Science & Society
Scientists met this week in New York to discuss recent scientific evidence regarding abortion as a form of growing violence against women and girls. Indiscriminate practice of abortion is correlated with coercion, a history of sexual abuse, violence during pregnancy, intimate partner violence and with psychological consequences that may lead to suicide.
I recently read an opinion piece that suggests that concerns about human population growth are grossly overstated and that nothing of consequence is going to occur.
Consequently, no serious demographer believes that human population growth resembles cancer or the plague. On the contrary, the United Nations projects a global population of 9.3 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. In other words, it will take about 40 years to add 2 billion people, but 50 years to add 1 billion after that. After world population peaks, it is quite possible that it will stop growing altogether and might even decline.
On TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin, yesterday's topic was "The Anti-Science Left"
and it starts off with a quote from my book with Dr. Alex Berezow
, called "Science Left Behind"
, about the feel-good fallacies that anti-science progressives (and science media pundits who have to defend their political positions) use in order to claim to be on Team Science...but in reality are engaged in the scientization of politics.
As American culture becomes more polarized, with various constituencies aligning themselves on left-right graphs, religious groups are not going to win with a subset of people, even among rational scientists who should be immune from motivated reasoning. If the Catholic church wants to hold a conference on stem cells but doesn't include the controversial and, to-date, wildly overhyped human embryonic stem cell research among its discussions of adult and induced pluripotent stem cell breakthroughs, it's all yelling about Galileo and bans and general political theater on blogs only read by people who need a new shot of confirmation bias.
In January of 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture passed a series of regulations designed to make school lunches more nutritious, which included requiring schools to increase whole grain foods and forcing students to select either a fruit or vegetable with their purchased lunch.
This led to athletes and other students to claim they were not getting enough calories and complaints from advocates for poor children that, since it is the best meal some children might get during the day, it should not be focused on social engineering. Trash cans filled with fruit didn't help things.
Because I signed a petition asking for increased open access of studies, I got an email from White House Science Czar Dr. John Holdren today - don't get excited, after all of the mean things I have said about him he is not suddenly writing me personally, it was a mass email - saying they had 'listened' and were making some changes, a letter we all knew was coming.
It reads, in part:
Meg Urry was on the senior scientific staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which runs the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. That's no surprise to people outside the government-funded research world, women have been doing quality science work forever - heck, Marie Curie got two Nobel prizes and she was living in France at the beginning of the 20th century, you don't get more misogynistic and biased than what she had to endure.
Yet it may be a surprise for you to learn that in 2001 Urry became the first tenured female faculty member ever in Yale's physics department, and then in 2007 she was elected the first woman Chair of the Department of Physics at Yale, 104 years after Curie became a Nobel laureate.
Quick, which states have the most philosophical exemptions from vaccines, religious states or the more atheist states?
Answer: the states with more atheists per capita
- because in America they share a political and cultural demographic that is inherently anti-science. But I have good news for those anti-science people; an actual religious person has filed for a philosophical exemption, which means they can now claim anti-vaccination beliefs are 'bipartisan', just like anti-science beliefs about GMOs are bipartisan if 2 members of Congress out of 55 calling for warming labels are Republican.
Recognition of early-career women scientists helps encourage participation in medical research, builds strong research cultures, and inspires a new generation of scientists.
In that light, five medical and life science researchers from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean Basin today received the 2013 Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World for work that could contribute to life-saving knowledge and therapies worldwide. The prizes were awarded by The Elsevier Foundation, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World and TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, to build research capacity and advance scientific knowledge throughout the developing world.
You can bet that if I don't have my Double Black Diamond Extra Bold tomorrow morning, I am writing me a letter to Congress. Guatemalans take their coffee just as seriously and have already gone to Def-Con 1 over coffee rust, which is affecting 70% of the country's crop.
Roya is a fungus that grows on the leaves of the coffee plant and that starves the beans. It's caused by too much rain, which is a recurring problem and always has been but coffee is big business now. In 1982, the world used 2.6 billion pounds of coffee beans but in 2011, that number was 17.6 billion pounds, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Meanwhile, a growing human population and heavy rains there have caused Colombian output to drop 36% in the last seven years.