Science & Society

Americans lead the world in adult science literacy, it has nearly tripled since 1988. What other trend occurred since 1988? A lot fewer people read newspapers.

If people are smarter about science than ever, and they read fewer newspapers than ever, newspapers were not doing a very good job covering science. And in the 2000s, the 'churnalism' culture, pretending to be doing journalism when it is just a rehashed press release (such as this) caused people to stop subscribing and just sign up for a press release RSS news feed.

But analysts and journalists alike have blamed the Internet for the demise of newspapers. It's been claimed so much that people assume it must be true. 


Quebecers are particularly hostile toward the development of natural gas, but this aversion is driven less by 'not in my backyard' (NIMBY) attitudes than 'not in anyone's backyard (NIABY), according to a comparative study of 2,500 Quebecers and Americans conducted by Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle of the University of Montreal's Department of Political Science.


Illegal immigrants from Mexico who move to the United States often face barriers like poorly paying jobs, crowded housing and family separation. Such obstacles, and the migration process itself, may be detrimental to their health. Health even drops for people who enter the US legally.


Scientist often end up using two computers, one for scientific work, another for everything else.  Thanks to really practical and affordable virtualization that is no longer necessary.  The hardware is now cheap enough for the average consumer-scientist to afford.  The software has caught up to the hardware.  What used to be a frustrating experience as programs ran like molasses in January is now good enough to be practical.   The ultimate system for a scientist used to be one computer with two separate system boards joined in one case.  One board running a Windows OS, the other Linux or UNIX.  Now we only need to download the right software

Why do so many criminals convicted of misdemeanors then get involved in violent crime?

It turns out that in many cases it's because they weren't misdemeanors at all, they were felony crimes that were reduced during plea bargaining. And that policy, according to an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, leads to more violent crimes that could be prevented.

The small, preliminary study re-analyzed data on 787 individuals under age 35 who had violent misdemeanor convictions and purchased handguns in California in 1989 or 1990. The goal was to assess the impact of reduced criminal charges on gun purchases and subsequent crime. 


Advocates for open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens often claim that they are doing jobs legal residents won't. That isn't really true, they just do some jobs for less, because their illegal status makes them unable to compete.

The most dangerous jobs actually pay quite well - and they don't hire people who are not allowed to be in America legally. But jobs that are hazardous and can be done without concern for legal status can be done by illegal aliens - it just doesn't pay well.


Can you imagine how difficult it is to juggle peer review for 10,000 published studies per year? That's 40 every single working day, without the time it took to look at the ones that got rejected.

In the past, we have seen how much it would cost to replace a housewife and how much it cost to raise a child.

What about a child with special needs?  A recent literature review of U.S. and U.K. studies on patients with autism spectrum disorders and their families in 2013 came up with the economic impact. 

Autism used to be rather specific but the modern range of autism spectrum disorders is really broad, so Ariane V.S. Buescher, M.Sc., of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and colleagues separate those with intellectual disabilities and those with just behavioral issues.

It's not surprising that in a trial, mothers participating in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) who received subsidized vouchers for fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets used them - and chose fruits or vegetables more often then they would at supermarkets. 

But prices at local supermarkets are lower, notes a new University of Illinois study, so the question becomes how much should taxpayers spend in hopes that families will eat more vegetables, if they don't buy them at supermarkets. Should we mandate their behavior by giving them vouchers for farmer's markets rather than grocery stores?
An analysis of the scientific production of more than 80 countries from 1996 to 2006 found that there are three major ‘clusters’ of countries, defined by the thematic areas they investigate and that their governments invest in most.

Using this data, researchers from the University of Granada and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), belonging to the SCImago research group have designed the most comprehensive 'world map of research' to date. Using statistical techniques and multivariate analysis, they included over 15 million documents and scientific articles.