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This Week in Science 2017–11–05


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/11/05

“Spanking — usually defined as hitting a child on the buttocks with an open hand — is a common form of discipline still used on children worldwide. However, to date, spanking has been banned in 53 countries and states globally.

The use of spanking has been hotly debated over the last several decades. Supporters state that it is safe, necessary and effective; opponents argue that spanking is harmful to children and violates their human rights to protection.

As two scholars with extensive research experience and clinical insight in the field of child maltreatment, and with specific expertise related to spanking, we would like to move beyond this debate.”


“A forum described as the biggest science event in the world takes place in the Middle East for the first time this week as thousands of researchers and policymakers gather to share ideas under the theme of Science for Peace.

The World Science Forum by the Dead Sea in Jordan will grapple with issues such as the brain drain of scientific talent from the region, the role of women scientists, food security, water scarcity and ensuring that refugee scientists can fulfil their potential.

More than 2,500 scientists, among them a number of Nobel Laureates, will take part in the forum, which is billed as the Davos of Science.

Organisers have said the event can showcase Arab scientific achievements as a way of linking the region to its past, which included periods when the Muslim world was at the forefront of scientific innovation.”


“JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) — South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a leading contender to become head of the ruling ANC in December, has named science and technology minister Naledi Pandor as his running mate, local media reported on Sunday.

The race to replace President Jacob Zuma at the helm of the African National Congress is heating up amid mounting allegations of graft against Zuma, who consistently denies wrongdoing. His successor will be the ANC’s presidential candidate in 2019, when Zuma will step down as head of state.

Ramaphosa has been under pressure to pick a female running mate as gender equality is a key ANC policy goal and his main challenger is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran politician, former African Union head and Zuma’s ex-wife.”


“A Stanford University professor’s lawsuit against the National Academy of Sciences has sparked angry responses from scientists who say it sets a dangerous precedent that shoves disagreements over research into the courts.

“Getting to the bottom of the science should be done through the process of science. Not through attacks or lawsuits,” Alan Townsend, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at University of Colorado, Boulder, wrote on Twitter yesterday, part of a chain of critical tweets.

At issue is the $10 million lawsuit filed by Stanford’s Mark Jacobson against NAS and an executive at an energy research firm last month, claiming the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences had published a study critical of Jacobson’s earlier work on renewable energy without considering multiple warnings that the follow-up paper contained false statements (E&E News PM, Nov. 1).”


“Remote Bouvet Island, a tiny, glacier-smothered landmass in the South Atlantic rimmed by 500-meter-tall cliffs, has a notable distinction: It’s the only known spot on Earth, scientists say, that has zero invasive species. Every other place, and every person, on the planet is at least indirectly affected by one or more species that has been transported — either intentionally or inadvertently — to new lands from the ecosystems in which the species evolved.

In The Aliens Among Us, biologist and science journalist Leslie Anthony chronicles the detrimental effects of invasive species, as well as how these organisms spread and how they can be fought. In the United States, such interlopers — everything from zebra mussels in the Great Lakes to Burmese pythons in the Everglades — damage crops, infrastructure or otherwise cost taxpayers about $145 billion annually.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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