Articles to 2011-12-07

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First the link to this week’s complete list.

I know breast feeding is a bit of a pet subject with me, but according to Caspi et al. its effect on IQ is quite pronounced, about ½ σ, for all but a small genetic minority.

According to Molkentin & Giesemann there are real measurable differences between organic and mass produced milk. I have mainly bought organic for animal welfare reasons up to now, but although the benefits of ω3 fatty acids are highly overblown in some health-nut circles, they do have their virtue. The δ13C doesn’t mean anything but the difference in δ15N is due either to feeding cows with animals or to highly fertilised crops and pastures. So here too I’d lean to less, and thus organic, being more.

As a self-declared insider Kates asks what kind of a science "sustainability science" is and has three answers: a) "It is a different kind of science" meaning it’s not science as the word is usually understood. b) "It is primarily use-inspired" i.e. not centred on understanding but application, and c) "its commitment [is] moving such knowledge into societal action" and "its practitioners [show a] footprint very different from most science", i.e. it’s political activism dressed up as pseudoscience. Or, as Bettencourt and Kaur put it "They are now an integral part of the agenda of governments and corporations, and their goals have become central to the mission of research laboratories and universities worldwide. However, it remains unclear how far the field has progressed as a scientific discipline."

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