Science & Society

Newton’s apple fell from the tree and after thumping the scientist on the head, fell benignly to the ground. If the same apple fell toward Einstein (and happened to have a little added atomic oomph), it could, according to special relativity, become infinitely massive, flattening not only the unfortunate Einstein as he sat bodhisattva-like beneath the tree, but also the Earth itself.

This doesn’t mean Newton was wrong—only, that his theories apply more accurately to things traveling at speeds that don’t approach the speed of light (from slow-moving atomic particles to city transit busses). The crucial postulate of Einstein’s theory is the idea that the speed of light is measured to be exactly the same no matter the motion of the observer.
Many people will write columns, fiction, games, et cetera for the joy of doing it.  But that leads me to an important distinction between writing versus publishing.  Writers-- good and bad-- will write for free.  History tells us that.  But a good editor won't, and publishing great works requires great editors.

In all the Web2.0 talk of removing barriers between creators and audience, the role of 'publisher' is often considered a dark ages legacy, fit to be abolished.  But the role of editor rarely is invoked, and I think that's a mistake.  Yes, the editor is the bane to writers, but they are a hidden blessing to readers.  
Most conspiracy theories wouldn't gain much traction without unhinged academics:

"The most destructive people linked to conspiracy theories and denialism are those with academic appointments - and those who can manipulate their backgrounds to appear as if they have had academic appointments."


Why? Probably because they write are fluently and prolifically than the guy you meet at 2pm in the bar who can't stop going on about all of those people on Hillary Clinton's hit list. (Hey, if you're in the bar at 2pm, you're asking for it.)
A baffling report says health workers fail to understand the importance of sex for Tanzanian children.   Yes, children.

Community health organizations working on AIDS prevention projects in Tanzania, frequently fail to understand how children in Tanzania deal with sex, says Miranda van Reeuwijk, who followed groups of children in Tanzania between 2004 and 2008.  

van Reeuwijk followed the children in order to help change this situation and says the children mainly view sex as something from which they can personally benefit, but frequently hide their relationships from parents and health workers. They are more scared of their strict parents than of HIV. 
That DNA evidence that could exonerate you? You don't have a right to it, says the US Supreme Court.

Actually, not being a lawyer or constitutional scholar, I don't know what kinds of evidence you have a constitutional right to when you go on trial, so I'm not going to comment on the correctness of the decision. But legal scholarship aside, two things are obvious:

1) When we try someone for a crime, we want the best, most reliable evidence possible. It's probably reasonably safe to say that most people with at least some wisps of sanity would like our criminal justice system to convict the guilty and acquit the innocent.
On Wednesday, the Guardian (a newspaper that still has journalistic integrity) reported on a study (PDF of executive summary)by South Africa's Medical Research Council on rape and HIV.  The study found that 28% of men (sample size of 1738) admitted to having raped a woman or girl, and half of those reported committing multiple rapes.  They also found that 5% of men admitted to committing a rape in the past year.  Although women are the primary victims, 10% of males reported being raped by another man
Over at the Monkey Cage:

Fact: Academicians tend to be politically differentiated according to discipline, with those in the social sciences and humanities on the left, those in the natural sciences in the middle, and those in engineering and business on the right.

Argument: This is no coincidence. Students’ political attitudes are being shaped by their professors.


Counterargument: Agreed. It’s not a coincidence. But the operative force is self-selection, not socialization.



I haven't seen any surveys, but this characterization of political differentiation jives with what I've seen. Of course no discipline is homogeneous.
The University of Leicester’s School of Management wonders if more religious control of banks might have lessened the impact of the global financial crisis.
 
Buying into the notion that a 'sub-prime' housing market led to the latest global financial crisis, they say developing new practices which can address the issues that led the world to the brink of collapse are a vital part of recovery.

Professor Martin Parker, Director of Research for the Management School, thinks a banking system consistent with the principles of Islamic law (Sharia) may be a solution so the university is hosting a conference to consider potential lessons from the Islamic Banking and Finance sector. 
Girls are gathering online to remake action-oriented Japanese animation videos geared toward males - you know, because males are genetically engineered to like action cartoons with bounty hunter vampires who need to kill their half-brothers that run an evil clan - into romances, because girls are genetically engineered to like ... well, you get the point.   

Anime is a style of animation popularized in Japan, usually in material that contains action-filled plots with fantastic or futuristic themes. The style is used in manga, computer games and videos.
When a steep decline in the wool trade prompted an 18th century credit crunch, folks in Yorkshire took up a new (and dangerous) business venture - counterfeiting.

In the 18th century, coining was a treasonable offense and therefore punishable by death but in the 1760s and 1770s, a decline in the textile trade motivated hundreds of Yorkshire people from rural communities to risk the gallows by counterfeiting British and Spanish coins.