Science 2.0

Netflix: The Goop Lab Is An Infomercial For Gwyneth Paltrow's Pseudoscience Business

Science 2.0 - Jan 13 2020 - 17:01

Last week, Netflix dropped the trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow’s new show The Goop Lab. It is a six-episode docuseries launching on Jan. 24 that, according to the trailers, focuses on approaches to wellness that are “out there,” “unregulated” and “dangerous.” (Read: science-free.)

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How Restricting Legal Trade In Endangered Species Backfires

Science 2.0 - Jan 13 2020 - 11:01

Every year humans buy and sell hundreds of millions of wild animals and plants around the world. Much of this commerce is legal, but illegal trade and over-harvesting have driven many species toward extinction.

One common response is to adopt bans on trading in threatened or endangered species. But research shows that this approach can backfire. Restricting high-value species can actually trigger market booms.

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Solar Power Is A Manifestation Of Income Inequality, Solar Geoengineering May Instead Fix It

Science 2.0 - Jan 13 2020 - 10:01
Solar panel proponents rave about their solar energy. They tout how low their electricity bills are, that the utility is forced to buy energy from them at the same price they sell it, and that they are helping the planet.

The problem is that solar panels are subsidized by poor people who can't afford the installations in order to get a rebate. And that those who rent, or who live in apartments. Multi-million dollar Malibu solar installations that have their costs passed through to poor families, because no company with employees and infrastructure can afford to buy and sell at the same price and government created regulations to penalize those who use more affordable energy.

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Majorana Fermion: We Found The God Particle, Why Is The 'Angel Particle' Still Missing?

Science 2.0 - Jan 13 2020 - 10:01
Majorana fermions, particles that act as their own antiparticle and were first hypothesized by Italian physicist Ettore Majorana in 1937, have not been detected after all.

A 2017 report of the discovery of a particular kind of Majorana fermion, the chiral Majorana fermion, was a false alarm, finds a new study, which means construction of a topological quantum computer also remains elusive.

Some particle physicists are using underground observatories to discover if the ghost-like particle known as the neutrino, a subatomic particle that rarely interacts with matter, might be a Majorana fermion.

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Spurious Thinking: Why You're More Susceptible To Misinformation Than You Think

Science 2.0 - Jan 11 2020 - 06:01

Online misinformation works, or so it would seem. One of the more interesting statistics from the 2019 UK general election was that 88% of advertisements posted on social media by the Conservative Party pushed figures that had already been deemed misleading by the UK’s leading fact-checking organization, Full Fact. And, of course, the Conservatives won the election by a comfortable margin.

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It's The Calories In Pizza That Will Make You Fat, Not The Box: Congress Wants To Ban The Box

Science 2.0 - Jan 10 2020 - 16:01
A few years ago I sent an employee to a debate to argue over what was more harmful for your body, the pizza or the pizza box.

I am not kidding. A subset of activists absolutely says with straight faces that a trace chemical in a box is more harmful than getting fat. And now they have gotten Democrats in Congress to demonize over 6,000 forms of PFAS and open up nearly every company in America to lawsuits.

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'Gift Of Life' Appeals: Why Do They Work For Blood Drives But Not Organ Donations?

Science 2.0 - Jan 10 2020 - 16:01
Every time a disaster occurs, people show their philanthropic side, but the same framing that works for blood drives, such as 'gift of life' appeals, is far less effective when it comes to organ donation.

Though much is known about why people donate blood or register as an organ donor, we don't know a lot about why individuals continue to choose not to do so. Most people do not and never will donate so it makes sense that asking people 'why not' rather than 'why' has more value.  The anonymous data for the study was collected via a survey promoted by Australian donation organisations including Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, and Transplant Australia.

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'Processed' Food Causes Obesity It Says, But The Paper Ignores Obvious Confounders

Science 2.0 - Jan 10 2020 - 10:01
In a Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology review, a nutritionist and a gastroenterologist claim that "ultra-processed" food causes obesity.

If you are not familiar with ultra-processed food, that is a new-ish designation, an arbitrary metric of numerous things to separate it from regular processed food. All bread made in the last 10,000 years is "processed" food, for example, and 'all food is processed' reality hobbled efforts by integrative medicine/food is medicine proponents to claim our modern lifestyle is killing us, when the science community instead knows it's simply obesity that is the risk factor.

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Raiders Of The Lost Arawaks: Columbus Was Not Exaggerating About Caribbean Cannibalism

Science 2.0 - Jan 10 2020 - 10:01
When Christopher Columbus discovered a continent unknown to Europeans, his accounts included harrowing descriptions of native pirates who cannibalized men and kept women as sex slaves, but more recent humanities scholars, even ones who readily accept oral histories long changed, dismissed that as myth.

However, the name stuck. The Caribbean was named for Caribs marauders from South America.

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Mass Amazonian Warrior Grave Discovered In Russia

Science 2.0 - Jan 09 2020 - 15:01
Though today we associate Amazonian with the basin in South America, to the Greeks they were Scythians - from southern Siberia - and those Amazon women were feared warriors.

For the first time, remains of these ancient Siberian soldiers have been found in the same tomb. This is the 11th find at the Cemetery Devitsa site, and they seem to have been garrison troops at the camp while others were off fighting. 

The remains estimated to have been buried sometime during the 4th century B.C. This village cemetery, located in a plowed field, has been investigated since 2010 and the tomb was under a three-foot-tall, 120-foot mound covered in oak blocks.

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AI Detects And Grades Prostate Cancer As Well As World-Class Pathologists In Recent Tests

Science 2.0 - Jan 09 2020 - 09:01
Artificial intelligence (AI) for histopathological diagnosis and grading of prostate cancer has the potential to solve one of the bottlenecks in today's prostate cancer histopathology; by providing more accurate diagnosis and better treatment decisions.

A new study finds the AI-system is as good at identifying and grading prostate cancer as world-leading uro-pathologists.

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What Is Stevia And What Is The Science Behind It?

Science 2.0 - Jan 09 2020 - 09:01
Stevia rebaudiana is part of the sunflower family (Asteraceae), like the daisy. It is native to Brazil and Paraguay, where the local populations have used it as a sweetener for as long as written records have been kept.

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Is Perrier Bad For Your Teeth?

Science 2.0 - Jan 08 2020 - 07:01

For many people, the start of a year is a time for new health resolutions – be it eat more vegetables, consume less sugar or drink more water.

Keeping hydrated is essential for body functions such as temperature regulation, transporting nutrients and removing waste. Water even acts as a lubricant and shock absorber for joints.

But while most people know they should drink more water, it can be a bit boring. So what about sparkling water as an option to liven things up a bit? After all, sparkling water is just as good as normal water, right? Not quite.

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Lithium-Sulphur Battery Can Power A Smartphone For 5 Days

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 17:01
Australian academics have a filed patent (PCT/AU 2019/051239) on the manufacturing process for a lithium-sulphur battery capable of powering a smartphone for five continuous days. Even better for them, they got $2.5 million in government funding and industry partners to test it.

They say their ultra-high capacity Li-S battery has four times better performance and less environmental impact than current lithium-ion products. Improvements are certainly needed. Li-ion batteries were developed decades ago and while technology has zoomed into the future in many areas, in battery storage it has not. The lack of progress holds back applications that require storage, like solar power.

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Defensive Medicine And Kids: Millions Of Children Get Unnecessary Treatment

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 12:01
With health insurance costs having gone up for many Americans by 300 percent since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there is concern about ways to contain costs.

No one is willing to contain costs when it comes to children, a new study shows. In America's sue-and-settle culture, the big cost for medicine was not drugs or malpractice insurance, it was "defensive" medicine; running tests doctors know patients don't need, or providing a treatment that won't help, because they have to check off every box to prevent lawyers waiting to sue for malpractice.

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Food As Medicine? The Evidence For Diet Impacting Mental Health Is Too Weak To Take Seriously

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 11:01
Though there is some evidence that a ketogenic diet can help people with epilepsy, the 'food as medicine' industry has instead made huge leaps into a lot of claims based on suspect evidence.

While biologists will often note that there are a lot of food myths - turkey will make you sleepy, a child will run around like a maniac if they eat sugar - new ones are promoted just as fast, like that various diets significantly influence mental health and wellbeing. That is the issue; science may find one thing but surveys pretend to be just as valid, using claims of statistical significance that may be meaningless.

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Genetically Rescued Organism: A GM Poplar That Produces Less Isoprene But Grows Just As Fast

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 10:01
Poplars have become popular for use in products like paper, pallets, plywood, furniture frames - even as a biofuel - because they grow quickly.

But being natural doesn't mean being good for the environment. Poplars are a natural source of isoprene, which negatively affects regional air quality and can lead to higher levels of atmospheric aerosol production, more ozone in the air and longer methane life. Ozone and methane are n the category of greenhouse gases, and ozone is also listed as a respiratory irritant.

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Guest Post: Andre Kovacs, Mistaken Assumptions In Physics - What Hurts You Is What Everyone Knows To Be True

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 07:01
What hurts you is not what you don't know, but those mistaken assumptions which "everyone knows to be true".
[The following text is courtesy Andre Kovacs - T.D.]

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The Health Risks Of Cannabis Edibles

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 07:01
With the recent legalization of cannabis edibles in Canada, physicians may be inclined to recommend them in much the same way they do homeopathy or naturopathy. But unlike those placebos, which should not be recommended because it's a government subsidy for fraud, there are health risks for cannabis edibles, and media doesn't give it much attention.

"Although edibles are commonly viewed as a safer and more desirable alternative to smoked or vaped cannabis, physicians and the public should be aware of several risks related to the use of cannabis edibles," write Drs. Jasleen Grewal and Lawrence Loh from the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

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It's Not Scary Cosmetic Chemicals That May Cause A Rash, It's The Nature Of The CD1a Molecule

Science 2.0 - Jan 07 2020 - 06:01
Some people can experience a rash or sensitivity to some cosmetics while most people are fine. It isn't that modern cosmetics are bad, regardless what alternative companies and their trade groups like Campaign for Safe Cosmetics claim, it's nature. Botanical extracts sold as "natural" chemicals in cosmetics cause the same issue.

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