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Updated: 36 min 34 sec ago

RIP Dr. Herb London: A Fine Conservative, A Great Man

Nov 13 2018 - 12:11

In late 2014 I came downstairs from my home office and said to my wife, "Herb London just left me a message."

"Is he any relation to Stacy London?" she asked in her offhand humor way. Well, yeah, she is his daughter, if you are from California, but if you are of my generation and from anywhere near the orbit of New York, you know who Herb London is. And Herb London was getting a return phone call.

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Global Warming May Be Damaging Sperm

Nov 13 2018 - 05:11
A new study in Nature Communications suggests that climate change could pose a threat to male fertility by increasing the number and severity of heat waves which damage sperm.

The authors contend that climate change is already having an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years. The authors suggest that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait. Sperm function is essential for reproduction and population viability, and so they sound a warning that biodiversity is already collapsing.

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Compounds From Coffee Offer Hope For Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Diseases.

Nov 12 2018 - 14:11
An exciting new class of potential inhibitors of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease has been isolated from coffee. Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Kembril Brain Institute in Toronto, Canada explains: “The consumption of coffee seems to have a correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzeimer’s disease and/or Parkinson’s disease”. Their investigations have recently been reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Among the results: Three types of coffee were investigated: caffeinated dark roast, caffeinated light roast, and decaffeinated dark roast. The results, according to Dr.

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If You Hate Trump Thank...1960s Canadian Urban Planning Policy?

Nov 12 2018 - 14:11

A new analysis links urban planning decisions - the freeways and local schools outside cities that made the suburbs possible - from decades past as why right-wing populism exists. 

They created their correlation by looking at voting trends up to 2010 in in the Toronto area and matched them to people moving out of the city. As the desire for a yard and a house increased, politicians began to consider people who want more comfort and convenience. And now a humanities scholar contends those people are now right-wing populists, in a creepy kind of left-wing frame, but the reason progressive demands for more "sustainability" have failed.

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To Make Better Translation Algorithms, Look To The Bible

Nov 11 2018 - 12:11
Medicine uses Latin because it is a 'dead' language - the meanings of the words will not change over time. But if you want to modernize translations to different languages, an ancient book may help: The Bible.

Tools to translate text between languages are widely available - and rather awful. While they can create literal translations, style is hard to bring across without human intervention. If you tried to read a translation of China's Liu Cixin using a computer, you would miss everything, most importantly a great example of the best science-fiction culture since America of the 1950s.

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You, 50 Years Later - New Study Says Your Personality Does Change

Nov 11 2018 - 09:11
Is your personality set in stone at a young age? If you were a jerk in high school will you still be a jerk at 60? Not necessarily. And what changes there are may not be defining. The only time you might see a big disparity could be when comparing yourself to others.

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Former NRC Head Gregory Jaczko Says Union Of Concerned Scientists Is Wrong On Nuclear

Nov 10 2018 - 09:11
Gregory Jaczko, Ph.D., has a degree in theoretical physics, a hatred for nuclear power, and a love for his former boss Senator Harry Reid of Nevada - which is why Reid lobbied so heavily to get him placed as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

The Chair of the NRC, tasked with managing nuclear energy in America, hated nuclear energy? Yes and he still does, but despite that he got the job because, well, that's politics. President George W. Bush was a dealmaker and Senator Harry Reid wanted the Bush administration to ignore two decades of studies showing that America needed one modern nuclear waste storage facility, rather than over 100 that exist now, and the perfect place was under a mountain in Nevada, Reid's state.

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Ancient Andeans Modified Wild Tubers Into Potatoes, Then The Potatoes Modified Them Back

Nov 09 2018 - 12:11
Recent DNA analyses show that ancient populations in the Peruvian highlands adapted wild tubers into potatoes - and then those potatoes in turn modified them in ways distinct from other global populations.

Potatoes are native to South America and became an agricultural crop in the Andean highlands of what is now Peru. But wild tubers genetically modified into potatoes did something interesting in return; they altered the genomes of the Andeans who made it a staple of their diet. Co-evolution. This co-evolution between agriculture and human is evident in the configuration of a gene associated with starch digestion in the small intestine - MGAM - in the agricultural ancient Andean genome samples, but not in hunter-gatherers down the coast.

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There Was No Blue Wave In The Mid-terms, Nor Was There A Green One, But There Was A Youth One

Nov 09 2018 - 07:11
Many trial lawyers hoping for new revenue streams suing over increased regulations woke up disappointed Wednesday morning, as were politicos and journalists hoping for a stern rebuke of President Trump.  There was no Green Wave, nor was there a Blue one.

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NanoFlu And ResVax: Make Or Break For Novavax

Nov 08 2018 - 17:11
In 2016, a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine candidate named the RSV F Vaccine failed in Phase III trials, which could have been a crippling blow for Novavax, but they may be on the road to recovery.

Companies have to have Phase III trials before they can get approval. Phase I proves safety and dosing while Phase II shows it is better than a placebo and Phase III is intended to show it either works better than existing treatments or has fewer side effects. That's all after numerical models and animal studies. Since FDA essentially doubled the costs to get drug approval in the early 2000s only the most promising drug advances to Phase III. perhaps 1 in 5,000 that look good on a computer. It simply isn't worth the cost otherwise.  

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How My Research On Ancient Egyptian Poetry Led To An Amazing Great Pyramid Discovery

Nov 08 2018 - 14:11

What began as an expedition to record the inscriptions of ancient Egyptian quarry workers produced a remarkable discovery about the Great Pyramid at Giza. My colleagues and I in the Anglo-French joint archaeological mission to the ancient quarry site of Hatnub recently revealed the existence of a well-preserved haulage ramp dating to the time of the Great Pyramid, roughly 4,500 years ago.

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How AMPK, Thought To Suppress Cancer, Actually Helps It Survive

Nov 08 2018 - 13:11
The protein complex AMPK is thought to suppress cancer, by slowing cellular metabolism, but it can also help some tumors grow.

But why? A new study says it has solved the mystery.

AMPK acts as a fuel gauge for the cell, overseeing energy input and output to keep the cell running smoothly. Similar to a car sensor flashing a low-gas signal or turning off a vehicle’s AC to save energy, AMPK slows down cell growth and changes the cell’s metabolism if the cell’s fuel (nutrients) is low.

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One Great Pyramids Mystery Solved

Nov 08 2018 - 12:11
The Great Pyramids have long been held up as the pinnacle of ancient engineering. Over 100 structures, some as high as were constructed of huge alabaster blocks, many quarried from Hatnub - the site of an new interesting discovery.

Given the challenges in building such huge structures, it is no surprised the Great Pyramid of Khufu is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It and others were built thanks to quarries connected to the Nile by Bronze Age roads. The blocks were transported by sleds. But what about construction? Huge ramps? Were they poured? Some even speculated about aliens.

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Organic Certification Is Not A Food Safety Standard

Nov 08 2018 - 10:11
When Miles McEvoy became Deputy Administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) he set out to do something in the Obama administration that Science 2.0 long had called for, and Consumers Union had been calling for a decade before us; spot field testing of organic food so their customers could be certain that the prohibited substances and excluded methods that marketers advertise in their process were actually not being used.

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New Molecules Similar To Carbohydrates Can Inhibit Enzymes In Infectious Diseases

Nov 08 2018 - 08:11
New molecules similar to carbohydrates have showed the capacity to inhibit the activity of a specific type of glycoside enzymes - and that means inhibiting infectious diseases.

Glycosides are essential enzymes to digest carbohydrates but they are also key players in infections caused by pathogens, in anti-bacterial defense and many other vital cellular processes. Because these small molecules that are able to bond with and inhibit the activity of enzymes in infectious diseases, it opens up the basis for new medicines. 

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Modus Operandi: The Methods By Which EPA & ATSDR Keep The Fear Alive

Nov 07 2018 - 18:11
George Washington may be the only popularly elected ruler in History who, when his supporters offered to crown him King, relinquished his power, instead. Politically speaking, that was a very unnatural thing to do. Historically, federal agencies have not surrendered their power, even after their congressional mandates were accomplished. Instead, they have invented new problems to solve, thereby justifying their continued existence.

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Was Oumuamua A Solar Sail From An Alien Civilization That Flew Past Earth Last Year? Entertaining But Implausible Suggestion

Nov 06 2018 - 13:11

Short summary: it's an entertaining but rather far fetched proposal in an arxiv preprint not published anywhere but mentioned in a Scientific American op ed. Implausible for many reasons including its spectrum which is not the shiny spectrum you'd expect from a solar sail but the red of tholins mixed with rock and metal as you'd expect from an asteroid / comet.

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2018 Politics Is The 'Year Of The Woman' - Except In California

Nov 05 2018 - 08:11

The midterm elections are widely expected to usher in this century’s “year of the woman” – an explosion of women entering government.

Massachusetts will likely elect its first black woman to Congress, Arizona is poised to send its first woman to the U.S. Senate, and fully 50 percent of Democratic congressional nominees this year are women.

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Your Poop Is Alive. Here's What's In It

Nov 03 2018 - 14:11

If you’ve ever thought your poo is just a bunch of dead cells, think again. Most of it is alive, teeming with billions of microbes. Here’s what studies in healthy adults reveal makes up our poo.

Water

Our feces is largely (75%) made up of water, although this differs from person to person.

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KCNK13- A Potential Target For The Treatment Of Alcohol Abuse

Nov 02 2018 - 18:11
Alcohol is a drug which needs no introduction given its (multi)age-old impact on humanity.

One crucial question is “what makes some people crave alcohol in excess acutely ie a single sitting and/or chronically over time”? Scientists have long known that the answer involves the neurotransmitter dopamine in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain.

Recently Mark Brodie, Professor of Physiology and BioPhysics at the University of Illinois at Chicago published an interesting article in the journal Neuropharmacology. His research focused on the potassium channel KCNK13 which is found inside the membrane of dopaminergic neurons in the VTA.

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