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But can it core a apple?

On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 23, 2014 - 70 comments

Utility, welfare, and efficiency

  1. Welfare economics: an introduction
  2. The perils of Potential Pareto
  3. Inequality, production, and technology
  4. Welfare theorems, distribution priority, and market clearing
  5. Normative is performative, not positive

posted by kliuless on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Make Everything Awesome For Everybody: Bridging The CP Snow-Style Divide

The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2014 - 37 comments

"Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science..."

Climatologist Michael E. Mann, known for introducing the famous "hockey stick" graph, has filed a defamation suit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 31, 2014 - 90 comments

"...research that is scientifically valuable but morally disturbing."

The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
posted by zarq on Nov 6, 2013 - 28 comments

Data You Can Believe In

The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
posted by reenum on Sep 30, 2013 - 16 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Scuds on Steroids

Unha-3, Pyongyang's first successful orbital launch vehicle, dropped her first stage into the Yellow Sea after December 12's launch. Analysis of debris salvaged by the South Korean Navy suggests the scud-derived, crudely assembled rocket is actually an ICBM with enough range to theoretically reach the U.S. (should North Korea somehow manage to miniaturize their nuclear weapon technology and develop re-entry ability).
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Dec 27, 2012 - 55 comments

Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars. I don't see any flying cars!

Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 comments

Steve Packard "The Bad Science Guy" shares what he learned from running for Congress.

Revelations From Running For Congress Steve Packard writes a blog called "Depleted Cranium," which debunks bad science in the media. Last spring he decided to run for Congress on a "Science-based" platform. It was ultimately a heartbreaking experience for him and he had to quit, as he'd run out of money for food. He has a pretty great post up summing up his experiences now. And at this point probably wouldn't mind if you donated a couple of cans of beans.
posted by proscriptus on Oct 15, 2012 - 58 comments

Sixteen Concerned Scientists

"Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically." Link. [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Jan 27, 2012 - 270 comments

World building the future

MeFi's own cstross on the future: Part 1, Part 2.
posted by Zarkonnen on Jan 15, 2012 - 76 comments

and battery

The assault on Los Alamos National Laboratory: A drama in three acts
posted by fantabulous timewaster on Nov 10, 2011 - 30 comments

The Food Riots of 2013

Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute say they've uncovered a pattern that triggers riots wherever it's found. What is that pattern? The price of food. When it rises to a certain level, social unrest & violence are soon to follow. According to their calculations the food price index is due to peak in August of 2013, assuming no corrective action is taken. The original paper is here.
posted by scalefree on Aug 21, 2011 - 49 comments

All Cannabis Use Is Medical

A 35 minute conversation on medical marijuana with Michael Backes.
posted by gman on May 3, 2011 - 19 comments

These astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy

Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
posted by novenator on Dec 20, 2010 - 79 comments

Peer Reviewing an Opinion on Science and the Political Agenda

An opinion piece in Slate argues that the scientific agenda would benefit from increasing the paltry six percent of American scientists who identify as Republican. (This statistic previously on Metafilter.) Knight Science Journalism Tracker offers peer review of this point.
posted by jjray on Dec 8, 2010 - 98 comments

Meet the Denialists

A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research. In the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole. In all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action.
posted by gerryblog on Oct 8, 2010 - 31 comments

Whack-a-mole climate denialism

Investigative reporting continues to attack the credibility of the IPCC reports on climate change, as well as vicious personal attacks. These stories gain wide coverage in the denialist echo chamber, yet several months down the track, after thorough independent investigation, they are found to be false. Weak retractions are published in newspapers, but the damage is done.
posted by wilful on Aug 26, 2010 - 36 comments

Theocracy at the end of a Pipetman

With the passing of Executive Order 13505, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells, in 2009 President Obama expanded federal funding and rescinded George W. Bush's policies that eliminated most federal funding and restricted human embryonic stem cell research to the use of existing, contaminated cell lines. On Monday, federal judge Royce C. Lamberth blocked this new order after protestations from James L. Sherley, a former scientist with the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, and Theresa Deisher, who operates the Ave Maria Biotechnology Company, which aims to do "pro-life" therapeutic research without the "taint of embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials". [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 25, 2010 - 45 comments

The future, broken down

40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years For it's 40th anniversary issue, Smithsonian magazine asks experts in various fields for insights into our future and compiles a list of 40 predictions about the future of science, nature, the arts and technology. The feature essay is by President Obama, in which he explains why he's optimistic about America's future. (VIA) [more inside]
posted by mondaygreens on Jul 15, 2010 - 48 comments

Salesmen, Not Scientists

Merchants of Doubt is a new book that reports how a small group of scientists committed to an extreme free-market ideology have been employed by large corporations over several decades to cast doubt on such different environmental issues as the risks of tobacco smoke, the dangers of DDT, the effectiveness of the Strategic Defence Initiative, the regulation of CFCs, and the causes of global warming. A review in the Christian Science Monitor calls this "one of the most important books of the year. Exhaustively researched and documented..."
posted by binturong on Jul 12, 2010 - 48 comments

Panel finds MMR scare doctor 'acted unethically'

Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet study caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles - but the findings were later discredited. The General Medical Council ruled he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in doing his research.
[more inside]
posted by mdpatrick on Jan 28, 2010 - 25 comments

"Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."

Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.
posted by defenestration on Jan 4, 2010 - 258 comments

The Subversion of the EPA

Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA. "This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
posted by homunculus on Dec 11, 2008 - 19 comments

To Idi Amin: I'm a idiot.

This isn't exactly the scarlet letter, but it might be a sign of something we've seen before (or maybe not, depending who you ask.) Still, you should probably get yourself one of these [see also] if you're planning to cry wolf! (You can also make your own.) [more inside]
posted by davejay on Oct 24, 2008 - 125 comments

Conservatives are scaredy-cats

The Politics of Fear: Some Political Views May be Related to Physiology video, audio [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Sep 21, 2008 - 38 comments

ScienceDebate2008 Update

Barack Obama has responded to the 14 questions posed by ScienceDebate2008 (discussed previously). The Martian Chronicles has outlined some key points of his response. John McCain has not responded to the questions, but has indicated that he will respond.
posted by gruchall on Sep 1, 2008 - 63 comments

There Could Be Blood

Andy Grove on Our Electric Future - "Energy independence [viz.] is the wrong goal. Here is a plan Americans can stick to." Perhaps some infrastructure spending1,2 is in order? [etc., &c., cf.] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 15, 2008 - 14 comments

Rachel Carson

Rehabilitating Carson: "Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson responsible for millions of malaria deaths?" [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 2, 2008 - 20 comments

Dignity and Bioethics

The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 28, 2008 - 28 comments

Brok en Pip e l ine

An unprecedented five consecutive years of stagnant funding for the National Institutes of Health is putting America at risk - a few prominent research institutions get together to voice their concern over flat funding of the National Institutes of Health over the past 5 years, in their report The Broken Pipeline (pdf). Bloggers comment [1, 2, 3].
posted by Gyan on Mar 14, 2008 - 40 comments

A Genetic Basis for 'Race'

'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2008 - 101 comments

What is humanity's capacity to feed itself?

In 1798, English economist Thomas Malthus promised "Famine ... the last, the most dreadful resource of nature." It took another 125 years for world population to double, but only 50 more for it to redouble. By the 1940s, Mexi­co, China, India, Russia, and Europe were hungry.
posted by amyms on Jan 11, 2008 - 40 comments

Science and Technology in the 2008 Presidential Election

Dr. President: "The next president of the United States of America will control a $150 billion annual research budget, 200,000 scientists, and 38 major research institutions and all their related labs. This president will shape human endeavors in space, bioethics debates, and the energy landscape of the 21st century." With the coming election, the AAAS has created a new website and devoted a section of their journal Science to the Democratic and Republican candidates' positions on science and technology issues. But to help further clarify their positions, some people are calling for the candidates to have a presidential debate on science and technology. [Via The Intersection and Wired Science.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 9, 2008 - 48 comments

limits

The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy - naked capitalism reprints (with added commentary) an FT article by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some are calling for more socialism, while others would press on to build more megaprojects. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting and natural capitalism :P
posted by kliuless on Dec 19, 2007 - 42 comments

Health Care and Innovation

Creative Destruction: The Best Case Against Universal Health Care. [Via The Mahablog.]
posted by homunculus on Nov 14, 2007 - 82 comments

"If marijuana were a new discovery rather than a well-known substance carrying cultural and political baggage, it would be hailed as a wonder drug."

Marijuana, the wonder drug. A new study in the journal Neurology is being hailed as unassailable proof that marijuana is a valuable medicine. It is a sad commentary on the state of modern medicine that we still need "proof" of something that medicine has known for 5,000 years.
posted by ZenMasterThis on Mar 2, 2007 - 80 comments

Restore reality-based government

How Congress can safeguard science from distortion, something of which both parties are historically guilty. An op-ed on politics and science by author Chris Mooney and physics professor Alan Sokal, the man behind the infamous Sokal Hoax.
posted by homunculus on Feb 5, 2007 - 11 comments

“Allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further a parent’s freedom to raise the sort of children they want to raise.”

Cure for teh gay? I was relaxing in front of X-Men 3 when a friend mentioned that the United States "gay sheep" experiments were wrapping up (though not uneventfully), with considerable successes. Lesbian tennis champ Martina Navaratilova has been fighting to end the tests for some time, but it appears a "gay vaccine" for pregnant mothers may be inevitable. Meanwhile, the GOP's only gay congressman retires.
posted by mek on Dec 31, 2006 - 294 comments

Medics face death in Libyan HIV case

Death by firing squad is imminent (timeline) for a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting 426 girls and boys at the al-Fatah Hospital in Benghazi with HIV, after having the sentence lifted a year ago and sent to retrial. Libya stands accused of using the children as diplomatic pawns and torturing confessions out of the health workers. Nature has published a series of articles refuting the dubious evidence provided by Libyan researchers, which many think was concocted to cover up the poor hospital hygiene that likely caused the infections in the first place. [previously]
posted by blendor on Dec 19, 2006 - 35 comments

When Scientists Go Bad

When Scientists Go Bad
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 27, 2006 - 26 comments

Politics at the FDA

"In 2006, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) distributed a 38-question survey to 5,918 FDA scientists to examine the state of science at the FDA. The results paint a picture of a troubled agency: hundreds of scientists reported significant interference with the FDA’s scientific work, compromising the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission of protecting public health and safety."
posted by daksya on Jul 20, 2006 - 25 comments

Hansen Speaks

That scientist NASA tried to silence? He finally did the radio interview last week.
posted by alms on Feb 6, 2006 - 16 comments

Politics

Algorithm detects politicians' spin.
posted by semmi on Jan 21, 2006 - 11 comments

Predictive Programming - another Iluminati conspiracy

' "Predictive programming works by means of the propagation of the illusion of an infallibly accurate vision of how the world is going to look in the future". Through the circulation of science "fiction" literature, the ignorant masses are provided with semiotic intimations of coming events. Within such literary works are narrative paradigms that are politically and socially expedient to the power elite. Thus, when the future unfolds as planned, it assumes the paradigmatic character of the "fiction" that foretold it...........' The Illuminati: an all encompassing conspiracy stranger than any fiction
posted by 0bvious on Dec 11, 2005 - 17 comments

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