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Updated: 54 min 34 sec ago

Only 7% of Americans Trust Media. Katie Couric Is A Symptom, Not The Disease

5 hours 6 min ago
Katie Couric recently revealed that she cut some comments by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said in an interview that she thought kneeling during the national anthem was wrong, because she ‘wanted to protect’ her. Couric said she felt racial justice was a ‘blind spot’ for RBG so she was doing her a favor.

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You Can Soon Own Darwin's Microscope

Oct 18 2021 - 17:10
In 1864, Charles Darwin gave a microscope (designed by Charles Gould for the firm Cary) to his 14-year-old son Leonard. Leonard died in 1943 but it stayed in the family - and now it is going up for auction; the only one ever offered to the public.

Other microscopes he owned are still at Charles Darwin’s family home, Down House, and the Whipple Museum.

Of this one, Darwin once wrote in a letter to his eldest son, ‘Lenny was dissecting under my microscope and he turned round very gravely and said “don’t you think, papa, that I shall be very glad of this all my future life”.’


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Science Journalists Are Optimistic About Their Field

Oct 18 2021 - 10:10
Recent survey results by SciDev.Net/CABI reveal that the majority of science journalists (633 respondents from 77 countries) believe that the field is not consolidating the way some other mainstream/legacy journalism specialties are.

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How Exascale Computers Can Verify The Universe

Oct 16 2021 - 16:10

Proving the universe seems like a gargantuan task, but we might have a chance to do so with exascale computers.

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Art And Artificial Intelligence: An Odd Couple?

Oct 16 2021 - 06:10
This past Thursday I held a public lecture, together with my long-time friend Ivan Bianchi, on the topic of Art and Artificial Intelligence. The event was organized by the "Galileo Festival" in Padova, for the Week of Innovation.
Ivan is a professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Padova. We have known each other since we were two year olds, as our mothers were friends. We took very different career paths but we both ended up in academic and research jobs in Padova, and we have been able to take part together in several events where art and science are at the focus. Giving a lecture together is twice as fun!


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Facial Recognition Is Finally Raising Questions About Government Accountability

Oct 15 2021 - 17:10
For most of this century, anyone in London has been photographed and filmed an average of 300 times each day. Their reasoning to start such intrusive scrutiny was that England, Wales, and Scotland led the developed world in crime, and a tourist attraction like London needed extra monitoring.

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Banning Financing For Fossil Fuel Projects In Africa Increases Inequity

Oct 15 2021 - 06:10

Today’s global energy inequities are staggering.

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Green Energy Reality: Coal Plants Are Coming Back Online As Enegy Prices Soar 95%

Oct 14 2021 - 14:10
Like organic food, alternative energy such as solar and wind are fine placebos for wealthy people - as long as things are good. When there is a shortage, we find out how poorly such alternatives work, the same way that during the early stages of the pandemic the cleaning supply aisles in stores had plenty of green alternatives while the public bought up all the Clorox, Purell, and Lysol.

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Merck Invented Nobel Prize-Winning Ivermectin 30 Years Ago, They're Not Telling You To Take It For COVID-19 Now

Oct 14 2021 - 13:10

Ivermectin is an over 30-year-old wonder drug that treats life- and sight-threatening parasitic infections. Its lasting influence on global health has been so profound that two of the key researchers in its discovery and development won the Nobel Prize in 2015.

I’ve been an infectious disease pharmacist for over 25 years. I’ve also managed patients who delayed proper treatment for their severe COVID-19 infections because they thought ivermectin could cure them.

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Biden Under Fire for Reversing Environmental Protections

Oct 12 2021 - 17:10
For a candidate who insisted his opponent was colluding with Russians, it looks odd for President Biden to undo an environmental check Trump had placed on Russia - and will lead to unchecked CO2 emissions. 

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Soda Tax Provision In California’s Keep Groceries Affordable Act of 2018 Found Unconstitutional

Oct 12 2021 - 14:10
Imagine I created a bill called Keep American Clean, and to do it, I intended to create pollution. A giant chunk of people would go along with it based on the name, especially if I am in their political party.

That is the claim made about the intent of California’s Keep Groceries Affordable Act of 2018. In a state that already has a stigma of social authoritarianism wrapped in quasi-benevolent racism, the bill prevents local governments from throwing any tax they want on foods they choose to ban. Foods that people of color happen to like. If they do that outside state laws, they will lose revenue.

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Asia Is Ending Its Zero Covid Ideal: Should The US Do The Same?

Oct 11 2021 - 11:10
Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. The Spanish Flu of 1918 and the Asian Flu of 1957 eventually ended, without shutdowns of the economy. China never shut down, they have barely counted any COVID-19 deaths as coronavirus-related since last spring, and the rest of Asia is abandoning the Zero COVID goal. Should the US do the same?

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White Patients Significantly Less Likely To Be Sent Home Rather Than To A Skilled Nursing Facility After Surgery

Oct 11 2021 - 08:10
Even if insurance and household incomes are similar, white people are more likely than people of color to be sent home after surgery rather than to a skilled nursing facility. People of color are also more likely to stay in long-term care or get care at home, according to results presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 annual meeting.

The reason, the authors believe, it is that people of color are more likely to have severe diabetes and high blood pressure, which can impact recovery. 

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Do Mennonite Kids Have Fewer Allergies? If So, Pathogens In Breast Milk May Be Why

Oct 11 2021 - 07:10
It used to be that allergies were somewhat rare but if you go to an allergist today, you are almost certain to be declared allergic, or at least sensitive, to something. How much of that is actual biological change versus how much is that the country that purchases 85% of the world's prescription medication loves to get medical diagnoses is unclear.

Now the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology believes that nearly half of the population of the EU have allergies to something. A survey of Americans in 2020 estimated that approximately 30 percent of Americans of all ages have allergies. Since they are self-reported surveys rather than dianoses, what is unclear is how many of those are people claiming issues like gluten sensitivity.

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Seabirds Love Plastic - If 'Bioaccumulation' Is Real, There May Be Cause For Concern

Oct 11 2021 - 06:10
Though it is common to see environmental videos of birds caught in plastic, less well known is that, like cats, seabirds love to eat it.

Paracelsus famously noted that the dose makes the poison but in the 1990s some activist scientists began claiming that any dose is a poison, so even if birds excrete the plastic, chemicals can "bioaccumulate" and cause harm.

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A Mentor's Pentalogue

Oct 09 2021 - 06:10
I believe oceans of ink were spent, ever since pens were a thing, writing on the mentor-student relationship, its do's and don'ts, and the consequences of deviations from proper practice. And rightly so, as the balancing act required for a proper, effective teaching action is entirely non trivial. The fact that our didactical systems and academia are in constant evolution, that rules and courses formats change over time, and that as humans we tend to forget what has been learnt in the past (on good practice, I mean), require us to keep thinking about the topic, and continue to keep the discussion alive. 

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We Were Wrong About Daniel Craig As James Bond, Maybe We Were Wrong About His Stress Relief Also

Oct 08 2021 - 14:10
When Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond, he took a lot of criticism. I will be honest, I was among the critics. I have read every book, seen all the films, I wear both Charvet and Turnbull  &  Asser shirts for no other reason than they were in the books (the French brand for villains, naturally, and then Turnbull for the man himself) and I was firmly on Team Clive Owen for the role.

Craig was clearly a Sean Connery and not a Roger Moore, who was most like the Eton-schooled Bond in the books. He was too short but author Ian Fleming was creating an idealized version of himself, much like Dan Brown fictionalized himself as an Indiana Jones for art history majors, yet I conceded there is no reason all spies had to be 6 feet and up. 

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A Nobel To A Friend

Oct 08 2021 - 12:10
I very much would like to write about the Nobel prize in physics here today, but I realize I cannot really pay a good service to the three winners, nor to my readers, on that topic. The reason is, quite bluntly, that I am not qualified to do that without harming my self-respect. Also, I never knew about the research of two of the winners. 

As for the third, I do know Giorgio Parisi's research in qualitative terms, and I happen to know him personally; well, at least we are Facebook friends, as maybe 500 of his contacts can also claim - plus, he once invited me to a symposium at the Accademia dei Lincei, of which he his vice-president. And I did write about his scientific accomplishments in the past here, on two occasions.

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Organic Food Is Finally Big Food, Large Enough Monsanto Got Into It

Oct 07 2021 - 17:10
Organic food is a $120 billion industry, and while that's a tiny fraction of regular food it is large enough that companies like Chipotle and General Mills have tried to gain traction.

But a large seed company? That is new. Bayer, secretly now Monsanto (as anti-science activists love to claim in their conspiracy tales), is rolling out organic-certified seeds. 

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Hunting And Conservation: Why Environmentalists Should Be Allies

Oct 07 2021 - 10:10
In the modern environmental era, activists are mostly among a political tribe that opposes activities like hunting but they should not be. Hunters, fishers, and others are terrific stewards of nature and a natural world humans are banned from experiencing is a natural world that loses funding. Activists should want people experiencing nature.

Hunters are terrific allies. A new estimate finds that hunting also reduces CO2 emissions.



My approval of hunting is tempered with the same reality for why the organic backyard gardens of Dave Goulson or Michael Pollan are not sustainable for the public.

Here are 3 reasons to be skeptical

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