Science & Society

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.

Working women are "leaning in" and supporting more females in leadership roles, but a new study finds that having a female manager doesn't necessarily equate to higher salaries for female employees.

Instead, women can sometimes take an earnings hit relative to their male colleagues when they go to work for a female manager.

Partnerships with multinational companies like Coca-Cola in child health programs can work to help save lives but decades of well-funded public relations campaigns against corporations by NGOs has turned letting companies fund programs into an ethical minefield.

ColaLife, a charity formed by British couple Simon and Jane Berry, worked with Coca-Cola to learn about the distribution channels the company uses in developing countries. With this knowledge, they devised a system to ensure life saving treatments reach children with diarrhea in remote parts of Zambia.

Some of the nation's largest businesses encourage employees to travel to large U.S. medical centers for complex elective surgical procedures. As part of these medical travel programs, companies negotiate lower prices for patients to receive high-quality surgical care at some of the nation's premier hospitals.

But many participants must travel long distances - sometimes hundreds of miles from home - to reach destination hospitals, meaning it can be difficult to return should complications arise.

Using Twitter and Google search trend data in the wake of the very limited U.S. Ebola outbreak of October 2014, a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Purdue University and Oregon State University have found that news media is extraordinarily effective in creating public panic.

Because only five people were ultimately infected yet Ebola dominated the U.S. media in the weeks after the first imported case, the researchers set out to determine mass media's impact on people's behavior on social media.

Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins have dramatically different roles when it comes to science. One is a science popularizer and extremely anti-religious while one runs the $30 billion National Institute of Health and is a religious believer, but also writes popular science editorials and uses Twitter.

Which one would you guess most people can name?

The recent commitments by the leaders of G7 nations to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to 40-70% below current levels by 2050, and to eliminate the use of fossil fuels altogether by 2100, have raised several questions.

Are these objectives feasible? Are they consistent with national commitments? Are they sufficient to stabilize the global climate without dangerous rates of warming? And are they anything new?

Media are important. Especially the media we trust. One might express the effect of a piece of journalism (J) about, say, a particular drug or food, as a factor of media authority (A), multiplied by the size of audience (D), divided by the availability of credible alternative sources (S).

The more of the latter which are accessible to the audience, and thus the greater the challenge to the “truthiness” of (J), the lesser the impact on individual and collective behavior. Where people trust the news source, and the issue is complex, and alternative analyses are not easily sourced, the effect is greater.