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Boys Are More Demanding Than Girls Even Before Birth - In Mouse Pregnancies

Apr 27 2022 - 20:04
Up to 15 percent of women are diagnosed with pregnancy complications and a new paper says that boys are more likely to be the cause than girls.

The authors speculate it may be because boys grow faster in the womb, needing more energy and nutrients from the mother through the placenta but after around 100 billion childbirths in human history that doesn't add up. Maybe it is the case in mice, and that is the caveat with the study. Mice are not little people, though you wouldn't know that from claims made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC.)

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If Droughts Are Predictable Because They Self-Propagate, Not Planning For Them Is Irresponsible

Apr 25 2022 - 15:04
Everyone knows droughts are bad. They increase risk of wildfires and damage life in the affected region. They are not always predictable, when I lived in Pennsylvania in the early 1990s there was a drought with no known mechanism involved, but they are often cyclical, which makes them at least broadly predictable.

The Dry 2 Dry program at Ghent University believes droughts are not only predictable and cyclical, they can propagate in a kind of feedback loop; instead of being local, evaporated water is moved to other areas, so less of it is taking drought with them.

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Learning To Discover

Apr 25 2022 - 07:04
The "Learning to Discover" workshops and "AI and Physics" conference are taking place at Institut Pascal, a centre set on the top of a hill surrounded by woods near Orsay, France. The event focuses on new artificial intelligence techniques to improve the discovery potential of fundamental science experiments.
Below you can see a summary of the event agenda

- Apr 19-20 Representation learning workshop
- Apr 21-22 Dealing with uncertainties workshop
- Apr 25-26 Generative models workshop

- Apr 27-29 AI and Physics Conference

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After 3 Years Of Maintenance, The Large Hadron Collider Is Getting Back Into Collision Shape

Apr 21 2022 - 14:04
The world’s largest particle accelerator is back in business. Today, two beams of protons circulated in opposite directions around the Large Hadron Collider’s 27-kilometer ring at their injection energy of 450 billion electronvolts (450 GeV), marking the conclusion of a three year hiatus for maintenance, consolidation and upgrade work.

The work was done so that it can operate at an even higher energy and deliver significantly more data to the upgraded LHC experiments but high-energy collisions still months away. The beams circulated today were a test at injection energy and contained a small number of protons.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Created a New Addiction: Maskaholics

Apr 20 2022 - 18:04
When a judge declared the Biden administration's attempt to extend the mandate of masks on airplanes unlawful, the Biden administration walked away from that effort. That, to me, was a sign that they knew the science was not on their side but they were placating their constituents who do not really trust vaccines.

Wait, aren't the Republicans the ones who don't trust vaccines? Only for the last year, and only for political reasons. California, which once had more vaccine deniers than the entire rest of the US combined, suddenly claimed to be pro-vaccine. Except weird places like San Francisco told people they needed four shots. And to wear masks outside. 

That is not pro-science, it means you don't trust it at all. Just as always.

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Will The Ukraine War Bring The World A New Chocolate Pilot?

Apr 20 2022 - 11:04
The last time the Russians went to war in Europe, it was the Cold War.  After World War II ended, the USSR wanted Germany to remain relatively weak. The US instead believed that part of the reason behind World War II was a Germany that had been too heavily penalized by other European countries after World War I. 

After defeat, Germany had been divided into four sectors, controlled by America, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union and three of those sectors 'united' so that there could be a common currency, a new German mark, and goods supplied by the US under the Marshall Plan would bring stability. But the former capital, Berlin, was in the USSR sector, and the USSR wanted its section of Germany to be Soviet, and communism. 

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The Biden Administration Continues To Engage In Behavior Not Justified While Claiming Science Is On Their Side

Apr 19 2022 - 12:04
Does the CDC dictate property law in the United States? The Biden administration claimed it did, and that was only one of the bizarre efforts to use government agencies to legislate around Congress.

The White House hoped to stretch "Chevron deference", a flawed Supreme Court interpretation which found that government agencies could create rules that act like laws without needing Congress as long as it was in their regulatory mandate, beyond recognition.

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The Alternative Meat Industry Wants Solar Power Style Mandates And Subsidies

Apr 18 2022 - 11:04
A new report says that the alternative meat industry, plant-based products designed to look and taste like meat, raised $8 billion even during the pandemic. That's a big success.

They want more but oddly lament that most of their money comes from the private sector. They want the trillions of dollars in subsidies that solar and wind have gotten, claiming it will fight climate change. That's a big problem.

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Stumbling Toward The Metaverse

Apr 15 2022 - 16:04

Many are the sci-fi encounters with races that have transcended their physical bodies, having moved on to dwell on some energetic or spiritual plane. The tales skip the backstories, so we wonder: Did these aliens get where they are via Darwinian evolution? Did they get disgusted with the physical world and devise a technological means of transitioning? Do their planets of origin still exist, or were they destroyed? Always in sci-fi, we are given to assume that these aliens enjoy their non-material existence and don’t miss the meat world.

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Lockdowns Doubled Mental Health Issues

Apr 12 2022 - 10:04

During the almost two years of on-again off-again COVID lockdowns, we heard lots of concern from many different corners about the mental health effects of forcing people to stay home and keep away from friends and family.

Many research projects were undertaken to attempt to measure the scale of the impacts on mental health.

However, the speed with which research was generated meant in some cases, research quality was sacrificed, and some research found evidence of an effect on mental health, and some didn’t.

To make sense of the very mixed findings, my colleagues and I conducted a review of all of the studies on mental health conducted during the first year of the pandemic.

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Solar's On Demand Problem May Get Solved - And May Allow Solar Energy To Be Shipped Worldwide

Apr 11 2022 - 13:04
 Solar power has potential but a crippling weakness that has meant despite trillions of dollars in subsidies and continuing mandates, it has not made a dent in use of conventional energy; it is not on demand and batteries are expensive and going to do more harm to the future than natural gas.

The solar energy system MOST – Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage Systems is starting small but the concept of a specially designed molecule that changes shape when it comes into contact with sunlight scaled to operational sizes might mean real solar farms in remote places that provide electricity as well as conventional energy.

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Coral Reefs Recover Quickly After Bleaching Due To Water Temperature Changes

Apr 11 2022 - 12:04
Water has varied in temperature for as long as water has existed and it seems evolution has provided coral reefs a recovery mechanism after variation results in 'bleaching' - when corals expel algae and turn white. It can have some impact beyond algae because about 275 million people live near a coral reef and they can be tourist attractions and help support fishing industries.

In 2018, two years after the government protected Chagos Archipelago underwent bleaching, the reef coral cover and carbonate production were down by more than 70 percent. Yet by last year, they were found to have rebounded nicely. 

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The World's Rice Bowl Is Suffering With Lower Yields - Here Is How Science Is Helping

Apr 11 2022 - 11:04
South-East Asia is a substantial consumer of rice but also accounts for about 40 percent of international rice exports. Before population plateaus some time after 2050, and as globalization makes the world more prosperous, there will likely be 18 percent higher demand for rice in the region.

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Is The CDF W Mass Measurement A Nail In The SM Coffin?

Apr 09 2022 - 08:04
No.
... Ok, ok, I will elaborate. But first I feel the need to explain what we are talking about here, to anybody who does not have a Ph.D. in particle physics and is still reading this column.

Background: The Tevatron, CDF, and the W boson

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The Next Pollution Target Is Your Dryer Lint - Fabric Softener To The Rescue?

Apr 08 2022 - 10:04
A new study says that drying a load of laundry in a machine releases "microfibers" into the air but chemicals made by a $76 billion company will save us.

Microfibers? Is that a thing? Sure, we have defined healthy down to such an extent that no one is without a disease of some kind. With endocrine disrupting chemicals, small micron particulate matter, and supermarket food it is amazing any of us live more than a day. 

But is it really meaningful? As with Micronauts, it sounds like something that might be the science equivalent of an MCU show but on closer examination is really more like Hasbro latching onto a fad.

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The Biden Administration Agreed Courts Could Not Block A Trump Water Rule - Then Wanted SCOTUS To Side Against It Anyway

Apr 06 2022 - 15:04
In the 'politics makes strange bedfellows' department, the Biden administration conceded that a California judge appointed by Democrats had no legal authority to block a rule denying what Southern states tried to do to keep slavery - say that states rights were supreme over the US.

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Sports And School: Physically Fit Pupils Feel And Can Concentrate Better

Apr 05 2022 - 11:04
Bad dietary habits start young, as do most bad habits, from smoking to drug use. Good habits tend to be the same. It is known that movement on a regular basis keeps kids healthy but a new study found that physical fitness is also linked to concentration and health-related quality of life for primary school pupils.

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California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Law Didn't Reduce Gun Violence

Apr 05 2022 - 11:04
Though activists will highlight mass shootings as a gun problem rather than a criminal act, as in a Sacramento, California shooting a few days ago, legal California gun ownership has had an inverse relationship to crime and deaths. More guns than ever are owned but there are fewer gun deaths per capita.

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HIV Drug Lamivudine A Promising Treatment In Metastatic Colon Cancer Trial

Apr 05 2022 - 10:04
A recent trial of lamivudine, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in HIV therapy, found that it stopped disease progression in patients with fourth-line metastatic colorectal cancer

The trial included 32 patients with advanced metastatic colon cancer whose disease progressed despite four lines of previous cancer treatments. The first nine patients received the standard HIV-approved dose of lamivudine. After adjusting the dosing four-fold, another 23 patients received lamivudine therapy where it was highly tolerated.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Caused Suicide Rates Among Women In Japan To Increase

Apr 04 2022 - 19:04
Japan has a high suicide rate, so it was news when there were reports from the National Police Agency that October 2020 had more suicide deaths in just that month than they had deaths due to COVID-19 for the year.(1) 

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