Category Archives: Science

Weaving Indigenous knowledge into the scientific method

Nature reports: Many scientists rely on Indigenous people to guide their work — by helping them to find wildlife, navigate rugged terrain or understand changing weather trends, for example. But these relationships have often felt colonial, extractive and unequal. Researchers drop into communities, gather data and leave — never contacting the locals again, and excluding… Read More »

Are we witnessing the dawn of post-theory science?

Laura Spinney writes: Isaac Newton apocryphally discovered his second law – the one about gravity – after an apple fell on his head. Much experimentation and data analysis later, he realised there was a fundamental relationship between force, mass and acceleration. He formulated a theory to describe that relationship – one that could be expressed… Read More »

The forgotten role of religion in science writing

Adam Shapiro writes: It’s been nearly 30 years—a generation!—since professional science communication as a field began to seriously push back against what’s been called the knowledge deficit model (sometimes just called the “deficit model.”) (See “The Trust Fallacy,” July–August 2021.) That model describes a way of thinking about people’s understanding and acceptance of scientific knowledge,… Read More »

Beyond case counts: What Omicron is teaching us

STAT reports: The Omicron wave in the United States is upon us. If you were fortunate enough to tune out from Covid-19 news over the holidays, you’re coming back to startling reports about record high case counts and, in some places, increases in hospitalizations. The wave will crest, of course; the question is when. For… Read More »

Is fluvoxamine the Covid drug we’ve been waiting for?

The Wall Street Journal reports: The Food and Drug Administration last week authorized two oral antiviral medicines for the early treatment of Covid-19. But don’t get too excited. The U.S. will still have a meager treatment arsenal this winter. The U.S. has been relying on monoclonal-antibody treatments, but most don’t hold up against the Omicron… Read More »

When did scientists first warn humanity about climate change?

Live Science reports: Climate change warnings are coming thick and fast from scientists; thousands have signed a paper stating that ignoring climate change would yield “untold suffering” for humanity, and more than 99% of scientific papers agree that humans are the cause. But climate change wasn’t always on everyone’s radar. So when did humans first… Read More »

What has the Omicron variant changed?

Dhruv Khullar writes: The Covid-19 pandemic, like every pandemic before it, is a story of equilibriums: between viral biology and human immune response; between news of the pathogen and fear of it; between the damage it inflicts and the social, economic, and political choices we make. A disease persists as a pandemic as long as… Read More »

Pfizer two-shot course has 23% efficacy vs. Omicron in S. African study

Bloomberg reports: A two-shot course of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine has just 22.5% efficacy against symptomatic infection with the omicron variant, but can thwart severe disease, according to laboratory experiments in South Africa. Researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban issued additional data on a small study released earlier this week. The research considered… Read More »

The pandemic of the vaccinated is here

Rachel Gutman writes: Even before the arrival of Omicron, the winter months were going to be tough for parts of the United States. While COVID transmission rates in the South caught fire over the summer, the Northeast and Great Plains states were largely spared thanks to cyclical factors and high vaccination rates. But weather and… Read More »

The coronavirus attacks fat tissue, scientists find

The New York Times reports: From the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus seemed to target people carrying extra pounds. Patients who were overweight or obese were more likely to develop severe Covid-19 and more likely to die. Though these patients often have health conditions like diabetes that compound their risk, scientists have become increasingly… Read More »