Are Farm State Dems Waging a War on Science?!
At the WPost today, Dan Morgan contributes an excellent analysis of what he calls the "agracrats," Democratic members of Congress from traditional farm states such as Iowa or Minnesota. As Morgan notes, these representatives have been an influential force in first opposing and then fundamentally altering climate change legislation, fearing as Morgan describes that "the cap and trade measures would increase fuel and fertilizer costs for farmers, hurt coal-burning rural electric utilities and leave the Midwest's thriving biofuels industry vulnerable to regulatory restrictions by the Environmental Protection Agency."
The case of Agracrats is another example of why it's wrong to reduce science-related policy debates down to a matter of anti-science versus pro-science, champions versus deniers. If these members of Congress were Republicans, there's little doubt that liberal bloggers would be waving the bloody shirt of a "war on science." Yet as this case shows, it's rare that any policy decision is a simple matter of following the science. Instead the options considered and the decisions eventually made are almost always a matter of values and trade-offs.
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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