Science & Society

The catalogue of the Johannesburg Public Library in South Africa contains a poignant entry – “Biko, Steve. Long 0verdue”.

The entry refers to I Write What I Like, a volume of collected writings by Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader tortured to death in police custody in 1977.

The library used to have six copies of the volume but they have all been borrowed and never returned.

Now that most colleges and universities have completed their spring semesters, course instructors are opening up sealed manila envelopes, all over the country, to read their teaching evaluations.

And, like each year, what they’ll find has been pervasively slanted by gender bias.

21 states have opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), arguing that the expansion would be too expensive. And since California had to convince taxpayers with a state government mandate to remain revenue neutral on the program, based on promises by Democrats in Washington, D.C., and are looking at an $80 million deficit the moment Federal subsidies expire, it seems like those 21 states are right.

But economists at Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health argue that  the cost to hospitals from uncompensated care in those states roughly equals the cost of Medicaid expansion.

Renewable energy targets mandates and subsidies now in place in 164 countries powered the growth of solar, wind and other green technologies to record-breaking energy generation capacity in 2014. So to advocates that means CO2 emissions and growth do not have to go hand-in-hand. To critics, the fact that these alternative energy schemes only work when there are mandates and subsidies means fossil fuels should be cleaner, not eliminated.

According to REN21's latest Renewables Global Status Report, policymakers continued to focus on adapting existing policies to keep pace with rapidly changing costs and circumstances.

The environmental movement has been successful, according to humanities scholars at Michigan State University. Certainly that is where the money is. Though environmental groups and pro-science groups are industry and politically funded, only the pro-science groups are dismisses as industry-funded, despite that fact that one group, Union of Concerned Scientists, has more funding than all pro science groups in America combined. 

Decades ago, the American Council on Science and Health said that saturated fats were not as bad as was being portrayed and replacements would be worse. Natural Resources Defense Council and other scare-story-of-the-month groups had sided with yet another ban on food to get mainstream media attention and said anyone who disagreed must be a shill for Big Bacon. They wanted everything replaced with trans fats.

Now, science has been proven correct again and anti-science groups look foolish. The FDA has found partially hydrogenated oils have no value and some risk, so they are going to be banned unless companies receive an exemption. 

Vermont's somewhat odd GMO warning label law, which made sure to exempt anything that would impact Just Label It yogurt millionaire Gary Hirshberg's supply of dairy and import things like alcohol, restaurants and the Whole Foods deli section, is about to cost consumers millions of dollars.
Child fitness levels are falling at an even faster rate than first feared - and it has nothing to do with obesity, according to a new study. Of more than 300 pupils aged between 10 and 11 who took part, the researchers expected that children with a lower BMI would do better than the heavier children they measured six years ago.

But the follow-up to a 2009 study showed child fitness declined by 8% over the previous ten years - yet the children they tested were actually thinner than those measured in 2008. 
There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence, according to a rather ridiculous claim by doomsday prophet Professor Paul Ehrlich, the same author of the Population Bomb who has been saying this same thing since the 1960s.

 Ehrlich and fellow hysterics Anthony D. Barnosky of the University of California at Berkeley, Andrés García of Universidad Autónoma de México, Robert M. Pringle of Princeton University and Todd M. Palmer of the University of Florida, say there are threatened species, too many humans, and issues with habitat. 
I’m generally optimistic about the ability of the world’s farmers to continue to feed the growing population, and also to satisfy the increased food demand of the growing middle class in previously poor countries. That hope is based on the amazing track record of innovation by farmers and their technological supporters that I have witnessed over the past four decades. I do, however, have some significant concerns about trends and factors that may compromise the farming enterprise over the next critical decades.