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A Mesmerizing Double Shadow On Jupiter

Jun 05 2019 - 07:06
Last night I was absolutely mesmerized by observing the transit of Ganymede and Io, two of Jupiter's largest four moons, on Jupiter's disk. Along with them, their respective ink-black shadows slowly crossed the illuminated disk of the gas giant. The show lasted a few hours, and by observing it through a telescope I could see a three-dimensional view of the bodies, and appreciate the dynamics of that miniature planetary system. 

In this post I wish to explain to you, dear reader, just why the whole thing is so fascinating and fantabulous to see, in the hope that, should you have a chance to observe it yourself, you grab the occasion without considering the lack of sleep it entails. I am sure you will thank me later.

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How I Learned To Stop Thinking For Myself And Get To The Right Answer (part One)

Jun 04 2019 - 19:06
On Applied Epistemic Helplessness


The often (always?) brilliant Scott Alexander has an essay that parallels the thesis of an essay I've been meaning to write for that last six years. It's the perfect topic to kick off this column which I've been meaning to get off the ground for the last six months, so here goes. The epistemological question he lays out was pivotal to me, setting me on a path to the range of topics and conclusions that I plan to tackle in this space.

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Eggs Are Bad For You

Jun 04 2019 - 17:06
A new look at data tracked the diets, health and lifestyle habits of nearly 30,000 adults across the country for as long as 31 years has concluded that the risk of heart disease and death increases with the number of eggs an individual consumes.

The epidemiology paper believes that is due to the cholesterol.

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Kids With Pneumonia Get Too Many Antibiotics And Chest X-Rays

Jun 04 2019 - 13:06
Health care has become political and that means everyone wants everything for little money, at least when it comes to their own treatment or those in their family. The other edge of the political sword is lawyers waiting to sue, which has led to high malpractice costs and even higher costs due to "defensive medicine" - running unnecessary tests and engaging in procedures doctors know aren't valuable in order to check off boxes if a lawsuit happens.

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Psychologists Set Out To Conquer Anti-Science Beliefs About GMOs. Here's What Happened

Jun 04 2019 - 13:06
Though every world science body sees no reason to be concerned about genetic engineering - hundreds of millions of humans and billions of animals have been just fine with a gene in one plant that is simply found naturally in another plant, well funded activist campaigns about "Frankenfoods" have largely succeeded. Organic food has ballooned in revenue because it claims no GMOs all while not mentioning their own less precise genetic engineering - mutagenesis, bathing organisms in chemicals and radiation to get a desired effect. 

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Water-Filled Elephant Tracks Are Predator-Free Highways For Frogs

Jun 04 2019 - 13:06
Researchers doing observations in Myanmar's Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary found that rain-filled tracks of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) were filled with frog egg masses and tadpoles. The tracks can persist for a year or more and provide temporary habitat during the dry season. Trackways could also function as "stepping stones" that connect frog populations. 

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Capricious California: Coffee Won"t Have A Prop 65 Warning, Which Means Few Products Should

Jun 04 2019 - 13:06
After attracting scorn with bizarre classifications of a weedkiller, bacon, and hot tea, the French statistics group known as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided to puncture claims that activists had manipulated the process by doing a flip-flop on coffee. Though they were widely expected to increase the hazard designation, they suddenly reversed course and lowered it. 

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US Stem Cell Clinic LLC Guilty Of Selling Adulterated Stem Cell Drug Product

Jun 04 2019 - 12:06
US Stem Cell Clinic LLC, of Weston, Florida, and US Stem Cell Inc., of Sunrise, Florida, and their Chief Scientific Officer Kristin Comella, Ph.D. have adulterated and misbranded a stem cell drug product made from a patient’s adipose tissue, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro of the Southern District of Florida declared in a summary judgment against the defendants.

On behalf of FDA, The U.S. Department of Justice filed for a permanent injunction against the defendants in May 2018, after several attempts to provide the clinic and the individual defendants the opportunity to work with the agency to come into compliance with FDA regulations and protect patients from harm.

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Red And White Meats Are No Different When It Comes To Cholesterol

Jun 04 2019 - 09:06
Eating too much meat is considered a risk factor for high cholesterol, which is a risk factor for hypertension, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Given all that statistical correlation, it's no wonder the public don't know what to believe about red meat.

But white meat is no better. This is a relief for cattle ranchers, who have been subjected to decades of claims that white meat is healthier and red meat causes heart attacks. The controversial French statistical group International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) even lists red meat as one of its hundreds and hundreds of things they can statistically correlate to cancer, albeit in doses up to 10,000 times normal levels.

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Coffee Is Not Bad For Your Arteries, Even 25 Cups A Day

Jun 03 2019 - 14:06
Don't drink 25 cups of coffee a day, you shouldn't consumer anything equivalent to 25 cups per day, but if you do it won't be your arteries that give out, according to research presented today at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester.

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Women Of Childbearing Age, Stop Taking Supplements Containing Vinpocetine

Jun 03 2019 - 14:06
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expressing concern supplements containing vinpocetine, a supplement (e.g. Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, common periwinkle extract) which is a derivative of the vinca alkaloid vincamine, an extract from the lesser periwinkle plant and which sellers claims will enhance memory, focus, or mental acuity, increase energy, and cause weight loss.

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Racism Is Literally Toxic To African American Individuals, Say Psychologists

Jun 03 2019 - 14:06
A new paper says that racist experiences increases inflammation in African American individuals, raising their risk of chronic illness and providing more evidence that creates physical health outcomes, states a paper led by April Thames, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

"I looked at it as a chronic stressor. Our results showed that racial discrimination appears to trigger an inflammatory response among African Americans at the cellular level," states Thames.

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Insects? Lab-Grown Meat? Are You Ready For Lab-Grown Insect Meat?

Jun 03 2019 - 11:06
Pop culture is in a bit of a quandary. Though food is essential for life, culturally it is no longer a basic necessity, and that's thanks to science. We grow more food on less land than ever dreamed possible. Even Europe, with all its political limitations in agriculture. Food is a cheap commodity and that makes it a values issue.

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How Are Cancer Cells Like HeLA Able To Survive Evolution?

Jun 03 2019 - 10:06
Cancer starts as a single rogue cell whose mutations then trigger aggressive growth, damaging the health of the organism. But if cancer cells were accumulating harmful mutations faster than they could be purged, wouldn't the population eventually die out? How do cancer cells avoid complete genetic meltdown? 

To try and find answers, researchers in a recent study probed the most famous cultured cancer cells, HeLa cells, isolated from cervical cancer victim Henrietta Lacks in 1951 and becoming the first immortalized cell line.

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Dog Walkers: Because It Makes Them Happy

Jun 03 2019 - 09:06
Some will say that walking a dog is a conversation starter and the fitness benefits of walking are well-known, but most who walk their dog simply enjoy it, not because of health or social benefits.

Using 26 interviews combined with personal written reflections of dog walking experiences, the authors of a International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health paper found that while owners may say the reason they go walking is to benefit the dog, the importance of their own improved happiness and wellbeing is clear.

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The Biggest Risk Factor For Type 2 Diabetes Is Lack Of Fitness

Jun 03 2019 - 09:06
Though some diet book authors want to suggest certain food types have magical power - trans fats, non-nutritive sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar, etc. - the rise in type 2 diabetes does not have anything to do with soda and everything  to do with energy balance.

People who eat more calories than they burn on a consistent basis gain weight, and that eventually begins to hinder insulin production, which can mean type 2 diabetes. 

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Archeologists Are Too Colonial, Says Anthropologist

Jun 03 2019 - 09:06
In a recent paper, Lehigh University anthropologist Professor Allison Mickel says archaeological excavations are often led by foreigners from the West while dependent on the labor of people from the local community, a relic of Western colonial and imperial pursuits. 

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Pancreatic Cancer: Challenges And Treatment Advances

Jun 01 2019 - 09:06

With Alex Trebek’s recent announcement that his pancreatic cancer is in remission, many people have wondered if this difficult cancer is now easier to treat. Pancreatic cancer remains a major cancer killer, but advances are happening.

As a medical oncologist who specializes in treating and studying pancreatic cancer, I’ll try to provide insights, including some from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting now underway.

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The Human Role In Spread Of 90 Percent Of Hospital Infections

May 31 2019 - 09:05
People treated in hospitals and other health care settings are increasingly at risk of infection with multidrug-resistant bacteria. Many of these microbes produce enzymes called extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), which make them resistant to antibiotics. Understanding how ESBL bacteria spread from person to person is key to developing effective prevention strategies.

An observational study conducted in a French hospital showed that human contact was responsible for 90 percent of the spread of one species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to new patients, but less than 60 percent of the spread of a different species.

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You Weren't Born That Way - And Being Told You Are May Undermine Education

May 30 2019 - 13:05
If you survey educators and students, current or former, many will claim they have a learning style -  such as visual, auditory or tactile - that they were born with, and some say it predicts both academic and career success.

There is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new researc, but   surveys in the United States and other industrialized countries across the world have shown that 80% to 95% of people believe in learning styles. It's difficult to say how that myth became so widespread. 

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