Science 2.0

Hurricane Harvey And The Risk To Criminal Evidence

Science 2.0 - Aug 31 2017 - 12:08
The story that won't be told in the wake of Harvey's wrath is the incredible risk to the thousands upon thousands of items of physical evidence being stored in police departments and crime laboratories throughout Texas - especially in Houston.  Any damage to this evidence may derail the state's pursuit of justice. 
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Why The IAU Definition Of Planet Has A "Use By Date" - And How We Can Get To Call Our Moon A Planet!

Science 2.0 - Aug 31 2017 - 12:08

Yes. I think all the objects large enough to reach equilibrium under gravity should be called planets. That would include Ceres too, and our Moon as a “moon planet”, and dwarf planets like Haumea, and Eris. This is the definition many planetary scientists use already - they call it the "geophysical definition".

This is not for nostalgic reasons. It's because it's a natural distinction to make. Something large enough to be rounded under gravity is normally going to have geological features too, differentiated interior and a large surface area. The smallest ones, perhaps around 200 kilometers in diameter, still have a surface area similar to that of England, or Arizona.

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Cold Houses Are Far More Likely To Kill Us Than Heat Waves

Science 2.0 - Aug 30 2017 - 16:08

A pervasive myth in Australia is that hot weather is the greatest danger to our health. In reality, it’s more likely cold weather will kill you.

For all our concern about the dangers of heatwaves, simple analysis of mortality data suggests the cold months present a much greater health risk. Almost 7% of deaths in Australia from 1988 to 2009 were attributable to cold weather. Less than 1% of deaths were attributable to heat.

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The Myth Of The “Bee-pocalypse”

Science 2.0 - Aug 30 2017 - 15:08
Should we ban cars because of their potential to crash? Or stop selling painkillers in case someone takes too many? If we take the logic the EU applies to regulating pesticides, then the answer should be a resounding “yes”. Thankfully, EU lawmakers have looked at the weight of evidence and concluded the risk of driving cars and taking painkillers is acceptable – no ban needed.

Pesticides get different treatment though.

Take the class of insecticides so much in the news, neonicotinoids, that some have blamed for problems with bee health. Didn’t the European Union ban them claiming they were posing unacceptable risks to bees? Isn’t that case closed?
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Debunked: The Planetary Protection Racket

Science 2.0 - Aug 28 2017 - 18:08

This is an article by the space engineer and Mars colonization enthusiast Robert Zubrin, The Planetary Protection Racket claiming that we don’t need to protect Earth from Mars microbes or Mars from Earth microbes. This is not he first time he has said controversial things like this, and they are not taken seriously by the planetary protection experts. To give you an idea of how his arguments are received by them, let’s go back to what I think is the first time he put forward forceful arguments in print saying that there is no need to protect Earth from Mars microbes.

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A Narrow Escape From The Cumbre Rucu Volcano

Science 2.0 - Aug 26 2017 - 05:08

If I am alive, I probably owe it to my current very good physical shape.

That does not mean I narrowly escaped a certain death; rather, it means that if I had been slower there are good chances I would have got hit by lightning, under arduous conditions, at 4300 meters of altitude.

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All Robots Are Unpredictable

Science 2.0 - Aug 25 2017 - 12:08

The heads of more than 100 of the world’s top artificial intelligence companies are very alarmed about the development of “killer robots”. In an open letter to the UN, these business leaders – including Tesla’s Elon Musk and the founders of Google’s DeepMind AI firm – warned that autonomous weapon technology could be misused by terrorists and despots or hacked to perform in undesirable ways.

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Sly Grog Traders: The Sophisticated Methods Of Alcohol Bootleggers In Australia

Science 2.0 - Aug 25 2017 - 10:08

The dominant Australian community would very much like to keep Indigenous communities from alcohol, but indigenous communities aren't having it. A giant black market has sprung up and such non-government alcohol sells for up to 1100 percent of the retail price.

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Smoking Is No Longer Cool Among American Kids - Peer Pressure Is Why

Science 2.0 - Aug 24 2017 - 17:08

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem more scared than elated by United States smoking rates. They have migrated from a war on the world's top killer, smoking, to being in a war on a chemical, nicotine.

They needn't be concerned. Science and health have won, and it wasn't because of taxes on cigarettes or a cottage industry of anti-smoking ads built by a tobacco company settlement, it was because of peer pressure. In young people. As the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy group based in New York City, has said since the 1970s, smoking is a pediatric disease. In the past, 90 percent of smokers picked up the habit by age 18, making adolescence a critical time for smoking-prevention efforts.

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'Good' Cholesterol Also Linked With Excessive Mortality

Science 2.0 - Aug 24 2017 - 12:08

Center for Science in the Public Interest, a litigation group that sues food companies, may be dusting off some of its old materials after new report which finds "good" cholesterol, also known as HDL, might not be as good as we think.

The new paper contradicts findings from the last 25 years that high levels of HDL in the blood are a good thing. They instead found that people with extremely high levels of good cholesterol have a higher mortality rate than people with normal levels. For men with extremely high levels, the mortality rate was 106 percent higher than for the normal group.

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Revenge Of The Slimeballs Part 5: When US Labs Competed For Leadership In HEP

Science 2.0 - Aug 23 2017 - 10:08
This is the fifth and final part of Chapter 3 of the book "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab". (the beginning of the chapter was omitted since it described a different story). The chapter recounts the pioneering measurement of the Z mass by the CDF detector, and the competition with SLAC during the summer of 1989.  The title of the post is the same as the one of chapter 3, and it refers to the way some SLAC physicists called their Fermilab colleagues, whose hadron collider was to their eyes obviously inferior to the electron-positron linear collider. -->

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Childhood Obesity May Be A Psychological Disorder

Science 2.0 - Aug 22 2017 - 13:08

Researchers looked at frequency magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) images to compare neural responses to food cues in overweight and normal weight adolescents.

They noted that food stimuli activated regions of the brain associated with reward and emotion in all groups but overweight adolescents had progressively less neural activity in circuits of the brain that support self-regulation and attention. 

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For Immune System Stem Cell Studies, Mice Aren't Enough

Science 2.0 - Aug 22 2017 - 00:08

If mouse studies were transferable to humans, we'd have cured every disease thousands of times. That is the big reason why you shouldn't accept scaremongering about the chemical of the week in the New York Times, or claims about Miracle Vegetables in the Washington Post.

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Will The August Eclipse Show Nibiru? No - But You Get To See Four Bright Planets, Including Mercury - Normally Hard To Spot :)

Science 2.0 - Aug 21 2017 - 10:08

I’m getting messages from scared people today. The fearmongers and charlatans are saying that a giant planet Nibiru is going to appear during this solar eclipse and is due to hit Earth or do a devastating very close flyby 33 days later on September 23. No! This is total BS and nonsense promulgated by people who couldn’t predict the date of a solar eclipse or where to watch it if their life depended on it.

To everyone who is still scared today - nothing is going to happen I assure you. It's just a shadow. You are getting scared of a small shadow 70 miles wide passing briefly over the surface of Earth. Meanwhile you experience an average of twelve hours of darkness every single night.

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Licorice Is A Hot Alternate Medicine Trend For Hot Flashes, But Is It Safe With Real Medicine?

Science 2.0 - Aug 21 2017 - 00:08

Licorice roots have a diverse history, having been used throughout history as a flavoring agent and as an ingredient in some licorice candies, while in ancient Egyptian times it was a tea and the Chinese used it for medicinal purposes.

One trend in the alternative medicine movement, which seeks to replace approved pharmacology with essentially untested natural products (as long as they carry a disclaimer FDA has not verified their efficacy or safety), is for women to take licorice extracts as supplements to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

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Birth Defects, A Biblical Great Tribulation And Other Myths About The Eclipse

Science 2.0 - Aug 18 2017 - 11:08

On August 21st, from west coast to east the United States will be treated to a rare event; an eclipse of the sun. Not just a partial eclipse either. Through the entire arc, a swath of land about 70 miles wide will have a total eclipse. There's been so much excitement that social media has made "path of totality" part of the lexicon. 
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Revenge Of The Slimeballs - Part 4

Science 2.0 - Aug 18 2017 - 05:08
This is the fourth part of Chapter 3 of the book "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab". The chapter recounts the pioneering measurement of the Z mass by the CDF detector, and the competition with SLAC during the summer of 1989. The title of the post is the same as the one of chapter 3, and it refers to the way some SLAC physicists called their Fermilab colleagues, whose hadron collider was to their eyes obviously inferior to the electron-positron linear collider. -->

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Why The Solar Eclipse This August Is A Wonder Of Nature And Not Something To Be Scared Of - David Meade's "Prophecy" Is BS

Science 2.0 - Aug 16 2017 - 05:08

This is another of my "Doomsday Debunking" articles, using science and astronomy to debunk some of the crazy modern myths about the end of the world.  This time it's the idea that the eclipse of the sun on 21st August in the US is a sign that the world is about to end. If you are an astronomer or scientists you will just LOL at this for sure. But for some people this fear is like a living nightmare for them. They contact me, extremely scared that the world is, literally, about to end because of this eclipse. They probably flunked maths and physics at school and just don't have the scientific and astronomical background to evaluate it.

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Revenge Of The Slimeballs - Part 3

Science 2.0 - Aug 15 2017 - 06:08
This is the third part of Chapter 3 of the book "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab". The chapter recounts the pioneering measurement of the Z mass by the CDF detector, and the competition with SLAC during the summer of 1989. The title of the post is the same as the one of chapter 3, and it refers to the way some SLAC physicists called their Fermilab colleagues, whose hadron collider was to their eyes obviously inferior to the electron-positron linear collider. -->

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American Workers Have It Good, But Find Plenty To Complain About On Surveys

Science 2.0 - Aug 14 2017 - 19:08
Survey results show that workers believe the American workplace is physically and emotionally taxing, and they don't like the social environment. Since we are only now recovering from an economic malaise, they also worry about unstable work schedules. Some cited unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions.
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