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Updated: 50 min 27 sec ago

Coronavirus Has Given Telemedicine New Life - But We Should Stop Penalizing Specialists Who Do It

Jul 29 2020 - 13:07
In a COVID-19 world, you may not want to visit a doctor but that doesn't mean you have to avoid seeing one.  A new RAND evaluation recommends that clinics even hire a telemedicine coordinator to head their efforts and that they consider offering telemedicine services to patients from their homes.  

It can happen with with modest investments in new staff and technology and can even help expand patients' access to specialized medical care.

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Americans Are Consuming Less Sugar Than In Decades

Jul 29 2020 - 12:07
Though the world is facing on obesity crisis, at least in the U.S. the culprit is not sugar, it's too many calories of other kinds.

Americans are actually eating less sugar than two decades ago, partially thanks to non-nutritive sweeteners.

The analysis used a nationally representative dataset on household purchases at the barcode level (Nielsen Homescan) in 2002 and 2018 linked with Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) data and ingredient information using commercial nutrition databases that are updated regularly to capture reformulations. Keyword searches were performed on ingredient lists to classify products containing various types of non-nutritive sweeteners.

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You Can't Trust Volcanoes

Jul 29 2020 - 09:07
Don't be fooled by those tourist volcanoes that reliably produce small basaltic lava eruptions. A new study shows they hide the same chemically diverse magmas in their underground plumbing systems as volcanoes that generate explosive activity.

Some volcanoes in Iceland, Hawai'i and the Galápagos Islands consistently produce lava flows of molten basaltic rock which form long rivers of fire down their flanks. They are so slow, you can outwalk them, and therefore so predictable you can visit them but unless you build a house in front of one, they are safe. 

Yet they share chemistry in common with Vesuvius or Mt. St. Helens, which means they are not as timid as we think.

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An Eco-Terrorist Who Destroyed A Sunflower Field Is Called An Environmental Hero. There's Just One Problem...

Jul 28 2020 - 14:07
Marie Gangneux is co-president the organic food company Alterna'Bio so it's no surprise she hates science. It's not even a surprise she commits eco-terrorism.

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Rosalind Franklin’s Numerical Data Went Farther Than One Double Helix Picture

Jul 28 2020 - 11:07
By Catherine Meyers, Inside Science 

(Inside Science) -- If you’ve heard the name Rosalind Franklin, you’ve probably also heard the names James Watson and Francis Crick. Watson and Crick form the famous duo most widely credited with figuring out the spiral staircase shape of DNA, and Franklin’s public image has become inextricably linked to the story of how it all happened.

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Far More Taxpayer Funded Science Has Become Free To Read Thanks To Coronavirus - That May Be Here To Stay

Jul 28 2020 - 06:07

Scientific publishing is not known for moving rapidly. In normal times, publishing new research can take months, if not years. Researchers prepare a first version of a paper on new findings and submit it to a journal, where it is often rejected, before being resubmitted to another journal, peer-reviewed, revised and, eventually, hopefully published.

All scientists are familiar with the process, but few love it or the time it takes. And even after all this effort – for which neither the authors, the peer reviewers, nor most journal editors, are paid – most research papers end up locked away behind expensive journal paywalls. They can only be read by those with access to funds or to institutions that can afford subscriptions.

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CSPI Has Found A Position So Wacky Even They Won't Embrace It - And That's Thanks To Joe Mercola

Jul 27 2020 - 18:07
Center for Science in the Public Interest is a litigation group which claims to be consumer advocates over eeeevil corporations. They were formed by a group who worked for Ralph Nader and specifically wanted to sue food and beverage companies. A few years later the two co-founders left, leaving Michael Jacobson in charge. Jacobson is a microbiologist so why he felt he could correlate infant formula to lower IQ in kids was a mystery.

Michael Jacobsen is also a sexist demagogue who'd be forced to resign if he tried to do today what he did to female PhDs who stood up to his uninformed conspiracy theories before social media existed - suggest such women were using their feminine wiles to get all of those male scientists to side against him.

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A Bull Calf Has Been Genetically Optimized To Produce 75% Males

Jul 27 2020 - 16:07
Using the genome-editing technology CRISPR, researchers can make targeted cuts to the genome or insert useful genes, called a gene knock-in, and they have done it with the cattle SRY gene, responsible for initiating male development, into a bovine embryo.

This first demonstration of a targeted gene knock-in for large sequences of DNA via embryo-mediated genome editing in cattle will mean it produces male offspring 75 percent of the time.

That's not to increase sexism, it's a benefit because male cattle are about 15 percent more efficient at converting feed into weight gain than females. That keeps costs low, especially on the checklist now when we have seen how precarious food supply can be for the poor, and it's better for the environment.

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The Ik People Of Mountain Uganda Are Not As 'Selfish' And 'Loveless' As 1960s Anthropologists Claimed

Jul 27 2020 - 15:07
In a 1972 book, "The Mountain People", Colin Turnbull deemed the the Ik ethnic group of hunter-gatherers in the Uganda mountains 

There was a huge confounder in his work that scientists would've noted immediately and now fellow anthropologists have caught; since the observations were done during a severe famine in the mid-1960s, they did not uncover typical behavior of the Ik. Instead, sharing and cooperating re-emerged once resources were plentiful enough.

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US Ag Secretary Perdue To Debate EU Ag Commissioner Wojciechowski On Food Regulations Wednesday - Tune In Here

Jul 27 2020 - 14:07
With US-EU trade talks already stalled out over agriculture, the EU’s new "Farm to Fork” strategy not only doubles down on the EU’s contentious agricultural regulations, it promises to leverage access to European markets to mandate the adoption of EU-style regulation by its trading partners. 

How will the US respond?

On Wednesday, July 29th, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will directly confront these issues with EU Agriculture Commissioner Wojciechowski and other panelists on a webinar. 

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The SARS-CoV-2 Envelope Protein Is Close Enough To SARS That FDA-Approved Drugs May Work

Jul 27 2020 - 10:07
A protein in the viruses causing COVID-19 and SARS is almost identical, which means existing FDA-approved drugs, already tested in mice infected with SARS, could improve the outcomes for COVID-19 patients experiencing severe respiratory symptoms.

A team of scientists compared the genomes of 24 Betacoronaviruses, including four SARS-CoV-2 viruses, which causes COVID-19. Two of the four were sequenced in the United States, while the other two were sequenced in China.

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Reconciling Evolution And Cooperation

Jul 24 2020 - 10:07
In order to evolve you must first survive, and Darwin posited that this "survival of the fittest" was a driver in natural selection. To the casual reader in 1859, cooperation was hard to reconcile with that, but humans had become the apex predator by both cooperating and competing. 

Cooperation is actually quite common. We have bacteria in our guts which can be helpful or harmful but are often helpful. Root bacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, thus making it available to plants. In return, the plant supplies its root bacteria with nutritious sugars. Our own energy cells, mitochondria, have to have been created after mutually benefiting by trading energy for protection - they even have their own genome.

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The Importance Of Love And Marriage In Happiness

Jul 24 2020 - 10:07
A recent survey results analysis sought to quantify the happiness of married, formerly married and single people at the end of their lives - to find out just how much love and marriage played into overall well-being. 

The 7,532 participants were surveyed periodically from ages 18 to 60 and the psychologists sought to determine who reported to be happiest at the end of their lives.

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Parasites Are What Kill Bees, So More Beekeepers Won't Stop Colony Collapse Disorder - But This Mitigation Might

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
Bees face a variety of challenges in the modern world. Changes to land use and evolving parasites have always been significant issues. For as long as beekeeping records have been kept, 1,100 years, there have been accounts of colony collapse disorder. Just about the only thing science has determined is not killing them off periodically are neonicotinoid pesticides, the one thing environmentalists insist is the problem.

While not in crisis, they rebounded fine after the latest periodic blip in numbers, it's good to think about how to prevent losses without incurring the cost of chemicals. One way, according to a new paper, is to prevent spread between species.

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Native Honey Tastes Better? Okay, But Diabetes Health Claims Don't Add Up

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
In Australia, native people have long contended that  native stingless bee honey had special health properties. Like the well-known Apis mellifera honeybees, stingless bees live in permanent colonies made up of a single queen and workers, who collect pollen and nectar to feed larvae within the colony.

And a new paper does find that nearly 85 percent of its sugar is trehalulose, not maltose, and trehalulose has a lower glycemic index, but claims that makes it healthier are going to deceive the public. Sugar is still sugar. Claims that native peoples who eat a lot of it have lower diabetes ignore too many other confounders to count. 

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Nerves Embedded In Body Fat Boost Its Calorie-Burning Capacity

Jul 23 2020 - 14:07
There is no magic food that causes weight gain, in every study people who consume fewer calories than they burn lose weight while people who consume more gain it. Energy balance, like evolution and Einstein, has survived all challengers. 

Yet the biology underlying the breakdown of stored fat molecules is not well known. A new paper posits that nerves embedded in fat tissue have previously unrecognized capability. If they receive the right signal, they have an astonishing capacity to grow. At least in mice.

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Bat1K Consortium Genomes Show How Bats Survive The Deadly Viruses They Spread

Jul 23 2020 - 13:07
We're going to learn a lot more about how bats do all of the things they do, in part due to the work of the Bat1K consortium to sequence the genome of six widely divergent living bat species.

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Planned Parenthood Is Finally Jettisoning The Eugenics Legacy of Their Founder Margaret Sanger

Jul 22 2020 - 16:07
Today, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced it is finally going to remove Margaret Sanger’s name from the Manhattan Health Center, which means they finally recognize what everyone knew; Sanger's first goal of birth control was eugenics.

Sanger was an institutional racist, part of the progressive elite that believed they had scientific justification for advancing white supremacy. She was not alone, she was joined by luminaries such as H.G. Wells and John Maynard Keynes. They had Oliver Wendell Holmes on the Supreme Court, who wrote that a rape victim should be sterilized because he believed she was simply promiscuous and she would be the “probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted”.

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Modeling Chaos: How To Anticipate Riot Dynamics And Social Unrest

Jul 22 2020 - 11:07
Is it possible to predict nonlinear behavior, such as when a protest will become a riot? Perhaps, though parameters bring special challenges.

We've seen the weaknesses of numerical modeling when it comes to disease epidemiology, and many of those concerns were evident before SARS-CoV-2 took the world by storm. In Chile of 2019, social unrest disrupted the daily routines of many citizens so scholars recently combined well-known epidemic models with tools from the physics of chaos and interpreted their findings through the lens of social science as economics.

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'It's Working' Can Be Destructive - 10 Ways To Get Good At Constructively Disagreeing

Jul 22 2020 - 11:07
In many groups, everyone seems to agree more or less all the time. Meetings are dominated by a few individuals or even one while everyone else plays along - until you talk to people individually.  

Why does such meeting inertia happen? For some, voicing disagreement is difficult. Some may want the meeting to be over, so piping up five minutes before it is scheduled to end brings rancor that has nothing to do with the content. Some may want to just get along. Others believe that the process is working so nothing needs to change.

Yet if you ask leaders they will tell you "it's working" is destructive, even if they subtly invoke it.

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