Science & Society


Can you dance like Robbie Williams? It would go down great in a lecture hall. Jonathan Brady/PA Archive

By Justin O'Brien, Royal Holloway

If you want a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, you have probably been cautioned that academia, awash in Federal money promoting STEM careers, can maybe employ 15 percent of the PhDs in science they graduate.

The private sector still accounts for most of the basic research, almost all of the applied research, and certainly all of the technology, and they want you.

One was about 17 Westerners being killed and one was about 2,000 Africans. Guess which got most of the media attention? Kano, Nigeria Stringer/Reuters.

By Ethan Zuckerman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Consider two tragic events that took place last week.

A small cell of Islamic terrorists attacked cartoonists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shoppers in a Paris supermarket, killing 17 people and sparking international outcry, solidarity and support.


Prices of gas are approaching $2 a gallon. Does that make it a good time to raise the gas tax? Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Wallace Tyner, Purdue University

AirAsia 8501 - Both Black Boxes With NTSC

Data Analysis Begins Soon

It has now been confirmed officially that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) has been recovered.  It was delivered to the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) in a case containing water.


(Photo: Elza Astari Retaduari/detikcom)
US states as different as California, West Virginia and Hawaii share one thing in common - half of automobile fatalities involving young drivers, ages 16 to 25 years, involved pot or alcohol. And those results were from years before the cultural push to make marijuana legal.
How can a product which can be made for free be profitable? It happens all of the time. Words are free, for example, yet the Wall Street Journal sells good ones to its customers. Science 2.0 was built on open source tools but lots of consulting companies do the work for people less skilled in programming.

Why do discussions of creative genius so often happen about white male writers such as Jonathan Franzen? AAP Image/Harper Collins

By Natalie Kon-yu, Victoria University

AirAsia QZ8501 - No Explosion

Air Asia flight 8501 did not explode: it burst open on impact with the water.

Many English language news outlets are reporting that the plane "exploded".  It appears that there has been a gross failure in translation.  The Indonesian word 'meledak' is ambiguous: it can mean 'explode', but it can also mean 'burst'.


Meledak sama pecah - 'explode' can mean 'rupture.

Solidarity with France and Charlie Hebdo in Taipei Pichi Chuang/Reuters

By Lucas Hollister, Dartmouth College

In his 1998 novel, The Elementary Particles, Michel Houellebecq argued that Charlie Hebdo played a pivotal role in the redefinition of social values in post-1968 France.