Science & Society

By Helen King, The Open University

It wasn’t that long ago that it was believed that regular periods were essential for women's health and in their absence, a loss of blood through another orifice was a fair substitute.

In a classical Greek text linked to Hippocrates, the Aphorisms, it was written that “a nosebleed is a good thing if the menstrual period is suppressed”. So too was vomiting blood. And these beliefs lasted in western Europe until the middle of the 19th century.

But what was the theory behind what now seems a pretty alarming set of beliefs?

1. A build up of blood caused illness

Should scientists handle retractions differently?

Peer review cannot catch everything. In many papers, there is no peer review at all, it is editorial review that checks off a few boxes and relies on post-publication peer review to find flaws. That makes retractions more common.


It's the home stretch of the professional baseball season and that means players are more likely to be tired or sustain an injury. New research suggests that a stronger core might help.

In the study, 347 pitchers were assessed for lumbopelvic control during spring training. Pitchers with more tilt in their pelvis as they raised a leg to step up were up to three times more likely to miss at least 30 days – cumulative, not consecutive – during the season than were pitchers who showed minimal tilt in their pelvis.  They found that professional baseball pitchers with poor core stability are more likely to miss 30 or more days in a single season because of injury than are pitchers who have good control of muscles in their lower back and pelvis. 


Why would anyone bake bread and then turn around and toast it?

I lived in a Pennsylvania house heated by wood. The idea of using our manual labor, in the form of wood, to toast bread was silly - but we owned an electric toaster. Somehow, being removed from the direct labor equation made toasting more acceptable, though our ancestors thought it a pastime for the idle rich.
Spend any time in American science media and you may find some of them are pretty far out of the political mainstream; so far out, they may not even be friends with anyone who has not always voted the same way as them.

So it's unsurprising that much of science media once perpetuated the claim that 'science votes Democrat.'  Humans are fallible and confirmation bias is sneaky. As was apocryphally attributed to New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael after the 1972 Presidential election and a Richard M. Nixon landslide victory, "I don't know how Nixon won. No one I know voted for him." (1)
Research that found links between abortion and breast cancer also found men who had 'much opportunity to participate in parties' were more likely to have stomach cancer. Credit: burningmax/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

By Louise Keogh, University of Melbourne

Jack The Ripper is famous - everyone in the Western world has heard of the unsolved case of the Whitechapel serial killer who preyed on prostitutes for a few months in 1888.

There were only five (or six) of those murders almost 130 years ago yet today there are 17 different grisly tours in London's East End about them. 


The pressure's on JJ Abrams and the new Star Wars films.Credit: wiredphotostream, CC BY-NC

By Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Manchester Metropolitan University


We come in peace. redgum, CC BY-NC-SA

By Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

My Kickstarter project has closed having raised  $220 out of the needed $2500 to help me either publish some scientific papers or to buy a telescope for astronomy students to use. Instead of money I got discounts on the publication fees from the journal Science Open Research, I was invited to publish for free in The Winnower, and the International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics. So my Kickstarter got one of my papers published, and the other two closer to being published. In that sense my project was also a success.