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Updated: 51 min 41 sec ago

Judge Issues Decree Against Valley Processing, Inc. For Contamination Of Juice Sent To Schools, Safeway, And More

Jan 15 2021 - 15:01
In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration went after  Valley Processing, Inc. of Sunnyside, Washington, along with the company’s owner and president, Mary Ann Bliesner, due to inorganic arsenic and patulin toxins at levels that can pose health risks to consumers. Arsenic can be found naturally in many fruits, of course, a known science fact to everyone but Dr. Oz, but at high doses can be harmful.

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Vaping Flavor Chemicals In Huge Quantities Can Damage Heart Cells In A Dish, But Where Is The Human Relevance?

Jan 14 2021 - 06:01
A new paper claims that people vaping instead of smoking are putting their hearts at risk but their study does not show that. Instead, they mixed chemicals in Petri dishes with heart cells and used mice. Both of those are fine exploratory experiments but they are scientifically invalid to make the conclusions the authors make in their press release.

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Activists Are Enraged The UK Are Allowing Neonics - But The Science Is Clear

Jan 13 2021 - 13:01
Activists like George Monbiot and Dave Goulson are parroting their environmental allies when it comes to neonics, but the science is clear - without them, sugar beet crops will continue to be devastated because older, less effective (but often certified organic) pesticides really only work if there are no pests to worry about.

Nostalgia is fine for their backyard gardens but not agriculture. In the real world of food production, neonics are better for the environment than legacy products that were sprayed everywhere. Instead of being mass spraying, which can lead to runoff and persistence, neonicotinoids are derived from natural mechanisms. They are seed treatments, for when plants are most vulnerable to pests.

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Why Haven't Crocodiles Evolved Much Since The Age Of The Dinosaurs?

Jan 07 2021 - 10:01
A lot has changed since the age of dinosaurs hundreds of millions of years ago. Humans didn't exist and dinosaurs are gone. Yet crocodiles are still here and, unlike humans, have not evolved much by comparison.
They even look similar to ones from the Jurassic period some 200 million years ago. 

A new study find that it's due to a 'stop-start' pattern of evolution, governed by environmental change. This pattern of evolution known as "punctuated equilibrium" is generally slow, but occasionally means faster evolution because the environment has changed. This new research suggests that their evolution speeds up when the climate is warmer, and that their body size increases.

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Bitter Or Sweet? It's Not Just Preference, Tongues Have Evolved In Different Areas

Jan 06 2021 - 12:01
An American might ask if the mayonnaise is spicy while an Asian will warn them they only think they want the hot sauce on Asian food. A woman is more likely to be better at detecting bitter tastes than men.

The difference is not cultural, that some people are timid when it comes to food, is it anatomical. A new study found that Danes aren't quite as good as Chinese at discerning bitter tastes - and the reason is biology. So if you are more sensitive to the bitter taste found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts and dark chocolate, you now know why.

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Longitudinal Study Shows Vaping Is Not As Harmful As Smoking

Jan 05 2021 - 16:01
Smoking is on the decline, and that's a good thing. The evidence is clear that smoking kills. But what about tobacco? A few years ago groups like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control began to suggest nicotine was as harmful as smoking; meaning it was not the smoke at all. There was no evidence of that, it was only epidemiological correlation.

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13 Ways To Get Better COVID-19 Restriction Uptake

Jan 05 2021 - 16:01
It's well-known that infectious disease mitigation worksl if people voluntarily follow the rules and guidelines of experts but what has happened instead is resentment of what some perceive as social authoritarian decision-makers calling the shots.

What would be better for everyone at risk of respiratory distress from COVID-19 is understanding why and how avoiding social contact and regular hand washing will help. Government can mandate things but we may be getting less adherence to guidelines because it is top-down rules, and in the case of some politicians hypocrisy after issuing them, rather than personal commitment.

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R0 And Why We'll Need 70 Percent Vaccination To Stop COVID-19

Jan 05 2021 - 10:01

It has been clear for a while that, at least in the U.S., the only way out of the coronavirus pandemic will be through vaccination. The rapid deployment of coronavirus vaccines is underway, but how many people need to be vaccinated in order to control this pandemic?

I am a computational biologist who uses data and computer models to answer biological question at the University of Connecticut. I have been tracking my state’s COVID-19 epidemic with a computer model to help forecast the number of hospitalizations at the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital.

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Model That Claimed Only Lockdown Works To Prevent Coronavirus Spread Was Flawed, Shows New Look

Jan 04 2021 - 12:01
If you believe the Chinese government, they've had basically no meaningful COVID-19 deaths since March. I'd also like to sell you a wet market in Wuhan. Believing a dictatorship that has routinely lied has been disastrous. It was disastrous for the reputation of the World Health Organisation, who claimed no travel should be curtailed and that the virus could not spread from human to human because China told them that, it was disastrous for the doctor who exposed the Wuhan cover-up (he became dead), and it was disastrous for the world economy, which could take a decade to recover.

It may be harming trust in epidemiologists and peer review as well.

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2020 Review, 2021 Agenda

Jan 01 2021 - 12:01
Everybody would agree that 2020 was a difficult time for all of us - the pandemic forced on us dramatic changes in our way of living, working, and interacting with one another; and let's leave alone the horrible, avoidable death toll that came with it. Notwithstanding, for some reason it was a productive year for me, and one which has potentially paved the ground for an even more productive future. Below I will summarize, if only for myself, the most important work milestones of the past year, and the ones that lay ahead in the forthcoming months. But I will also touch on a few ancillary activities and their outcome, for the record.
Geometry optimization of a muon-electron scattering experiment (MUonE) 

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Is The Dunning - Kruger Effect An Artifact ?

Dec 30 2020 - 14:12
Ever had a nervous breakdown by reading Facebook threads where absolutely incompetent people entertain similar ignoramuses by providing explanations of everything from quantum physics to the way vaccines work? Or did you ever have to apply yoga techniques to avoid jumping into a bar conversation wherein some smart ass worked his audience by explaining things he clearly did not have the dimmest clue about?

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College Enrollment Will Go Down This Decade, And That's Probably A Good Thing

Dec 28 2020 - 11:12
If you sell hot dogs at a baseball stadium, you probably do well in revenue. Now imagine the stadium puts 6 hot dog competitors next to you. Will you still do well or will your hot dog revenue go down? Unless you are Paul Krugman you know the price will go down. Now imagine the stadium tells you 6 people just like you doing the same job is a positive thing; more people will enjoy hot dogs and the market for hot dogs will probably grow because there are so many choices. 

That may be true, yet it does not help you one bit.

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The Tsunami At Ancient Tel Dor

Dec 24 2020 - 10:12
Along the coast of Tel Dor, a maritime city in northwest Israel occupied from the Middle Bronze II period,  2000 BC, through the Crusader period, there is a marine shell and sand layer from nearly 10,000 years ago, but it's in the middle of a large ancient wetland layer spanning as far back as 15,000 years ago. 

What happened to create such a dramatic anomaly? A new study using underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modeling suggests a massive tsunami struck, depositing seashells and sand in the middle of what was at the time fresh to brackish wetland. And it must have traveled 1.5 to 3.5 kilometers, with a coastal wave height of 16 to 40 meters. 

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Galactic Bromance: This Heavenly Duo Travel The Universe Together, Unbound By Any Star

Dec 23 2020 - 14:12

An international research team has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting each other - and not a star.

They are planet-like because they look like giant exoplanets but they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems - deprived of a Sun.

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Bee Delightful, New Leaf Pharmaceuticals, And More Busted By FDA For Illegally Claiming Their CBD Products Can Treat Conditions

Dec 22 2020 - 16:12
Cannabidiol (CBD( products are being illegally marketed for pets, including a product for use in the eye, and for various conditions in humans also, despite any evidence they can prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure various diseases. Shady hucksters have sought to avoid that by preying on the margins of what are known as “supplements” and exempt from science and logic thanks to President Clinton's Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which declared open season on medicine by legitimizing alternatives with no evidence.

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Can't Go To The Dentist? Studies Show Chewing Gum Can Help

Dec 22 2020 - 15:12
The New York Times

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Vitamin D Linked To Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dec 21 2020 - 10:12
A deficiency in Vitamin D on the mother's side could explain why Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses are three times more common in boys, but don't start buying supplements. This was in rats and rats are not little people, there is a lot of ground to cover before this has human relevance.

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Medical Misuse Needs A Real Definition

Dec 21 2020 - 05:12
Medicine misuse is a public health issue but there is little consistency in what it means. 

Prior to 2020, everyone wanted to claim Big Pharma and medicine were bad, so whatever they wanted to write about got a broad misuse umbrella; misuse, abuse, medication errors were all called misuse.  All such deceptive framing accomplished was to muddy the waters and create a clear need for classifying and selecting terms and definitions to understand which situations truly involve medicine misuse.

A new systematic review looked at 51 relevant studies from 2008 to 2020 and found there were 74 examples of misuse - with  71 definitions. 

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Jupiter And Saturn Put Up Quite A Show

Dec 19 2020 - 13:12
In what is a once-in-a-few-lifetimes experience, I witnessed today the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky (with a crescent moon thrown in to boot). While every sixteen years or so the two planets end up angularly close because of their different orbital period (Jupiter revolves around our Sun in 11.9 years, Saturn takes 29.4 years), small differences in their orbital planes make the smallest distance they reach usually of the order a degree. 

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