Ignore Anti-Vaccine Hysteria, Mr. Trump

The environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vaccine skeptic, told reporters Tuesday in the lobby of Trump Tower that the president-elect has asked him to lead a commission “to make sure we have scientific integrity in the vaccine process for efficacy and safety effects.” Mr. Kennedy also suggested that Donald Trump “has some doubts about the current vaccine policies” and that “we ought to be debating the science.” This is insane. Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal.

Junk Science Is No Way to Win a Jackpot

A jury in St. Louis awarded a woman over $70 million last month because her lawyers convinced a jury that talcum (baby) powder caused her ovarian cancer. This is the third jackpot verdict issued by a jury in that city against Johnson & Johnson. Since sharks are smelling blood in the water, surely more lawsuits will follow. Read the rest at USA Today.

Science Issues 2016: Trump vs. Clinton

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The 2016 presidential election has been conspicuously light on substance, particularly on matters of science and policy. In an effort to provide some clarity to voters who place an emphasis on science, we have created a chart that scores the presumptive Republican and Democratic Party candidates on key scientific issues. Please keep in mind three major caveats. Continue reading

Would President Trump Be a Science Guy?

Science is one of America’s most important strategic resources. With just 5% of earth’s population, we produce over 30% of the world’s science and lead the world in Nobel prizes. Now that Donald Trump has a realistic chance of becoming the 45th president of the United States, it’s time to ask: What would that mean for American research? Read the rest at USA Today.

Maths Study Shows Conspiracies ‘Prone to Unravelling’

It’s difficult to keep a conspiracy under wraps, scientists say, because sooner or later, one of the conspirators will blow its cover. A study has examined how long alleged conspiracies could “survive” before being revealed – deliberately or unwittingly – to the public at large. Read the rest at BBC News

Real-Time Reaction Polls Distort TV Debates

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

A few election cycles ago, a new feature was introduced to televised debates: The real-time reaction tracker. A small focus group of two dozen or so individuals use dials to indicate how much they agree or disagree with the statements being made by politicians during the debate. An aggregated average of these responses is then displayed in real-time for the viewing audience to see. Fascinatingly, this instant reaction poll appears to influence the opinions of the millions of people watching the debate at home. Continue reading