Science & Society

Though women outnumber men in all but tenured positions, there is concern that the numbers are still not high enough. If that is true, you wouldn't know it by filing patents with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office over the past 40 years.

This week I’ve had the privilege of having retired astronaut Woody Spring and Crash, a retired Navy test pilot, each of them with decades of DoD leadership experience as instructors at an advanced Test&Evaluation course.  Their friendly and enthusiastic willingness to pass on knowhow was infectious to myself and my classmates, military and civilian folks who really care about trying to do things right. 

More than 34 million children's lives have been saved since 2000 because of investments in child health programs at a cost of as little as $4,205 per child, according to a new analysis in The Lancet.

This analysis builds off the work of an international collaboration of researchers and, for the first time, creates a scorecard that allows governments, policymakers, and donors to track investments in child health and to link those investments to child deaths averted across countries in a comparable manner.  


Another Fourth of July is here, the time for backyard barbecues, picnics, cookouts, parades, swimming and fireworks.

One of those Independence Day pastimes, however, stands apart: fireworks. They’re a somewhat controversial topic in the US and are covered by a patchwork of different laws.

Few in the English-speaking world (and even the non-English-speaking world) are unfamiliar with Alice and her encounters with nonsense and play in Wonderland, whether through the original texts, or their many adaptations. Alice has walked across pages, stages, and screens; she is playable and played.

This timeless text speaks to all - adult, child, reader and player. The adaptability of Lewis Carroll’s language, the openness of its story world and the malleable nature of Alice’s character all beckon us to return to Wonderland in its many different guises.

A federal preschool program did more than improve educational opportunities for poor children in Mississippi during the 1960s - it created activists. 


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.