Science 2.0

Interpreting The Predictions Of Deep Neural Networks

Science 2.0 - Apr 10 2018 - 10:04
CERN has equipped itself with an inter-experimental working group on Machine Learning since a couple of years. Besides organizing monthly meetings and other activities fostering the dissemination of knowledge and active research on the topic, the group holds a yearly meeting at CERN where along with interesting presentations on advances and summaries, there are tutorials to teach participants the use of the fast-growing arsenal of tools that any machine-learning enthusiast these days should master.

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Vaccines: Decades Of Misinformation Have Succeeded

Science 2.0 - Apr 09 2018 - 15:04
Though less than a dozen school children will be slain by a gun in any given year, American society is mobilized with marches and media against firearms. Meanwhile, on average 55,000 Americans will die from the flu, which has a vaccine. In states like California, anti-vaccine sentiment ran so high on the coast that the state had to pass a law forcing parents to comply or not have their kids enrolled. Some schools in Marin county had fewer than 30 percent of children vaccinated. Philosophical exemptions just by families in the wealthiest parts of California exceeded the number of religious exemptions nationwide - by 1000 percent.

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Another Day, Another Organic Milk Recall

Science 2.0 - Apr 08 2018 - 16:04
Pelleh Farms of Swan Lake, New York has recalled its Pasteurized Whole Organic Milk Non-Homogenized products due to improper pasteurization.

At least it was almost pasteurized. In the demographic that thinks organic food is good, vaccines are bad, and science stopped at 1860, raw milk is on trend. They intentionally go without pasteurization in the belief that it contains more nutrients than safe milk.

Proper pasteurization heats milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively eliminate all pathogenic bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella.  Raw milk chooses to let such bacteria remain, which is why pasteurization is credited with saving hundreds of millions of children since it became commonplace.

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People Would Rather Pop A Pill Than Exercise To Lower High Blood Pressure

Science 2.0 - Apr 08 2018 - 12:04
When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drastically lowered the 'blood sugar' level, the HbA1C test, to 5.7 percent for a potential precursor to disease labeled "prediabetes" the rest of the world jeered. In China, that would mean 500 million people worried they have a disease. In America, it would mean 80 million more potential patients. When it came to data, less than 5 percent of those with that A1C level would ever go on to develop type 2 diabetes...in their entire lives.

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Machine Learning For Phenomenology

Science 2.0 - Apr 06 2018 - 07:04
These days the use of machine learning is exploding, as problems which can be solved more effectively with it are ubiquitous, and the construction of deep neural networks or similar advanced tools is at reach of sixth graders.  So it is not surprising to see theoretical physicists joining the fun. If you think that the work of a particle theorist is too abstract to benefit from ML applications, you better think again. 

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The Northern White Rhino Should Stay Extinct

Science 2.0 - Apr 06 2018 - 06:04

A geriatric semi-captive rhino died in Kenya recently. “Sudan”, a 45-year-old northern white rhino was put to sleep as vets decided, after months of ill health, that his condition had deteriorated to the point where the levels of pain and quality of life were unacceptable.

From a conservation perspective, this does not sound like a big deal. Sudan was one old rhino. He was well past breeding age. So why did his death make headlines?

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Alternet And The Anti-Vaccine Movement

Science 2.0 - Apr 05 2018 - 16:04
Given the political demographic of the webzine Alternet and its anti-science mentality, it's not a huge surprise that its contributors are in common cause with the Russians and others who are merchants of doubt about American science and medicine.

What is shocking is that Alternet displays them so prominently. 

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No, Losing Your Money Does Not Increase Risk Of Death

Science 2.0 - Apr 04 2018 - 19:04
A recent analysis links sudden loss of wealth in middle or old age with a 50 percent higher risk of dying than those who do not have such loss. The effect can last for two decades, and whether participants are very wealthy or have only modest savings made no difference.

The paper is in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and they have gotten increasingly epidemiology focused and less scientific as the decade has progressed, so some skepticism is in order.  And it is justified, although corporate journalism claims have repeated the press release without reading the study itself.

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Another Day, Another Raw Milk Listeria Crisis

Science 2.0 - Apr 04 2018 - 18:04
Raw milk, which has been known for over a century to substantially increase the risk for bacterial illness, has led to another permanent government-ordered shutdown. 

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Vulto Creamery LLC of Walton, N.Y. so that they cannot prepare, process, manufacture, pack and/or hold FDA-regulated food products until they can ensure that Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause a rare but potentially life-threatening illness, is not present in their facility and their food.

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FDA Asks Public To Pressure Facebook And Twitter To Stop Seliing Illegal Opioid Ads

Science 2.0 - Apr 04 2018 - 16:04
The Justice Department has said that ending the flow of illegal opioids in the U.S. is a top law-enforcement priority but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't want to wait years for courts to help, they are directly calling on the public to pressure sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to put a crimp on supplement and opioid sales.

At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called on social media companies and internet companies to stop taking money for ads. Good luck with that. What he was really seeking is public help in pressuring them. Facebook and Twitter have repeatedly shown they are modern-day arms dealers and happily sell to both sides, so only the public can put the needed pressure on them.

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$400,000 Breakthrough Junior Challenge Competition Now Open

Science 2.0 - Apr 03 2018 - 14:04
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation announced has launched its fourth annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge competition designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics and mathematics.

Students ages 13 to 18 from countries across the globe are invited to create original videos (up to three minutes in length) that illustrate a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics. The submissions will be judged on the students’ ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in the most engaging, illuminating and imaginative ways.

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Wood Heat: Why The Developing World Needs Centralized Energy, Even If It's Coal

Science 2.0 - Apr 03 2018 - 11:04

A new study takes Norwegians to task for continuing to use wood stoves as part of their bucolic northern heritage. Drive outside cities and it is common to see stacks of wood lining the walls of houses and smoke rising from the chimneys, especially on cold days. Due to that heritage, there was even a national "wood night program" on NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, which ran for 12 hours and attracted international attention.

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The Magical Caves Of Frasassi

Science 2.0 - Apr 02 2018 - 11:04

While spending a few vacation days on a trip around central Italy I made a stop in a place in the Appennini mountains, to visit some incredible caves. The caves of Frasassi were discovered in September 1971 by a few young speleologists, who had been tipped off by locals about the existence, atop a mountain near their village, of a hole in the ground, which emitted a strong draft wind - the unmistakable sign of underground hollows.

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Symmetry & Relativity, Sexy Virtual Reality (VR) In Modern Relativity Theory - All For Everybody

Science 2.0 - Mar 30 2018 - 02:03
Relativity is a form of symmetry and for that reason already of fundamental importance for science. Symmetry means: You can change something in some quite fundamental way, for example rotate the whole circle, and yet, the result is in some other important way the same, the circle is in all ways we can notice as it was before the rotation. The law of the conservation of energy is such symmetry: We transform local chemical energy into non-local kinetic energy and back, yet its mass stays the exact same throughout. We usually call ‘Relativity’ a symmetry that involves transforming the observer/describer and his perspective. They are mainly:

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Interstitium: Newfound 'Organ' Missed Due To Old Standard Method For Visualizing Anatomy

Science 2.0 - Mar 27 2018 - 19:03
How do you miss an organ important for the function of all organs, most tissues and the mechanisms of most major diseases? Easy, you don't look for it. 

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Too Big To Fail, Too Difficult To Complete: James Webb Space Telescope Now Maybe 2020

Science 2.0 - Mar 27 2018 - 14:03
The James Webb Space Telescope, originally scheduled to be completed in 2007, now might be ready in 2020. If you still believe anything coming from Big Space. 

Meanwhile, Big Space claims it is under-funded. While it's true many worthy small experiments can't get the money they need, the reason is not due to the Bush, Obama or Trump administrations, it is because all three of them have watched JWST, the supposed successor to Hubble, bleed funding dry with its constant misses and overruns.

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Head Fake: Lake Methane Is Worse Than CO2

Science 2.0 - Mar 26 2018 - 14:03
A new paper is proposing that methane due to lakes is scarier than carbon dioxide, but it tells only one sider of the story: methane has much greater warming impact, they rightly note, but leave out that it is so short-lived it is having zero impact on climate change.

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The Food Waste Solution That You Might Not Know You Are Using

Science 2.0 - Mar 26 2018 - 14:03
Typical grocery store bread aisle

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Was FDA’s Recent Statement On BPA Premature?

Science 2.0 - Mar 26 2018 - 14:03

A few weeks ago the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) released the results of the largest study ever conducted on bisphenol A (BPA).  The CLARITY Core study was conducted by senior scientists with the U.S.

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Finally, EPA Is Ending Regulation By 'Secret Sauce' - And Activists Are Livid

Science 2.0 - Mar 26 2018 - 13:03
In 1984, activist groups won a stunning victory for political allies they had placed inside the Federal government. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 gave "deference" to agencies when interpreting statutes Congress required them to administer. The White House, regardless of voters or Congress, could legislate using regulations and be judge, jury and executioner when it came to science. Perfect for activism, but terrible for public trust in science. 

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