Science & Society

Authors of a new report have examined the use of gender quotas to increase the number of women at the highest career levels in academia. 'Exploring quotas in academia', a report of a study conducted by EMBO in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, looks at the potential benefits and challenges that could arise from the use of quotas as one way to achieve better gender balance in academia. The report describes options for introducing quotas and provides information for decision makers who might consider implementing them.

Last week there was another very public case of a journal article being retracted as a result of academic misconduct. This time it was in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), with the lead author – Dr Anna Ahimastos, working at Melbourne’s Baker IDI – reportedly admitting she fabricated data.
Daraprim yesterday sold for $13.50 a tablet.  Today it's $750 a tablet according to many sources (NYTimes; CNBC, etc.). This 62 year old drug for treating life-threatening parasitic infections was acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals.  Patients might be newborns and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer and AIDS patients.

Who hasn't used Doxycycline?  It's a very old drug after all.  A bottle would set you back $20 in October of 2013.  Now it'll set you back by $1,849.  Nice.
Is the public jaded to Internet marketing campaigns concerning overseas crises?

Gayle Newland, 25, has been convicted of three counts of sexual assault against a woman who had believed she was in a sexual relationship with a man. Newland’s case has thrown up some very thorny questions about gender and sexual consent – and about what, exactly, we are required by law to reveal to our sexual partners.

The surest way to tell if an organization is a politically partisan one is if they make sure to claim flaws in their opposition and ignore the entire swath of the people on their side. Sourcewatch, for example, can't find a single thing wrong with Natural Resources Defense Council, which has $300 million in the bank, whereas they dismiss the organization I run, the American Council on Science and Health, as 'industry shills' because ACSH proudly makes its donors public while NRDC, which generates more money in interest in one day than the Council's budget for the entire year, gets a free pass while never telling anyone where their money really comes from.
myglutenfreedatingIf you have to go without gluten but want to maintain the texture of popular foods that contain this sticky protein, you are forced to use substitutes containing extra sugar, extra fat, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose and xanthan gum, none of which are all that great from an overall health perspective. Given that, opting for a gluten-free diet makes little sense unless it's necessary.

When Paul Krugman, a famous liberal economist who has gained enduring cultural prominence by writing for the New York Times, actually put his philosophical beliefs to practical use, he helped give us Enron. Today, Dr. Krugman wisely avoids anything that translates to the real world. In the Sarbanes-Oxley culture he helped make necessary, he can stay out of jail if he sticks to polemics about Republicans.

Americans lead the world in adult science literacy, just like America leads the world in science output, but there are substantial differences among Americans when it comes to knowledge and understanding of science topics.

The details beyond the averages are important and while numerous pundits will lament that everyone does not know everything, that is not realistic. What is important is that as many people as possible have access to knowledge.

An independent report commissioned by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) released yesterday has found bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination are commonplace in the culture of surgeons. Apologizing and committing to genuine action to address the “toxic culture” is a positive step, but the actual detox will require more radical surgery to some deeply held beliefs and a transplant of new attitudes about who is, and what it is to be, a doctor.