Category Archives: Scientific Studies

Pictures That Tell a Story

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and that means, to an economist, that sometimes it’s easier to communicate something complicated with a chart or a graph rather than a lot of explanatory text.

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Super Babies or New Rules?

You probably noticed the headlines: for the first time, U.S.-based scientists have genetically modified a human embryo.  This follows similar news from China, which, like the U.S., has touted the ability to correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis, or to resolve the predilection to cancer or heart disease.

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Putting Off Fun is a Bad Idea

If you’re like most people, you carefully put off doing something fun—like taking a trip or treating yourself—until you finished your work.  Of course, for most people, the work never ends, and the fun gets put off over and over and over again.

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The Earliest Humans

Archeologists have long traveled under the assumption that what we call the human race—the African hominids known to science as “homo sapiens”—evolved roughly 200,000 years ago in either southern or eastern Africa.  Starting perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago, they migrated out of Africa and eventually displaced the European and Asian hominids known as Neandertals (sometimes spelled Neanderthal).

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Exercise for Life

By now, you’ve probably read about surprising new scientific research that has shown that physical exercise is not—despite what we’ve heard for generations—a very effective weight loss technique.  So is there any good reason to hit the gym, or might you as well hang out on the couch?

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Starship Medicine

If you’ve ever watched the Star Trek TV show, or any of the franchise’s movies, you’ve probably noticed that spaceship medicine is different from what we’re accustomed to.  Instead of a physical exam, on the Starship Enterprise, the doctor points a blinking device at the patient and arrives at an instant diagnosis of any health issue.

Could that ever happen in real life?  It could—and actually has.

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Economic Progress

It’s not uncommon to hear people wish that we could return to the “good old days,” when the world seemed more prosperous.  Of course, depending on how far you go back, the “good old days” might cover a time when the world was poised on the edge of a nuclear precipice, when the Soviet Union and other communist governments basically enslaved more than 50% of the world’s population, when racism was practiced openly and codified in the legal system, when there was no Internet or smartphones, and when TV entertainment consisted of three or sometimes four channels on a heavy, small-screen device that didn’t include a remote.

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