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Updated: 46 min 59 sec ago

Fact Check: Is Chewing Gum 'Made' Of Plastic?

Aug 20 2021 - 11:08
A reader sent me an email asking about chewing gum and if it was really made of plastic and my first thought was 'Why ask me? Do what scientists do and go to Google, skip the first 10 entries, which will all be gamed by SEO experts at anti-science groups like Ecowatch, and then you will find the answer' but I was hooked when I saw the article linked was in The Economist.

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The Regenerative Ranching Racket

Aug 19 2021 - 13:08

“Thank you for being a regenerative farmer.

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Was Statistical Significance Embraced By Social Fields To Get Science Legitimacy?

Aug 18 2021 - 17:08
Statistical significance is valid, in the right hands, but in the wrong hands it does nothing but undermine trust in science. And it is almost always in the wrong hands. 

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Early Earth's Oxygen Buildup May Be Due To Longer Days

Aug 18 2021 - 11:08

Earth shifted from an anaerobic atmosphere to an aerobic one early in its life. However, for a long time, the question as to how it got there was still unresolved.

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Americans Were Surveyed About Subway And Megan Rapinoe Taking A Knee - Here's What They Said

Aug 17 2021 - 11:08
Subway Brand Ambassador and soccer star Megan Rapinoe kneeled during the national anthem at the Tokyo Olympics and Twitter did what Twitter was designed to do and went into spasms, despite that being about as edgy and controversial as endorsing clean water in 2021. Subway still had reason to worry. How will it affect sandwiches?  That is what they need to know, because selling sandwiches to 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans is better than selling sandwiches to 2 Democrats, no matter how you spin the math.

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Citrus Canker Returns To Texas, This Time With An Asian Mutation

Aug 16 2021 - 14:08
Citrus canker, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri, was first identified in the United States near the Florida-Georgia border in 1910 and then raged across southern states. 

It was considered eradicated in 1933, thanks to chemical intervention, but in 1995 it was found again in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This time, Florida found it impossible to eliminate and worked on containment. It moved to Louisiana in 2014 and 2016, USDA confirmed the presence of the Asiatic A strain, a more severe form of citrus canker, on two sour orange trees in Houston.

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The 25-Million Year Gap Between The 'Molecular Clock' And The Fossil Record Gets A Little Smaller

Aug 16 2021 - 13:08
Microfossils found in rock samples retrieved in Australia more than 60 years ago (DOI 10.1126/science.abj2927) fill an approximately 25-million-year gap in knowledge by reconciling the molecular clock - or pace of evolution - with the fossil spore record - the physical evidence of early plant life gathered by scientists over the years.

This reconciliation supports an evolutionary-developmental model connecting plant origins to freshwater green algae, or charophyte algae. The “evo-devo” model posits a more nuanced understanding of plant evolution over time, from simple cell division to initial embryonic stages, rather than large jumps from one species to another.

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Embattled WHO Epidemiologist Peter Ben Embarek Scrambles To Save His Reputation

Aug 16 2021 - 12:08
The epidemiologist and hand-picked team leader for the World Health Organization investigation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that erupted in Wuhan says the Chinese made him dismiss any link to the two coronavirus labs in Wuhan.

The problem with that narrative; China wanted Peter Ben Embarek leading the investigation. He had lived in Beijing for years and was considered an ally of the communist government inside WHO. WHO had already done everything China said to do, including claiming it did not transmit from human to human. They were certainly going to send in the person the Chinese wanted, for no other reason than that if they weren't allowed in at all, countries funding the UN might start to wonder about their lack of utility.

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If You Talk About 'Social Darwinism' A Lot You May Have Dysfunctional Psychological Characteristics

Aug 13 2021 - 11:08
It's common when the subject of stupid behavior comes up, like belief in supplements or acupuncture over medicine, for someone to post a picture of Darwin or recommend them for a Darwin award.

It's scientifically wrong - Aedes aegypti is an ecologically useless mosquito that is only a disease vector for yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika, etc. yet still exists - but it may also be a sign of dysfunctional psychological characteristics, such as exploitative attitudes towards others, hostility, and low self-esteem.
 
At least according to survey results in PLOS ONE.

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COVID-19: This Form Of Coronavirus Can Be Eradicated, But Is It Worth It?

Aug 12 2021 - 10:08
We have shown diseases can be eliminated, like polio and smallpox, but can you eliminate something like COVID-19?

Coronavirus was only recognized as distinct from the common cold in the 1960s so it's impossible to know what impact it had throughout history and was just called flu or something else. COVID-19 was the third coronavirus pandemic of this century and we didn't worry about eradicating SARS and MERS, it was just important than the pandemic would stop.

Yet COVID-19 and the media attention it brought has thrown out the virology rulebook; some epidemiologists are overruling scientists and declaring everyone needs to wear masks until it is eradicated, but is that even possible?

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Jamming Transition: This New Fabric Is Also Like Chain Mail That Can Get Hard On Demand

Aug 12 2021 - 10:08
A new lightweight fabric is 3D-printed from nylon plastic polymers comprises hollow octahedrons (eight equal triangular faces) that interlock with each other.

While soft, the fabric can be wrapped within a flexible plastic envelope and vacuum-packed, which makes it rigid - 25 times stiffer or harder to bend. This ‘wearable structured fabrics’ could be optimized to harden automatically, or tuned manually when needed. Modern chain mail, anyone? That LARP weekend just got a lot more fun to watch.

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Appellate Court On Glyphosate Trial - Plaintiff’s Conduct 'Was Clearly Improper'

Aug 11 2021 - 17:08
The First Appellate District court has found that in the glyphosate $2 billion jury award already lopped down to $82 million, while “counsel’s conduct was clearly improper” it wasn’t heinous enough to prejudice the trial results and did not violate federal law. Their lawyer told jurors not to touch a spray bottle without gloves, which is certainly prejudicial to anyone with a clue about science, but the lawsuit was not about science, it was about emotion - and the attorney trying to get rich suing Monsanto simply manufactured emotion.

The bottle contained water.

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How To Read A Graph - Part 2

Aug 11 2021 - 11:08
In a recent post I discussed how even the simplest kind of data display graph - the histogram - can sometimes confuse and be misinterpreted. Which is a total howler, as graphs are supposedly means of clarification and immediate, at-a-glance, interpretation of data summaries.

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Preserving The World's Biodiversity Outside Of Conservation Areas? It's Possible

Aug 10 2021 - 23:08

Conservation areas have been one of the most successful methods for the modern world to ensure we preserve biodiversity. By declaring areas as protected, the biodiversity (both flora and fauna) is safe from hunting. Even in these areas, however, the problem of illegal hunting and poaching exists. Protected and conservation areas are the best attempt we currently have to keep the world's biodiversity alive.

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IARC Creates A 'Get To Know A Scientist' Series - Now They Just Need To Hire One

Aug 10 2021 - 12:08
The international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France was once one of the most respected epidemiology groups in the world. Today, their reputation is in a shambles.

They'd like to fix that, and to humanize their group they have created one of those 'get to know us' things. It's a fine publicity stunt but it does not mask the real problem; they do not want to inform public health, they no longer find carcinogens - they manufacture them.

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Beware Pests; There Is A New Carnivorous Plant Out There

Aug 09 2021 - 20:08
Urban people may believe nature is balanced and peaceful and pristine but biologists know that nature really just wants to suck the nutrients from your dead corpse.

Insects have more nature to worry about, in the form of the delicate stalk and pretty white flowers of Triantha occidentalis, the first new carnivorous plant to be identified by botanists in 20 years. It is notable for the unusual way it traps prey with sticky hairs on its flowering stem.



Triantha occidentalis in a bog at Cypress Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Danilo Lima

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How To Get More Women In Cardiovascular Clinical Trials?

Aug 09 2021 - 16:08
Nearly 30 years ago, scientists agreed that for clinical trial results to be valid for both sexes, they needed more women.

Yet women seem to be a lot less likely to sign up for clinical trials for cardiovascular disease. The authors of a new paper outline the issue as to why:

Differential Care – Low rates of referral to cardiologists and specialty programs for more aggressive care might lead to fewer women being treated by specialists recruiting for clinical trials.

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Thapunngaka Shawi: The Fearsome Beast Of Wanamara Discovered

Aug 09 2021 - 11:08
A fearsome beast soared above the ancient, vast inland sea once that once covered covering much of outback Queensland. This newly found pterosaur, named Thapunngaka shawi, was discovered in Wanamara Country, near Richmond in North West Queensland.

It's the stuff of nightmares, with a spear-like mouth containing 40 giant teeth and a wingspan around 20 feet.

We may imagine it to be like a big bird or a bat but that is not so, according to University of Queensland doctoral student Tim Richards: "Pterosaurs were a successful and diverse group of reptiles – the very first back-boned animals to take a stab at powered flight.”

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Why The New Tcc+ Tetraquark Will Revolutionize Physics

Aug 07 2021 - 11:08
The discovery of a new exotic hadron, named T_cc+,  was announced by the LHCb Collaboration a little over a week ago. Unlike some previous discoveries of other resonances by the LHC experiments (dozens have been announced since 2010 by LHCb, and to a lesser extent by CMS and ATLAS) the one of the T_cc+ is is very significant and exciting, and it promises to advance our understanding of low-energy QCD, with repercussions across the board.

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Agroecology Has Become The New European Colonialism In Africa

Aug 04 2021 - 11:08
Are you a white person who believes you have a moral imperative to introduce your superior belief system to brown and black people in other countries who have not yet been converted?

No, you're not a 19th century European missionary, you work at a modern European environmental NGO.
 
That reads provocative, even inflammatory, but it may be happening. And agroecology academics want to stop it before it is too late.

Europe has made it plain that they want European laws to be earth's laws. If a developing nation uses a safe pesticide that Europe has still chosen to ban, Europe will put them in their economic ghetto, along with imports from Israel.

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