

I have always imagined a future that is free of disease. However, we continue to suffer from diseases such as malaria, cancer, and AIDS for which there is no known cure. To make matters worse, other diseases such as poliomyelitis that were once considered to be eradicated are returning.  Recall the success of the vaccine developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk (1914-1995) to combat this scourge, but poliomyelitis is still endemic in Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Egypt.

The "Art&Science" project is coming to the final phase as far as the activities in Venice are concerned. About 100 15 to 17-year-old students from high schools in Venice have assisted to lessons on particle physics and the Higgs boson in the past months, and have been challenged to produce, alone or in groups of up to three, artistic compositions inspired by what they had learned. This resulted in 38 artworks, many of which are really interesting. The 17 best works will be exposed at the Palazzo del Casinò of the Lido of Venice, the site of the international EPS conference, next July 5-12, and the three best among them will receive prizes during a public event on July 8th, in presence of the CERN director general Fabiola Gianotti.

You are about to hear a huge sigh of relief from the entire science journalism community, because Alan Alda, a man who can interview E.O. Wilson and Jim Watson with ease, who hosted the terrific Scientific American Frontiers, and founded the Alan Alda Center for Communication Science at Stony Brook University, has trouble communicating.

A research firm has just bestowed the title “world’s most valuable insurance brand” on a mainland Chinese company. Other outfits issue similar announcements in diverse industries, despite that in 2014 The Economist made this remark about brands: “Their importance may be fading… no one agrees on how much they are worth or why.”

The decline of brands: We should have seen it coming, when mass customization first began to overshadow mass production. Scholars point to info tech to explain the growing irrelevance of brands; online customer reviews and social media now substitute for the “shorthand” information packages that brands once provided.

The right to make one’s own legal decisions is typically denied for two reasons: Youth (minority) and incompetence. Incompetence is a state of mental incapacity to make one’s own decisions in a way which is informed with regard to the consequences and rational.

A new national poll says that parents are in a panic about things like swimming pools.

Least likely to think their kids can swim; black parents. A slight majority of white parents are fine with kids swimming sans parental hovering. Almost all parents think a natural lake (84 percent) or ocean (87 percent) , lacking concrete and a diving board, is too dangerous to be allowed. Only 63 percent would even allow kids to swim in their backyard. 

Granted, pools can be dangerous, with some 5,000 child and teen injuries a year and around 1,000 drowning deaths occurring, but it shows we are bad at evaluating risk. Sharks attack fewer people than cows do, but who do you think parents worry more about after Shark Week?
The National Commission on Forensic Science was dissolved by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a decisive action that brought an end to a highly decorated body of professionals, but one that was frequently stymied by legal gamesmanship and discord.  The commission, a precipitant of the Obama administration's criminal justice reform efforts, was curiously loaded with trial attorneys, law professors, and other academicians but relatively few forensic scientists.
Atrial fibrillation and flutter (also known as AFF) is associated with serious health problems and is a significant contributor to death rates. Knowing that, why would there be different death rates for male and female patients who presented with AFF to emergency departments and then discharged? Even 30 and 90 days after discharge. 

AFF is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that is associated with blood clots to the brain (e.g., stroke) and other organs, heart failure, and sometimes death. It affects approximately 2.66 million Americans. 

A.D. 1200 has been called the golden age, as characterized by a booming economy combined with widespread prosperity. Europe's population had reached the height of its growth, reaching about 70 million people, beyond which, according to historians, it would have been incompatible to resupply of food products, with the technologies of the time. The hot weather was optimal for harvesting in the fields, flourishing agriculture.

Yet another article in the Telegraph: this time Supermarket rocket salad healthier than homegrown. featuring the vegetable kingdom this time: