Quickies: Desegregation and the Religious Right, Rainbow Unicorns, and Placebos
- It Wasn’t Abortion That Formed the Religious Right. It Was Support for Segregation. – “The religious right, who liked to call themselves the ‘moral majority’ at the time, actually organized around fighting to protect Christian schools from being desegregated. It wasn’t Roe v. Wade that woke the sleeping dragon of the evangelical vote. It was Green v. Kennedy, a 1970 decision stripping tax-exempt status from ‘segregation academies’—private Christian schools that were set up in response to Brown v. Board of Education, where the practice of barring black students continued.”
- The Forgotten Feminism of Lola Ridge – “Ten years before Virginia Woolf called for a room of one’s own, this radical poet paved the way for literary feminists.
- A Rainbow Unicorn Wants to Transform Biology Publishing – “Biologists, publishers, and science funders gathered at a meeting last week in Maryland at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to talk about how to improve the centuries-old tradition of slow, careful peer-reviewed science publishing. Biologists, publishers, and science funders gathered at a meeting last week in Maryland at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to talk about how to improve the centuries-old tradition of slow, careful peer-reviewed science publishing.”
- The shocking science of sword swallowing – “To the layperson, controlling the upper sphincter is at least logical, because this is where the gag reflex lives. However, controlling the lower esophageal sphincter is what really impressed Abraham Khan, a gastroenterologist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.” Gross yet fascinating.
- “We can’t have any confidence in the numbers …”: Brazil’s dodgy data on microcephaly – “A growing body of evidence suggests Brazil’s high rates of microcephaly predate the country’s Zika outbreak.” (I don’t agree with the conclusion of this article but it does raise a good point about the reliability of reported numbers in previous years.)
- NASA to send art to asteroid Bennu — and you’re invited to submit your work – “Interested? Here’s what the NASA invitation says you can send: A submission may take the form of a sketch, photograph, graphic, poem, song, short video or other creative or artistic expression that reflects what it means to be an explorer.”
- Five myths about placebos – “In reality, placebo treatments can cause measurable, biological changes similar to those triggered by drugs. Studies show that depressed patients on placebos experience increased activity in their prefrontal cortex, which eases their symptoms. Other research has shown that in patients with Parkinson’s disease, placebos trigger a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine, just as their drugs do.” Related: 6 phony surgeries that take placebo to the extreme