Science 2.0

Organic Trade Group Controversy: U.S. Right To Know Collaborator Tim Litzenburg Pleads Guilty To Extortion

Science 2.0 - Jun 24 2020 - 14:06
Attorney Timothy Litzenburg, a collaborator of discredited former journalist Carey Gillam, who now runs "research" for the organic food PR group US Right To Know, was arrested last week on extortion charges related to a common weedkiller which US Right To Know and other groups helping attorneys insist can cause human cancer.

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5G Update: Belief In Harm Is Still Belief In Magic

Science 2.0 - Jun 24 2020 - 12:06
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Berkeley psychologist Joel Moskowitz, and other anti-science conspiracy theorists use the language of science against it to advance their beliefs that we're all being harmed by the modern world.

So when they see a scientific statement like "very low risk" of harm from any cell phone service, including 5G, they have a ready retort to mobilize the coastal Karens and Darrens who make up their ranks; that's not no risk.

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Goldilocks Planet: Being Just Right Is Why Earth Provided The Ingredients For Life

Science 2.0 - Jun 24 2020 - 06:06
When it comes to evolutionary biology and life on other planets, there is talk of amino acids, the building blocks of our existence.

But for any of that to work we first needed magnetic fields and plate tectonics, and a new paper finds that Earth became a "Goldilocks planet" by getting to the right place at the right time. So if we want to find other forms of life, we need to look for exoplanets that developed earlier rather than later.

Exoplanets are planets orbiting stars in other solars around distant stars and with thousands now known, there is a lot of speculation about how to detect life. It will start with narrowing down the possibilities; position, temperature, and geochemistry.

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Coronavirus Has Shown Alternative Energy Is Luxury Spending, Not Part Of A Realistic Strategy

Science 2.0 - Jun 23 2020 - 13:06
If you know the government is going to subsidize your business, you are a lot more agreeable to starting a company with questionable prospects than if you have to compete in the free market. If government subsidies decline, you are in real trouble if you have not shown your business model works.

That is the plight of alternative energy like solar and wind and ethanol today. Though pundits have insisted their economic models show it works, you can't spend virtual money. Financial reality is that without subsidies funded by governments who force conventional users to pay for those $25,000 solar installations, the industry will collapse.  Governments can't tax economic models. They can't tax an expense.

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Mass Gap Discovery: A Missing Link Between Neutron Stars And Black Holes Found

Science 2.0 - Jun 23 2020 - 11:06
When the most massive stars die, they collapse under their own gravity and leave behind black holes while when stars that are less massive reach their end, they explode in a supernova and leave behind dense, dead remnants of stars.

Those are called neutron stars and heaviest known neutron star is two and a half times the mass of our sun while the lightest known black hole is about five solar masses.
What's in that "mass gap" between neutron stars and black holes?

A new paper posits some answers.

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Sunsets On Other Worlds

Science 2.0 - Jun 23 2020 - 09:06
How a sunset would appear on other planets is a staple of science-fiction. The sun is as fundamental to grounding our existence as the earth, for most of us. Yet lots of people go months without seeing a sunrise or sunset.

That's extreme, but even more extreme is how it would look on Titan. 

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The Difference Between Defining Priorities And Asking For Funding

Science 2.0 - Jun 23 2020 - 07:06
I did not think I would need to explain here things that should be obvious to any sentient being, but the recent activity I detect on Facebook and other sites, and the misinformation spread by some science popularization sources and bloggers around the conclusions reached last week by the European Strategy Update for Particle Physics (EUSUPP), a 2-year-long process that saw the participation of hundreds of scientists and the heavy involvement of some of our leading thinkers, forced me to change my mind.

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Measles Has Been With Us For At Least 8,000 Years - And Cities May Be Why

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 15:06
Environmental groups believe that living in cities is better for the environment but if there is one thing that COVID-19 has made clear, it's that living in cities is better for spreading infectious disease also. 

Despite having numerous large cities, the U.S. was on the verge of having measles wiped out, but as the anti-vaccine movement spread on the east and west coasts, they brought a resurgence of it. A group of researchers looked for its origins and found it may help provide answers about coronavirus, which is in the same family as the common cold but was discovered to be novel in the 1960s.

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Other Planets With Oceans Are Common

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 15:06
Though we've only detected a few thousand exoplanets, there are likely 6,000,000,000 Earth-like ones out there, and that means millions could be "ocean worlds" capable of supporting life.

Right now, our knowledge of ocean worlds is limited to moons like Enceladus around Saturn and Europa around Jupiter. Plumes of water erupt from Europa and Enceladus, so we can tell that these bodies have subsurface oceans beneath their ice shells, and they have energy that drives the plumes, which are two requirements for life as we know it

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Buying Carbon Offsets For Climate Emissions Is Not Realistic Without Understanding Their Risk

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 14:06
When called on to explain why he lives in a gigantic mansion with its resulting environmental cost, Academy Award winner, Nobel laureate, and U.S. Vice-President Al Gore said he bought carbon offsets from a company he owned that sold carbon offsets.

Paying himself to emit greenhouse gases sounded ridiculous but a new analysis shows that buying offsets - paying a company to plant trees - can be just plain risky. 

Forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but if they are managed by a group that doesn't believe in logging or clearing brush. If a forest goes bust in a fire all that stored carbon goes up in smoke again.


Credit: David Meikle, The University of Utah

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Spike In Celebrity Suicides During COVID-19 May Bring Focus On Depression In Pregnant Women Too

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 14:06
There have been more celebrity suicides during the COVID-19 pandemic and while tragic, they may help to bring great awareness to the risks of depression and anxiety in other populations at all times. Such as pregnant and postpartum women.

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Is There Life Inside Pluto? Its Hot Birth May Have Created An Internal Ocean

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 13:06

Pluto, along with many other dwarf planets in the outer solar system, is often thought of as dark, icy and barren – with a surface temperature of just −230°C.

But now a new study, published in Nature Geoscience, suggests that the body has had a warm interior ever since it formed, and may still have a liquid, internal ocean under its icy crust.

It could mean that other sizable icy dwarf planets may have had early internal oceans too, with some possibly persisting today. This is exciting, as where there’s warm water, there could be life.

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The Kerguelen Plateau And Formation Of Continents

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 13:06
How did the continents form? It's a complex question, and no firm answers will be coming soon, but the oceanic plateau of the Kerguelen Islands may provide part of the answer, according to a new paper.

From a geological point of view, it is the Earth's outermost layer that distinguishes the continents from the oceans: oceanic crust, which is relatively thin, is mainly made up of basalts, resulting from the melting of the Earth's underlying mantle, whereas continental crust, which is thicker and of granitic composition, is derived from magmas that evolved at depth before solidifying.

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The Science Reason Businesses Should Provide Free Trials

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 12:06
Netflix is the big name in streaming, virtually everyone who has any interest in digital shows has heard of them, but they still give you a free trial.

No matter your size, and even if it's an existing customer, it makes good business sense, finds a new paper.

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The Myth Of An 'Insect Apocalypse’ Caused By Pesticides And ‘Industrial Farming’ Is Officially Dead

Science 2.0 - Jun 22 2020 - 11:06
The last three years have been a banner time for environmental crisis hyperbole, especially when it comes to reporting about insects and agriculture.

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New Study: Beef In A Healthy Diet Does Not Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks

Science 2.0 - Jun 19 2020 - 11:06
For decades there has been a statistical controversy about meat. By statistical I mean it was never a real health issue. Instead, though we clearly evolved to eat it, epidemiologists statistically correlated meat to dying and said therefore we shouldn't eat it. Though such studies noted down at the bottom that the relationship was not causal, they wanted the public to believe it because they highlighted the causal inference in press releases, and so media rushed to claim that meat causes heart attacks.

A few years ago, epidemiologists at France's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) joined in, using their own meta-analyses to declare that meat was just as hazardous to health as plutonium. And smoking. And mustard gas.

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Perchlorate In Water Is Not Harmful, Find EPA Scientists - There Is Too Little To Be Harmful

Science 2.0 - Jun 18 2020 - 12:06
Perchlorate can harm infant brain development, say environmental lawyers. It is a rocket fuel ingredient in your water, say their marketing teams.

Both of those are true. Yet meaningless. There hasn't been a single instance of a child getting brain damage from perchlorate in water, it can only even be detected in water because in modern times we can detect anything in anything. Perchlorate is one compound in rocket fuel, but we share 50 percent of our DNA in common with bananas. That does not make you a fruit.

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Mosquitoe Diseases Kill Tens Of Millions Per Year Worldwide But American Parents Worry More About Ticks

Science 2.0 - Jun 16 2020 - 14:06
A few species of mosquitoes are nothing but carriers of disease, so pesticides were used to wipe them out in much of North America. Worldwide they remain a public health problem and while some ecologists claim a mythical (and scientifically debunked) 'balance of nature' and therefore insist Aedes aegypti might have some benefit, if we turned them extinct we'd have nothing but less  yellow fever, dengue fever, and Zika worldwide, the way we do in the U.S.

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There Could Be 6 Billion Planets Like Ours In Just This Galaxy

Science 2.0 - Jun 16 2020 - 13:06
How big is the universe? No one really knows, but since we are in just one Orion spur of the arm of Sagittarius in one galaxy, and there are an unknown number of galaxies, it's big. So big our galaxy alone could have 6,000,000,000 planets like ours, according to a new estimate.

To be a potential planet like Earth, the new model estimating the number of planets like ours must be rocky, roughly Earth-sized and orbiting Sol-like (G-type) stars. It also has to orbit in the habitable zones of its star, which is the range of distances from a star in which a rocky planet could host liquid water  on its surface.

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Homeopathy Is Mostly Harmless Nonsense - Unless You Inject It. Then It's Dangerous

Science 2.0 - Jun 16 2020 - 12:06
No homeopathic products have been approved by the FDA for any use but they can still be sold, thanks to President Clinton removing supplements and "alternative" medicine from FDA oversight with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.

So people can sell water with a molecule of something in it and claim it has medical properties, as long as the package states that FDA has not agreed that magic is real. 

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