Science & Society

Media are important. Especially the media we trust. One might express the effect of a piece of journalism (J) about, say, a particular drug or food, as a factor of media authority (A), multiplied by the size of audience (D), divided by the availability of credible alternative sources (S).

The more of the latter which are accessible to the audience, and thus the greater the challenge to the “truthiness” of (J), the lesser the impact on individual and collective behavior. Where people trust the news source, and the issue is complex, and alternative analyses are not easily sourced, the effect is greater.

Europe's most homophobic countries may be paving the way for a rise in HIV cases among gay and bisexual men, according to new research published in the journal AIDS.

An international team of researchers from Europe and the US looked at HIV-related service use, need and behaviours among 175,000 gay or bisexual men living in 38 European countries with differing levels of national homophobia.

They found that men in homophobic countries had fewer sexual partners and were less likely to be diagnosed with HIV. However, they also found those men knew less about HIV, were less likely to use condoms and are at greater potential risk of getting HIV when they do have sex.


Peer review in science, in which independent scientists who are experts on the subject assess papers, but this system frequently receives harsh criticism about its effectiveness and transparency.  It came to light again in a humanities study which had a conclusion that everyone desiring social engineering from academia - that if people just talked to opponents of gay marriage they would change their minds - was found to have no data.


As a young male scientist, I have to disagree with Dr. Tim Hunt regarding segregated labs. However, he has a Nobel Prize, which means he is smarter than I am. But I am definitely more attractive and have yet to have a female scientist swoon over me, which is fine because I am happily married.
Organic farming has had a pretty good run.
Everyone, it seems, has been talking about “dad bod” – what defines it, who possesses it and whether or not women actually love it.

It all began with an innocuous article on a college news website, penned by a Clemson University student named Mackenzie Pearson.

“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out,” she wrote. “While we all love a sculpted guy, there is just something about the dad bod that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.”

Pearson’s post first made the rounds on social media, before receiving mainstream media attention.

Dr. Oz has done a lot of things right recently. He has promised to stop calling everything a 'miracle cure' and after the cultural blow-up this spring, when a group of prominent doctors and PhDs nationwide asked Columbia to remove him, and then a group at Columbia criticized him in USA Today, he apologized and noted that the "Dr." in the title was meant to be small.

Food wasted means money wasted which can be an expensive problem especially in homes with financial constraints. A new study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and the Getulio Vargas Foundation, shows that the top causes of food waste in such homes include buying too much, preparing in abundance, unwillingness to consume leftovers, and improper food storage.

"Fortunately," notes lead author Gustavo Porpino, PhD candidate at the Getulio Vargas Foundation and Visiting Scholar at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, "most of the factors that lead to food waste, can be easily remedied by simple changes in food buying, preparing, and storing."


The Natural Resources Defense Council environmental lobbying group has created a coalition and they have drafted a petition demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban eight food additives they believe are carcinogens, in the interests of public health.

The problem is that many of these are natural, which is one reason why they have never been banned. The other reason is they haven't been shown to be harmful, regardless of whether or not we have been trained by environmental lobbying groups to be scared of chemical names.

The public has a bit of a cultural schism about elections. Everyone says they want more diversity of candidates but an actual primary race is a sign of weakness. In the United States of America, Democrats are trumpeting the fact that they picked their candidate for 2016 back in 2013 and ridiculing Republicans because they have a dozen contenders. And we are told that if polls are too accurate, people will not bother to vote, but if they are not accurately predicting the winner of an election that has not occurred, it is a failure.