Science 2.0

Where's Tommaso?

Science 2.0 - 2 hours 40 min ago
March is here, and with it begins a season of intense travel for me - something which for some combination of reasons has become sort of a habit. First, workshops and conferences are rarely scheduled in the December-February period. Second, the Christmas vacations put a sort of break to all activities and disrupt the flow. Third, I teach a course in the first semester, which is now over. And fourth, INFN funding mechanisms imply that it is harder to travel in those months (yearly budgets close toward the end of November, and funds become again available only a bit after the new year starts).

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'Food Is Medicine' Gurus Link Processed Food To Basically Every Disease

Science 2.0 - Feb 29 2024 - 19:02
Food fads in the 'food is medicine' space try to use science jargon - nutriceuticals (literal food as medicine), polyphenols, prebiotics, all so they can  promote fad diets around something new - like fermented foods recently.

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Boiling Water To Remove 'Microplastics' Is So Dumb Even Washingon Post Won't Endorse It. Oh Wait...

Science 2.0 - Feb 29 2024 - 15:02
A new paper in Environmental Science&Technology Letters (created a decade ago to ride the 'everything causes cancer' craze) claims that not only are 'microplastics' harmful - because in modern times we can detect anything in anything and if you can detect it, it is killing you - you can and should remove them by both boiling and filtering the water in your home.

It is so bizarre - we'd have been extinct 150,000 years ago if our bodies did not have the ability to harmlessly excrete lots and lots and lots of trace chemicals - that no mainstream media outlet would promote it.

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Reduce School Violence By Eliminating Grades, Say Academic Psychologists

Science 2.0 - Feb 27 2024 - 15:02
One of the few things that can get a government union employee in a mandatory industry like education fired is hitting a student. Yet the link between increased tolerance and less accountability for students has correlated to increased violence by teachers. If there are no repercussions for behavior, behavior gets worse.

Everyone seems to know this except academic psychologists, who instead argue that grades are the problem. Don't want to be assaulted? Don't have accountability for any student who will suffer no lasting repercussions if they assault you while if you defend yourself you will be fired, go to jail, be sued, and vilified by the internet for eternity.

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Carbon Offsets Won't Work Until There Is Science In How Trees Are Planted

Science 2.0 - Feb 25 2024 - 22:02
Former Vice-President Al Gore has a giant mansion but buys carbon offsets to mitigate the damage. Do they work?

It depends, and that means it is unlikely. Lots of corporations dove into the carbon offset market, Mr. Gore made hundreds of millions of dollars investing in them, but there is no standard beyond 'we will plant this many trees.' The story is certainly compelling. There is no guilt about a mansion or private plane if you pay someone to plant trees that absorb carbon dioxide emissions equal to what you burned and create wildlife habitats and nice views for humans in the process.

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Two Huge Organic Food Sellers Top America's Worst Regarded Grocery Chains

Science 2.0 - Feb 23 2024 - 14:02
So-called "organic food" is a gigantic industry, $135 billion in revenue per year, augmented by a corporate panel created by the Clinton administration that exempts them from real U.S. Department of Agriculture oversight. They can exempt any synthetic ingredients they want and still sell an organic sticker (and do - dozens and dozens of them) and have insider corporations that "certify" organic status, but only make any money if they sell the stickers.

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Raw Cheese by Raw Farm Recall Due to E. Coli

Science 2.0 - Feb 22 2024 - 14:02
Raw milk producers are dangerous, with 700X more foodborne illness risk than pasteurized milk which has had pathogens neutralized. Raw cheese has a better safety record because folk wisdom says that after 60 days the bad stuff is dead.

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Did Environmental Working Group Manufacture A Study Just To Sue Quaker Oats?

Science 2.0 - Feb 21 2024 - 17:02
On February 15th, the litigation outfit known as Environmental Working Group, most famous for using public USDA data (although excluding pesticides from the organic food companies which fund them) to compile a 'Dirty Dozen list' of foods which contain pesticide residues (100 percent of them) but that is nonetheless reliably rewritten by allied journalists in progressive newspapers, paid to publish a

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A New Free Tool For The Optimization Of Muon Tomography

Science 2.0 - Feb 21 2024 - 06:02
Muon tomography is one of the most important spinoffs of fundamental research with particle detectors -if not the most important. 

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Sociology: The Illegal Immigration Problem Is Making All Latinos More Stressed

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2024 - 15:02
A sociological look at data from 2011-2018 led the authors of a new paper to cite an increase over time in psychological distress among Latinos, including citizens, in the U.S. They cite changes in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was deemed illegal by the courts, and President Biden threatening to shut the southern border of the U.S. entirely.

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1 In 10 Pregnant Women Who Get COVID-19 May Get A Long Covid Diagnosis

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2024 - 15:02
Any long-term effects of COVID-19, which originated in China and became the third coronavirus pandemic of the century, in the general adult population remain unclear. Some clearly have it while others are told it as an undefined blanket term, like fibromyalgia or chronic lyme disease.

A new paper claims that up to 10 percent of women who get COVID-19 during pregnancy will get a 'Long COVID' diagnosis. Their data are individuals from 46 states plus Washington, D.C. enrolled in the NIH RECOVER Initiative who got COVID-19 while pregnant and later got a Long COVID diagnosis.  

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Cigarettes Have Long-Term Consequences For The Immune System

Science 2.0 - Feb 19 2024 - 12:02
Cigarettes are a co-morbidity for almost everything and a risk factor for the rest, but it isn't just first-order disease that may be in the future of cigarette smokers.

A cohort of 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 20 to 70 in 2011 were examined to see why human immune systems vary significantly in terms of how effectively they respond to microbial attacks. Age, sex and genetics are known to have a significant impact on the immune system, the aim of this new study was to identify which other factors had the most influence.

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Gender Bias: Both Men And Women Prefer To See Women In Google Image Searches

Science 2.0 - Feb 15 2024 - 18:02
If Google image search results overwhelmingly returned results showing men, that would be evidence that ending gender bias still has a long way to go. In the bias community, results showing women are the same thing.

And the authors of a new paper say female and male gender associations are more extreme among Google Images than within text from Google News; text is slightly more focused on men than women, this bias is over four times stronger in images.

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New Analysis Adds To The Heat Pump Controversy

Science 2.0 - Feb 13 2024 - 16:02
Decades before solar and wind took over green marketing dollars, back when environmentalists still promoted natural gas and hydroelectric power, heat pumps became an energy-saving fad.

The problem with them became evident nearly as fast as that electric car range you think you'll get - it is only under ideal conditions in a lab. So if you bought one because you were told it is "400 percent efficient", you probably also bought organic food because someone told you it doesn't have pesticides. In other words, you were just believing in magic.

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The Most Likely To Confront Racism Are White People

Science 2.0 - Feb 13 2024 - 10:02
White people are more likely to confront those who post racist content on social media.

On surveys, at least, but on surveys very few people say they are anti-science, or even anti-vaccine. Not from 1998 to 2021, when coastal cities dominated vaccine exemptions, and not from 2021 on when middle states do. In both cases the argument is they support science but products need more testing, and they are anti-corporate.

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New York City Is Not The Future - Metro Areas With Multiple Hubs Is

Science 2.0 - Feb 12 2024 - 13:02
New York City makes no sense on paper. It is expensive to get into, expensive to live in, yet crowded and dirty. The heat is overwhelming in the summer while in the winter the wind effect among all those buildings cut can through your parka.

There is no way to undo its monocentric development now, like California, New York is suffering a wealth and marriage diaspora for better tax and family environments, and “polycentric” spatial patterns may solve both those problems.

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Older Transgender People Use The Emergency Room For Psychological Issues More, Concern About Timely Care

Science 2.0 - Feb 12 2024 - 12:02
Transgender and gender-diverse Medicare beneficiaries use significantly more emergency department services than cisgender people, particularly for psychological care, and these visits were more likely to be followed by an admission.

It brings up an obvious question; with outsized use of emergency services, why are there delays in seeking timely health care that result in visits to the ER?

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On Overfitting In Statistics And In Machine Learning

Science 2.0 - Feb 11 2024 - 09:02
I recently held an accelerated course in "Statistical data analysis for fundamental science" for the Instats site. Within only 15 hours of online lectures (albeit these are full 1-hour blocks, unlike the leaky academic-style hours that last 75% of that) I had to cover not just parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, modeling, and goodness of fit, plus several ancillary concepts of high relevance such as ancillarity (yep), conditioning, the likelihood principle, coverage, and frequentist versus bayesian inference, but an introduction to machine learning! How did I do?

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It's About Calories, So Kimchi Is Not A Weight Loss Superfood - But You May Eat Less

Science 2.0 - Feb 08 2024 - 11:02

Fermented foods have become popular in recent years, partly due to their perceived health benefits.

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Electric Car Mandates Have Caused Auto Insurance Costs To Rise 26%

Science 2.0 - Feb 07 2024 - 16:02
'In a high tide, all boats rise' is a government platitude about why they continue to increase taxes and regulatory costs while creating higher inflation, but markets are not a level playing field. If you do more work and I do less and we are forced into the same result, you do less because there is no point. Half of boats sink.

Only a Keynesian economist or someone else lacking basic literacy of the human condition thinks otherwise. 

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