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Updated: 7 min 2 sec ago

Humor Works Better Than Scorn At Fighting Science Denial

3 hours 33 min ago
A few years ago, much of the academic science community finally turned on the anti-science progressives that dominated the coasts of the U.S. and who refused to vaccinate their children. 

Standing up to their political allies definitely turned the tide, even California Governor Gavin Newsom grudgingly conceded and signed a law banning the arbitrary vaccine exemptions for kids that had become common in places like San Francisco, where he'd been the mayor, and Los Angeles. Some schools there had vaccination rates under 30 percent.(1) Pretending the problem did not exist set California back, especially when coastal cities had more vaccine exemptions than the rest of the US combined, but scorn so long after it was common likely did not make much difference.

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Can AI Help Slow Future Pandemics?

Apr 13 2021 - 20:04
If you missed the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, wait a few years and catch the next one. One happened in 2012, and in 2003, and since it was only discovered as distinct from the common cold in the 1960s, they may have been happening forever.

If it isn't coronavirus, it could be a new flu. 

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Newton's Three Body Problem - A Flux-Based Approach To Avoid Infinite Probabilities

Apr 13 2021 - 19:04
At the end of the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton scientifically showed the motion of the planets around the sun through a law of universal gravitation. 

He also explained the motion of the moon. Yet since both the earth and the sun determine the motion of the moon, Newton became interested in predicting the motion of three bodies moving in space under the influence of their mutual gravitational attraction, a problem that later became known as “the three-body problem”.  He did not succeed in creating a a general mathematical solution for it.

The three-body problem was easy to define, yet difficult to solve. There is extreme sensitivity to the bodies’ initial positions and velocities - chaos. And chaos is hard to predict.

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Mathketball As A Learning Tool?

Apr 13 2021 - 15:04
In western nations, there is a great deal of interest in improving standardized test scores compared to Asian students, but few schools want to do what Asian schools do most; teach to the test and teach by rote.

Instead, programs focus on increasing things like 'motivation' have become popular. And so we get a mashup of math and basketball. Should we call it mathketball?

A group of Copenhagen schools placed 756 1st through 5th graders in a six-week program that they found had a positive effect on their desire to learn more, provided them with an experience of increased self-determination and grew math confidence among youth. 

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During Drought, Trees May Be Dying Before We Know It

Apr 13 2021 - 14:04
Just like people, trees can die of thirst, especially during a drought, but a recent field study found that a rapid collapse in the hydraulic system of trees is happening more rapidly than previously thought.

The heatwave of summer 2018 was exceptional and that can be hard on trees but it was an opportunity for researchers at the University of Basel to closely study the reaction of trees to this weather phenomenon. In 2018, the Norway spruce suffered most as a result of the drought. It is the most important conifer both in Switzerland and in central Europe. The results of the study are representative of northern Switzerland as a whole, and can also be applied to other conifer species. 

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What Skynet? People Trust Computers More Than Humans

Apr 13 2021 - 14:04
Though it is common to complain that advertising is following you everywhere and algorithms control our news, it is instead the case that the more tedious or challenging a task becomes, the more humans trust computers instead. Not many people listen to 4,000 songs to create a playlist they like, they make a playlist with a few and let Spotify do the rest.

A recent study involved 1,500 individuals evaluating photographs. The team asked volunteers to count the number of people in a photograph of a crowd and supplied suggestions that were generated by a group of other people and suggestions generated by an algorithm. 

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90% Of Marijuana Users Think It Doesn't Bring Visual Impairment, But They're Wrong

Apr 13 2021 - 14:04
Some people believe that marijuana can be medical but almost no marijuana users think it impairs their vision.

Though over 90 percent of users believe that cannabis has no effect on their vision, or perhaps a slight effect, smoking cannabis significantly alters key visual functions such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, three-dimensional vision (stereopsis), the ability to focus, and glare sensitivity, according to research.

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Conservationists Move Species To Create Natural 'Fixes' To Problems, And Sometimes Create Pandemics

Apr 13 2021 - 12:04
Using their own proprietary consultant as the sole source for their "evaluation", US Fish and Wildlife Service once tried to extort up to $30 million from a private landowner in Louisiana, by stating they needed to created a habitat for an "endangered" frog and that was the only suitable location. And the landowner had to pay for it.

Except the frog already lived just fine in Mississippi. Its name was literally the Mississippi Gopher Frog.

Had sue-and-settle groups like Center for Biological Diversity actually won, not only would they have gotten fat from 'legal fees' paid by you and I, they could have created an ecological disaster chain, in the form of foreign parasites and diseases carried by those frogs.(1)

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Trust In Corporate Media Linked To Less Actual Knowledge About COVID-19

Apr 12 2021 - 13:04
If you see someone on "TODAY" hawking four products per minute they claim are going to make your life better, there is a 100 percent chance it is a paid influencer invited because a producer needed content. Such influencers get paid because it works.

This marketing strategy is also common on Facebook, Twitter, and outlets like Mother Jones, where organic food, supplements, and alternatives to medicine are popular for their demographics who have money and a distrust of science.

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Can 5G Cell Phone Tech Eventually Bring Us Tesla's Wireless Electricity?

Apr 10 2021 - 07:04

At the height of his career, the pioneering electrical engineer Nikola Tesla became obsessed with an idea. He theorised that electricity could be transmitted wirelessly through the air at long distances – either via a series of strategically positioned towers, or hopping across a system of suspended balloons.

Things didn’t go to plan, and Tesla’s ambitions for a wireless global electricity supply were never realised. But the theory itself wasn’t disproved: it would have simply required an extraordinary amount of power, much of which would have been wasted.

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The Human Brain: Where And When It Evolved

Apr 09 2021 - 16:04
Though modern humans and our closest evolutionary relatives, the great apes, shared a common ancestor millions of years ago, most similarities stop there. We live on the ground, walk on two legs and have much larger brains. 

That doesn't mean the larger brains evolved first. 

The first populations of the genus Homo emerged in Africa about 2.5 million years ago and though they already walked upright, their brains were only about half the size of today's humans. These earliest Homo populations in Africa had primitive ape-like brains - just like their extinct ancestors, the australopithecines.

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Follar Application Of Zinc Boosts Wheat Output

Apr 09 2021 - 10:04
Micronutrient deficiencies pose health problems for a third of the world's population. Worldwide, zinc deficits are more problematic in the rural areas of developing countries, where diets are largely limited to vegetable products grown in soils suffering from low nutrient availability.

Biofortification, the process of bolstering the nutritional value of crops by increasing the concentration of vitamins and minerals in them, has arisen as a remedy for this problem.  Recent trials determined that foliar application, applying liquid fertilizer directly to leaves instead of the soil, boosted the zinc content of wheat grain by up to 50 percent.

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Genetically Rescued Organism: Eucalyptus That Can't Be An Invasive Species

Apr 08 2021 - 14:04
Eucalyptus trees are a pest-resistant evergreen that produce good lumber and oil that wealthy elites in the "wellness" marketplace buy - they are also an invasive species.

A new paper shows how scientists used CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out LEAFY, the master gene behind flower formation, so the trees will not reproduce sexually. The greenhouse study involved a hybrid of two species, Eucalyptus grandis and E. urophylla, that is widely planted in the Southern Hemisphere; there are more than 700 species of eucalyptus, most of them native to Australia.

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91% Of The World Don't Live In Polluted Air, And It Has Not Made COVID-19 Worse

Apr 08 2021 - 10:04
COVID-19 has been worse than the coronavirus pandemics of 2012 and 2003 yet the air is cleaner than ever, so a new op-ed claiming that 'virtual' pollution - so small you can't see it without an electron microscope - is the reason SARS-CoV-2 has been so bad comes across as silly, and bordering on deceptive.

Even sillier, they claim that 91 percent of planet earth lives in unsafe air.

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Looking For A Ph.D. In Physics Or Computer Science? Look No Further

Apr 08 2021 - 09:04
Today the University of Padova has issued a call for Ph. D. positions to start in October 2021, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy has 23 new openings. The English version of the call page is here.

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Standard Model Rethink: Does Measurement Of Muon Magnetics Mean New Physics Are Coming?

Apr 07 2021 - 12:04
Muons are leptons(1), fundamental particles formed in the atmosphere by cosmic rays that are a heavier cousin of electrons. The Standard Model has three generations of leptons; electrons, muons, and tau plus their three neutrinos. The Standard Model is in line with "the big bang" and measurements of the hydrogen/helium ratio - because the number of types of neutrinos affects the prevalence of helium.

Things were great, or at least in a kind of intellectual détente on the Standard Model, until recently.

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New Muon G-2 Results!

Apr 07 2021 - 06:04
At 5PM CET (11AM NY, 11PM Beijing) the Fermilab "g-2" experiment will release its most awaited results on the measurement of a quantity called "muon magnetic moment anomaly", and simultaneously, I will update this blog post to report on the released value.
But, why is that relevant, and why will it be so exciting to be updated on this measurement?
The muon

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Suicides Did Not Go Up During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Apr 06 2021 - 15:04
A giant concern about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been economic. With government still spending like it's the 2017-2019 boom but tens of millions of Americans no longer working, there is a bill that will come due soon. A less urgent concern than the disease itself was mental health. A number of high-profile suicides occurred, which has led to worry that the mental health toll was being swept into a corner.

According to new National Vital Statistics System (CDC) data, mental health impacts such as suicide have not increased. Instead, suicides dropped last year, to the lowest gross total since 2015.

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Spent Grain From Beer Making As Human Food

Apr 06 2021 - 15:04
Beer has been important throughout human history. Given how dangerous water was in the past, it is arguably true that civilization would not exist without beer.

Yet if you make your own, you have to think about waste. Spent grain, the malt and adjuncts left over from the mash, is 85 percent of brewing waste. If you don't have a compost pit or a farm somewhere close by, it's going inro the garbage.

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Just Correlation: Meat And 'Higher Risk' Of Death

Apr 06 2021 - 07:04
Your risk of death is 100 percent. Yet your risk of early demise can be mitigated if you avoid things like ingesting alcohol and cigarettes and mustard gas.

Those are clear killers. What about salt, sugar, and meat? Those have not been established as science at all, they are instead examples of correlation. To create correlation is easy, it only requires looking at a group of people, finding what diseases they have, finding what foods they eat, and creating a "statistically significant" link between them.

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