Science & Society
Two articles addressing blogging and science have appeared recently in Trends in Ecology and Evolution
and in PLoS Biology
If you're man, and you give to charity at all, it is more likely to go to a needy person in your neighborhood but if you're a woman you are more likely to be charitable and you will also give to someone local or someone in a foreign country, says new research by Texas A&M University marketing professor Karen Winterich .
Winterich, who teaches marketing at Texas A&M's Mays Business School, says she can predict charitable behavior to different groups by an individual based on just two factors: gender and moral identity. (Moral identity does not measure how moral a person actually is, but rather how important it is to that person to be caring, kind, fair, honest, etc.)
In a study published in the Christmas 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal (and not one of their prank articles), Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S., and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., M.S., of the Indiana University School of Medicine, explore the science behind six myths commonly associated with the holidays yet relevant year-round.
- Sugar makes kids hyperactive.
- Suicides increase over the holidays.
- Poinsettias are toxic.
- You lose most of your body heat through your head.
- Eating at night makes you fat.
- You can cure a hangover with…
As you can imagine, running a swanky science publication ends up getting me a lot of press releases. People want to get the word out about what they are doing and I make no secret of the fact that I want to know what's going on because I don't have time to proactively go out and find the latest stuff. So I like getting them, including the ones I want to make fun of.
I can relate to Olivia Judson's experience
with the digitization of science journals:
On the good side, instead of hauling dusty volumes off shelves and standing over the photocopier, I sit comfortably in my office, downloading papers from journal Web sites.
On the bad side, this has produced informational bedlam.
The journal articles arrive with file names like 456330a.pdf or sd-article121.pdf. Keeping track of what these are, what I have, where I’ve put them, which other papers are related to them — hopeless...
If you're comfortably entrenched at the University of Maryland and not worried about a mortgage like Michigan autoworkers, you can understand why it's important that there will be debate about the actual numbers of jobs at risk. A new projection by the University of Maryland's Inforum economic research unit says peak job losses from automobile bankruptcies would be half of the 3 million commonly stated in the media.
And if the University of Maryland is wrong, oh well, no one will lose their job.
The three million job-loss figure comes from two separate studies, which are technically correct but based on implausible assumptions, says University of Maryland economist Jeffrey Werling, Inforum executive director.
The inspector general of the Interior Department has found that agency officials often interfered with scientific work in order to limit protections for species at risk of becoming extinct, reviving attention to years of disputes overthe Bush administration’s science policies.
In a report delivered to Congress on Monday, the inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found serious flaws in the process that led to 15 decisions related to policies on endangered species.
"This article says most people die in bed. I figure if I stay out of bed, I'm safe." - Get Shorty
A map of natural hazard mortality in the United States has been produced and is featured in the International Journal of Health Geographics. It gives a county-level representation of the likelihood of dying as the result of natural events such as floods, earthquakes or extreme weather.
My love of football can be a curse. I've spent the last two days having to listen to the toy department help
debate the meaning of "indisputable" in reference to the controversial finish of Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens
. The controversy was a result of the NFL's idiotic replay system
. The best way to evaluate a replay is to have an official who does not know what call was made on the play, removing bias. This reminded me of a little something I wrote on a related topic followin
An editor at Nature discusses the internet and the ethics of science communication
(PDF). The paper doesn't turn out to be much of a discussion of science communication on the web - the piece ends up being more of a dig at open-access publishing advocates. On top of that, the discussion of science on the internet is rather banal, making a few fairly obvious points without offering any new solutions.