Science 2.0

Is There A 27 Million Year Cycle For Mass Extinction Or Just Coincidence?

Science 2.0 - Dec 18 2020 - 14:12
A new paper finds that mass extinction of land-dwelling animals - amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds- occur in a cycle of about 27 million years.

A pattern in nature or just coincidence?

Probably coincidence, since 27 million years give or take is a fantastic range of time but journalists and professional doomsday prophets are making something of it the way they do Mayan calendars and Biblical numerology. When it comes to real concepts of time, 66 million, 26 million, and 27.5 million don't have much in common.

Yet the paper does link them as non-random events, using the bane of informed food and chemical acceptance of science - statistical analyses.

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Forget Mrs. Claus, What About Santa Herself?

Science 2.0 - Dec 18 2020 - 05:12

Can Christmas be about gender? Apparently so, if the paucity of female Santas is anything to go by. There have, in fact, been cases of Australian women donning the secular red and white Santa attire as far back as 1930 — and there is no reason why we couldn’t have more female Santas today.

In 1935, Queensland’s Daily Mercury reported on aviator Nancy Bird Walton, “The Angel of the Outback”, piloting a female Santa Claus into the north-western corner of New South Wales.

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Either Negative Reviews Boost Sales Or They Won't Stop Good Products

Science 2.0 - Dec 17 2020 - 18:12
A recent computer model finds that it doesn't hurt a product to negative reviews and it may even help.

A flawless product does not exist, people are suspicious if they see no bad reviews, and using game theory, the researchers analyzed how negative reviews affect sales. The model had two sets of participants: sellers, who know the true quality of the products they are selling and can selectively publish reviews about it, and buyers, who do not know a product's quality and can be categorized as either 'naïve' or 'rational'.

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COVID-19 - Things Are Starting To Get Better

Science 2.0 - Dec 17 2020 - 13:12
A meta-analysis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the 2019 form of coronavirus that led to the COVID-19 pandemic, found that the chance an infected person showing symptoms was infecting someone else even in their home was only 18%, while it plummeted to 0.7% if they are not symptomatic.

The pool was not small, it was data from over 77,000 participants. That's actually good news, and it may mean a return to normalcy, because if even being trapped in a home with someone has only a minor risk for those not at respiratory distress risk from flu or anything else, casual public contact means nearly none.

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The Geminid Meteor Shower Is As Strong As Ever

Science 2.0 - Dec 16 2020 - 09:12
Meteor showers are a spectacular phenomenon that takes place when the Earth intersects the path along which periodic comets (or less frequently, asteroidal bodies) orbit the Sun. Comets lose debris when they get close to perihelion, but the debris does not get lost in all directions - it continues to follow the comet's path in the solar system. 

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COVID-19: Mask Protections And Modifications Ranked - And 3M Wins

Science 2.0 - Dec 15 2020 - 16:12
There is no question that masks prevent transmission of airbone viruses that cause diseases flu and COVID-19 but a new paper shows what will maximize their effectiveness.

Masks are primarily intended to keep us from spreading germs - a surgeon does not wear a mask because she is worried about her patient giving her a disease, she is wearing it to make the other person safer.

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Next Week, You'll See Something In The Sky No Human Has Seen Since March 4, 1226

Science 2.0 - Dec 14 2020 - 05:12
This winter solstice, Dec. 21st, you'll be able to see something no one has seen since the Middle Ages; Jupiter and Saturn will appear so close together in Earth’s night sky they will look like a double planet.

While we orbit the sun each year, Jupiter needs 12 and Saturn 30, which means every 20 years or so Jupiter laps Saturn, and on December 21st, 2020, the two planets will be just a tenth of a degree apart, less than the diameter of the moon. The two largest planets in our solar system will look to some like a double planet from science fiction. 

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Alternative Medicine Is Ruining The Future Of 155 Threatened Species - Yet Helps No One

Science 2.0 - Dec 13 2020 - 06:12
A new meta-analysis finds what scientists outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health have long known - alternatives to medicine, now called Integrative Medicine after failing as Complementary and Alternative Medicine after failing as Traditional Medicine after failing as Folk Medicine, are not just useless, they are ecologically reckless.

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Charles Darwin Was Right On Why Insects Are Losing The Ability To Fly, Finds New Paper

Science 2.0 - Dec 12 2020 - 13:12
Charles Darwin and many others knew about the wing loss habit of island insects and debated famed botanist Joseph Hooker as to why. Darwin's position was simple that an insect on an island that flies is at more risk of being blown out to sea. Those left on land to produce the next generation are those most reluctant to fly, and eventually evolution follows behavior.

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Less Than 2% Of OB-GYNs Take The 8-Hour Course Needed To Prescribe This Opioid Life Saver

Science 2.0 - Dec 12 2020 - 13:12
Buprenorphine, a lifesaving opioid addiction medicine, is FDA-approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in pregnant women, but doctors need an X-waiver, a certification that allows them to prescribe opioid treatment medications.

Buprenorphine is a "partial-agonist" which soothes the brain's cravings for opioids by partially activating opiate receptors, and binding to them tightly, decreasing the risk of fatal overdoses. 
Obtaining an X-waiver requires training, but it's only eight hours for physicians and 24 hours for nurse-practitioners and physician assistants. 

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If You Drink And It's Friday, You're More Likely To Believe You've Seen A UFO

Science 2.0 - Dec 11 2020 - 05:12

If intelligent aliens visit the Earth, it would be one of the most profound events in human history.

Surveys show that nearly half of Americans believe that aliens have visited the Earth, either in the ancient past or recently. That percentage has been increasing. Belief in alien visitation is greater than belief that Bigfoot is a real creature, but less than belief that places can be haunted by spirits.

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Could We See LHC Neutrinos In IceCube? The Answer, As Always, Is Five Sigma

Science 2.0 - Dec 10 2020 - 14:12
For the (likely going to be dramatically unsuccessful) series "Questions you would have liked your son to ask you when you visited CERN together", I feature today a rather unconventional curiosity about LHC and neutrino physics. The source of inspiration for this is a coffee-time conversation I had long ago, I don't even remember with whom - probably a colleague. Anyway, that's the least interesting bit of the whole matter.
The LHC is...

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Melatonin May Boost Memory But Here's Why You Shouldn't Go Buy Supplements

Science 2.0 - Dec 10 2020 - 14:12
Every pharmacy has a section devoted to products that are not scientifically known to do anything at all, they could never pass FDA scrutiny on their claims, but they don't need to and pharmacies are in business to make money. And in places like Washington, DC, California, and New York, the public overwhelmingly believes in supplements as alternatives to medicine, so carrying fish oil, ginkgo, ginseng and other products that claim to be memory boosters and prevent "cognitive decline" is just listening to the market.

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Large Multicenter Trial: Omega-3 Supplements Have No Benefit For Patients At Cardiac Risk, But Do Have Some Harm

Science 2.0 - Dec 09 2020 - 17:12
Results from the STatin Residual Risk Reduction With EpaNova in HiGh CV Risk PatienTs With Hypertriglyceridemia (STRENGTH) double-blind, randomized, multicenter trial from 2014 to 2020 found that in patients with high cardiovascular risk, supplements of Omega-3 Fatty Acids were no better for outcomes than plain old vegetable oil.

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Healthcare Workers 7X As Likely To Get Severe COVID-19

Science 2.0 - Dec 09 2020 - 11:12
A new study finds that unless you are suffering a life-threatening illness, the worst place to go if you want to avoid exposure to coronavirus is to a doctor. You instead should hope you have a "non-essential" job, just not so non-essential you don't get paid.

It's obvious that that those working in healthcare roles are at heightened risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 and therefore COVID-19, but it has not been clear what the risks might be compared to those working in other sectors.

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The Mental Health Of COVID-19: Steep Rise In Depressive Symptoms Among Elementary School Kids

Science 2.0 - Dec 09 2020 - 10:12
While a loud minority says there needs to be lockdowns for the foreseeable future, they are often government-funded workers whose jobs are secure - and they are not thinking about the mental health issues, including among children.

Social distancing and school closures are thought to have badly affected children's mental health but there has been little hard evidence to substantiate it, largely because of a lack of good baseline data for the same children collected before the first lockdowns in March. There was no reason. Everyone believed this would be three weeks, not a year or more as President-Elect Joe Biden is saying he intends to implement.

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The Mathematics Of Cancer

Science 2.0 - Dec 09 2020 - 05:12

In our daily life, we unfortunately have become used to seeing images of tumors and melanomas. You may have noticed that they’re are not entirely symmetric. This asymmetry is useful to doctors in their diagnoses, but why are they asymmetric?

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Pandemic Meetings May Be Eliminating Balance - And Have Productivity Repercussions

Science 2.0 - Dec 08 2020 - 11:12
Have you ever answered a phone call from a stranger and had them introduce themselves and then ask how you are doing? Somewhere, someone created that tactic with the belief that it makes callers seem interested in your life but because you know they are not, it is probably annoying.

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Mystery Monoliths: How To Build A Better Conspiracy

Science 2.0 - Dec 07 2020 - 18:12

The three recent appearances (and two subsequent removals) of “monoliths” in Romania, Utah and California are intriguing examples of what can capture the public’s imagination.

These constructions are metallic-looking structures about three or four metres tall, with a simple geometric design and reflective surface.

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The 'Blood Type' Diet Debunked Again

Science 2.0 - Dec 07 2020 - 10:12
Nearly every sort of diet has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list by now, all claiming to have a foundation in science. Yet one key reason some among the public are distrustful of epidemiology statistics on masks and social distancing is that epidemiology is also used to statistically link nearly every food or chemical to harm or longevity.

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