Science & Society

On Monday, Cameron revealed that he would not be seeking a third term as PM.

He chose an informal interview with the BBC’s deputy political editor, James Landale, as the platform for his surprise announcement.The announcement caused feverish media speculation about his motivation for dropping this political bombshell, and the consequences for the electoral fortunes of the Conservative Party.

The Fermi Paradox roughly states that: The universe is both big enough and old enough to have birthed advanced civilizations.

Statistically, we are likely not the first. Far older super ETs should have left super artifacts around for us to find, by intention or not.

The observational evidence, however, strongly suggests otherwise. 

A columnist at the New York Times has written that he believes that technologies like Apple’s upcoming watch could be as as dangerous as cigarettes and cause cancer.

Women are playing an increasing role in science today but there are still barriers that can prevent them from achieving success comparable to their male colleagues.

This feeds the argument that there is a gender pay gap in earnings in science, although that doesn’t tell the full story of the challenges facing women scientists.

The Institute of Public Affairs senior researcher Mikayla Novak took the opportunity on International Women’s Day to exhort us to “avoid sensationalist, but misleading average pay gap statistics”, and instead focus on individual choices.

She argued that:

Who volunteers to have sex in a laboratory?

I was struck by this question when reading about an experimental study of ideal sexual positions for men with back pain.

For the purpose of the research, couples were filmed using motion capture and infra-red technology while they had sex.

The researchers were in a separate booth where they could hear, but not see, the participants. Electrodes were used to record muscle activity in certain parts of the body, to get an idea of force.

In politics, all parties have their own 'fact-checking' and supposedly non-partisan organizations debunking each other, so they can't really be trusted. But in science true neutral fact-checking is actually possible.

Consumer driven food trends are nothing new.

“Organics”, gluten-free, and more recently buying “local” have all captured consumers, encouraging supermarkets around the globe and in Australia to respond.

But the next emerging European food trend that may have the biggest impact on what we buy each week is “ugly food”.

Not every member of a social network is human. We are being watched, even played with by giants such as Facebook which openly admitted running social experiments.

America has the luxury of being able to dash from one culture war to another, primarily because we are a wealthy country with plenty of food and medicine and energy, providing ample opportunity for people who have never lacked for any of those to be opposed to science related to food, medicine and energy, while others can claim pollution is our friend or worry about abstract ideas like the conflict between science and religion.