Science & Society

In December 2011, when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Rangers signed away their local television rights for about $3 billion apiece, the sport media heralded a new record for local television rights fees.

Accounting for roughly 43 percent of MLB’s $8 billion haul in 2014, media revenues have made the players rich and the owners even richer.

Today, the idea that a team would ban its games from being broadcast is unthinkable, so ingrained are TV and radio contracts in the marketing and business practices of the sport.


Rolling Stone’s retraction of an incendiary article about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia certainly deserves a place in the pantheon of legendary journalism screw-ups. It is highly unusual – although not unprecedented – for a news organization to air its dirty laundry so publicly.

The woman behind the atom bomb, physicist Lise Meitner didn’t receive a Nobel Prize for her essential role in the discovery and explanation of nuclear fission. Only her decades-long research partner, chemist Otto Hahn received the prize. Whereas Lise had included Otto’s name for work she had done in his absence during WW I, Hahn omitted Lise’s name twenty years later at the dawn of WW II.

Science is considered a source of truth and the importance of its role in shaping modern society cannot be overstated. But in recent years science has entered a crisis of trust.

The results of many scientific experiments appear to be surprisingly hard to reproduce, while mistakes have highlighted flaws in the peer review system. This has hit scientific credibility and prompted researchers to create new measures in order to maintain the quality of academic research and its findings.


Japan is famous for committing suicide - as many people kill themselves using rope as Americans, with a much larger population, do with guns - but they may have more accurate numbers than western countries, according to a new paper. 

In western countries, suicide or accident is determined by a coroner. When it's a drug overdose versus a suicide is subjective, only guns are sure to be consistently implicated in a suicide, because gun control is part of a control war, where no one is quite sure what to make of drugs.
A new study notes that many breastfeeding mothers in the Philippines want more sex right after giving birth than they did before they became pregnant.

The Philippines culture has a low divorce rate so is it a relationship survival strategy? Or an increased sex drive?
Though girls at a young age enjoy Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), by the time they graduate from college their interests have changed. Women still prefer the life sciences and dominate the social sciences, but in other areas like physics the representation is not the same as the broad population. Engineering, which has the highest equality in pay between genders, still lags in women despite their efforts to recruit more females.

A team of psychologists report on an intervention for college undergraduates which found that female first-year students participate more actively and feel less anxious when they are able to work in small groups or "microenvironments" that are mostly female. 
A holistic medicine guru had a sucker customer patient with a pesky issue that couldn't be solved with the usual alternative and complementary medicine routine - eliminating gluten or adding whatever Miracle Vegetable is in the New York Times this week or "testing" for some non-specific autoimmune disease...Vitamin D levels all the rage for the last two years and will be until a few supplement salespeople poison someone so that was asked about also.
This past weekend, 2 billion Christians celebrated Easter, when Jesus was a martyr for the sins of man. The weekend before that, environmentalists celebrated ignorance, poverty, and backwardness under the name Earth Hour, and they wondered why more people did not help them crash the grid to save the world.

There is one big reason.

Religion has no small amount of fear and blame and, if you are Catholic, some guilt. Environmentalism has those also yet they don't have 5 billion members the way religion does because they lack the one important thing: Religion offers salvation along with the guilt.

This was an issue pursued by Philip Uri Treisman back in the 1970s and '80s at Berkeley. The result of his inquiries led to the highly successful Berkeley program for minorities, and ultimately for all students from all demographics well beyond Berkeley. This story is narrated quite nicely by Treisman himself at his 1992 Mary P. Dolciani lecture.