Science & Society

When you get something for free, how much complaining can you really do? Apparently quite a bit, in the UK, according to a new report. There has been a large increase in complaints, which may be due to wider social trends rather than localized issues. A large number of complaints did not progress because the issues raised could not be identified, which suggests that the General Medical Council (GMC) is getting complaints due to a wider complaint-handling system and culture but they are outside its scope.


Kidney donations have been in decline and a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) says it has discovered why; it's cheaper to get a kidney than to give one.  

For their study, Jagbir Gill, MD, MPH of University of British Columbia in Vancouver and his colleagues divided the US population based on the median household income level of residents' zip codes, and they examined the rates of living donation between 1999 and 2010 in high and low income populations.  


A new small-scale sociology survey finds that the more a woman self-identifies with her profession, the more paid hours she works and the less time she spends with her children, though childcare balance is more equal between a couple. 

Yet the more a woman identifies herself with motherhood, the less time the father spends with the children. And while the more a man self-identifies as a parent the more time he spends with children, this had no impact on the amount of time the woman spends on childcare – regardless of her self-identity.  


Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Robert Harding Chair in global child health and policy and Co-Director of the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto says in BMJ that criminal sanctions are necessary to deter growing research misconduct.


Until a week before basketball player LeBron James returned to the NBA team that drafted him as a rookie, the Cleveland Cavaliers, owner Dan Gilbert had a scathing letter on his website criticizing James. Many fans had thrown out his jerseys.

Suddenly, after so much acrimony, James returned him, two championships and four playoff runs to his credit. What happened? Gilbert caught the boomerang. Maybe you should also.

According to two papers dealing with organizational behavior and human resources management, organizations of all types are beginning to recognize and embrace the value of recruiting and welcoming back former employees. The days when 'you are dead to me' was the norm after someone leaves might be gone.


While older people wonder if modern connectivity behavior is leading to a lack of coherent thinking, they tend to forget previous generations worried over that too - because the next to come along couldn't use a slide rule.

A new study has found that, in younger workers, short breaks that include non-work browsing - Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB) - can potentially improve attention to work tasks.

Concentration during workplace tasks is of the upmost importance; however, it declines over time as mental resources are expended, with cited research from the study finding that subjects begin to lose concentration after 5 to 15 minutes before needing a break.

You never see them in calendars, but there are obese firefighters - and they don't get told to lose weight by their doctors.

As we all know, there are many healthy obese people, the notion that BMI is some magic button for diabetic and cardiovascular health has long been debunked. Regardless of their appearance, firefighters are trained to do a job. Can't pass training and you don't get to do the job. Yet firefighters do have high rates of obesity, compared to the nature of the job, and like the general public, heart attacks kill more firefighters than doing their job will.


While almost everyone agrees that the American health system was not perfect - high quality, but some could not afford it - the solution may not have been more government spending, since government was not spending money all that wisely well before 2009. 

Take one data point:  Medicare breast cancer screening. You are not for breast cancer, right? No one is. Yet while breast cancer screening costs for Medicare patients skyrocketed between 2001 and 2009, there was no earlier detection of breast cancer.

There is a subset of academia that contends it lacks diversity. They have a point. While at the undergraduate levels there are lots of handicapped people, minorities, women and even Republicans, by the time grad school is finished there are fewer of all of those and at the tenure levels, not much diversity at all.

Even in medicine, where lots of women in the private sector juggle prosperous careers and families. In its academic counterpart, there aren't many women at all, and that may be costing academia valuable research talent.