The anti-vaxxers finally face a serious backlash

Those who have refused to vaccinate their children because of fears generated by a thoroughly debunked idea of a link between vaccines and autism have not really suffered much negative consequences for putting others, especially infants and elderly people, at risk. The anti-vaxxers are threatening the health of all of us while at the same time benefiting from the fact that the rest of us got vaccinated and thus will not pass it on to them. They are the real moochers. While scientists and the medical profession have expressed strong condemnation of the practice of not vaccinating, the public and the media have not been so outraged and celebrity spokespersons for the anti-vax movement still make the rounds of media.
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Baby steps for the US senate on climate change

The US senate voted by a margin of 98-1 that climate change is real and not a hoax

In a surprise, the Senate’s leading skeptic of climate science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), voted in favor of the amendment — but made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change.

The GOP “yes” votes also included three of the GOP’s leading contenders for the White House: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

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Orthodox Jews believe the Sun goes around the Earth?

When one thinks of religious people objecting to scientific views of the world, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims immediately come to mind. Jews are less often pictured because they seem to be less committed to fixed ideas about how the world works. But there is a sector of Jews who are as bad as other religions when it comes to rejecting accepted scientific views.
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How global warming denialists abuse statistics

Scientists at both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced that 2014 has been determined to be the warmest year since 1880, when instrumental records started being kept. In addition, they say that the “10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000″.
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Jimmy Carter on the attempts to cure major diseases

While I have my criticisms of some aspects of Jimmy Carter’s record while he was president, there is no question that he was one of the better ones in recent times and has been doing some good work since returning to private life. The former president spoke with Jon Stewart about the efforts, in which his own center has participated, that have led to the almost complete eradication of the awful disease caused by the guinea worm.
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The brutality of boxing and football

I have been writing about the dangers playing American football due to the increasing number of reported cases of brain injury due to the repeated concussions that American football players experience, and argued that there are strong grounds for schools and colleges not fielding teams since educational institutions should not be encouraging young people to run the risks of permanent damage by seeming to endorse a dangerous activity. If as adults they want to play, there is little we can do except not support them.
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Averages can be tricky

When I started out as a graduate student, I was a teaching assistant in a lab. Invariably in physics labs students are expected to measure some quantity multiple times and then take the average so as to minimize the effect of random uncertainties that are intrinsic to any measurement. I recall some students showing me a set of about six numbers and the average that they had calculated from it. They were amazed when I told them after a quick glance that the average was wrong.
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The ethics of being sponsored by a sex offender

The saga of Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy money manager whose penchant for sex with young girls resulted in him being investigated for having sex with minors, has involved some big-name people such as prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz. But it turns out that Epstein also fancied himself as some kind of Renaissance man and funded individual scientists, many of them very well-known, such as Nobel prize winning physicist Murray Gellman and skeptic and physicist Lawrence Krauss. In fact, physicists seem to be particularly favored by Epstein.
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