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Category archives for Science policy

Hits of the week past

Hits of the week: Savage Minds (with a spiffy website redesign) asks Why is there no Anthropology Journalism? Jerry Coyne takes sharp exception to both a paper and a SciAm Mind Matters article by Paul Andrews and Andy Thomson arguing that depression might be an evolutionary adaptation. Dr. Pangloss punches back. (NB: 1. I was…

Ed Yong, echoed by Mike the Mad biologist PhysioProf asks what the heck investigative science journalism would look like. I hope to write more extensively on this soon. In the meantime, a few observations: To ponder this question — and to do investigative reporting — I think it helps to have a sense of the…

SciAm ponders evidence that fish hatcheries are watering down the trout and salmon gene pool. Matt Yglesias looks at one of many lies being told by those opposing health-care reform — confirming Salon’s prediction that the opponents of reform are not going to play nice. See also The American Prospect on How Big Pharma Intends…

Photo: Tyler Hicks, via Scientific American What if you could predict which troops are most likely to get PTSD from combat exposure — and takes steps to either bolster them mentally or keep them out of combat situations? A new study suggests we could make a start on that right now — and cut combat…

Having lived with fire ants, stepped in fire ants, laid down with fire ants, and been bit just about everywhere by fire ants, the news that parasitic flies turn fire ants them into zombies by eating their brains pleases me immensely. Speaking of pleasure: Vaughn whacks the dopamine = pleasure meme. Sharon Begley says Obama…

What’s wrong — but horribly expected — in this picture? One week the CEO of Lilly attacks the idea of a public health insurance plan because it might reduce consumers’ “ability to choose, in an informed way, from all the available alternatives.” The next week, PhRMA, the trade group this CEO’s company is a part…

I should just have a permanent pointer from here to Effect Measure. But as I’ve not figured out how to do that, here’s some more sensible thinking from Revere: No one on the public health side has over reacted. When an outbreak or pandemic is unfolding, you get only one chance. The window is a…

Flu news you can use

The excellent blog H5N1 (now covering H1N1 as well, and all over it), points us to the New York Times for an op-ed by John M. Barry, author of the definitive history of the Spanish flu in the US: Where Will the Swine Flu Go Next? Excerpt: As the swine flu threatens to become the…

I’m guessing most everyone interested in swine flu already reads Effect Measure (as well you should; it was an invaluable resource in my reporting for my Slate piece on the mystery of the virulence of the outbreak in Mexico). But in case you haven’t or are not, today’s primer there on case fatality rates, virulence,…

Swine flu and the Mexico mystery

“Swine Flu and the Mexico Mystery,” my story on the swine-flu outbreak, is up at Slate. It looks at a question hotly pursued right now: Why does this flu seem to take a much deadlier course in Mexico than elsewhere so far? The answers will suggest much about what’s to come. Of the two two…