What we're talking about One Big (Happy) Family Monday, August 31, 2015

One Big (Happy) Family

My children made me try a chocolate-covered gummy bear the other day. Now a chocolate gummy bear is not a local, sustainable or home-grown food, and frankly, I don’t like gummy bears (the only good use I ever had for them was in college, where nothing would keep posters on cinder-block walls without damaging the…

If you’ve thought about foster parenting at all, even for a couple of minutes, you probably grasp that someone has to do it. Because the truth is that kids whose parents can’t care for them has been a global problem for all of human history. It is a problem that could get better or worse…

Technically, the recession is over. So it may come as a surprise to learn that more U.S. children are living in poverty right now than during the Great Recession. To be more specific: About 1.7 million more children live in low-income working families than just a few years ago.

Raising ten children—some biological, others adopted or in foster care—is far from a burden for Sharon Astyk. On the contrary, she says it mandates an artfulness to living, allowing her and her husband to help create something new and greater from the sum of many parts. Sharon writes that the result is "more fascinating, more fun, more engaging [...] a job worth building a life around." While some parenting hurdles multiply with more kids, others stay the same—or even vanish. And beyond the concerns of day-to-day living, Sharon knows she is maintaining and building new family ties for foster siblings who could otherwise be scattered among different households. In an older post, Sharon describes 100 kinds of people who should consider fostering a child, arguing that a diversity of parents will benefit the diversity of children needing a safe home. Meanwhile, on The Pump Handle, Kim Krisberg writes that one metric associated with the need for foster care—childhood poverty—continues to flounder. According to a new report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, about 3 million more children in the U.S. now live in poverty than did in 2008.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

Here’s a treat: a congressman who has been in office since 1989, and is on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. @fullofbalogna claiming Global Warming they create powerful Global gov. Claiming tooth decay they mandate chemical fluoride in our water — Dana Rohrabacher (@DanaRohrabacher) August 30, 2015 claiming Global Warming they create powerful Global…

NASA has put out a call for novel ideas in space exploration, which I think is an excellent way to do science. More creativity! But this feels like they’re just pandering to me (I know, they’re not): building robotic squid to explore the oceans of Europa? What’s not to love about that idea?

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is…

Physical Science

“To me there has never been a higher source of earthly honor or distinction than that connected with advances in science.” -Isaac Newton And the advances continue, not just here at Starts With A Bang but everywhere humans are engaged in the practice of gathering knowledge about the world and Universe itself. This past week, we covered:…

“Thus it seems Einstein was doubly wrong when he said, God does not play dice. Not only does God definitely play dice, but He sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.” –Stephen Hawking You’ve no doubt heard that Stephen Hawking is claiming that the black hole information paradox has now been…

I seem to be settling into a groove of doing about two posts a week at Forbes, which isn’t quite enough to justify a weekly wrap-up, but works well bi-weekly. (I’m pretty sure that’s the one that means “every two weeks” not “twice a week,” but I always struggle with that one…) Over the last…

Environment

Skylab came up in conversation the other day. And then I ran into Amy Shira Teitel’s video. So, naturally, a quick blog post. Skylab was brought down, ultimately, by interaction with the upper reaches of the atmosphere, which was in turn made more likely by solar activity. But, both the nature and extent of solar…

I’m back. Did you miss me? Don’t all say “no” at once. A piece from the Torygraph about the unfolding disaster that is Jeremy Corbyn’s run for head of the Labour party; they can barely contain their glee, of course, but I did like the idea of someone forcasting communist weather; Boris, perhaps. The still…

Just a few pointers to some of today’s interesting climate stories. First, this is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. After ten years, the costs of that hurricane are still being paid. See this overview. Also, astonishingly, or perhaps totally expectedly, one third of Louisiana blame a Democratic Senator from the Midwest for the lousy…

Humanities

“When he came home, I could see a change. He was quieter and he was a man and a hero to me. I watched him and listened to him. I’d never had an opportunity to do a superhero, and when that came, [that voice] just came right out of me and I sounded like Optimus.”…

So, the Hugo awards were handed out a little while ago, with half of the prose fiction categories going to “No Award” and the other half to works I voted below “No Award.” Whee. I’m not really interested in rehashing the controversy, though I will note that Abigail Nussbaum’s take is probably the one I…

Sociologist Jennifer Laird was researching unemployment among Mexican immigrants when she came upon some interesting numbers on black workers in the public sector and employment effects of the Great Recession. It piqued her interest and so she decided to keep digging.

Education

A couple of articles came across my feeds in the last day or two that highlight the truly important cultural divide in academia. Not the gap between sciences and “humanities,” but the much greater divide between faculty and administration. This morning, we have an Inside Higher Ed essay from Kellie Bean on the experience of…

Another new study published in Nature Communications shows follows along with the prior post and shows that ancestral dogs were ambush hunters that evolved from forest dwelling animals similar to a mongoose (or a cat).  An international team of researchers studied archived samples of elbows and teeth of multiple species of dogs that lived between 40 – 2…

New research suggests that cats may have played a role in the extinction of about 40 species of wild dogs by simply out-hunting them and therefore consuming more food. The study noted that dogs first appeared in North America around 40 million years ago and by 22 million years ago there were over 30 species of wild dogs. Cats arrived…

Politics

Sociologist Jennifer Laird was researching unemployment among Mexican immigrants when she came upon some interesting numbers on black workers in the public sector and employment effects of the Great Recession. It piqued her interest and so she decided to keep digging.

Myths about OSHA rules and inspections are nothing new. The latest misinformation comes from a law firm raise ire of poultry companies.

The Republican Party and its handlers, including the right wing talk radio jocks such as Rush Limbaugh, and the bought-and-paid-for media such as FOX news, did not create the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann and a few others did that.* But once the Tea Party got going, mainstream conservative Republicans, including and especially leaders in Congress,…

Medicine

I must admit that I’m surprised. Pleasantly surprised, but quite surprised. The reason is that yesterday the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer rejected the recommendation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for which cannabis can be prescribed in the state of…

After a busy day yesterday and falling asleep early on the couch, I only have time for a quick take today. So file this under “only in America”: A 23-year-old Metro Detroit man robbed a South Lyon credit union earlier this month for his daughter, he told investigators according to South Lyon Police Lt. Chris…

It’s always disappointing to see a good journal fall for bad medicine, particularly when it’s in your field. For example, the Journal of Clinical Oncology (affectionately referred to by its abbreviation JCO) is the official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and probably the most read clinical journal by those involved in…

Brain & Behavior

Another new study published in Nature Communications shows follows along with the prior post and shows that ancestral dogs were ambush hunters that evolved from forest dwelling animals similar to a mongoose (or a cat).  An international team of researchers studied archived samples of elbows and teeth of multiple species of dogs that lived between 40 – 2…

New research suggests that cats may have played a role in the extinction of about 40 species of wild dogs by simply out-hunting them and therefore consuming more food. The study noted that dogs first appeared in North America around 40 million years ago and by 22 million years ago there were over 30 species of wild dogs. Cats arrived…

I came across the “I Spy Physiology” blog today from the American Physiological Society. The blog focuses on physiological topics relevant to daily life. There are also a couple of comparative physiology gems in the blog that you can view using the links below: How birds my help us understand diabetes How research on walking stick…

Technology

August 13th was Earth Overshoot Day. The correct date, if calculated precisely, would come earlier and earlier each year, the current choice is just an approximation. This year, the year 2015, by sometime around August 13th, humanity had consumed as much of what we require from the lands and seas as our planet can sustainabley…

shopt Tomorrow I will shop. Yesterday I shopt. No,not really. The term “shopt” is a Linux Bash thing. If you don’t care about bash, stop reading now. If you find the command line interesting or useful and don’t know about shopt, this is your lucky day. Look at the word for a moment and try…

This 1925 Bugatti Brescia was found in a state of profound neglect in a garage, and was auctioned off for almost a million dollars. It’s a beautiful work of art. It doesn’t run, but still…that would be a fine vehicle for a Sunday drive, once it’s restored. But it’s the wrong model! Way, way back…

Information Science

Katie Gibbs and Alana Westwood of Evidence for Democracy wrote a terrific piece in The Toronto Star a little while ago, We need a national debate on science: A question about science policy has never been asked at a federal leaders’ debate. Now more than ever that has to change. Given the clear importance of…

The academic world and its detractors are all a-tizzy about this recent news reported here: Springer, a major science and medical publisher, recently announced the retraction of 64 articles from 10 of its journals. The articles were retracted after editors found the authors had faked the peer-review process using phony e-mail addresses. The article goes…

Cédric Villani’s Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure has risen to the top of my Best Science Book of 2015 list. It’ll be tough for another book to kick it off that summit before the end of the year, that’s for sure. The name Cédric Villani probably sounds a bit familiar to most who…

Jobs

Sociologist Jennifer Laird was researching unemployment among Mexican immigrants when she came upon some interesting numbers on black workers in the public sector and employment effects of the Great Recession. It piqued her interest and so she decided to keep digging.

DuPont has filed a litany of excuses to challenge OSHA’s findings about violations related to the November 2014 death of four employees.

Women in the trucking industry face severe sexual harassment, rape and retaliation; advocates call out chemical giant DuPont on their safety consulting business; home health care workers gain new wage protections; and Texas cities take action on living wages.