Science 2.0

Arctic Permafrost Carbon Release Significant But Exaggerated In News - Fifth Of Degree By 2299 At Most, Can Be Carbon Negative

Science 2.0 - Mar 01 2019 - 12:03

Short summary. The journalist stories often don't even mention that studies are not agreed on whether it is carbon positive or even perhaps carbon negative. The amount in the worst case is around an extra quarter of a degree rise by 2100, a slow burner through to the next three or four centuries. That is for “business as usual”.

For 3°C which we are close to already and easily achievable, then it is possible that it remains carbon negative and removes the equivalent of CO2 a fifth of a degree by 2299, and at most it is a fifth of a degree increase by 2299.

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'Apollo 11' Documentary - Review

Science 2.0 - Mar 01 2019 - 10:03
If you are in a hurry, I will save you some time. Do not walk, fly at 20,000 MPH to your nearest theater or Fandango or however you get IMAX tickets and see "Apollo 11."

I want to be the first to congratulate Todd Douglas Miller on his 2020 Academy Award, because unless someone pumps out a documentary about a minority transgender person with their heart on the outside who escapes North Korea and wins the Olympics, this is going to win.

And for good reason. It looks glorious, it feels glorious, it hearkens back to a time when NASA was bold and not a job works program. As a kid who lived a short distance from Cape Canaveral, I was fortunate to see an Apollo launch in person, and I have to tell you this is better. 

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Four Frequently Used Welsh English Words Link Wales To The Rest Of The World

Science 2.0 - Mar 01 2019 - 05:03

It will likely come as no surprise that the large majority of – if not all – people in Wales can speak English. While Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, English, along with Flemish, first rooted itself in small enclaves in southwest Wales as far back as the 12th century.

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Megachile Pluto: Wallace's Giant Bee Was Never Extinct, It Was Just Hard To Find

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 16:02
Megachile pluto, Wallace's giant bee, is the world's largest, with a wingspan more than 2.5 inches. Though it should be easy enough to see, some had believed it was extinct because it hadn't been seen by western scientists since 1981.

In January, a search team set out to photograph Wallace's giant bee and successfully did so, declaring in a documentary they have "rediscovered" the species in the North Moluccas, an island group in Indonesia.

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A Blood Test To Measure Pain

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 15:02
One of the problems that led to both opioid and medical marijuana overuse has been that the notion of pain is subjective. If someone claims they are in pain, a doctor has no way to know how much of it is real and how much is psychological.

A new test can identify biomarkers in the blood that can help objectively determine how severe a patient’s pain is. The blood test, the first of its kind, would allow physicians far more accuracy in treating pain—as well as a better long-term look at the patient’s medical future.

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Croatia Has Become An Associate Member Of CERN

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 15:02
Croatian scientists have been engaged in scientific work at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for close to 40 years. Croatian scientists worked on the SPS heavy-ion programme and in 1994, research groups from Split officially joined the CMS collaboration. One year later a research group from Zagreb joined the ALICE collaboration, working with Croatian industry partners to contribute to the construction of the experiments’ detectors.

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Trump Kim Meeting Broken Off - It’s Not Nearly As Bad As It Seems. More Of A Failure Of A Major Agreement Than A Major Disagreem

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

It is reasonably good news. Kim wanted the US to drop all sanctions in response for dismantling the publicly disclosed plant to make nuclear weapons materials. They weren't ready to do that. The US were willing to drop all sanctions in response to him completely denuclearizing but he wasn't ready to do that. He has a vision but not the same as the US vision but closer than it was a year ago.

Trump talked about them knowing the country very well (including nuclear facilities that NK has not disclosed). And that he wasn't willing to do enough.

Not a big disagreement. More that they were on the point of a big agreement but it fell through. And as Trump said he is not afraid to walk away from a deal.

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1.26 Kilometer Diameter Asteriod 2010 GD37 Is NOT Expected To Hit In December 2019 - Warning Level 0, NASA Did Not Issue Warning

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

Short summary - NASA did not warn about this - it’s only at warning level 0 and has to be 5 or above to be of public concern. The best fit projected orbit takes it to somewhere out beyond Mars's orbit in December, and what's more, at the opposite side of the sun from Earth on that date. But based on only three and a third days of orbit. If it was going to hit then our telescopes should have spotted it by now. In particular, the new ATLAS early warning system has a warning time of a year for one kilometer or larger asteroids with 100% confidence. So I think we are pretty safe from this one.

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UN Biodiversity Report Far From Bleak - Encouraging Survey Of Measures To Preserve, Mapping Ways Forward To Meet Challenges

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

This UN Report is not saying we are going to be unable to feed everyone. But we need to be careful to maintain the biodiversity of the wild relatives of our crops and also of our ecosystems to be most resilient. We don’t risk mass famine, they say that specifically in the interview with the BBC but we need the biodiversity to deal with future issues such as for instance pests and diseases of our crops. On this the situation is rather encouraging, especially if you read the report itself.

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Make Iridescent Color From Clear Drops Using Only Light - No Inks Or Dyes Needed

Science 2.0 - Feb 28 2019 - 11:02
Even if you are obsessed with "natural" things, the awesome power of physics can still help you make fun colors. It's all thanks to “structural color,” the ability of an object to generate color simply by the way light interacts with its geometric structure.

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The Old, The New And The Uncharged

Science 2.0 - Feb 27 2019 - 16:02

I often read in the news about the new and exciting things that will be discovered if we invest big $$$ on new tech, such as a new big smasher 100 m below the surface of the Earth. This can of course be true; we have seen miraculous things being discovered in the field of particle physics, mainly due to the fact that a persistent vision by a group of scientists managed to continuously shed light on the harsh road of discovery.

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Internet Of Things Security: Unclonable Digital Fingerprints

Science 2.0 - Feb 27 2019 - 14:02
At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference last week, Rice University integrated circuit (IC) designers unveiled technology they say is 10 times more reliable than current methods of producing unclonable digital fingerprints for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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New Office

Science 2.0 - Feb 27 2019 - 09:02
As the regulars here already know, I am an employee of the INFN. This is the "Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare", which translates as "Italian national institute for nuclear physics", a slight misnomre as the institute actually centers its activities on SUB-nuclear physics - i.e. study of elementary particles. 
The INFN has 20 sections around Italy, and four main laboratories. The "sections" coexist with physics departments of Universities. So, for instance, my office is in the Physics and Astronomy department of the University of Padova, although I work for INFN-Padova. This kind of symbiosis is fruitful as the research activities we are involved in are also of interest of the department of Physics. 

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Amiskwia Sagittiformis: Weird Chimera Worm May Finally Get Its Place In The Tree Of Life

Science 2.0 - Feb 26 2019 - 09:02
Ribbon worm? Arrow worm? Since the discovery of its fossil over a century ago, paleontologists have speculated about what branch of evolution Amiskwia sagittiformis was on.

Charles Doolittle Walcott, who first described it, compared it to the a group of ocean-dwelling worms that are fierce predators, equipped with an array of spines on their head for grasping small prey - modern arrow worms (chaetognaths), but later scientists could not find evidence of the canonical grasping spines so they believed instead it might be a a ribbon worm, or its own distinct lineage only distantly related to anything that resembles it today.

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Sweet Viceroy Butterflies Turn Sour To Stop Predators

Science 2.0 - Feb 26 2019 - 08:02
Limenitus archippus, the viceroy butterfly is a mimic, modeling its orange-and-black colors after the queen butterfly, a bug that tastes so disgusting predators have learned not to eat it or anything that looks like it, including viceroys.

The apparent dependence of mimics on their models made biologists wonder if the fates of the two species are forever intertwined. If so, then what happens when the mimic and the model part ways? Thanks to a new study, scientists know. Viceroy butterflies living in northern Florida, far away from the southern-dwelling queen butterflies, are not only more abundant than their southern kin, but they have also developed their own foul flavor.

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More Expensive Milk Won't Help Farmers Enough - Culture Has Changed

Science 2.0 - Feb 25 2019 - 11:02
I don't drink much milk now, though I did when I was a kid. I think I eat more cheese than I did then, and that makes sense. We were a poor family on a subsistence farm and cheese is expensive. Milk was not. At least if you got it right from the farmer. 

But most of us don't get it right from the farmer, which is one reason why an increase in milk prices in the U.S. won't help dairy farmers much, any more than it will in Australia or any other country. Most people do not buy dairy products from a local farmer, they buy food in stores. And the products in those stores may not even have been made using milk from this country.

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Zebra Stripes And Flies: Evolutionary Psychology Speculation Or Because Stripes Make Terrible Landing Strips?

Science 2.0 - Feb 22 2019 - 10:02
It is believed by some that zebras have black and white stripes as a defense mechanism against flies. To others, that seems too complex. In an Occam's Razor evolutionary universe it only leads to more speculation - why would they evolve such a sophisticated defense mechanism when it doesn't help, and flies are no less attracted to zebras than they are horses? Are zebras more prone to infectious diseases carried by African biting flies?  Or is the whole premise more like evolutionary psychology than science, where there is speculation neckties evolved so men would look like superior mates?

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Basic Income: How's It Working In Finland?

Science 2.0 - Feb 21 2019 - 14:02

The preliminary findings from Finland’s basic income experiment are out and they show mixed results. Both advocates and critics of the idea of a universal basic income will find cause for consternation and celebration. Though widely anticipated by basic income enthusiasts, the Finnish experiment will only fuel further debate on whether or not the idea works.

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Kratom Rising: Calls To US Poison Control Centers Increase

Science 2.0 - Feb 21 2019 - 13:02
The natural opioid kratom, the leaves of a tropical tree in Southeast Asia (Mitragyna speciosa) is a great analgesic because it's an opioid.  It has become popular because supplements are exempt from government oversight unless companies are causing people to fall over, which has happened - they seized 90,000 bottles of it in 2016 and want to ban its importation due to concerns about safety.

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Artificial Sweeteners Are Not Harmful For Gut Microbiota, They Are Even Prebiotics

Science 2.0 - Feb 21 2019 - 12:02
Food is plentiful and affordable, and that has brought an increase in consumption of foods that matched an ancient evolutionary mandate; sweetness.

In ancient times, humans knew that sweetness meant more calories and in a world where they often weren't sure where the next meal would come from, getting as many calories when they were available was important. When agriculture came into existence, farmers began genetically modifying foods to be bigger and sweeter. Beginning in the late 1980s, science gave us a true food boom, with more food grown on less land with less environmental strain than thought possible when claims of a "population bomb" by authors such as Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren were popular.

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