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Biden's new White House task force wants to take the politics out of science
via The White House / Flickr

The Biden administration has put a focus back on science, and for most Americans, it's a welcome return.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released on Monday found he has a 63% approval rating, bolstered primarily by his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy-one percent of Americans, including 47% of Republicans, approve of how he has handled the pandemic.

The Biden administration has made huge efforts to communicate about the virus in a transparent, science-driven way, and made Herculean efforts to make the vaccine available to all adults. Whereas Trump chose to downplay the pandemic and spread misinformation.


Biden hopes to strengthen his administration's commitment to science even further through the help of a new 46-person federal scientific integrity task force. The task force includes members from more than two dozen government agencies.

The task force was created after a January 27 memo from Biden requiring "evidence-based policy-making."

The task force's primary focus is to find areas where partisanship has interfered with science over the last 12 years. It also looks to bolster the government's credibility in matters of science after the previous administration's hostile research that conflicted with its agenda.

The Trump administration was against the promotion of climate change research, notably scrubbing mentions of it from various Environmental Protection Agency websites.

And let's not forget about "Sharpiegate."

via Wikimedia Commons

"What we have seen in the last administration is that the suppression of science, the reassignment of scientists, the distortion of scientific information around climate change was not only destructive but counterproductive and really problematic," Jane Lubchenco, the deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told the Los Angeles Times.

"There's little doubt that the American death toll from Covid-19 was far higher than it needed to be and that the administration's early unwillingness to take the issue seriously to listen to and act on the advice of experts and to communicate clearly contributed substantially to that death toll," Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard University historian who has written extensively on the politicization of science, told The Los Angeles Times.

"This is such a hopeful moment," says Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Scientific American. "We've seen this administration hit the ground running from day one. They have signaled very clearly a return to science-based policymaking and a commitment to center equity and justice in their policy missions."

The Biden administration's commitment to science shows that its primary goal is to create effective policy. It's also an important step in stopping Americans' eroding faith in government.

In 1970, 70% of Americans trusted the government a "great deal" or a "fair amount" when it came to domestic decision-making. In September 2020, it had declined to just 41%.

By bolstering the government's commitment to science, the Biden administration has an opportunity to enhance its credibility. Sure, that is of course good for the Biden administration. But it's arguably even better for American democracy in the long term. The government has a big hand in protecting the safety and economic well-being of all Americans. Improving the public's faith in the institution an important step in creating an even more stable, free, and prosperous society.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.