Query Over Army's Social Science Experts

Hundreds of Army social scientists are unqualified, a former boss says. He also claims some defense contractors charge exorbitant prices for "the lowest common denominator of people."

Five years after the Army began a controversial program to embed social scientists in combat units, the former director and chief bureaucratic force behind the program (until he was ousted in June), says that a third of those researchers were not qualified. Steve Fondacaro says the Defense contractor struggled to find people physically and intellectually fit to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan, and flexible enough to work with the military." Wired says: "Simply put, if the U.S can’t understand the populations it deals with in complex, irregular wars like Afghanistan — their traditions, their social structures, their power dynamics — then American counterinsurgency efforts are in deep trouble."

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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Scientists reverse hair loss by making scalp "smell" sandalwood

It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.

Photo: malehmann via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
  • This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
  • The treatment could soon be available to the public.
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NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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