Science & Society

As a young male scientist, I have to disagree with Dr. Tim Hunt regarding segregated labs. However, he has a Nobel Prize, which means he is smarter than I am. But I am definitely more attractive and have yet to have a female scientist swoon over me, which is fine because I am happily married.
Organic farming has had a pretty good run.
Everyone, it seems, has been talking about “dad bod” – what defines it, who possesses it and whether or not women actually love it.

It all began with an innocuous article on a college news website, penned by a Clemson University student named Mackenzie Pearson.

“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out,” she wrote. “While we all love a sculpted guy, there is just something about the dad bod that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.”

Pearson’s post first made the rounds on social media, before receiving mainstream media attention.

Dr. Oz has done a lot of things right recently. He has promised to stop calling everything a 'miracle cure' and after the cultural blow-up this spring, when a group of prominent doctors and PhDs nationwide asked Columbia to remove him, and then a group at Columbia criticized him in USA Today, he apologized and noted that the "Dr." in the title was meant to be small.

Food wasted means money wasted which can be an expensive problem especially in homes with financial constraints. A new study from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and the Getulio Vargas Foundation, shows that the top causes of food waste in such homes include buying too much, preparing in abundance, unwillingness to consume leftovers, and improper food storage.

"Fortunately," notes lead author Gustavo Porpino, PhD candidate at the Getulio Vargas Foundation and Visiting Scholar at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, "most of the factors that lead to food waste, can be easily remedied by simple changes in food buying, preparing, and storing."


The Natural Resources Defense Council environmental lobbying group has created a coalition and they have drafted a petition demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban eight food additives they believe are carcinogens, in the interests of public health.

The problem is that many of these are natural, which is one reason why they have never been banned. The other reason is they haven't been shown to be harmful, regardless of whether or not we have been trained by environmental lobbying groups to be scared of chemical names.

The public has a bit of a cultural schism about elections. Everyone says they want more diversity of candidates but an actual primary race is a sign of weakness. In the United States of America, Democrats are trumpeting the fact that they picked their candidate for 2016 back in 2013 and ridiculing Republicans because they have a dozen contenders. And we are told that if polls are too accurate, people will not bother to vote, but if they are not accurately predicting the winner of an election that has not occurred, it is a failure.


Patient safety, whistleblowing and public inquiry have a long historical legacy - but with mixed results.

Yet lessons from the past can inform current medical practice and help maintain a safe environment for patients and that will be the topic addressed by 20 health organizations who will be convening at the University of Leicester on June 11th to discuss how old patterns of patient safety and historical complaints against doctors are still being replicated in the modern welfare system – and what lessons can be learned by looking to our medical past. 

The General Medical Council (GMC) has launched a consultation this year, which will place patient safety at the heart of medical education and training across the UK.
At the Biotech Literacy Project Boot Camp, held a week ago at the U.C. Davis World Food Center, I was on a journalism roundtable with Brooke Borel, Keith Kloor and Razib Khan, moderated by Professor Kevin Folta, and I was asked about the most important thing for scientists to keep in mind regarding increasing science acceptance.

It's always difficult to pick just one but given the nature of the assault on food science, 'don't engage in deficit thinking' was my response. Basically, don't assume the other person simply lacks the proper facts or that if things are framed properly it would change their minds. It probably will not, at least for the most vocal critics.

A new global study finds that, despite lower yields, a target market for whom cost is not really an object makes organic agriculture more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture.