people in the street protesting against the war in ukraine

DAILY DOSE: International scientists speak out against Ukraine invasion; Rampant corruption at the EPA.

International scientists have spoken out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and are calling for Russian scientists to be excluded from the benefits of operating on the world stage. Per Nature, “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has unleashed an outpouring of condemnation from scientists and research organizations worldwide. Some organizations in Western nations have moved to quickly sever links with Russia — cutting off funding and resources and ending collaborations with Russian scientists. And from Mauritius to Latvia, national science academies and groups of researchers have issued statements sharply criticizing the conflict and supporting their Ukrainian colleagues. In Ukraine, scientists are pressuring nations to freeze Russia out of their science programmes, and calling on Russian institutes and scientific leaders to condemn the invasion.” So far, the strongest actions taken have been by a group of Germany’s largest research funders, including the German Research Foundation, to freeze all scientific cooperation with Russia.

People at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been very naughty. According to reports, members of the Chemical Division have been engaged in serious malfeasance. Per The Intercept, “The whistleblowers who have alleged systemic corruption in the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Chemicals Division have refrained from releasing the names of the managers and other agency officials who they say have repeatedly interfered with the chemical assessment process — until now. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, the group that represents the EPA staff scientists, has decided to release four of the complaints it sent to the EPA inspector general and The Intercept on the whistleblowers’ behalf, complete with the names of three staff members who were involved in many of the alleged instances of interference: Todd Stedeford, Iris Camacho, and Tala Henry.” All three EPA officials are accused of playing a significant role in pressuring scientists to downplay the risks posed by products the agency is assessing.

To all the parents of the world, before you scold your children over how much time they spend on their smartphones, don’t go too hard on them. An article in The Conversation (US), explains why. “Every time a parent and child try to turn off a game or put a device down, they’re not fighting each other – they’re fighting the invisible army of behavioral design specialists who make technology experiences so hard to tear yourself away from. The people who create apps and games use insights from, and experts in, an area of psychology research called “persuasive design,” whose scholars seek to understand how to create something that is next to impossible to put down.” Long story short: there are three key mechanisms that together can change a person’s behavior: create high motivation, demand little effort and frequently cue users to engage. Phones are full of them.

The CDC released revised numbers for suicides by race and ethnicity for the past 20 years. It’s pretty grim.

There’s been a lot of space junk news lately. First the debris that forced the International Space Station to scamper out of the way. Now, it seems like a goodly-sized hunk of junk is about to go crashing into our lunar neighbor. Per the Associated Press,”The moon is about to get walloped by 3 tons of space junk, a punch that will carve out a crater that could fit several semi tractor-trailers. The leftover rocket will smash into the far side of the moon at 5,800 mph (9,300 kph) on Friday, away from telescopes’ prying eyes. It may take weeks, even months, to confirm the impact through satellite images.” Reports identify the runaway debris as belonging to the Chinese Space Agency, who unsurprisingly, deny that it is theirs. Either way, there’s too much garbage in space already.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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