Science

How Sense of Smell May Affect Your Politics

The Economist: “People who react strongly to bad smells tend to have more authoritarian political leanings than those who are less acutely aware of their olfactory environment, a new study suggests. Factors such as family background or economic circumstances are much better predictors, of course. But the findings add to persistent evidence that prejudices and political views can be influenced by a person’s desire  to avoid disease and bad smells.”

Trump Science Job Nominees Lack Science Degrees

“Of 43 Trump administration nominees in science-related positions — including two for Health and Human Services secretary — almost 60 percent did not have a master’s degree or a doctorate in a science or health field, according to an Associated Press analysis. For their immediate predecessors in the Obama administration, it was almost the opposite: more than 60 percent had advanced science degrees.”

In addition, Trump has left 23 Senate-confirmable positions — 35% of all science-related positions — vacant, including the post for the White House’s top science advisor.

Trump’s Science Office Is a Ghost Town

“In its 41-year-old history as the White House hub of innovation, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has never gone this long without a leader or official mandate,” CBS News reports.

“But nine months into his administration, there’s no clear indication that the president is close to naming a science adviser who will inform his policymaking, though that’s the mission that the OSTP has played since its founding in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. From climate change to space to education, the office has served as an in-house incubator for research, data, and crisis management that drove policy under seven presidents.”

Let’s Have a Science Debate

Science Debate is calling for all House, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates running for office across parties to respond to 10 questions related to the greatest science policy challenges facing America.

Topics cover a wide range of issues from scientific integrity in policymaking to health, cyber security medicine and the environment.

Sheril Kirshenbaum: “Until we insist that candidates address science and technology policy when campaigning, we cannot expect them to do so once they’re in office.”

Obama Loyalists Operating ‘Shadow’ Science Office

“The network, described to STAT by officials from the previous administration who are involved, is informal yet organized, allowing for a far-reaching if largely inconspicuous effort to continue advocating for the Obama science agenda.”

“Participants have provided counsel to Democratic lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill, and they have held group-wide strategy sessions much in the same fashion as they did when they worked out of a fourth-floor wing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent the White House.”

Scientists Are Missing from Trump’s Government

President Trump “has moved to fill just one of 46 key science and technology positions that help the government counter risks ranging from chemical and biological attacks to rising seas,” the Washington Post reports.

“The vacancies in the 46 Senate-confirmed posts range from the president’s science adviser, to the administrators of NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.”

Quote of the Day

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch’.”

— Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, quoted by Space Flight Insider.

Limbaugh Doesn’t Believe There Is Water on Mars

Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe the news that there’s water on Mars and says it’s just part of “the liberal agenda,” Politico reports.

Said Limbaugh: “OK so there’s flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. Hey, you know me, I’m science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I’m all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. Don’t know how long it’s going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda.”

Limbaugh admitted that he wasn’t entirely sure what the agenda was but was going to “assume it would be something to do with global warming.”