science and politics

Like Pig-Pen from Peanuts, a cloud of filth follows Andrew Wakefield wherever he goes. Vaccine exemptions have soared 1900% in Texas since he moved there. Now, he's trying to get anti-vaccine politicians elected.
I was eating at Panda Express earlier today. (Don't judge me.) I noticed that, after a few bites, my fork was completely bent out of shape. (See image.) So, I took a look at the handle. "Compostable," it said.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is one of the foremost pro-science organizations in the world. Not only does it advocate for good science and science policy, it publishes Science, the prestigious journal read globally by millions. Unfortunately, AAAS has gotten a bit weird in recent months.
The Oregon Democrat recently wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, claiming that his Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, formed in 2016, was corrupted by big pharma money. The task force was charged with reforming the CDC's disastrous 2016 opioid guidelines. Sen. Wyden claims that two respected physicians in the group had conflicts of interest. Instead, perhaps it's time for the lawmaker to look in the mirror.
Anyone who believes that vaccines cause autism shouldn't be in a position of authority. The fundamental problem with someone making such a claim is not that s/he is wrong. Instead, it reveals someone who's conspiratorially minded and lacks critical thinking skills. That's not the sort of person who should be in charge of anything important.
One would think that in a world where facts can be easily verified, it shouldn't become so polarized. But a new paper in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science argues that polarization is the natural outcome when groups of people disagree. In fact, the authors document a major example of polarization within the scientific community itself.
Not only did Americans vote on members of Congress this week, but citizens of several states also voted on various science- and health-related policy issues. How did those turn out? On the upside, an anti-fracking law was defeated. On the downside, workplace vaping was banned and bogus medical marijuana laws passed.
U.S. public health agencies struggle to endorse an obvious solution to a true public health menace. Hopefully, the UK Parliament will provide a much-needed boost to the forces of common sense.
The ingratitude expressed by the National Science Foundation over a huge funding increase for an important project is inexplicable.
In the grand tradition of misidentifying problems and offering proposals that won’t work, the city council of Washington, D.C. wants to force manufacturers of flushable toilet wipes to change the label to “non-flushable.” This is wrong.
A hot rock massage and herbal tea might make you feel nice, but they don't actually cure anything. Pointing that out in China, however, might land a person in jail.
The Occupy movement fizzled out because it stood for nothing. But don't look now: The March for Science is flirting with the same dubious fate.