ONTD Political

Obama Just Became The First Sitting President To Publish A Scientific Paper

President Obama has achieved a first for a sitting president – he's published a paper in a leading peer-reviewed journal. The paper reviews the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, summarizes its effects, and considers what can be done in the future.

Being president doesn't usually leave a lot of time for other intellectual pursuits, and some recent occupants of the White House never seemed to have had much respect for science in the first place. Obama has always been different in that respect. John Holdren, Obama's science advisor, described how his boss enjoyed questioning scientists about their work more than his time with sports stars.

Now, Obama has joined the ranks of public health researchers as sole author of a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in which he reviews his most famous work, often known as Obamacare.

The paper includes a little on the history of the Act's passage, but the main focus is on how it has operated.

graphs what graphsCollapse )

Wife cake and evil water: The perils of auto-translation

While auto-translation software is improving, it is still not perfect.

Imagine a far flung land where you can catch a ride from the Jackie Chan bus stop to a restaurant called Translate Server Error, and enjoy a hearty feast of children sandwiches and wife cake all washed down with some evil water.

More lolz and new technology under the cut...Collapse )

OP is not so sure that there is ONE Chinese language (i.e. from what I've read in relation to spoken language in China, many languages and language families are native to China). I will admit there seems however to be some debate about this, although I personally wonder if this issue is not also partly political (i.e. part of the desire to centralize authority). Anyways, if there is anyone out there more knowledgeable than me on this (=I'm definiitely NOT an expert!), please feel free to correct me and teach me the error of my ways, LOL.

Also, speaking as someone who has done a lot of French-English translation, Google translate is TERRIBLE. Ugh!

Finally, I thought a post with some humor might be appreciated. :-)
Angola's front line against yellow fever

More than 300 people have so far died in the current yellow fever outbreak in Angola.

In the green and shaded gardens of the Americo Boavida Hospital in Angola's capital, Luanda, women in colourful printed dresses wait patiently for visiting hours to begin.

It is one of the biggest hospitals in the city, serving almost two million people.

Malaria is the most common killer here, but since December last year they have had to counter another, potentially more dangerous, mosquito-borne virus: Yellow fever.
More under the cut...Collapse )

OP: This post has a lot of information (I seem to do that, LOL), but I hope it is useful. :)
Plain cigarette packaging a hit with anti-smoking advocates, but debate about whether it works continues

Australia implemented plain packaging in 2012 - some say it reduced smoking rates, but others disagree
Rob Cunningham, senior policy advisor for the Canadian Cancer Society, holds up a proposed standardized cigarette package. The federal government is holding public consultations to develop new regulations on cigarette packaging. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Corporate greed under the cut...Collapse )

OP: So... Tobacco companies (especially the western ones) remain the worst: targeting poor countries in this way is shameful.

OP is not here for stigmatizing smokers, though.
Researchers name new praying mantis species after Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Scientists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History researching female praying mantis genitalia have named a newly discovered species after an unlikely subject: Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The new species, Ilomantis ginsburgae, comes from Madagascar and is the first praying mantis species to be delineated by observing the female genitalia, as opposed to the male genitalia that are generally the standard for classifying species.
The researchers said they named the mantis for the 83-year-old justice for two reasons: Her "commitment to women's rights and gender equality," and her penchant for wearing a jabot — Ginsburg's signature lace collar, which looks much like the insect's neck plate.
“As a feminist biologist, I often questioned why female specimens weren’t used to diagnose most species,” the study’s lead author, Case Western Reserve University Ph.D. candidate Sydney Brannoch, said. “This research establishes the validity of using female specimens in the classification of praying mantises. It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations.”

source is politico

other bugs named after people include Gary Larson, Barack Obama, Shakira and... Keith Richards? there are a whole lot
East Hampton Police on the Case of Nature Trail Giraffe

A fake giraffe standing at least nine feet tall was found chained to a tree at the Huntting Lane entrance to the East Hampton Village Nature Trail on Wednesday morning, puzzling police who said nothing like it had been reported stolen as of about 9 a.m.

"It's obviously stolen, but we don't know from where," East Hampton Village Police Chief Gerard Larsen said. "We're looking into it."

so where did it come from?Collapse )



i’s difficult to know what to make of the giraffe. It shuffles like a camel (right legs forward, then left legs) but runs like a rabbit (hind legs forward, then front legs). Its distinctive aroma repulses many ticks but enchants certain people. It bellows, hisses, and moans in the wild, and in captivity it hums in the dark. It naps with its head aloft but sleeps like a swan, with its head on its haunches. Had Aristotle ever seen a giraffe, he might have said that it was the product of an interspecies dalliance at the watering hole, which he thought of as a kind of zoological swingers’ club—a place where “bastard animals are born to heterogeneous pairs.”

basically a giraffe is like SCREW EVOLUTION IMMA BREAK THE NATURAL LAWSCollapse )
source is the New Yorker
Earth Is Tipping Because of Climate Change

Melting ice and shifting rain patterns are causing the north and south poles to drift


More under the cut...Collapse )

More links on this (in case you're still not sure you understand, like me :-):
-'Climate Change is Moving the North Pole'.
-'Greenland and Antarctic melt isn’t just raising seas — it’s changing the Earth’s rotation'.

OP: As explained in the first of these two links, this is a completely different phenomenon from the behavior of the planet's magnetic poles.
A Biologist Is Writing a Wikipedia Article About a Woman Scientist For Every Harassing Email She Gets

You probably won’t be shocked to read that she has written a whole bunch. Emily Temple-Wood is an undergrad at Loyola University who will be heading to medical school in the fall. Online harassment wasn’t her original impetus when she began WikiProject Women Scientists in 2012, but it’s fueling the tank now.

Wikimedia Blog reports Temple-Wood’s first entry was also powered by rage, when she realized few of the female members of the Royal Society (science’s cool club) had a Wikipedia page. She says, “I got [angry] and wrote an article that night … I literally sat in the hallway in the dorm until 2am writing [my] first women in science article.”

As the popularity of the project grew, so did the harassment Temple-Wood experienced:

My surprised face, let me show you it...Collapse )

Wikimedia Blog Post.
Women Scientists wiki project home page.

Cross-posted to ontd_science

Fair warning, I spent a good hour this morning reading these articles. Beware of the time sink. ;)

Mods: I thought this was awesome when I saw it and thought it would be a good post for Women's History Month. I recognize it's not precisely politics though, so no worries if it doesn't work here.

Professor Richard Dawkins has had an invitation to speak at a science event withdrawn by organisers for sharing a "highly offensive" video mocking feminists on Twitter.

Dawkins was scheduled to speak at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism which will take place in New York City in May, but on Thursday organisers issued a statement concerning his participation.

“The NECSS has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

“We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organisations.”

The video in question, “Feminists Love Islamists” was shared by Dawkins on Thursday, alongside the explainer: “Obviously doesn’t apply to vast majority of feminists, among whom I count myself. But the minority are pernicious.”. Dawkins later deleted the tweet but the NECSS shared a screengrab of it.

Read more...Collapse )

Residents, including a retired science teacher, were concerned it would stop plants from growing and cause cancer

A town council in North Carolina rejected plans to rezone land for a solar farm after residents voiced fears it would cause cancer, stop plants from growing and suck up all the energy from the sun.

Two citizens reportedly made the allegations at a Woodland Town Council meeting in Northampton County, northeastern North Carolina, on Wednesday.

Bobby Mann said the farm would "suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland," the Roanoke-Chowan Herald-News reports.

Retired science teacher Jane Mann feared the proposed solar ranch could hinder photosynthesis -- the process of converting light energy from the sun into chemical energy for fuel -- in the area and stop plants from growing.

She added that no one could tell her solar panels didn't cause cancer.

Other residents feared the effect it would have on the price of their homes.

Councilors were voting on whether to redefine agriculturally designated land off U.S. Highway 258 for manufacturing.

Strata Solar Company representative Brent Niemann told the meeting the only sunlight used would be that which fell on the panels directly. "The panels don't draw additional sunlight," he said.

He told councilors that the farm would have no effect on property prices and promised that no toxic substances would be kept on site.

But Woodland Town Council turned down the proposal, effectively stopping the company from building the planned renewable energy ranch. The council later voted to put a moratorium on future solar farms in the area, the Herald-News reports.

Solar Power World Online ranks North Carolina fourth in the U.S. for installed solar power capacity, with 161 companies employing 3,100 people in the industry.


By Lee Moran, Trends Editor, The Huffington Post. 12/14/2015 09:10 am ET
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