What we're talking about One Big (Happy) Family Monday, August 3, 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

I’m a bit shell-shocked today — man, that was a long drive yesterday — and I stumbled into work today thinking this might be a really good day to bag it early and take a nap. And then I found something in my mailbox that perked me right up. As a little background, I’ll summarize…

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

Physical Science

“That, then, is loveliness, we said, Children in wonder watching the stars, Is the aim and the end. Being but men, we walked into the trees.” –Dylan Thomas Yet when you look at the night sky, it isn’t watching the stars that reveals all of the Universe’s secrets, nor by looking with what you can…

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” -Neil Armstrong This past week saw a whole lot of interesting things happen, including…

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” –Stanislaw Jerzy Lec You’ve heard it said many times here: the Universe, since the Big Bang, is 13.8 billion years old. But how do we know this to be true? Moreover, how many different lines of evidence do we have that leads…

Environment

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

“Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.” –Earl Nightingale When you think about the obstacles facing us in the world today, it’s easy to look to advances in technology as the panacea. If there are waterways that need crossing, you’ll build…

One of my favourite journal-club comments, from back in the days when I did science, about a previous Hansen paper that failed to find favour. I’m hoping to actually read the Hansen Noveau, and hopeful that it isn’t just old wine in new bottles, but first a brief comment about comment policy. Blogs without a…

Humanities

Last week, Nigeria met an important milestone: An entire year without a reported case of polio. This leaves just two countries where polio is endemic.

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

Superstorm Sandy came ashore nearly three years ago, pummeling the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast and becoming one of the deadliest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. This week, the Sandy Child and Family Health Study released two new reports finding that the health impacts of Sandy continue to linger, illustrating the deep mental footprint left by catastrophic disasters and the challenges of long-term recovery.

Education

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

It is that time of year again to vote for your favorite “Ugliest dog”. I have a feeling it will be a close contest. To pick your favorite contender, click here. Honestly some of them are rather cute in their own way. I am rather partial to Rascal Deux and Icky…this will be a tough decision.…

Exposing Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) to shorter photoperiods (think winter) for about two months causes the animals to spontaneously undergo daily bouts of torpor during which time they decrease metabolic rate to conserve energy.  New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine whether decreases in growth hormone secretion…

Politics

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

Reporters investigate worker exploitation and abuse in the H-2 visa program; U.S. labor secretary speaks out on the “on-demand” economy; recycling workers face hazardous conditions and unnecessary injury risks; and some businesses say good-bye to the raise.

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.

Medicine

Homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All. There, I’ve started off this post the way I start off most posts about homeopathy, with a statement of just how enormous a pile of pseudoscientific (or rather prescientific) quackery that it is. You’d think that in 2015 no one would believe that diluting a substance…

Superstorm Sandy came ashore nearly three years ago, pummeling the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast and becoming one of the deadliest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. This week, the Sandy Child and Family Health Study released two new reports finding that the health impacts of Sandy continue to linger, illustrating the deep mental footprint left by catastrophic disasters and the challenges of long-term recovery.

I frequently discuss a disturbing phenomenon known as “quackademic medicine.” Basically, quackademic medicine is a phenomenon that has taken hold over the last two decades in medical academia in which once ostensibly science-based medical schools and academic medical centers embrace quackery. This embrace was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) but among quackademics the…

Brain & Behavior

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology shows that noisy humans are impacting the physiology and behaviors of dolphins and whales. To compete against man-made noises, these animals are altering the amplitude, frequency or length of their vocalizations or repeat what they need to say with the hope of being heard. Dr. Maria Holt and colleagues studied a par…

Superstorm Sandy came ashore nearly three years ago, pummeling the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast and becoming one of the deadliest and costliest storms to ever hit the U.S. This week, the Sandy Child and Family Health Study released two new reports finding that the health impacts of Sandy continue to linger, illustrating the deep mental footprint left by catastrophic disasters and the challenges of long-term recovery.

Exposing Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) to shorter photoperiods (think winter) for about two months causes the animals to spontaneously undergo daily bouts of torpor during which time they decrease metabolic rate to conserve energy.  New research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology was designed to examine whether decreases in growth hormone secretion…

Technology

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…

Problems with the Apple Magic Mouse I had been using the stock Apple Magic Mouse on an iMac. The right click often didn’t work properly. Also, selecting and dragging files in Finder, or the Finder replacement I use (PathFinder) often failed. I figured the former was related to the mouse but assumed the latter was…

Analyzing online searches and social media activity has often been suggested as a way to track and maybe even predict the spread of diseases. And it’s a great idea — if it’s done right, it could offer public health workers real-time surveillance and a jumpstart at containing dangerous outbreaks. But there’s a hitch. How can we attempt to decipher between online activity triggered by the possibility of actual disease symptoms and online activity triggered by simple curiosity?

Information Science

Gabriella Coleman’s Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous is largely a laudatory history of the Anonymous hacker activist movement with some anthropological and political analysis. Whitney Phillips’ This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture on the other hand, is much more geared…

One of the central tensions of modern librarianship is how to allocate limited resources to both make the whole world a better place and to serve our local communities by providing them with the services and collections they need to support their teaching, learning and research. The particular way we try and change the world…

This year’s CWTS Leiden Ranking put the Weizmann Institute at number 10 — and number one outside of the US — for impact. What is impact? In dry terms, it is publications in excellent journals and citations, weighted for institute size and evaluated by subject. This prestigious ranking favors the Weizmann Institute, because it compares…

Jobs

The fatal work-related injuries that killed Timothy Todd Winding, 50, could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.

Reporters investigate worker exploitation and abuse in the H-2 visa program; U.S. labor secretary speaks out on the “on-demand” economy; recycling workers face hazardous conditions and unnecessary injury risks; and some businesses say good-bye to the raise.

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.