SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Government

463

 To quantify the cost effectiveness of a government policy combining targeted industry agreements and public education to reduce sodium intake in 183 countries worldwide.

Concepts: Policy, Government, Nation, Sovereign state

180

BACKGROUND: Numerous policies have been proposed to address the public health problem of obesity, resulting in a policy cacophony. The noise of so many policy options renders it difficult for policymakers to determine which policies warrant implementation. This has resulted in calls for more and better evidence to support obesity policy. However, it is not clear that evidence is the solution. This paper argues that to address the policy cacophony it is necessary to rethink the problem of obesity, and more specifically, how the problem of obesity is framed. This paper argues that the frame “obesity” be replaced by the frame “caloric overconsumption”, concluding that the frame caloric overconsumption can overcome the obesity policy cacophony. DISCUSSION: Frames are important because they influence public policy. Understood as packages that define issues, frames influence how best to approach a problem. Consequently, debates over public policy are considered battles over framing, with small shifts in how an issue is framed resulting in significant changes to the policy environment. This paper presents a rationale for reframing the problem of obesity as caloric overconsumption. The frame “obesity” contributes to the policy cacophony by including policies aimed at both energy output and energy input. However, research increasingly demonstrates that energy input is the primary cause of obesity, and that increases in energy input are largely attributable to the food environment. By focusing on policies that aim to prevent increases in energy input, the frame caloric overconsumption will reduce the noise of the obesity policy cacophony. While the proposed frame will face some challenges, particularly industry opposition, policies aimed at preventing caloric overconsumption have a clearer focus, and can be more politically palatable if caloric overconsumption is seen as an involuntary risk resulting from the food environment.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Policy, Implementation, Government, Political science, Frame, Public policy, Policy analysis

172

The goal of the study was to demonstrate a hierarchical structure of resting state activity in the healthy brain using a data-driven clustering algorithm.

Concepts: Human, Structure, Hierarchy, Heterarchy, Government

66

Hierarchical organization-the recursive composition of sub-modules-is ubiquitous in biological networks, including neural, metabolic, ecological, and genetic regulatory networks, and in human-made systems, such as large organizations and the Internet. To date, most research on hierarchy in networks has been limited to quantifying this property. However, an open, important question in evolutionary biology is why hierarchical organization evolves in the first place. It has recently been shown that modularity evolves because of the presence of a cost for network connections. Here we investigate whether such connection costs also tend to cause a hierarchical organization of such modules. In computational simulations, we find that networks without a connection cost do not evolve to be hierarchical, even when the task has a hierarchical structure. However, with a connection cost, networks evolve to be both modular and hierarchical, and these networks exhibit higher overall performance and evolvability (i.e. faster adaptation to new environments). Additional analyses confirm that hierarchy independently improves adaptability after controlling for modularity. Overall, our results suggest that the same force-the cost of connections-promotes the evolution of both hierarchy and modularity, and that these properties are important drivers of network performance and adaptability. In addition to shedding light on the emergence of hierarchy across the many domains in which it appears, these findings will also accelerate future research into evolving more complex, intelligent computational brains in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Concepts: Genetics, Evolution, Biology, Structure, Hierarchy, Evolutionary biology, Government, Charles Darwin

57

Policies ensuring that research data are available on public archives are increasingly being implemented at the government [1], funding agency [2-4], and journal [5, 6] level. These policies are predicated on the idea that authors are poor stewards of their data, particularly over the long term [7], and indeed many studies have found that authors are often unable or unwilling to share their data [8-11]. However, there are no systematic estimates of how the availability of research data changes with time since publication. We therefore requested data sets from a relatively homogenous set of 516 articles published between 2 and 22 years ago, and found that availability of the data was strongly affected by article age. For papers where the authors gave the status of their data, the odds of a data set being extant fell by 17% per year. In addition, the odds that we could find a working e-mail address for the first, last, or corresponding author fell by 7% per year. Our results reinforce the notion that, in the long term, research data cannot be reliably preserved by individual researchers, and further demonstrate the urgent need for policies mandating data sharing via public archives.

Concepts: Time, Scientific method, Data, Research, Data set, Term, Government, Finance

42

One of the challenges of international alcohol research and policy is the variability in and lack of knowledge of how governments in different nations define a standard drink and low-risk drinking. This study gathered such information from governmental agencies in 37 countries.

Concepts: Government, Alcoholic beverage, Drinking culture, Aristotle, Public policy, Nation, Sovereign state, Kefir

36

English alcohol policy is implemented at local government level, leading to variations in how it is put into practice. We evaluated whether differences in the presence or absence of cumulative impact zones and the ‘intensity’ of licensing enforcement-both aimed at regulating the availability of alcohol and modifying the drinking environment-were associated with harm as measured by alcohol-related hospital admissions.

Concepts: Health, Demography, Policy, Implementation, England, Government, Public policy, Local government

32

In the past, constitutional principle gave the government broad authority to regulate tobacco or pharmaceutical advertising. The state’s power to safeguard the public health was strong, and companies' freedom to plug their products was weak. But the Supreme Court has changed course. Whereas it once did not view “commercial” speech as the kind of speech the First Amendment protects, it now gives businesses nearly the same rights to market their goods as it does individuals to speak their minds. And as the Court has broadened corporate freedom to advertise, it has narrowed governmental power to preserve the public’s health. Whereas . . .

Concepts: United States, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Constitution, Government, State, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Buckley v. Valeo

29

Serious problems have plagued the much-anticipated rollout of the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many Americans have been unable to sign up for insurance because of difficulties with the online marketplaces, and insurers are often receiving inaccurate information from the government about people who do manage to enroll. If such problems persist, they could deter relatively healthy persons from obtaining coverage and prevent the ACA from meeting its enrollment goals. Problems with the federal website will probably recede over time; indeed, its accessibility to consumers is already improving. The greatest long-term challenge to Obamacare remains . . .

Concepts: Health care, United States, United States Constitution, U.S. state, North Carolina, Government, Democratic Party, South Carolina

29

Hierarchical organization is widespread in the societies of humans and other animals, both in social structure and in decision-making contexts. In the case of collective motion, the majority of case studies report that dominant individuals lead group movements, in agreement with the common conflation of the terms “dominance” and “leadership.” From a theoretical perspective, if social relationships influence interactions during collective motion, then social structure could also affect leadership in large, swarm-like groups, such as fish shoals and bird flocks. Here we use computer-vision-based methods and miniature GPS tracking to study, respectively, social dominance and in-flight leader-follower relations in pigeons. In both types of behavior we find hierarchically structured networks of directed interactions. However, instead of being conflated, dominance and leadership hierarchies are completely independent of each other. Although dominance is an important aspect of variation among pigeons, correlated with aggression and access to food, our results imply that the stable leadership hierarchies in the air must be based on a different set of individual competences. In addition to confirming the existence of independent and context-specific hierarchies in pigeons, we succeed in setting out a robust, scalable method for the automated analysis of dominance relationships, and thus of social structure, applicable to many species. Our results, as well as our methods, will help to incorporate the broader context of animal social organization into the study of collective behavior.

Concepts: Scientific method, Structure, Hierarchy, Sociology, Heterarchy, Government, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Social stratification