Science & Society

When does free speech become important? In the halls of academia, it often comes down along political and cultural lines. An endorsement of business mogul Donald Trump leaves academics and students running for a safe speech while a professor bullying a journalism student claims she was oppressed.

When academics do choose to litigate speech disputes with colleges and universities, they end up losing nearly three-quarters of the time, and Michael LeRoy, a professor of labor and employment relations at
University of Illinois
says that is a sign of growing tension between academic freedom and campus speech codes, without recognizing that these issues only go to action when they are the most flagrant sort of violation.

The NHS is far safer inside the European Union, argues Professor Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene&Tropical Medicine in The BMJ today. He says the EU's international trade agreements now protect public services and that any threat to the NHS instead "comes from our own politicians and not from the EU."

Professor McKee was one of many academics concerned about free trade, specifically the much-politicized Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States, because socialized public services like the NHS could be opened up to competition under TTIP.

On the 23rd of April, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America (fanfare!) issued a warning to us British that at the coming referendum we should vote to remain in the EU.  Reactions have been many and varied: some of these can be found in this article from Reuters.

One most ill-advised reactions, though, came when

Patients with lower literacy levels in search for health information may gravitate toward websites advertising services and products, a small study by researchers at Loyola University suggests.

As anyone who has visited the London Science Museum’s current exhibition will know, Leonardo da Vinci is famed as an artist, mathematician, inventor, writer … the list goes on.

He was a figure who did not see disciplines as a checkerboard of independent black and white tiles, but a vibrant palette of color ready to be combined harmoniously and gracefully.

Today, the polymath may seem like a relic of the past.
It is unsurprising that wherever Donald Trump goes, headlines follow. But what is particularly interesting is just how many of those headlines involve the practice of journalism and journalists themselves.

The life expectancy gap between America's rich and poor is shrinking for the young, a new study reports.

In fact, life expectancy at birth has been improving for virtually all income groups born in 1990 onward. The results reveal that many of the U.S. policies directed at improving the health of the young and the poor may have been successful. Previous research suggests that disparities in mortality inequality have widened since the start of the 21st century - with Americans in the top income bracket gaining several years of life expectancy while those at the bottom have gained almost nothing, or even experienced a life expectancy decline.

Deaths from violent conflict and lack of available care are major causes of mortality among pregnant women in war zones and so more needs to be done to protect women from violence in conflicts and to provide appropriate medical care required, argue doctors in an editorial published in The BMJ today.

Though no one has any idea how many pregnant women die in conflict every year, they argue that humanitarian law should protect them anyway. But how? The United Nations never solves conflicts, it can only pass resolutions. Laws don't protect the 140,000 women who die in conflict each year. Over 300,000 women already will die in pregnancy and childbirth.

Elysium Health I take two Elysium supplements every day. I can't tell you if they're doing anything useful vis-à-vis invigorating me on a daily basis.
A new paper claims the historical involvement of tobacco companies during the early days of the response to the AIDS epidemic was just a cynical marketing ploy to distract the public from the dangers of smoking. 

The big problem with that assertion is not simply that conspiracy theories require all employees to be in sync, but that the dangers of smoking were over 40 years known by the time that large tobacco companies helped mobilize the AIDS response in the 1990s and onwards.