Science & Society

When Tootsie Roll chairman and CEO Melvin Gordon died unexpectedly on Jan. 20, 2015, the firm's value saw an immediate 7 percent increase, which was equivalent to about $140 million. Craig Crossland, an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and his research colleagues examined 240 sudden and unexpected CEO deaths like Gordon's to determine how shareholders' perceptions of CEO significance have changed over time. They found that market reactions to these events in U.S. public firms have increased markedly between 1950 and 2009.

"Our results indicate that shareholders act in ways consistent with the belief that CEOs have become increasingly more influential in recent decades," Crossland said.

In the United States, 70 percent of the price of a cigarette goes to government - not so in other countries. Though smoking has plummeted in America, in various other regions of the world the smoking rates remain over 40 percent.

 Minority applicants may fare even worse in the resume pile at companies purporting to support diversity than they would at companies that don't make the claim, shows a new study from the University of Toronto.

That's because job seekers are less likely to "whiten" their resumes by downplaying their racial identities when responding to pro-diversity job ads. The odds of getting a callback for an interview when resumes are not whitened are significantly worse, regardless of whether the company says it's a pro-diversity employer or not. On the other hand, hiding one's race by "whitening" was found to improve minorities' chances of landing an interview.

Death, taxes, and conspiracy theories. No matter how many peer-reviewed studies scientists produce, there will always be conspiracy theorists with outlandish alternatives to the generally accepted scientific consensus. Sometimes these ideas are just silly, like Rapper B.o.B. believing the Earth is flat. But other inaccurate theories, like insecticides cause birth defects, genetically modified foods are dangerous, and vaccines cause autism, have serious public health consequences.

Scholars are making a bold claim about gun deaths - they say they will be reduced by 80 percent if three laws are enacted. In a study published in The Lancet, state-level data from 2010 on gun-related deaths and 25 state-specific gun laws identified three laws that were most strongly associated with reductions in overall gun-related mortality.

Last April, Kraft Heinz announced it would remove artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes from its iconic Blue Box, and did exactly that in December.
Kraft Mac&Cheese replaced artificial dyes (yellow 5 and 6) with paprika, annatto and turmeric to maintain its signature color. This change has been listed in the ingredient line for the past few months. There are also no artificial flavors or preservatives in the new recipe.

The decline in the fluidity, or dynamism, of the U.S. labor market has been occurring along a number of dimensions, including the rate of job-to-job transition, hires and separations, and geographic movement across labor markets, since at least the 1980s, according to a new paper to be presented next week at the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity.

Less fluidity in the labor market leads to fewer opportunities for workers to renegotiate their current position or change jobs and thus may have important implications for the macro economy in general, including on productivity.

An analysis of more than 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors.com, a site where students write anonymous reviews of their professors, found that words like "brilliant" and "genius" are most often used to describe male professors, and in academic disciplines in which there are fewer women and African-Americans.

The findings are reported in PLOS ONE, a pay-to-publish journal which has been criticized recently for a lack of peer review and, ironically, being biased against female authors.

Many people including Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk are worried about the possibility of an artificial program that might become intelligent and take over the world. The idea is that at some point in the future we may be able to develop artificial intelligences through programming that are equal in intelligence to humans but capable of living much faster, and able to rewrite their own programs to become even more intelligent.

A decade ago, the media perception was that the only "advocacy" research (science-y sounding stuff out to achieve a cultural goal) was small groups getting a little bit of money to deny things like global warming. In reality, the public knew better, and that scientization of politics had been going on ever since government started to take over science funding.