Science 2.0

How Adaptive Radiation Shaped Reptile Evolution

Science 2.0 - 4 hours 39 min ago
Though we've learned a lot about evolution in the last 150 years, when it comes to the details, some fundamental questions remain unanswered. Such as when and how extremely diverse groups of animals such as reptiles first evolved. For seventy-five years, adaptive radiation, the relatively fast evolution of many species from a single common ancestor, has been considered a major cause of biological diversity.

This has even been for the origins of major body plans (structural and developmental characteristics that identify a group of animals) and new lineages. Yet examining these rapid rates of evolution has been constrained by the methods used and the amount of data available.

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ACE-i And ARB Medications May Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Science 2.0 - 5 hours 40 min ago

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-i) or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medications are prescribed for conditions such as heart failure, high blood pressure or heart disease. They inhibit or block angiotensin, a chemical that causes arteries to become narrow, so are commonly prescribed for people with high blood pressure to relax and open blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

They may also lower risk of colorectal cancer risk, the third most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer death worldwide.

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Asthma Doesn't Increase Risk Or Severity Of COVID-19

Science 2.0 - 6 hours 6 min ago
Though old age, respiratory issues, blood clots, and obesity are risk factors for likelihood and severity of COVID-19, one group in the respiratory section needn't worry more; asthmatics.

Asthma does not appear to increase the risk for a person contracting COVID-19 or influence its severity.

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Obesity Is A Co-Morbidity In Everything, Including COVID-19

Science 2.0 - 8 hours 6 min ago
Coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it brings does not discriminate on race, creed, or color, but it does target people with pre-existing conditions. Like age, respiratory issues, and obesity, which are risk factors for nearly everything. And that can translate into cultural disparity.

Obese European minorities are up to two times higher the risk of contracting COVID-19 than white Europeans, a study has found. The study used body mass index (BMI), a controversial metric with numerous confounders, so caution is warranted, and cardiometabolic health. The researchers wanted to see if they could statistically link a person's weight to the relative risk of COVID-19 across ethnic groups.

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Though Claims Of Projected Deaths Were Wildly Exaggerated, Sweden Would've Saved Some Lives With A Lockdown

Science 2.0 - 8 hours 22 min ago
Sweden did not lock down during COVID-19 and while aggressive epidemiological models promoted by bloggers wildly overstated the deaths that occurred, by an order of magnitude, it did produce more per capita deaths and greater healthcare demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent intervention.

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The Tree Planting Fad Threatens Ancient Grasslands

Science 2.0 - 10 hours 33 min ago
When well-meaning people in Madagascar, urged on by poorly-informed environmentalists and carbon credit companies, rushed to plant a million trees in one January day, scientists were outraged. They were planting them in the country’s barren Central Highlands - and destroying an ancient ecosystem.

Ancient Madagascan grasslands fell victim to a modern frenzy to afforest the world that has gripped political leaders - and that is thanks to lobbyists paid by environmental lawyers.

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An Online, Interactive Conversation With David Orban July 6th, 7PM CET

Science 2.0 - Jul 05 2020 - 08:07
On July 6th, at 7PM CET (1PM in NY, 10AM in California) I will be chatting online with David Orban on his show Searching For The Question Live (#sftql) about the present and future of particle physics, artificial intelligence and its applications to research, science communication, and the whereabouts. I hope you will be joining us, it should be fun!

For those of you who do not know who David Orban is:


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ELM And The Right Scenario For A Fusion Power Plant

Science 2.0 - Jul 03 2020 - 13:07
A new operating mode for fusion power avoids instabilities in the plasma that place a heavy load on the vessel wall and to remove heat and particles from the plasma more gently.

The aim of fusion energy is to tame atomic nuclei the way the sun does. Because the fusion fire only ignites at temperatures above 100 million degrees, its low-density hydrogen plasma fuel must not come into contact with the colder vessel walls. That is achieved using magnetic fields inside a ring-shaped vacuum chamber. The international experimental reactor ITER, currently being built in Cadarache, France,will show feasibility by generating fusion power of 500 megawatts.

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Sorry Science, By High School 4X As Many Women As Men Want To Enter Medical Fields Instead

Science 2.0 - Jul 02 2020 - 14:07
There are more women getting degrees in the life science, social science, and pre-med fields, while more men graduate in engineering and physics. Some contend that is gender bias introduced at a young age, but since education is 70 percent women it is difficult to charge them with sexism against females. 

Regardless of why, whether it is just that women prefer fields like medicine, where they can help people instead of doing theoretical physics, the data show fewer women than men get degrees in overall Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

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Spooky Music Action At A Distance: A Human Musician Communicates Directly With A Quantum Computer

Science 2.0 - Jul 02 2020 - 13:07
A high-tech jamming session, through which a blend of live human and computer-generated sounds came together to create a unique performance piece, has been created thanks to "spooky action at a distance."

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Amodal: We Begin Linking Vocal And Facial Emotion At Age 8

Science 2.0 - Jun 30 2020 - 15:06

Emotions are an integral part of our lives. They influence our behavior, perceptions, and day-to-day decisions. The spontaneous amodal coding of emotions - independent of perceptual modalities like the physical characteristics of faces or voices - is easy for adults, but how does the same capacity develop in children?

Recent experiments using kids ages 5, 8 and 10 years sought to find out when children began to recognize happiness or anger depending on whether it is expressed by a voice or on a face.

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Global Warming Reversed 6,500 Years Of Cooling

Science 2.0 - Jun 30 2020 - 11:06
In geological history, 90,000 of every 100,000 years has been ice ages, and it has been 12,000 years since the last one. In a 'glass half full' optimistic take on emissions, the Industrial Age put a halt to a 6,500 year cooling trend and the ice age for which we are overdue, but just like salt, sugar, or Avengers movies, there can be too much of a good thing and now there are worries that climate is going out of control the other way.

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Blatant Opportunism: EDC Believers Exploiting Covid-19 Pandemic Further Erodes Trust In Science And Health Efforts

Science 2.0 - Jun 30 2020 - 11:06

As a semi-retired epidemiologist, in a higher risk age group and with attendant co-morbidities, I have followed the Covid-19 pandemic with scientific curiosity mixed with a tinge of personal anxiety.  Much of the data being reported is of abysmal quality, and it’s a major professional disappointment to me that, after more than four months, the situation hasn’t improved much.

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Free-Range Kids: Why Lack Of Adult Supervision Matters

Science 2.0 - Jun 29 2020 - 16:06


The recently released 2020 ParticipACTION Report Card revealed that Canadian children scored a D+ for “daily physical activity,” an F for “active play” and a D- for “active transportation.” Only 39 per cent of Canadian children and youth achieve recommended physical activity levels.

A decline in children’s physical activity isn’t a new trend. However, with COVID-19, there has been further decline in physical activity resulting from public health protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

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American Cancer Society Nutrition Statements Are More Aspirational Wellness Than Evidence-Based Guidelines

Science 2.0 - Jun 29 2020 - 13:06
Can you prevent cancer? Not really. The number one risk factor for cancer is old age, if you live long enough you are likely to get some form or another. Despite the beliefs of the Longevity crowd, we are biologically self-terminating.

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Will The Media Retract Their 'Breathless' Warnings Of Insect Armageddon?

Science 2.0 - Jun 29 2020 - 11:06
Are insects facing survival challenges? Of course, the evidence in support of reasonable concerns is overwhelming. The important questions are: how serious is the decline; is it accelerating; what are its causes; and how can we address them?

Those are not the questions the media have been asking over the past three years, as a spate of Armageddon-like studies has been hyped by breathless reporting in such mainstream outlets as CNN, the Guardian and the New York Times. They’ve uniformly maintained the insect Armageddon was already upon us, and the culprit identified: modern agriculture steeped in the use of agro-chemicals.

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'Stars With Flames Like Hair' - Comets As Portents Of Doom In The Middle Ages

Science 2.0 - Jun 27 2020 - 07:06

On August 30 2019, a comet from outside our solar system was observed by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov at the MARGO observatory in Crimea. This was only the second time an interstellar comet had ever been recorded. Comet 19 or C/2019 Q4 , as it is now known, made its closest approach to the sun on December 8 2019, roughly coinciding with the first recorded human cases of COVID-19.

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To Have Great Science Literacy, We Must Have Greater Digital Literacy - An Experiment Shows How

Science 2.0 - Jun 26 2020 - 12:06
The anti-vaccine and anti-GMO movements are products of the digital age. While there were always vaccine deniers, they were a tiny religious fringe until the 2000s, when it took England and the coasts of the U.S. by storm. Similarly, odd beliefs about food always existed but they were relegated to obscure stores. 

Social media changed all that. Facebook and Twitter became hotbeds of misinformation because anti-science activists mastered creating 'buzz' by getting cabals of individuals, sympathetic journalists, and groups who capitalized on it to swarm around bombastic claims. Now those tweet storms become 'and here's how Twitter reacted' articles by lazy media outlets.

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Would More Women In Academic Medicine Leadership Roles Have Improved Coronavirus Response?

Science 2.0 - Jun 25 2020 - 12:06
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were shown to be a bureaucratic mess when the coronavirus pandemic hit - refusing to send coronavirus tests unless hospitals first proved proved patients had coronavirus, then sending faulty reagents - and academic epidemiologists often seemed to be just making things up, but one area came through nicely; academic medicine.

Medicine, along with the life sciences and social sciences, are areas where women dominate in graduates but because leadership positions are often held for lengthy periods, when it comes to the top levels the numbers aren't the same. Men are in control.

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Coronavirus Has Seen A Surge In Phone Scams: Here's How To Spot And Foil Them

Science 2.0 - Jun 25 2020 - 09:06

Most of us have experienced unwanted calls at home. This is in spite of efforts by regulators, including the Information Commissioner’s Office and Ofcom, whose most recent report shows that around half of the UK population still receive nuisance calls. Many of these unsolicited calls annoy us because they interrupt our dinner or favorite TV show – but some, such as sales or scam calls, can cause distress or even harm.

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