Humanities

Ammonia tolerance of goldfish

Liver failure or congenital defects can lead to a build-up of ammonia in the brain of mammals resulting in life-threatening swelling, convulsions and comas. For goldfish (Carassius auratus), environmental exposure to ammonia causes reversible swelling of the brain. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, researchers wanted…

The newish hit movie La La Land is creating quite the tempest in a teapot in the jazz world these days, and even a few ripples of jazz-related commentary out side of it. The prospects for an awards bonanza are quite strong, starting with the recent Golden Globes and perhaps continuing to the Oscars. Which…

Science Communication FTW

Despite a greater percentage of people knowing about (and agreeing with) scientific issues, denialism remains a powerful political and psychological force that threatens to have its heyday under President Trump. As Peter Gleick writes on Significant Figures, “good policy without good science is difficult; good policy with bad science is impossible.” Peter asks: what is…

Spoiler Alert: Rogue One

Serving as an immediate prelude to the very first Star Wars film (A New Hope), Rogue One restores a measure of gravitas to the Star Wars canon that was seriously undermined by the goofiness of 2015’s The Force Awakens. Rogue One is still a remarkable nostalgia trip, thanks to the digital recreation of familiar Rebel…

Because taking health insurance away from millions of Americans isn’t bad enough, President-elect Trump has reportedly asked an outspoken critic of vaccines — a man who supported the thoroughly debunked notion that vaccines are linked to autism — to lead a commission on vaccine safety.

January Pieces Of My Mind #1

The introductions to academic paper anthologies often consist of descriptions of the contents. I never read them. That information is in the title to each contribution. Pointless. H.G. Wells became public domain on 1 January! My new project is writing a Latin grammar in Pidgin English. Have you ever been to a Yule Spruce Looting…

2016 Enlightener & Deceiver Awards

The Swedish Skeptics have announced their annual awards for 2016. The Enlightener of the Year award is given to the science desk at Dagens Nyheter, a major newspaper. Science editor Maria Gunther and medicine reporter Amina Mansoor have made medicine and other science accessible in an initiated yet comprehensible way. Congrats Maria and Amina, well…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Workers suffering the ‘lethal legacy’ of a General Electric plant in Canada fight for compensation; OSHA looks into an Arizona commission that routinely reduces penalties for safety violations; advocates ponder the future of OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program; and millions of workers get a raise in the new year.

While The Pump Handle is on holiday break, we are republishing some of our favorite posts from the past year. This one is from April 2016: Reporter Andrew Schneider has written a sequel to his 2004 book “An Air That Kills: How the Asbestos Poisoning of Libby, Montana Uncovered a National Scandal.” The new book covers the unsuccessful criminal trial against W.R. Grace, and the legacy of a deadly form of asbestos from Libby that fills millions of attics across the U.S.

While The Pump Handle is on holiday break, we are republishing some of our favorite posts from the past year. This one is from May 2016: Last summer, 25-year-old Roendy Granillo died of heat stroke while he installed flooring in a house in Melissa, Texas, just north of Dallas. His tragic and entirely preventable death marked a turning point in advocacy efforts to pass a rest break ordinance for local construction workers.