Timidity and a Hostility to Competition Have Left Europe a Scientific Wasteland

A recent study published in the Oxford journal Science and Public Policy reveals the harsh reality of the state of science in the European Union: “Europe lags far behind the USA in the production of important, highly cited research.” Read the rest at The Telegraph.

Merkel Can’t Lead Germany, Much Less the Free World

Angela Merkel is likely cruising to an easy re-election as Germany’s chancellor. Because many pundits in America refer to her as the “leader of the free world,” it is tempting to speculate that her electoral success is due to keen wisdom and firm leadership. In reality, quite the opposite is the case. In many ways, Angela Merkel is Germany’s Bill Clinton, minus the philandering. Read the rest at The National Interest.

Drug Supplies: Track Marks

MOST of the world’s supply of cocaine comes from just three South American countries: Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Much of it is headed for the United States and Europe. Law-enforcement officials from America patrol international waters in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific, hoping to seize cocaine shipments before they reach their intended destinations. When they succeed in nabbing any smugglers, contraband samples are sent to chemists to help determine the source. Read the rest at The Economist.

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