Science & Society

You are about to hear a huge sigh of relief from the entire science journalism community, because Alan Alda, a man who can interview E.O. Wilson and Jim Watson with ease, who hosted the terrific Scientific American Frontiers, and founded the Alan Alda Center for Communication Science at Stony Brook University, has trouble communicating.

A research firm has just bestowed the title “world’s most valuable insurance brand” on a mainland Chinese company. Other outfits issue similar announcements in diverse industries, despite that in 2014 The Economist made this remark about brands: “Their importance may be fading… no one agrees on how much they are worth or why.”

The decline of brands: We should have seen it coming, when mass customization first began to overshadow mass production. Scholars point to info tech to explain the growing irrelevance of brands; online customer reviews and social media now substitute for the “shorthand” information packages that brands once provided.

The right to make one’s own legal decisions is typically denied for two reasons: Youth (minority) and incompetence. Incompetence is a state of mental incapacity to make one’s own decisions in a way which is informed with regard to the consequences and rational.

A new national poll says that parents are in a panic about things like swimming pools.

Least likely to think their kids can swim; black parents. A slight majority of white parents are fine with kids swimming sans parental hovering. Almost all parents think a natural lake (84 percent) or ocean (87 percent) , lacking concrete and a diving board, is too dangerous to be allowed. Only 63 percent would even allow kids to swim in their backyard. 

Granted, pools can be dangerous, with some 5,000 child and teen injuries a year and around 1,000 drowning deaths occurring, but it shows we are bad at evaluating risk. Sharks attack fewer people than cows do, but who do you think parents worry more about after Shark Week?
The National Commission on Forensic Science was dissolved by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a decisive action that brought an end to a highly decorated body of professionals, but one that was frequently stymied by legal gamesmanship and discord.  The commission, a precipitant of the Obama administration's criminal justice reform efforts, was curiously loaded with trial attorneys, law professors, and other academicians but relatively few forensic scientists.
Atrial fibrillation and flutter (also known as AFF) is associated with serious health problems and is a significant contributor to death rates. Knowing that, why would there be different death rates for male and female patients who presented with AFF to emergency departments and then discharged? Even 30 and 90 days after discharge. 

AFF is an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that is associated with blood clots to the brain (e.g., stroke) and other organs, heart failure, and sometimes death. It affects approximately 2.66 million Americans. 

A.D. 1200 has been called the golden age, as characterized by a booming economy combined with widespread prosperity. Europe's population had reached the height of its growth, reaching about 70 million people, beyond which, according to historians, it would have been incompatible to resupply of food products, with the technologies of the time. The hot weather was optimal for harvesting in the fields, flourishing agriculture.

Yet another article in the Telegraph: this time Supermarket rocket salad healthier than homegrown. featuring the vegetable kingdom this time:

For the better part of this century, the federal government has promoted the notion that only government-funded science is real science, and the private sector is the icky kind that, let's face it, the kind of people who overwhelmingly prefer to stay in academia dislike. (1)
A so-called "March for Science" will occur April 22nd 2017.  I have half a mind to show up either wearing a sing extolling the climate change fighting virtues of nuclear power OR with a petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide AND another petition banning all use of vaccines.  I'll bet I'd get at least 1 out of every 10 people at any such march to sign for those bans.