The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists – “Before we jump in, some caveats to keep in mind: Our survey was not a scientific poll. For one, the respondents disproportionately hailed from the biomedical and social sciences and English-speaking communities. Many of the responses did, however, vividly illustrate the challenges and perverse incentives that scientists across fields face. And they are a valuable starting point for a deeper look at dysfunction in science today.”
Why Did American Cats Get Blamed for So Many Divorces? – “It just so happened that cats became increasingly beloved as house pets at around the same time that the rate of divorcing couples was beginning an uptick in America, in the 1910s. Following the The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848, which gave women a claim to marital property, and subsequent modifications to divorce laws, unhappy couples were no longer doomed to stay together. But, a couple couldn’t get a divorce only because their love had waned; they often needed to prove in court that someone, or something, in the marriage was to blame.”
The Reluctant Memoirist – “I did not wish that my book were Eat, Pray, Love. As the only journalist to live undercover in North Korea, I had risked imprisonment to tell a story of international importance by the only means possible. By casting my book as personal rather than professional—by marketing me as a woman on a journey of self-discovery, rather than a reporter on a groundbreaking assignment—I was effectively being stripped of my expertise on the subject I knew best. It was a subtle shift, but one familiar to professional women from all walks of life. I was being moved from a position of authority—What do you know?—to the realm of emotion: How did you feel?” From Jamie.
‘Ghostbusters’ Is A Perfect Example Of How Internet Movie Ratings Are Broken – “Most fundamentally, single-number aggregations — like those used by sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb — are a pitiful way of explaining the diverse views of critics. More specifically, a vocal portion of men on the internet — shall we say — go out of their way to make their voices heard when it comes to judging entertainment aimed at women, and that appears to be happening with the new ‘Ghostbusters.’ “
Why Kickstarter’s Glowing Plant Left Backers in the Dark – “Its creators said they would print firefly genes or those from bioluminescent bacteria and then add them to a plant to make it emit a greenish light. Anyone who donated $40 was promised a plant within 12 months. For a $150 contribution, you’d get a glowing rose. The project’s core aim has been to add six genes into the genome of tobacco plants and coördinate them as an entire metabolic pathway. And that has proved very difficult to do. Familiar GMOs from companies like Monsanto don’t attempt anything so challenging.”
A History of Embarrassing Presidential Campaign Logos – “Since the 19th century, presidential campaigns have produced posters, buttons, banners, and slogans to promote their candidate, and while a few have become iconic symbols of their eras—think Eisenhower’s ‘I Like Ike’ slogan—there’s been more than a few unusual choices along the way.”
Does Subsidizing Crops We’re Told To Eat Less Of Fatten Us Up? – “Many experts agree: We need new thinking about how to incentivize more nutritious food choices at the retail level, especially given that the U.S. government spends far more on food assistance programs such as SNAP, aka food stamps, compared with crop subsidies. Perhaps this is why the government has begun funding programs, such as a subsidy for food stamp recipients to buy fresh food at farmers markets. Meanwhile, some insurers are experimenting with nudging shoppers to make better choices by offering rebates for healthful food.”