What we're talking about Freeing Institutions from the Kochtopus Sunday, April 19, 2015

Freeing Institutions from the Kochtopus

Let me start off by saying something you may not know. The big corporations and the 1%ers you have learned to hate fund many of the projects you’ve learned to love. I have not checked lately, but Murdoch and FOX corporation for several years in a row funded at a 50% or 60% level virtually…

There is a letter signed by top scientists demanding that science museums cut all their ties to Big Fossil, and where appropriate, kick the Koch Brothers off their boards. The letter says, in part, As members of the scientific community we devote our lives to understanding the world, and sharing this understanding with the public.…

In the wake of the Willie Soon scandal, scientists are taking a hard look at the Smithsonian and other institutions at the forefront of research and public outreach. Should these organizations really be supported by industrialists who deny that industrial emissions continue to warm the planet, disrupt the climate, amplify extreme weather, and now threaten to swallow us in a deluge of melted ice and presumably locusts? For that matter, should exhibits on evolution be subject to the whims of donors who insist the Earth is only six thousand years old? If not, where will less ideologically tainted money come from? Greg Laden explores the thorny issue, and also shares a letter signed by 67 top scientists and a petition that you can add your name to as well.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

They know how to use gadgets!

In just one year, you can attend the largest celebration of STEM for FREE! On April 16-17, 2016, the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival returns to the nation’s capital along with some of your favorite performers and hands-on exhibits! Next April, Sneak Peek Friday, open to schools, homeschoolers and military families, returns on April…

This is one of the loveliest fossils I’ve ever seen. They are the bones of a Neanderthal, found in a cave in southern Italy, and although they’ve been calcified by mineral-rich water trickling through the cave where they were found, it’s an almost complete skeleton, with the bones all intact. That’s the grisly part of…

Physical Science

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” -Laurence J. Peter This past week was a super busy one on Starts With A Bang, from dark energy to stars to a fabulous book review and more! Just in the last seven days, we’ve looked at: What if dark energy…

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett If you want, you can imagine back in the Universe to a time before it looked anything like ours did. Before there…

In just one year, you can attend the largest celebration of STEM for FREE! On April 16-17, 2016, the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival returns to the nation’s capital along with some of your favorite performers and hands-on exhibits! Next April, Sneak Peek Friday, open to schools, homeschoolers and military families, returns on April…

Environment

The AFL-CIO joins a growing list of organizations which have raised serious concerns—or outright oppose—the Vitter/Udall bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on April 13, in Weber County, UT.

Insulin is a major hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. Its main function is to lower sugar by increasing glucose uptake into muscle and fat cells. Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes and occurs when tissues in the body are not able to respond to insulin resulting in sustained elevations in blood sugar,…

Humanities

There has been a lot of stuff written in response to the Hugo award nomination mess, most of it stupid. Some of it is stupid to such an impressive degree that it actually makes me feel sympathetic toward people who I know are wrong about everything. One of the few exceptions is the long essay…

In just one year, you can attend the largest celebration of STEM for FREE! On April 16-17, 2016, the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival returns to the nation’s capital along with some of your favorite performers and hands-on exhibits! Next April, Sneak Peek Friday, open to schools, homeschoolers and military families, returns on April…

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Len Annetta speaking about how his background growing up poor and how he’s now creating the next generation of creative science and technology leaders through serious games.  Dr. Annetta is speaking to Center City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  Read full blog here.   

Education

In just one year, you can attend the largest celebration of STEM for FREE! On April 16-17, 2016, the 4th USA Science & Engineering Festival returns to the nation’s capital along with some of your favorite performers and hands-on exhibits! Next April, Sneak Peek Friday, open to schools, homeschoolers and military families, returns on April…

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Len Annetta speaking about how his background growing up poor and how he’s now creating the next generation of creative science and technology leaders through serious games.  Dr. Annetta is speaking to Center City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  Read full blog here.   

So, the mysterious strings of digits that I wrote about the other day seem to be part of a class assignment from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Students are being asked to go read and comment on blogs, and the random digits are individual student identifiers. This makes sense given the form and…

Politics

The AFL-CIO joins a growing list of organizations which have raised serious concerns—or outright oppose—the Vitter/Udall bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Low income and poor health tend to go hand in hand — that’s not a particularly surprising or new statement. However, according to family medicine doctor Steven Woolf, we have yet to truly grasp the extent to which income shapes a person’s health and opportunity to live a long life. And if we don’t confront the widening income inequality gap, he says things will only get worse.

I continue to struggle to avoid saying anything more about the Hugo mess, so let’s turn instead to something totally non-controversial: gender bias in academic hiring. Specifically, this new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science titled “National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track” with this…

Medicine

In just a year, electronic cigarette use has tripled among American teens. And considering that no one really knows what the related health impacts are and any regulatory framework is lagging far behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, public health advocates say it’s time for action.

If there’s one doctor who irritates me possibly more than any other, it’s got to be “America’s Doctor,” a.k.a. Dr. Mehmet Oz, thanks to The Dr. Oz Show. He’s been an all too frequent topic on this blog and at my not-so-super-secret other blog. Of course, I refer to him as “America’s quack,” because, well,…

Insulin is a major hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. Its main function is to lower sugar by increasing glucose uptake into muscle and fat cells. Insulin resistance is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes and occurs when tissues in the body are not able to respond to insulin resulting in sustained elevations in blood sugar,…

Brain & Behavior

In just a year, electronic cigarette use has tripled among American teens. And considering that no one really knows what the related health impacts are and any regulatory framework is lagging far behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, public health advocates say it’s time for action.

This Nifty Fifty Podcast features Dr. Frederic Bertley speaking to high school children about the availability of STEM jobs, how much science affects our lives, the promising future of transportation, drinking water, medicine, and genomic science, and some of the living scientists making an impact on our work.   Listen to the podcast and read…

Thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, millions of low-income children have the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal. But does the program impact the brain as well as the belly? A new study finds that it does, with students at participating schools scoring higher in math, reading and science.

Technology

So, I get a lot of comment spam here, probably a couple of orders of magnitude more than I get real comments (sigh). The vast majority of this gets blocked by built-in filters, so none of the stuff pitching medically implausible treatments for whatever makes it to a point where I have to see it.…

Update 10 April: It pays to report problems like the one described below to Google’s customer support. Seven weeks ago I discovered the problem. One week ago I reported it. Today the problem was suddenly gone, probably because Google updated the two ebooks involved and pushed new versions of the files to my phone. I…

I mentioned last week that I’m giving a talk at Vanderbilt tomorrow, but as they went to the trouble of writing a press release, the least I can do is share it: It’s clear that this year’s Forman lecturer at Vanderbilt University, Chad Orzel, will talk about physics to almost anyone. After all, two of…

Information Science

So, I get a lot of comment spam here, probably a couple of orders of magnitude more than I get real comments (sigh). The vast majority of this gets blocked by built-in filters, so none of the stuff pitching medically implausible treatments for whatever makes it to a point where I have to see it.…

Colin Adams’s Zombies & Calculus is one of the coolest, funniest, most creative science books I’ve read in a very long time. What’s interesting about that statement is that we’re not talking a non-fiction book here. We’re talking a novel. Yes, a novel. Zombies & Calculus is pure fiction. Fortunately. Now I’m a big fan…

As long-time readers of this blog with know, I’m a huge supporter of science books. One of my definite soft spots is the annual Lane Anderson Award for the best Canadian science book in both adult and young adult categories. As such I’ll point out that the submission deadline for the 2014 award is fast…

Jobs

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on April 13, in Weber County, UT.

More than two decades have passed since OSHA promised to issue a rule to protect construction workers from confined space hazards. What did OSHA do during that time to fulfill that promise?

Low income and poor health tend to go hand in hand — that’s not a particularly surprising or new statement. However, according to family medicine doctor Steven Woolf, we have yet to truly grasp the extent to which income shapes a person’s health and opportunity to live a long life. And if we don’t confront the widening income inequality gap, he says things will only get worse.