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What we're talking about Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trump Spurns Paris Agreement

If you are upset about Trump and upset about Trump pulling the US out of the Paris agreement, please let me help you get through the day. Trump announcing that the US is pulling out of Paris does not mean the end of Paris, the end of action on climate change, or much else about…

President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a low point for the U.S.A. America can never be great with a President who ignores science and uses his power to favor the few over the many.

For people who are wondering why I’m not doing more of my patented chronologies or collections of posts, the answer is pretty simple. There’s so damn much going on it’s hard for me to find the time and mental energy to bring it all together. I’m currently working on posts covering the Trump budget proposal…

A small number of industry-funded groups have shaped the US political process in ways that ensure they can continue profiting — even though it will cost millions of lives worldwide.

Wailing child emperor Donald Trump recently decreed that the United States will not implement the carbon-curbing Paris Agreement originally agreed upon by 195 countries. This latest U-turn from Obama-era policies has insulted the scientifically-literate and brought good cheer to the fraction of the public who believes global warming is a hoax designed to extend the totalitarian hand of a New World Order. Can the Paris Agreement still mitigate the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere? Or was it all just liberal lip service to begin with? Greg Laden considers the consequences of Trump's decision and fact-checks his talking points. On The Pump Handle, Celeste Monforton says this "will have historic, monumental, and grave consequences for public health." And on Confessions of a Science Librarian, John Dupuis rounds up a series of articles on the issue. Meanwhile Liz Borkowski cuts to the heart of the matter (namely Big Oil and Koch Industries), writing "a small number of industry-funded groups have shaped the US political process in ways that ensure they can continue profiting — even though it will cost millions of lives worldwide."

Channel Surfing

Life Science

Most of us have heard the phrase: Laughter is contagious. When we hear other people laughing, we often smile even if we have no idea why they are laughing. Dr. Sophie Scott from the University College of London and her colleagues played both positive sounds (like laughter) and negative sounds (like retching or screaming) to subjects and…

I came across an article published in Physiological Reviews with a title so irresistible (Estrogens in Male Physiology), I just had to read it. While I knew that males have estrogen, this article impressed me with the numerous things estrogens are associated with, some of which were new to me and highlight how important estrogens are to…

Physical Science

“Einstein’s gravitational theory, which is said to be the greatest single achievement of theoretical physics, resulted in beautiful relations connecting gravitational phenomena with the geometry of space; this was an exciting idea.” -Richard Feynman There’s no doubt that LIGO has given us one of the most incredible breakthroughs of the 21st century: the direct detection…

“Although we were initially quite skeptical that this planet could exist, as we continued to investigate its orbit and what it would mean for the outer solar system, we become increasingly convinced that it is out there.” -Konstantin Batygin Last year, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown made a huge splash when they announced that…

Much delayed, but this works out well because it’ll give you something to read while we’re away in Mexico on a family vacation. Here’s what I wrote for Forbes in the merry month of May: — In Science, Probability Is More Certain Than You Think: Some thoughts on the common mistake people make in saying…

Environment

With new reports on working conditions in global supply chains coming out every week from the news media and non-governmental organizations – how is possible to keep track of the most important developments in health and safety and other worker rights?  There is a “one-stop shopping” solution to sign up for a weekly update of recent reports and corporate responses, as well as more organizations to track for those with more time and ambition. 

Most of us have heard the phrase: Laughter is contagious. When we hear other people laughing, we often smile even if we have no idea why they are laughing. Dr. Sophie Scott from the University College of London and her colleagues played both positive sounds (like laughter) and negative sounds (like retching or screaming) to subjects and…

2016 saw the dawn of a new era, and unsurprisingly on the men’s side it continued; Maggie were very fast. Clare bumped up two (Pembroke; Caius, still looking nice but under powered) but couldn’t touch Maggie despite having two attempts. Saturday saw LMBC two cementing their place in div 1 just opposite the John’s beer…

Humanities

With new reports on working conditions in global supply chains coming out every week from the news media and non-governmental organizations – how is possible to keep track of the most important developments in health and safety and other worker rights?  There is a “one-stop shopping” solution to sign up for a weekly update of recent reports and corporate responses, as well as more organizations to track for those with more time and ambition. 

Most of us have heard the phrase: Laughter is contagious. When we hear other people laughing, we often smile even if we have no idea why they are laughing. Dr. Sophie Scott from the University College of London and her colleagues played both positive sounds (like laughter) and negative sounds (like retching or screaming) to subjects and…

I’ve skipped a few weeks of cute-kid updates, largely because I was at DAMOP for a week, and then catching on stuff I missed while I was at DAMOP for a week. The principal activity during this stretch has been SteelyKid’s softball, with a mad flurry of games at the end of the season to…

Education

Most of us have heard the phrase: Laughter is contagious. When we hear other people laughing, we often smile even if we have no idea why they are laughing. Dr. Sophie Scott from the University College of London and her colleagues played both positive sounds (like laughter) and negative sounds (like retching or screaming) to subjects and…

My afternoon snack of a Chobani yogurt comes from New York State’s $14 billion dairy industry. The state leads the country in Greek yogurt production. Interviews with 88 dairy parlor workers describe low wages, injuries, and poor housing and a call for companies to adopt strong labor codes of conduct.

After almost 14 mostly dismal years on the academic job market, I find it a consolation to read an opinion piece in Times Higher Education under the headline “Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy“. In my experience this is also true for Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Norway, for instance, the referee board that evaluates job…

Politics

Another couple of weeks’ worth of stories about how science is faring under the Donald Trump regime. If I’m missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it’s dupuisj at gmail dot com.…

Despite glowing reviews from the House GOP about their health care bill, the people that actually crunch the numbers say it’ll likely mean millions more uninsured and higher premiums for people in poorer health. Now comes more bad news: it’ll also result in more than 900,000 lost jobs and billions in lost state revenue.

The Union of Concerned Scientists filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit challenging the President’s order that agencies delete two regulations for every one it plans to propose.

Medicine

The Court of Justice of the European Union just issued a muddled ruling being proclaimed by clickbait headlines as allowing courts to blame any disease on vaccines without evidence. It does nothing of the sort, but it is concerning nonetheless, as it is confusing and does appear to lower the bar of evidence for vaccine injury claims. That’s plenty bad enough.

Alternative practitioners invent and treat fake diseases like adrenal fatigue and chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, as a recent CDC report on complications due to treating chronic Lyme disease with long term antibiotics shows, treating fake diseases can cause harm and, in some cases, even kill.

For whatever reason, acupuncturists and acupuncture believers think that acupuncture can be useful in emergency situations. They even do studies purporting to show that. This is yet another of such a clinical trial, albeit larger than usual. Guess what? It doesn’t really show what it’s advertised to show.

Brain & Behavior

Most of us have heard the phrase: Laughter is contagious. When we hear other people laughing, we often smile even if we have no idea why they are laughing. Dr. Sophie Scott from the University College of London and her colleagues played both positive sounds (like laughter) and negative sounds (like retching or screaming) to subjects and…

While lavender aromatherapy has been documented to reduce stress in humans, little is known about its potential for reducing stress in veterinary medicine. Horses can develop elevated heart rates and stress hormone levels when they are confined to horse trailers and transported to new competition venues. Therapies to reduce stress in competition horses are regulated…

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in Britain recently studied ‘willpower’ in pet Labrador retrievers. After allowing each dog to smell a hot dog, the researchers placed the hot dog in a hamster cage and sealed it shut with duct tape. While some dogs showed only mild interest in the sealed-up hot dog, others were fixated on…

Technology

Tesla’s investment in solar, auto, and battery technology is helping in the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. The question is whether the firm will accomplish it on the high road of labor rights and worker safety.

… for the science literate or geek. It is hard to think up gifts at the last minute, so I’m passing on a few suggestions that have been mentioned lately in my presence. Some Amazon Kindle e-readers are $20 off A second monitor (or a third). I like this one. A Darth Vader Pen Holder…

I can’t give this a meaningful review because I don’t have the setup to test it out, Coding iPhone Apps for Kids: A playful introduction to Swift by Gloria Winquist and Matt McCarthy looks like it is up to the high standards of this publisher and these authors, and might be just the thing for…

Information Science

Another couple of weeks’ worth of stories about how science is faring under the Donald Trump regime. If I’m missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it’s dupuisj at gmail dot com.…

As a kind of quick follow up to my long ago post on Some perspective on “predatory” open access journals (presentation version, more or less, here and very short video version here) and in partial response to the recent What I learned from predatory publishers, I thought I would gather a bunch of worthwhile items…

I know you all loved Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow, but perhaps some of you have not read it yet or, like me, Rachel gave you a physically real copy of it so you don’t have the Kindle version. Now is your chance, since the Kindle version is $1.99 right…

Jobs

Tesla’s investment in solar, auto, and battery technology is helping in the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources. The question is whether the firm will accomplish it on the high road of labor rights and worker safety.

With new reports on working conditions in global supply chains coming out every week from the news media and non-governmental organizations – how is possible to keep track of the most important developments in health and safety and other worker rights?  There is a “one-stop shopping” solution to sign up for a weekly update of recent reports and corporate responses, as well as more organizations to track for those with more time and ambition. 

Despite glowing reviews from the House GOP about their health care bill, the people that actually crunch the numbers say it’ll likely mean millions more uninsured and higher premiums for people in poorer health. Now comes more bad news: it’ll also result in more than 900,000 lost jobs and billions in lost state revenue.