Politics and Science


Most of my posts are reposting of political articles and columns from a variety of news sources. One of my regular sources is Science Daily. I’m a science freak and regularly read many of the articles there, but most of them are about non-political issues like the elasticity of dark holes discovered in some remote galaxy, the implications of super-string theory or new ways to manipulate nanotubes for computer use. These are fascinating to me, and you might enjoy signing up for Science Daily yourself. (Don’t roll your eyes.)

Today’s digest had several articles with major political links–even though Science Daily did not note that. I am not going to paste in whole articles. I will however, point out what I see as political.  You will have to follow the links, but I do hope you will.  Click on the article titles to go to the full article.

The first article relates to protecting ourselves from the predations of on-line sites like Facebook. Facebook may offer many valuable capabilities to connect with others, but it also gathers your personal information and sells it to the highest bidder. Despite all their hype about protecting your privacy it is almost impossible to configure your account to do so.

Finding Hidden Circles May Improve Social Network Privacy Settings

Nov. 26, 2013 — Creating a computer program to find relationships in networks, such as Google Plus and Facebook, may help users more easily set up and maintain privacy settings, according to researchers.

“We want to help users configure privacy to be better protected,” said Anna Squicciarini, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State. “However not all users are interested or motivated to change their privacy settings,”

The researchers designed a software program to better predict how users might assign privacy levels to new content to different groups of people in their networks.

Bonobos are an amazing animal. They would rather make love than fight. In many ways they could be an exemplar for us, humans. They survive by cooperation, not competition. But they are being overcome by political decisions being made by humans.

Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ Ape Threatened by Human Activity and Forest Loss

Nov. 26, 2013 — The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations.

The loss of usable habitat is attributed to both forest fragmentation and poaching, according to a new study by University of Georgia, University of Maryland, the Wildlife Conservation Society, ICCN (Congolese Wildlife Authority), African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, World Wildlife Fund, Max Planck Institute, Lukuru Foundation, University of Stirling, Kyoto University, and other groups.

Using data from nest counts and remote sensing imagery, the research team found that the bonobo — one of humankind’s closest living relatives — avoids areas of high human activity and forest fragmentation. As little as 28 percent of the bonobo’s range remains suitable, according to the model developed by the researchers in the study, which now appears in the December edition of Biodiversity and Conservation.

There is no excuse for Electronic Cigarettes. They do not help people quit smoking. Recent versions include a nicotine hit.

Electronic Cigarettes: New Route to Smoking Addiction for Adolescents

Nov. 26, 2013 — E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Now, in the first study of its kind, UC San Francisco researchers are reporting that, at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less.

“We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids,” according to senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.

Another nail for the coffin of pharmaceuticals. This ADHD plague we are now experiencing is mainly a way to sell more drugs. If we treated our societal ills, we might lower the number of children diagnosed with ADHD–of course that would reduce the income of the pharmaceutical/medical industry.

ADHD Linked to Social, Economic Disadvantage

Nov. 26, 2013 — Scientists have found evidence of a link between social and economic status and childhood attention deficit disorder (ADHD) in the UK.

A team led by the University of Exeter Medical School analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a database of more than 19,500 UK children born between 2000 and 2002.

Scientists have found evidence of a link between social and economic status and childhood attention deficit disorder (ADHD) in the UK.

A team led by the University of Exeter Medical School analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a database of more than 19,500 UK children born between 2000 and 2002.

 

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