Science 2.0

Wind Energy Isn't Just Killing Birds, It's Making Them Changes Their Tunes

Science 2.0 - Dec 21 2018 - 08:12

Wind turbines are a leading source of green energy which could supply 12% of the world’s energy by 2020. But their use is often criticised for its impact on wildlife, particularly birds. Larger birds can collide with turbines and some have even learned to avoid flying near them.

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50 Years Ago Today, Apollo 8 Soared Into Space - And Cicero Cheered

Science 2.0 - Dec 21 2018 - 07:12

Half a century of Christmases ago, the NASA space mission Apollo 8 became the first manned craft to leave low Earth orbit, atop the unprecedentedly powerful Saturn V rocket, and head out to circumnavigate another celestial body, making 11 orbits of the moon before its return. The mission is often cast in a supporting role – a sort of warm up for the first moon landing. Yet for me, the voyage of Borman, Lovell and Anders six months before Neil Armstrong’s “small step for a man” will always be the great leap for humankind.

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Squeezing More Out Of Your Data

Science 2.0 - Dec 21 2018 - 05:12
I don't remember who said it, but there's a quote I like a lot: "If you torture them long enough, the data will confess to anything". What the author meant is of course that the manipulation of experimental data and the a posteriori use of hand-picked methods, approximations, and other ad-hoc choices allows you to demonstrate anything with them, from one hypothesis to the opposite one. Statistics, in other words, is a subtle science, which must be handled with care. It is a powerful tool in the hands of people with an agenda. 

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The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law List Is Announced

Science 2.0 - Dec 20 2018 - 18:12
In July, 2016, to stave off a patchwork of state rules on food labels, and an effort by Democrats to put warning labels on genetically modified foods a few years prior, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a national mandatory standard for food science under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law.

For government purposes, the definition of a bioengineered food is much different than science. Government defines a bioengineered food that contains "detectable genetic material" created through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) techniques and for which the modification and not through conventional breeding or found in nature.

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President Trump Has Ended Hemp Prohibition

Science 2.0 - Dec 20 2018 - 17:12
By signing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, colloquially called the Farm Bill, President Donald Trump removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list. For the first time in over 80 years, farmers can grow and sell industrial hemp.

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Conventional, Organic, When It Comes To Pesticides The American Food Supply Is Safe Again This Year

Science 2.0 - Dec 20 2018 - 13:12
Despite another year of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hyperventilating weeks after a foodborne illness occurs (devastating lettuce farmers while showing how they little they know when exaggerating what they do know), the more evidence-based bodies at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture made 2018 safe to go into the pantry again.

Because few people are all that panicked about lettuce, but everyone wants to know about pesticides.

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The Astronomy Of Christmas

Science 2.0 - Dec 20 2018 - 12:12

From the Neolithic to present times, the amount of sunlight we see in a day has had a profound impact on human culture. We are fast approaching the winter solstice for the Northern hemisphere, which takes place on December 21. This is the longest night of the year – once celebrated as “Yule” by the pagan people of Northern Europe before it became Christmas.

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Christmas Versus Calories–how To Focus More On Celebration And Less On Food

Science 2.0 - Dec 20 2018 - 07:12

Christmas and the holidays are a time to relax and celebrate with family and friends. But the festive season can also be a time of unwanted weight gain that won’t budge once the holidays are over.

Research (mostly from the United States) has found adults typically gain 400 to 900 grams over the holidays.

No-one wants to miss out on the celebrations. But knowing more about the kilojoule content of your favourite Christmas treats can help you make conscious decisions about which foods and drinks to have and enjoy, and what portion sizes to choose.

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With Fluoride Decision, Canadians Are Moving Back Toward Mainstream Science And Medicine

Science 2.0 - Dec 18 2018 - 18:12
In 2013, the Windsor city council voted 8-3 to remove fluoride from water. This was not the work of right-wing John Birch Society members, who were against fluoride in the 1950s because it was government interference in water, this was the result of left-wing anti-science activists. A few have wrapped themselves in the flag of personal choice about consumption, but most are honest in claiming they link negative health effects to fluoridation.

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Statistic Of The Year: 90.5 Percent Of Plastic Has Never Been Recycled

Science 2.0 - Dec 18 2018 - 14:12

This year, I served on the judging panel for The Royal Statistical Society’s International Statistic of the Year.

On Dec. 18, we announced the winner: 90.5 percent, the amount of plastic that has never been recycled. Okay – but why is that such a big deal?

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Could A Vaccine Help Stop The Fentanyl Crisis?

Science 2.0 - Dec 18 2018 - 07:12
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of five years of death certificates (2011-2016) found that among drug overdose deaths 29 percent were due to fentanyl by 2016, a huge leap from 4 percent in 2011, when oxycodone was most dangerous at 13 percent.

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Genetically Different

Science 2.0 - Dec 17 2018 - 21:12
Whenever we talk about people and how they behave on a certain environment there seems to be a general consensus in the way it should be. Society summarizes the sum of individuals, and bring with it a single framework from which every person can work from there to face reality. Some of those products are education, laws and morality just to name a few.

As we can see there has been certain level of success by acknowledging the social construct. Why hasn’t it been completely successful? There’s an underlying assumption we have complete control over the way we think.

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"She Is Batshit Crazy" - What Bruce Blumberg And Other Anti-Science Activists Say About Zen Honeycutt

Science 2.0 - Dec 17 2018 - 14:12
Two weeks ago, CNN shocked some in the science community by having Vani Hari, who styles herself as "The Food Babe"(1), tell us that the bacterial problem on romaine lettuce was caused by modern medicine.  It was no great surprise to most of us, if there is a hyperbolic claim about science CNN is an always reliable platform create a story or at least tweet about it.

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Campi Flegrei Is Not Ready To Collapse - Thousands Of Years Into The Future Most Likely - Also Not Quite A Supervolcano

Science 2.0 - Dec 16 2018 - 21:12

There are many sensationalist stories today about this research. But they were looking at the past history of this volcano. Not the present. It is not ready to collapse right now and is closely monitored. Likely to be centuries to millennia before a collapse if one is possible at all - it may have ended that phase too. A normal eruption would be devastating for local people and it is closely monitored. It probably did not make the Neanderthals extinct but the 2–4C global temperature reduction for a couple of years might have helped modern humans to get an edge over the Neanderthals at a critical time in the past.

Example stories to debunk:

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Asia’s Technology-Driven Futures

Science 2.0 - Dec 16 2018 - 12:12
KAIST International Forum on Asia’s Futures, Session 2
Seoul, December 13, 2018

I thank our conference hosts for the kind invitation to participate in this panel, and for the opportunity to assemble these thoughts on Asia’s Technology-Driven Futures.

Let’s outline a context for these futures, before diving into the three questions posed to the panel.

There is a global environmental crisis. For Asia, the most pressing consequences are water shortages in China and elsewhere, due to less Himalayan snow runoff, and coming mass migrations due to rising seas, stronger storms, and inundation of coastal areas.

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Organic Consumers Association Continues To Be The Embarrassing Stepchild Of The Organic Industry

Science 2.0 - Dec 14 2018 - 06:12
Organic Consumers Association has opened a new front in their culture war against science - now they say organic food itself is too science-y.

Don't they represent organic farmers? No. Unlike Organic Trade Association, the mainstream trade group created to help organic corporations gain market share, Organic Consumers Association is a fringe group that was created to tear down science they oppose on ideological grounds. They just wrap themselves in the flag of the burgeoning organic movement. They are not for anything, they are instead against any science a client will pay them to be against.

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Are MicroRNAs The Key To Autism?

Science 2.0 - Dec 14 2018 - 00:12
Since microRNAs are key regulators of biological processes, a microRNA cluster that regulates synaptic strength and is involved in the control of social behavior in mammals may be a new path toward therapeutic strategies for the treatment of social deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia. 

DNA is first copied to make messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs) that are then translated into protein. MicroRNAs are short snippets of RNA that do not code for a protein. Instead, they function mainly by regulating the stability or translation rate of mRNAs, inhibiting the production of particular proteins. Each microRNA typically targets hundreds of different mRNAs, making them ideal for coordinating complex cellular processes.

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Probiotics For Bipolar Disorder? The FDA Really, Really, Really Has Not Evaluated That Claim

Science 2.0 - Dec 13 2018 - 14:12
As many as three million Americans, an alarming one percent of the U.S. population, get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder each year. That is a fantastic amount, bordering on unbelievable, 12,000X as many gun murders that will occur. 

If being "bipolar" is over-diagnosed then it may well be that something as simple as yogurt will fix it. And that is the claim of a pilot study unveiled today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting - people who suffer damaging shifts in moods, from mania to depression, may not need expensive, antipsychotics, depressants or even therapy, they may just need a half a cup of Activia.

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Interna

Science 2.0 - Dec 13 2018 - 07:12
It's been a while since I last discussed something personal in this column. The reason is not that I changed my mind with respect to being open and freely share my ideas, experiences, and personal life things here - I have long argued that if a blog is not personal, it is not interesting, and I stand by that assessment. 
Rather, the reason of my not talking much about myself and my personal / work life is the good old one: lack of time. If I have time to write an article, I try to do it on a subject which I suppose will be more interesting to the readers of this site. Hence physics, rather than life and work, takes the precedence. But it needs not be so all the time, so today I will try to go in the other direction.

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700 US Women Still Die Each Year From Causes Related To Pregnancy - Congress Wants To Know Why

Science 2.0 - Dec 12 2018 - 17:12
Over 700 women in the US die per year from (sometimes unknown) causes that involve pregnancy or childbirth and the same Republican Congress we are often told doesn't care about pregnant women just devoted $60 million to finding out why it's happening. Good for them. 

The bill defines a "pregnancy-associated death" as death while pregnant or with a year after. A  "pregnancy-related death" is while pregnant or within a year after from any cause related to the pregnancy unless it's accidental. 

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