Science & Society

Televisiom programs such as "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors" have attracted massive followings, primarily due to having charismatic hosts who clearly mean well, coupled with a public desire to know the science basis for how we function.

But in the quest to have new content so often each week, the perception among the science community is that they will run with any claims about the latest health miracle or scary chemical. That doesn't help the public, it just promotes suspect alternatives to medicine or an anti-science mentality among the people who would most benefit from an evidence basis for decision-making.

Freeze your eggs or your career? Shutterstock

By Jenna Healey, Yale University

Gun ownership in the United States has gone way up yet murders have plummeted. Though high-profile tragedies get mainstream media attention, the gun ban contingent has lost a lot of ground in culture. 

Neapolitans have given fishmongers and celebrities alike a place at the nativity for hundreds of years. acetosa888, CC BY-SA

By Jessica Hughes, The Open University

There’s a scene in the film "Love Actually" where a little girl announces that she’ll be playing “first lobster” in the school nativity play. “There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?” asks her surprised mum – causing the girl to sigh in exasperation at such profound levels of parental ignorance.

Divorce rates have gone down; the oft-cited 1970s statistic that 'half of all marriages end in divorce' was never really correct, but the belief that it was made divorce much more common.

More young people today are also avoiding divorce by avoiding marriage. As a result, more than half of all American children will have an unmarried mother - and regardless of all of the cultural whitewashing and rationalizations that cultural apologists engage in, the absence of a biological father increases the likelihood that a child will exhibit antisocial behaviors like aggression, rule-breaking and delinquency. Young boys in that environment are 40 percent less likely to finish high school or attend college, regardless of race.

Illegal aliens who have been deported from the United States are more than 2.5 times more likely to be rearrested after leaving jail, and are likely to be rearrested much more frequently than those who have never been removed, according to a new RAND Corporation analysis.

The new work bolsters federal immigration plans to focus immigration enforcement efforts on immigrants who previously have been removed, because they pose a bigger criminal threat.

The analysts looked at long-term recidivism rates among two groups of removable immigrants who had been released from the Los Angeles County jail: men who previously had been removed from the United States and men who had never been removed from the nation. 

How much science is in pop music? Can pop culture enhance science communication?

A sociology duo recently explored the occurrence of science in the lyrics of Taiwanese pop music. Their results revealed that expressions from the field of astronomy and space research are notably prominent in the lyrics. Most texts address emotional states, while the latest scientific topics are only rarely mentioned.

“In many countries, and that includes Austria in particular, there is a distinct gap between the sciences and the population, which must be bridged. Popular culture and the entertainment media, amongst others, could play a valuable part as intermediaries,” says co-author Joachim Allgaier.
A study of 1,500 Americans found that media reports about behavioral genetics create unfounded beliefs about what genes can and cannot do, which defeats the purpose of scientific reporting, according to a new analysis.

American adults lead the world in science literacy so results may be even more profound in other countries, where political interests control more of scientific policy.

It's no secret that a happy worker is a productive worker and a new analysis by scholars at The University of Texas at Dallas finds that family-friendly policies are beneficial for increasing productivity of employees. Yet the benefit for employers is unclear, since that may be offset by the same turnover rates.

Do you have a right to high-speed Internet or can Internet Service Providers (ISPs) create different tiers for different customers?

In Florida and in Pennsylvania, there are toll roads. People pay the fee and get to a destination along the toll road quicker. Yet when it comes to pricing Internet connections, there is belief that everyone should have the same high-speed video streaming, regardless of what they pay. Can customers get something for nothing?