Science & Society

There is no substitute for a hearing test, especially in an age group that doesn't self-report very well.

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics and
the Bright Futures children's health organization
recommends screening adolescents with subjective questions but that does not reliably identify teenagers who are at risk for hearing loss, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine. 

"We found that you can't rely on the Bright Futures questions to select out teenagers at high risk for hearing loss who would warrant an objective screen," said Deepa Sekhar, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of pediatrics.

Voodoo Dolls, Gambling Monkeys and Zombies in Love sounds like a 1980s B-movie title, along the lines of "Chopper Chicks In Zombie Town", but it's actually part of the latest Wastebook from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

If you didn't know that NASA built a $350 million launch pad tower even after the the rockets it was designed to test were scrapped, well, Coburn is here to help. They also spent $390,000 on a cartoon about global warming and $3,000,000 to try and figure out how Congress works.

Those and 97 other funny or outrageous bits of spending waste are documented.

When is an immigration crisis not an immigration crisis? When people who do not live where it is happening change the definition of an immigration crisis.

A new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy examines historical immigration data, the "push" and "pull" factors currently motivating Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate to the U.S. and then attempts to explain why current undocumented immigration streaming across the Mexican border is not a crisis. 

By: Karin Heineman, Inside Science

(Inside Science TV) – Who can forget the winter of 2013-2014? Record-breaking cold temperatures and heavy snowfall hit from the Rocky Mountains all the way to the East Coast.

Although the majority of Americans still believe that global warming is happening, the especially blustery winter caused some people to question whether global warming is really happening.

“Almost invariably we find that after any winter a drop off in belief in the existence of global warming," said Barry Rabe, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

America has a health care problem. It is excellent, the best in the world, but it is expensive. Rather than solving the problems of defensive medicine costs, designed to prevent lawsuits by conducting unnecessary tests, or tort reform to prevent lawyers from convincing people they are 'suing an insurance company' so the cost won't matter, America has instead created mandates so everyone is forced to buy insurance, and then subsidized people who can't afford it.

It's easy to sneer at people for protecting their backyards, but what if there's a compelling reason to do so? Mickey DeRham photos, CC BY-NC

By Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University.

The term NIMBY – “not in my back yard"– has long been used to criticize people who oppose commercial or industrial development in their communities. Invariably pejorative, it casts citizens as selfish individualists who care only for themselves, hypocrites who want the benefits of modernity without paying its costs.

Too much to ask. wavebreakmedia / shutterstock

By James Hayton, University of Warwick

What makes Americans afraid is the topic of the first comprehensive nationwide study by Chapman University. According to the Chapman poll, the number one fear in America today is not Muslim terrorists or Russian imperialism or Ebola, it's...walking alone at night.

The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 nationally representative participants. The top five things Americans fear the most are:

Sperm donation for fertility issues has been common for some time and ovum donation has become increasingly accepted by women as well.

That leads to sociological questions about selection; everyone says they will love their kids no matter what, but given a book to choose from, what traits in a donor do people consider most important, beauty, intelligence or health?
Last week I did an update on the anti-vaccine situation in America compared to 2012, when my book, Science Left Behind, was published. I noted that things have gotten better, primarily because people on the left have turned on those people on the left who make up the bulk of the anti-vaccine movement; primarily wealthy, progressive elites.