Science 2.0

How Snakes Got Their Bite But Lost Their Legs

Science 2.0 - Nov 21 2019 - 09:11
The evolution of the snake body has captivated researchers for a long time because it represents one of the most dramatic examples of the vertebrate body's ability to adapt. A limited fossil record has obscured our understanding of their early evolution but now an ancient legged snake, called Najash has shed light on the origin of the slithering reptiles.


The fossil analyses reveal they possessed hind legs during the first 70 million years of their evolution, and provide details about how the flexible skull of snakes evolved from their lizard ancestors.

Scientists performed high-resolution (CT) scanning and light microscopy of preserved skulls of Najash to reveal substantial new anatomical data on the early evolution of snakes.

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For World Philosophy Day, Here Are 3 Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of In The Field Of Big Consciousness

Science 2.0 - Nov 21 2019 - 09:11

Ask anyone to name a philosopher and they’ll likely name a man. So, let’s turn the spotlight on three women: Mary Calkins, May Sinclair, and Hilda Oakeley. They each defended “idealism” – the idea that consciousness composes, or somehow pervades, the universe we live in.

Big consciousness theories are trending right now. Ecologists such as Suzanne Simard argue trees can “talk”, and philosophers such as Philip Goff argue elementary particles exhibit basic forms of consciousness. These women should be remembered as part of this blooming tradition.

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Manufacture Of Consent: Why Democracy Has A Major Mass-Media Problem

Science 2.0 - Nov 21 2019 - 04:11
Before Chomsky, there was Lippmann: the First World War and ‘manufactured consent.’

While the ‘manufacture of consent’ is an idea now mostly associated with Noam Chomsky, the phrase was actually coined by the US journalist and writer Walter Lippman in his influential book Public Opinion (1922) – a fact that Chomsky and Edward S Herman, his co-author of Manufacturing Consent (1988), readily acknowledge.

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This Real Life Buckaroo Banzai Jet Car Went So Fast Its Paint Peeled Off

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 15:11
Land speed records used to be a big deal, in 1984’s “Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension”, the hero completes brain surgery because he has to drive his jet car to impress the Department of Defense, while his secret mission is to discover a portal to another dimension.

Now, it is not such a big deal. While everyone knows Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in a jet, few can tell you who broke Mach 2 or how fast planes can go today. And so it goes with cars.

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With No Evolutionary Cost, Why Not Same Sex Behavior In Animals?

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 15:11
Though homosexual behavior has been rewarded in over 1,000 organisms, it can be an evolutionary puzzle; since reproduction can't happen, there is a fitness cost, so why do it?

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Bats In The Belfry May Be Needed For Conservation

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 14:11
During mating season in the summer, little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) females huddle their small, furry bodies together to save thermal energy. These "maternity colonies" are important but with population losses across North America, summer access to an attic or other permanent sheltered structure, as opposed to just trees or rock crevices, could be a huge benefit.

In a new Ecosphere paper, researchers investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats  in Yellowstone National Park.

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Teens Report Being "So Bored" More Than Ever

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 12:11
In a story that feels like it could have come from Babylon Bee or The Onion, psychologists used surveys of teens to declare with somber seriousness that teens are more bored than ever - and adolescent girls are most bored. And that could lead to drug abuse.

They looked at responses from the Monitoring the Future in-school survey to statements like "I am often bored." Youth self-chose how bored they were on a five-point scale starting in 2008.

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Standards Of Identity, And Fighting Confusing Food Labels - Some Hope FDA Might Still Be On The Case

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 11:11
if we're ever going to know if marijuana does anything important, we need reference-grade marijuana for scholars to study. NIST has reference-grade peanut butter so it makes sense that with so many marijuana claims (and obvious harm when mixed with chemicals to use in vaping devices, as recent hospitalizations and deaths showed) to separate hype and woo from science there needs to be a way to study it empirically.

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Want To Be A Health Reporter? Apply For The Bayer and National Press Foundation Fellowship

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 10:11
Bayer is a funding a National Press Foundation all-expenses paid health journalism fellowship to take place Jan. 26-29, 2020, in Florida.

The health issue in this case is narrow; cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States at 25 percent.

The National Press Foundation is offering a four-day training program for 20 journalists that will look at all facets of heart health and heart disease: who is at risk, symptoms, preventive care, treatment, demographics, data, and the latest science and medicine. The fellowship covers airfare, ground transportation, hotels and meals.


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Norm Borlaug Gave Us The Green Revolution: What's Next?

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 05:11
Dr. Norm Borlaug, the "father of the Green Revolution", is credited with saving a billion lives using agricultural science, and for the last 50 years he and his successors debunked the Malthusian claims of cynics like Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, and their modern-day acolytes like Bill McKibben, Michael Pollan, and Naomi Oreskes.

When Holdren and Ehrlich (and the other Ehrlich) were trying to drum up support for mandatory birth control and a world government to enforce it(1), Borlaug and the science community quietly made farming more efficient than ever. Today, even the poorest people in most of the world can afford to be fat, something never possible before, and that is thanks to the legacy of Dr. Borlaug.

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Genetically Edited White Blood Cells Are Already Helping Fight Cancer

Science 2.0 - Nov 20 2019 - 05:11

For the first time in the United States, a gene editing tool has been used to treat advanced cancer in three patients and showed promising early results in a pilot phase 1 clinical trial. So far the treatment appears safe, and more results are expected soon.

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Apollo 11 May Have Been First On The Moon But Apollo 12, 50 Years Ago Today, Was Funniest

Science 2.0 - Nov 19 2019 - 12:11
On November 19th, 1969, Apollo 12 landed on the moon, but most people from the era don't remember much about it. Apollo 11, sure, a giant leap for all mankind, and Apollo 13 was the most successful failure NASA ever had, it got a movie made about it, but that leaves Apollo 12 a memory.

And that's too bad. Because they were the funniest Apollo crew, according to this NPR spot.

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The Detox Project Hopes To Get Rich On Deception The Way Non-GMO Project Has

Science 2.0 - Nov 19 2019 - 10:11
Want your food to contain a toxic chemical, as long as it's been given a wink-wink approval by industry lobbyists, trade groups, and manufacturers?

Of course not, yet that is exactly what you get when you buy Organic food. Inside USDA, the Organic industry has carved out a special niche for itself and it knights 80 groups that can sell organic certified stickers, allowing them to simultaneously monitor their clients while taking money from them and being reliant on selling stickers. Can you say 'conflict of interest'?

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Pushing Back The Frontiers Of Malaria One African Collaboration At A Time

Science 2.0 - Nov 19 2019 - 05:11

More than 200 million people around the world suffered from malaria in 2017. Over 400,000 died. The vast majority – around 90% – were in Africa, where many are all too familiar with the devastating impact of the disease. Young children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable.

Protective measures can help significantly to reduce the burden. This includes spraying with insecticides and using mosquito nets. But 100% coverage using these methods is impossible. Until the disease is eradicated, availability of effective treatments is critical.

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Is Your Child A Moody Teen Or Depressed? It Can Be Hard To Tell

Science 2.0 - Nov 19 2019 - 05:11
For two-thirds of parents it can be hard to know the line between recognizing youth depression and making something special of teen moods, and perhaps enabling more problems.

But there is no question America is the most over-medicated in the world, and one the most anti-depressants, and therefore it is little surprising that 25 percent of parents say their child knows a teen with clinical depression while 1 in 10 believe a peer of their child has committed suicide. Obviously that can’t be true, even if the age is pushed out to 24 there are only 6,000 suicides per year, while there are 60,000,000 kids in school from ages 6-22.

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Crime Lab Report - New Book Calls For Expert Witnesses To Work Directly For Judges

Science 2.0 - Nov 18 2019 - 17:11
Forensic science does not prove guilt or innocence. It never has and it never will.

The next time you hear about DNA evidence, for example, proving the guilt or innocence of a suspect in a violent crime, rest assured that you are being misinformed. In courts of law, attorneys do the proving, not science.

Science, after all, has no real value until a human being can use it to solve a problem or answer a question of importance. People prove things; science provides help. Yes, science may exist to provide some clarity in support of or in contradiction to an argument, but science itself does not make arguments.

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Mouse Study Claims Mediterranean Diet Causes Endogenous Cannabinoid Changes Which They Link To ADHD In Human Offspring

Science 2.0 - Nov 18 2019 - 11:11
An exploratory study in cell cultures and mice finds that in their rodents high-fat diets throughout pregnancy (rich in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids) impacted fetal brain development

Don’t be alarmed, mice are not little people so a mouse study can only ever disqualify an effect, it can never show one in humans. Mice studies (and epidemiology) are termed "exploratory" because they can only suggest a link and will need relevant study before they can relate to humans, regardless what Huffington Post or Guardian may forget to note in their articles.

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NASA's Proposal To Classify Much Of Mars Like The Moon May Jeopardize The Discovery Of ET Microbes

Science 2.0 - Nov 17 2019 - 21:11

Right now all our missions to Mars are sterilized to protect it from any Earth life that could hitch a ride and confuse the searches. This report by the “Planetary Protection Independent Review Board” is a proposal to classify most of Mars as Category II for the purposes of the Outer Space Treaty, similarly to the Moon. This would mean there is no longer any need to sterilize rovers that we send to Mars to the regions classified as category II, just document what you do. It would mean that you have decided in advance that these are regions where there is only a remote chance that terrestrial microorganisms could proliferate there.

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ROBOTS, IMAGINATION, AND SPIRIT

Science 2.0 - Nov 17 2019 - 17:11
Last month in Korea a computer scientist struck up a conversation on the subway. He told me in fractured English that he wants to take a PhD in theology. When I meet a theologian I usually ask, “Theoretical, or experimental?” This guy wouldn’t have understood, so I forbore. I did suggest, tongue in cheek, that he would then be uniquely qualified to determine whether A.I.s have souls.

“More than that,” he said, taking me seriously, “they could be intermediaries” between us and God. I allowed as that was an interesting notion.

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Dr. Gottlieb, Tell Private Label Brands Not To Cave In To Non-GMO Project Extortion

Science 2.0 - Nov 17 2019 - 15:11

When Dr. Scott Gottlieb  was named as head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the pro-science community cheered. Gottlieb had both academic and private sector experience, he had been both doctor and patient, and he had been a Deputy at FDA in the past so he knew where all the bottlenecks remained.

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