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Updated: 43 min 6 sec ago

Pierce Brosnan Is Why The Science Community Should Boycott The Breakthrough Institute Prize Ceremony On National Geographic

Oct 17 2018 - 11:10
The Breakthrough Institute has breathlessly announced that "acclaimed actor, producer and philanthropist Pierce Brosnan" will host the Breakthrough Prize ceremony, which they have self-declared is the “Oscars of Science”, on November 4th.

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Mycorrhiza Means Space Farms

Oct 15 2018 - 19:10
What would it take to grow potatoes or tomatoes in space? Some mycorrhiza, it turns out.

Currently NASA can't even get a telescope into space without being wildly over budget and 10 years behind schedule so they are not putting colonies on the moon any time soon. But the private sector might. And if that is going to be more than the plot of a film, it will take agriculture. 

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Global Warming Could Lead To Global Beer Shortages By 2100

Oct 15 2018 - 11:10
Beer, the most popular alcoholic drink in the world, consumes around 17% of global barley production, but this share varies across major beer-producing countries; 83% in Brazil to 9% in Australia.

What if global warming hits and temperatures rise more than 0.1 Celsius that has happened so far? Less barley, less beer. The vulnerability of beer supply to such extremes has never been assessed but a new estimate is sure to spur action, at least if you believe in estimates.

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Is Smirnoff Breaking The Law With Its Non-GMO Alcohol Label?

Oct 12 2018 - 11:10
Smirnoff, a vodka brand, has tried to place itself under a health halo by claiming it is not only gluten-free but non-GMO as well.

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Dairy Consumers Have Healthier Diets, And That Means Less Type 2 Diabetes

Oct 12 2018 - 11:10
Does the presence of igher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption in people with lower levels of type 2 diabetes mean more dairy means less risk of developing it? According to epidemiology, yes, but epidemiology and politics are the two key reasons public confidence in academic science have plummeted. 

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Particle Physics In Europe: Plans For The Future

Oct 12 2018 - 07:10
Particle physics has been historically the ground of long-standing scientific challenges between the US and Europe, especially since the birth of the CERN laboratories in 1954. And in parallel, another challenge has kept the field alive and thriving for over half a century: the one between theoretical and experimental physics. 

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What Super Volcanos In The Taupo Volcanic Zone Can Teach Us About Supereruption-Feeding Magma Systems

Oct 11 2018 - 16:10
Where does magma gather in the earth's crust? And for how long?
 
With worldwide poverty in decline, plentiful food thanks to science, and life expectancies increasing each year, we can turn to more remote worries - and learn some new things in the process. Like about volcanic eruptions and magma.

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Cancer Patients Want To Believe In Alternative Medicine Miracles, And Ignore Serious Risks

Oct 10 2018 - 10:10
Would famous Apple CEO Steve Jobs be alive today if he had accepted science the same way he accepted technology? Pancreatic cancer will kill half of patients but he guaranteed his death when he waited 9 months after his 2003 diagnosis to have surgery that could have saved his life, instead opting for belief that medicine was bad and alternatives were just as legitimate. 

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Capitalism Has Been Conquered - Here Is Why Workers Should Take It Back

Oct 09 2018 - 10:10

In the early days of industrial capitalism there were no protections for workers, and industrialists took their profits with little heed to anyone else. Following the growth of the labour movement, the establishment of trade unions and the founding of the welfare state in the first half of the 20th century, corporations in decades after World War II embraced a more open, stakeholder capitalism, where profits were shared between employees, managers and shareholders. This led to a flourishing middle class as workers and communities benefited from the success of the corporations of which they were part.

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Might Astronauts Dive In And Out Of A Lunar Cave Habitat Through A Liquid Airlock?

Oct 08 2018 - 21:10

This is a rather fun idea originally suggested in the Moon Miner's Manifest Classics - 1987-1988 (see page 31). It's not so likely in the early stages, because of the large amounts of water needed to construct it, but it may perhaps be of great value at a later stage, especially for bases that have a lot of traffic in and out. If the liquid is water, it has to be over sixty meters deep (62.3 meters), to equalize the pressure inside and outside the habitat. The depth can be much less, if it is a denser fluid. You then don't need any doors but can just dive through it and come out on the surface of the Moon.

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IPCC Report Recommends Target Of 1.5°C Not 2°C - Rapid Emission Cuts Before 2040, Or Forests For Fuel And Storing CO2 After 2040

Oct 08 2018 - 20:10

The basic message of the IPCC report is that we need to act now before 2040, to avoid more expensive mitigation measures in the last 60 years of the century. The worst effects are for 2100. And that if we aim for 1.5°C, it is far better than 2.5°C.

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Riemann Hypothesis: Has One Of Math's Great Mysteries Finally Been Solved?

Oct 08 2018 - 14:10

Over the past few days, the mathematics world has been abuzz over the news that Sir Michael Atiyah, the famous Fields Medalist and Abel Prize winner, claims to have solved the Riemann hypothesis.

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'Light' Alcohol Intake Can Be Healthy - Here Is What Light Means Scientifically

Oct 08 2018 - 10:10
An analysis of over 400,000 people's self-reported drinking habits finds that statistically drinking alcohol 4 or more times per week increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent. The increased risk was consistent across age groups.

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Toward A Temperature Stable, Cost-Effective Vaccine Platform

Oct 07 2018 - 13:10
Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent and eradicate infectious diseases but many vaccines have to be manufactured in cell culture or eggs, which is expensive, and most vaccines must be kept refrigerated during the transport

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So King Arthur Has Returned - And She's An 8-Year-Old Girl

Oct 05 2018 - 15:10
In Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur", French and English tales were reworked into the definitive mythology of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. But he may have gotten one thing wrong.

Instead of a lady in the lake providing (and eventually taking back) the fabled sword Excalibur, symbol of pre-Norman rule, until the return of the King, the lady in the lake may have been meant to be the next great monarch. If so, she's arrived and her name is Saga Vanecek.

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Fun Speculation - Can Neptune Sized Exomoon Have Triton Sized Exomoonlet - And Maybe A Ring? Exomoonlets Of Exomoons?

Oct 04 2018 - 06:10

Just before the flyby of Pluto by New Horizons I wrote a speculative fun article about whether it could spot moonlets of Pluto’s moons. Can Moons Have Moons? Or Rings? Theoretically it seems possible that moonlets just possibly might be dynamically stable for a while. But sadly - no moonlets were found. One of its moons, Hydra, is the closest, irregular, almost double lobed in shape.

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What Does 'The Goblin' Tell Us About Prospects For 'Planet 9' And Other Distant Undiscovered Worlds In Our Own Solar System?

Oct 03 2018 - 06:10

Does this discovery of 'The Goblin' make 'Planet 9' more likely? Yes I’d say so. It’s looking really strange. I’m beginning to be won around to the idea :). There is plenty of space for planets to exist beyond Neptune. No known big gas giants to get in their way. And - objects get far far fainter the further they are from the sun.

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Meatable Can Make Beef From A Single Cell - If Activists Don't Kill The Company First

Oct 02 2018 - 20:10
It takes a few years, a lot of grain and even more water to make a steer big enough to send to market - a company wants to get that process down to a few weeks. 

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Groundcherries Are Just The Start: CRISPR May Popularize A Food Future You Haven't Heard Of Yet

Oct 01 2018 - 20:10
Few people have heard of the groundcherry because during legacy days of agriculture, when foods had to be optimized for various regions as easily as possible, it fared poorly compared to other farming crops due to undesirable characteristics, like falling on the ground and needing weeds.

Though people who sell the organic process think a limited monoculture past is worth paying a premium for, the future may belong to the groundcherry and other orphan crops, thanks to biotechnology and the gene editing tool CRISPR, the successor to legacy organic processes like Mutagenesis and transgenic options like Genetically Modified Organisms.

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Alessandro Strumia, The Mansplainer

Oct 01 2018 - 11:10
The world of particle physics is in turmoil because of a presentation by Alessandro Strumia, an Italian phenomenologist, at CERN's "1st workshop on high energy theory and gender", and its aftermath. 
By now the story has been echoed by many major newscasters around the world, and discussed in public and private forums, blogs, twitter feeds. I wanted to stay away from it here, mainly because it is a sensitive issue and the situation is still evolving, but after all, why not offer to you my personal pitch on the matter? Strumia, by the way, has been an occasional commenter to this blog - you can find some of his comments signed as "AS" in threads of past articles. Usually he makes good points here, as long as physics is the subject.

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