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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

Misinformation And Disinformation Are Diseases And Both Social Media And Journalism Are Vectors

Feb 17 2020 - 13:02
A recent paper finds that vaccine disinformation is common on social media while a few years ago I had employees watch food documentaries on Netflix and write about their impression and the results in both cases are startling for people who don't realize the extent of the problem. 

Those with conspiracy theories about the modern world can now gain a worldwide audience, using social media and free markets.

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Jargon Tells The Public They're Not In The Tribe, And That Is Bad If You're A Government Funded Scientist

Feb 16 2020 - 09:02
A new study shows there is a reason USA Today is the most popular newspaper in America - they won't specify "laparoscopy" when "minimally invasive surgery" gets the point across to more people.

While America leads the world in adult science literacy, that is still with under 30 percent of the population. To really reach the public, we need to use language that won't be a turn-off. Jargon may make us feel smarter, but it makes people who lack the vocabulary feel dumber, and that is a violation of smart journalism.

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Folk Wisdom Is Not Right About Left Brains

Feb 16 2020 - 08:02

We know the left and right side of our brain are specialized for cognitive abilities like language (left hemisphere) and the right hand. That functional lateralization is reflected by morphological asymmetry too. The left and right hemispheres differ subtly in brain anatomy, distribution of nerve cells, connectivity and even neurochemistry.

It can be seen on endocasts. Most humans have a combination of a more projecting left occipital lobe (located in the back of the brain) with a more projecting right frontal lobe.

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Correlation Hype: Your Car Seats Are Not Giving You Cancer

Feb 15 2020 - 09:02
A U.C. Riverside environmentalist is sounding the alarm about your commute. 

Professor David Volz and colleagues hand-picked 90 commuter students who were given silicone wristbands to wear for five days. The goal was to find organophosphate esters on the wristbands, because some papers link those to harm in zebrafish and some epidemiologists will link anything to anything in humans.  They found one, TDCIPP - chlorinated tris - at higher levels and speculate that it is oozing out of car seat foam and into our bodies.

Just correlation, no testing

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How Bird Flocks With Multiple Species Behave Like BTS And Other K-Pop Groups

Feb 15 2020 - 08:02
Despite what you've heard, birds of a feather often don't flock together. In the real world, multiple bird species are often flying and feeding together. In the Amazon, 50 species may travel as a unit.

But are birds in these mixed flocks cooperating with one another or competing?

A new study suggests both. Just like a K-pop band such as BTS, Blackpink, or Red Velvet.

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It's Reducing Calories, Not The 10,000 Steps A Day, That Prevent Weight Gain

Feb 14 2020 - 07:02
In a world of New York Times best-selling diet books and epidemiological claims about food and chemicals - even that if your mother used cosmetics it may have made you fat - it can be difficult for the public to know what to trust.

It won't be intermittent fasting, juice cleanses, or 10,000 steps, it will always be the calories. Energy balance matters, no matter how many times Center for Science in the Public Interest claims it's conspiracy to claim calories are why we gain weight.

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If The American West Moves East, It May Not Be Taxes, It May Be Water

Feb 14 2020 - 07:02
After the 2020 census, it is expected that California will lose a seat in Congress and Texas will gain it. Texans tout greater personal freedom and lower taxes but a new study says it may be water.

California is mostly desert and gets the bulk of its water from other states. After another drought a few years ago the pubic demanded new water infrastructure, noting that California hasn't undertaken a major program since the 1960s while the population is over 100 percent greater. Housing costs are high because new construction can't take place without a water contract, forcing people to stay in coastal cities.

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Are Travel Bans During Infectious Disease Outbreaks Effective?

Feb 14 2020 - 06:02
Smallpox was wiped out by using mathematical containment rings coupled with vaccines and it makes sense that one way to contain an infectious disease outbreak is to limit travel.

Unless travel bans are only bans for some people. In communist China, elites are still going on vacation, they are still traveling for business, they are still going to foreign colleges. The novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, now known as COVID-19, has infected tens of thousands and killing hundreds while spreading to at least 24 other countries. That led many governments, including the United States, to restrict travel to and from China.

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Three And A Half Muons

Feb 14 2020 - 04:02

A few days ago I received from my esteemed colleague Massimo Passera, a theorist and an INFN director of research in the Padova section where I also work, a draft of a new article he produced with his colleagues Antonio Masiero and Paride Paradisi, which is relevant to my present interests. The paper discusses what new physics effects could be accessible by the precision measurement of elastic scattering of energetic muons off electrons, in a setup which is being considered at the CERN north area for the determination of the hadronic contribution to the effective electromagnetic coupling (the article has meanwhile being published in the arXiv).

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Do You Like To Smell An Absent Partner's Clothing?

Feb 13 2020 - 15:02

Having trouble sleeping? Nervous about an important interview? Smelling your partner’s worn clothing may help improve your sleep and calm your nerves.

While it may sound strange to smell your partner’s clothing, these behaviors are surprisingly common. In one study, researchers asked participants if they had ever slept with or smelled their partners’ worn clothing during periods of separation. Over 80 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men reported they had intentionally smelled an absent partner’s clothing. Most of them said they did so because it made them feel relaxed or secure.

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Skeptical In Seattle: Valentine's Day Shows How Data Mining Can Arrive At An Accurate Yet Wrong Answer

Feb 13 2020 - 14:02
I got an email from an analytics group pitching an article about Valentine's Day movie results. 

It promised:

"If you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day by watching a romantic film you’ll probably end up watching Isn’t It Romantic, according to the latest" blah blah blah (which) "analyzed Google Trends data of IMDBs list of ‘100 romantic films for Valentine's Day’ to reveal which films were the most popular in February 2019.

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Mosquitoes: Females Need Blood, Males Need Nectar, Both Need Keen Noses

Feb 13 2020 - 10:02

Mosquitoes rely on sense of smell to get what they need to survive. Females need blood to produce their eggs, so they find a host to bite and spots to lay eggs, while both males and females feed on nectar.

Their dominant source of food is nectar from flowers yet scientists know little about the scents that draw mosquitoes toward certain flowers, or repel them from others. Discovering this could help develop less toxic and better repellents, more effective traps, and lead to an understanding of how the mosquito brain responds to sensory information -- including the cues that, on occasion, lead a female mosquito to bite one of us.

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Queering Of Robots Will Make Them Designed To Include The LGBTQ+ Community

Feb 13 2020 - 09:02

In a new short paper in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, Roger A. Søraa from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and co-authors Eduard Fosch-Villaronga from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Adam Poulsen from Charles Sturt University in Australia discuss what a queering of robots might entail.

They point out that technology is not developed in a vacuum, but instead reflects biases and reproduces societal values and beliefs.

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Discoscapa Apicula: Oldest Record Of Primitive Bee With Pollen Dates Back 100 Million Years

Feb 13 2020 - 09:02

A primitive bee from 100 million years ago has two things in common with bees of today; pollen and a parasite that caused its demise, much like varroa mites cause periodic colony collapse disorder today.

The mid-Cretaceous fossil from Myanmar provides the first record of a primitive bee with pollen and also the first record of the beetle parasites, which continue to show up on modern bees today. Beetle parasites may have caused the flight error that was deadly for the insect. The Discoscapa apicula specimen became stuck in tree resin and thus preserved in amber, and has now been identified as a new family, genus and species. The new find has been classified as Discoscapa apicula, in the family Discoscapidae

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How More Grocery Stores Could Reduce Food Waste

Feb 13 2020 - 08:02

An article in Manufacturing&Service Operations Management says that an increase in the number of stores directly decreases consumer waste. The reason is improved access to groceries which would men better distribution of inventory and price competition. 

Food waste is a big problem in all developed countries; Europe became a joke in the previous decade when they set out to ban sales of 'ugly' food. In the U.S., the Department of Agriculture estimates food waste at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.

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Chinese Eugenics Upside: It Reduced The Education Gap Among Women

Feb 13 2020 - 08:02
Much has been made of Chinese student achievement test scores, but inconvenient confounders are often ignored, such as that Chinese learn by rote. No teach in America wants to do that. Teachers are poorly paid and clean their own toilets.

And only elite kids take the tests. The non-elites were overwhelmingly decimated by China's one-child policy, a totalitarian government mandate enacted in 1979 to reduce the population until agriculture could catch up. However, it closed the education gap, at least for those not born illegally. And for those women who weren't aborted by government decree. 

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Endocrine Disruption From Cosmetics Your Mom Used Made You Fat, Not Calories, Claims New Paper

Feb 13 2020 - 07:02
A new paper by epidemiologists in Europe will overturn centuries of diet and health thinking; the thinking that eating too much makes people gain weight.

Instead, the new statistical correlation argues, the weight gain is due to pregnant women who used cosmetics containing parabens, which triggered epigenetic changes in the babies, who then grew up to be fat. It is yet another thing you can blame on your mother.

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Galentine's Day Is A Thing But Malentine's Day Is Not - Why?

Feb 13 2020 - 07:02

Today, women will celebrate Galentine’s Day, a holiday trumpeting the joys of female friendships.

The holiday can trace its origins to a 2010 episode of “Parks and Rec,” in which the main character, Leslie Knope, decides that the day before Valentine’s Day should be an opportunity to celebrate the platonic love among women, ideally with booze and breakfast food.

In the years since the episode aired, the fictional holiday has caught on in the real world.

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The Republican Counterpart To The Democrats Green New Deal Won't Get Press But It May Be More Realistic

Feb 12 2020 - 17:02
When it comes to the political divide in America, the only difference in science is that academia has mostly Democrats while the private sector scientists are mostly Republicans. There are big tents in a two-party system so a liberal New York cop will have nothing in common with a San Francisco progressive but they will both vote Democrat. This big tent philosophy covers science as well. Republicans are considered deniers of climate change and evolution while Democrats deny vaccines and agriculture.

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EWG Claims Again That Food Is Unsafe - The Science And Health Community Disagrees

Feb 12 2020 - 15:02
Environmental Working Group, a litigation group devoted to food and chemical issues, is most famous for publishing its "Dirty Dozen" list to promote publicly available pesticide residues on food. While neglecting to mention that their organic industry clients are not tested separately.

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