The widening rift between the left and right in American politics may be truly visceral in part, driven as much by subconscious predispositions among voters as by examination of the issues, according to a recent AAAS-organized panel discussion.
Researchers have been measuring and probing those hidden tendencies in recent years, speakers said, and political professionals are starting to exploit them in campaigns.
Protein-rich diets can be detrimental to the locust species Oedaleus asiaticus, according to researchers working in northeast China. As a consequence, swarms of these locusts are more likely to occur where vegetation contains low levels of nitrogen—a primary protein source for the insects.
Unfortunately for many farmers, erosion and heavy grazing by livestock contribute to desertification—a significant problem in China—but also reduce the amount of nitrogen in crops, thereby increasing the chances of a locust swarm on overgrazed land.
A recent congressional rider that removed federal protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains has set a precedent that could encourage lawmakers to weaken protections for other species, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said at AAAS.
Sylvia Fallon, now with NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Project, said it is too early to say whether the rider involving wolves was an aberration or the start of a more activist role by Congress to directly intervene in the administration of the Endangered Species Act.
Ask Bob Hirshon, executive producer and host of AAAS’s award-winning, nationally syndicated radio program Science Update about his favorite episode and you can almost hear his mental Rolodex spinning.
Perhaps the shows with Nobel Laureates, like James Watson? Or engineering giants like Robert Noyce? Of course, there have also been shows on singing Hawaiian fruitflies, intelligent parrots, and naked mole rat society.