Science & Society

It is a weekly event in epidemiology - some medical or health outcome is linked to socioeconomic inequality, as if more spending makes people healthy.


In America, and to a much less extent in Europe, there can be a lot of angst when an aerospace engineer wears the wrong shirt on television. Women have a great deal of power in western nations, so much so that they can overwhelm science breakthroughs with cultural Gerrymandering.


What's in a name? Apparently a lot. So much so that social mobility in England hasn't changed much since pre-Industrial times.

After William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, making England a French country rather than an Anglo-Saxon one, he rewarded his supporters with lands taken from those who had been loyal to his opponent. He was very good to them - but he wanted his levies. So if your name appeared in the original Domesday Book, you were going to get a tax bill, but the benefits were so substantial you are more likely to be upper class even today.


Is there such a thing as a Facebook murder? Is it different than any other murder? Legally, it can be. From a common sense point of view, there is no 'hate crime' status that should make a murder worse if a white person kills a latino person or a Catholic instead of a white person or a Protestant, but legally such crimes can be considered more heinous and get a special label of hate crime.

But social media is ubiquitous and criminal justice academics are always on the prowl for new categories to create and write about so a 'Facebook Murder', representing crimes that may somehow involve social networking sites and thus be a distinct category for sentencing, has been postulated. 

In America, it is no surprise to see obese people. They know they are obese, they just don't care. In Britain, you see just as many obese people, but they don't care because they don't think they are obese. They don't even think they are 'very overweight'. 

Fewer than 10 percent of clinical obese Brits think they have a weight problem.

In results from a 2012 survey of around 2000 adults published in
BMJ Open, only 11 percent of obese women acknowledged they were "obese", with most describing themselves as "very overweight" or "just right".  At least they know those positive body image campaigns are working. 


Can homeopathy actually work if someone knows it is a placebo? What if, for example, a skeptical Science 2.0 group was told they got a placebo and that nutritionists were getting medicine? Would we feel better anyway?(1)

Of course it's possible, it just wouldn't be due to magic water. It's a mystery of biology why some people just feel better taking something. That is why homeopathy still exists a few hundred years after its invention even though it has never worked.(2)

Does the placebo effect apply to dogs? Do they understand the concept of medicine? If not, they have a placebo effect.
Forget the Higgs Boson, the Landing on Comets, Missions to Mars, the Genome Project, Nanostructures and all that. This start of this new millennium looks like the dark ages to me if I have to gauge it from discussions I overhear in public places. 
In the first decade of the the new millennium, there was a lot of hand-wringing about the cutting of science journalism jobs at mainstream news outlets. The groundswell of support was...okay, it was nonexistent, really just limited to science journalists. No one else cared.

Black holes aren’t black. Warner Bros.

By Alasdair Richmond, University of Edinburgh

Note: this article has spoilers.

In Interstellar’s near-ish future, our climate has failed catastrophically, crops die in vast blights and America is a barely-habitable dustbowl. Little education beyond farming methods is tolerated and students are taught that the Apollo landings were Cold War propaganda hoaxes.

The Inamori Foundation has awarded the 2014 Kyoto Prizes to biomedical engineer Dr. Robert Langer in medicine, theoretical physicist Professor Edward Witten in math, and Fukumi Shimura in the Arts. Each laureate received a diploma, a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US $450,000) in recognition of lifelong contributions to society.