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Updated: 51 min 52 sec ago

NES/T Male Contraceptive Gel Promoted By Population Council Goes Into Clinical Trial

Nov 30 2018 - 16:11
The Population Council is enrolling 420 couples to test NES/T, which is the progestin compound segesterone acetate (Nestorone) in combination with testosterone.

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Plastic Is Here To Stay – An Environmentalist And An Archaeologist Discuss What Happens Next

Nov 30 2018 - 16:11

This is an article from Head to Head, a series in which academics from different disciplines chew over current debates. Let us know what else you’d like covered – all questions are welcome..

Sharon George: Plastics are ingrained in our everyday lives. Since 1950, it’s estimated that we have produced billions of tons of plastic, and most of this is not recycled.

Plastics have spread around the world through oceans, rivers and the air to every part of the planet. In rivers and oceans, plastic moves vast distances and is now found right through the water column of the oceans, from the surface to the deepest trenches.

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Gone With The Wind Is The Most Successful Movie Of All Time, But The Wizard Of Oz Is Most 'Influential'

Nov 30 2018 - 15:11
There's no question "Gone With The Wind" is the most successful movie of all time, when you count tickets sold, but it's not the most influential. Nor is "Star Wars."

A network analysis instead shows that title goes to "The Wizard Oz", the definitive Judy Garland film.

The analysis was of 47,000 films listed in IMDb (the internet movie database) and based on how much each film had been referenced by subsequent films.


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NAFTA 2.0 - A Win For Farmers And The Environment

Nov 30 2018 - 13:11
The North American Free Trade Agreement won't see its 25th birthday. The United States, Canada, and Mexico have signed on the dotted line for its replacement, The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.

The debate fell outside usual positions. Free trade is the hallmark of Republicans, they say, but they seemed to be unhappy with NAFTA. Democrats, in the old days, were protectionist about American workers, yet their criticisms suggested they wanted to keep manufacturing jobs in Mexico and for Canadian farmers to have a good deal in the U.S. while America got penalized in Canada.

What gives?  

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Science 2.0 Explains: What Is RNAi?

Nov 30 2018 - 12:11
In 8,000 B.C., when there were only about 10 million people on the entire planet, the boom and bust of famine and feast and wondering when the next meal would be was already a cultural concern. 

And so agriculture was created. Mankind set out to do genetic engineering, doing RNA Interference (RNAi) cereals, legumes, roots and tubers. They not only scientifically selected for larger fruits, uniform ripening and taste, they even turned dangerous natural foods into healthy ones. 

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Social Psychologists Don't Trust Evolutionary Psychologists - And Scientists Don't Trust Either

Nov 30 2018 - 11:11
Do you want to believe that your car grill is determined by your personality or that lap dancers get better tips when they are ovulating? You probably like evolutionary psychology. Want to believe that surveys of psychology undergraduates at elite schools represent humanity, without the expense and risk of dealing with real people, who can be pretty sketchy? Social psychology is for you.(1)

Scientists don't think much of either and would prefer they stay in the humanities buildings, because evolutionary psychologists want to make everything about sex, while social psychologists claim there are no differences between sexes. 

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Fruit Flies Have The Cognitive Ability To Learn Sexual Preferences - And Perhaps Transmit Them Culturally

Nov 30 2018 - 03:11
Do Drosophila, commonly called fruit flies, have culture?

Culture, lasting changes in a group that cannot be ascribed to genetic or ecological variation, is obviously a human quality, and it may be found in other vertebrates like some other primates and birds. A new computer simulation says it may be in fruit flies also.

Fruit flies can learn and copy the sexual preferences of their conspecifics after observing them copulating. For a behavioral pattern to be deemed culturally transmitted, there are considered:

1) the behavior must be learned socially, which is to say by observing conspecifics,
2) be copied from older individuals,
3) be memorized over the long term,

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What Happens When Millennials Run The Workplace? Mic Now Knows The Answer

Nov 29 2018 - 17:11
Want to know how to create a $1 million company? Give $60 million to someone claiming they are going to revolutionize journalism by hiring a bunch of young, edgy people who don't care about business or making money, but who believe success happens by being popular on Facebook.

You know who is the only company with long-term success being popular on Facebook? Facebook. For everyone else, it is a terrible business model. "Field of Dreams" was just a movie, folks, wishful thinking and building something no one wanted is not why Reaganomics worked. 

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Women Only Earn 49% Of What Men Do, If You Use The Right Helping Verb

Nov 29 2018 - 16:11
Women May Earn Just 49 Cents on the Dollar, is the title of an article by Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic.

It's only below the fold that, after laying out lots of links and obfuscation and conflicting claims designed to make the audience believe the situation is oh so complicated that we get this quiet disclaimer:

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Fast Radio Bursts: Solving One Of The Universe's Mysteries

Nov 29 2018 - 08:11

One of the most baffling puzzles of modern astrophysics is the nature of Fast Radio Bursts, which were discovered in 2007. These are seemingly rare, extremely bright flashes of light with radio wavelengths. They last only milliseconds; originate outside our galaxy, the Milky Way; come from regions with enormously strong magnetic fields; and pass through a significant amount of gas or dust before reaching Earth.

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Wiley Debunks Fake News Censorship Claims

Nov 29 2018 - 03:11
John Wiley&Sons Inc., the global academic publishing house with nearly $2 billion in revenue, recently got embroiled in a Twitter controversy about the efforts of one publication to go open access.

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Jennifer Doudna, Co-Inventor Of CRISPR, Tells People To Calm Down About Gene Edited Babies

Nov 28 2018 - 14:11
Though vitriol and outrage are common in western culture in 2018, when it comes to claims that a researcher in China used CRISPR technology to edit a human embryo, bloggers, journalists and scientists on social media have taken it to another level.

Without even reading the paper. Because there isn't one. Nor is there any data.

It's just some guy claiming he did it, not once but twice. And based on that people are going on tirades about how it violates ethics - well, their subjective notion of ethics, none of which have anything to do with the culture of China. 

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Educated Women Trust Dr. Google, A Lot

Nov 28 2018 - 13:11
A new paper in Health, Risk&Society reports that women concerned about breast cancer often go to "Dr. Google" first but how much they trust it varies - more educated women, for example, trust it more, while less educated women would rather see a doctor.

This was a tiny survey, 27 women between 47 and 67 years of age, so the results are scientifically meaningless, but it is at least interesting that they found different levels of engagement with the internet for health information and those were driven by a range of attitudes and levels of trust. Women with little or no educational qualifications trusted  "Dr. Google" less, and the Internet in general, believing it could lead to misdiagnosis or to unnecessary worry about what their symptoms might mean.

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With CRISPR, Let's Not Make The Cultural Mistakes Of Stem Cells All Over Again

Nov 28 2018 - 12:11
When Dr. He Jiankui announced that he had used CRISPR to prevent future HIV infection in twin girls, there was outrage across the United States, but most of it had nothing to do with science. It was instead concern that a mad scientist with suspect ethics had used a new technology to edit human embryos, and if that remains unchecked Frankenhumans could be born. 

It may be 2018 but it feels like 2001 all over again. 

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More Brown Fat May Be A Solution For The Obesity Crisis

Nov 28 2018 - 08:11

Obesity is a disease where people accumulate more and more fat. When they reach a certain point, their fat stops working and they develop disease, such as type 2 diabetes. But not all fat is bad. The fat that accumulates in obesity is called white fat, but a second form of fat (brown fat) could actually be used to treat obesity.

Brown fat has evolved to turn fuel into heat. In small animals, like mice and voles, brown fat makes heat that helps them survive, even in freezing temperatures.

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Oxygen-Producing Photosynthesis Could Have Been Happening A Billion Years Earlier

Nov 27 2018 - 18:11
Oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere is necessary for complex forms of life, which use it during aerobic respiration to make energy. The levels of oxygen dramatically rose in the atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago, and speculation is that is when organisms called cyanobacteria, which perform the same type of organic photosynthesis that all plants do today, first evolved, and  could perform oxygen-producing (oxygenic) photosynthesis.

Perhaps cyanobacteria could have evolved before 2.4 billion years ago but something prevented oxygen from accumulating in the air.

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Rogue Science? The Case Of The First Gene-Edited Babies

Nov 27 2018 - 17:11

The idea of scientists tinkering with the genes of babies was once the provenance of science fiction, but now it’s apparently entered the realm of reality: On Nov. 26, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reported the historic live births of twin girls whose genes he had edited. The goal may have been noble: to use CRISPR to alter their genes to include a variant protective against transmission of HIV.

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How Anti-Science Activists Manipulate Twitter - And How You Can Help Science Fight Back

Nov 27 2018 - 16:11
There is a reason that environmental groups and other anti-science activists out-earn the pro-science non-profit world by 1000X, and that reason is emotion.

See a scientist be emotional or aggressive in defending their work and any number of people, including other scientists, will chide them and say that is not how scientists are supposed to act. Meanwhile, the trial lawyers who run environmental groups know that they have set the bar for how they are supposed to act differently; they are supposed to be passionate. It's expected.

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Polio Vaccine - Soon With No Refrigeration Needed

Nov 27 2018 - 13:11
A polio vaccine that doesn't require refrigeration could be used all over the world, and that would bring an end to the devastating disease.

With just 22 reported cases worldwide in 2017, the highly infectious disease, which causes lifelong paralysis and disability mostly in young children, is on the brink of complete eradication. Yet in Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Syria and Pakistan, countries where vaccination rates are spotty, young children remain at risk.

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Carboxylase Plus Gene Editing Leads To Unusual Antibiotic

Nov 26 2018 - 18:11
A biosynthetic pathway in bacteria includes a a carboxylase enzyme which adds CO2 to a precursor molecule, producing a highly unusual antibiotic called malonomycin.

Unchecked antibiotic resistance could result in an estimated 10 million deaths every year by 2050, while guesses on cost to the global economy go as high as $70 trillion in lost productivity. 

The researchers found that CO2 was introduced into the malonomycin structure, by a carboxylase enzyme that has never been characterized in bacteria before. Malonomycin carboxylase is most similar to a carboxylase enzyme in human cells which uses vitamin K to add CO2 to proteins in our bodies, triggering essential physiological responses including blood coagulation.

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