Re: Is the income gap growing?

There’s no doubt that there has become a growing concern about the income disparity in the United States. CEOs are making incomes than ever before, and the gap between what CEOs are making and the lowest paid workers in those companies are making is increasing. And there’s no doubt that after 30 or 40 years of a war on poverty, we still have a great deal of poverty in the United States and we are the wealthiest country in the world. Clearly in other countries in the world, in the developing countries, emerging countries, the poverty level is far greater than even here. I’m not sure that increasing taxes on private equity is gonna solve all these problems. I do believe, though, that Congress needs to look at how to reform the tax code in ways that does make everything work a little bit more fairly. For example, right now the tax code is 10,000 pages or more. It’s virtually incomprehensible. At our firm, the former head of the IRS is . . . is an employee, and he cannot fill out his own tax returns. And I doubt if any former head of the IRS or current head of the IRS can fill out their own tax returns because it’s too complicated. I think we need to simplify the system much better. And I think with simplification would come greater equity. That’s one of the things we should do. But there’s no doubt that the income disparity in our country has increased, and we should do some things to deal with it as soon as we can. Recorded on: 9/13/07

Rubenstein thinks we should simplify the tax code.

​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

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  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
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Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

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NASA and ESA team up for historic planetary defense test

Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.

ESA's Hera mission above asteroid 65803 Didymos. Credit: ESA/ScienceOffice.org
Surprising Science
  • NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
  • The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
  • A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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