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The Queasy Link Revealed: US Right To Know And The Trial Lawyer Just Busted For Extortion Over Glyphosate

Dec 23 2019 - 05:12
Timothy Litzenburg, lawyer on a team that helped convince a jury to ignore science and give a $289-million judgment against Monsanto over the weedkiller glyphosate, has been arrested for the attempted extortion of $200 million from Nouryon, another company involved in production of the same weedkiller.

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Dickens Created Victorian Christmas, And That Imagery Shapes Christmas Now

Dec 22 2019 - 10:12

December 25, as we all know, is Jesus Christ’s birthday, a Christian celebration in which the myth of three kings who travelled far and wide to give gifts to the “new born king” inspires the modern Christian tradition of gift giving. Early gifts used to be fruits or nuts, but as this act took on more importance, gifts became larger and less modest, and were placed under a tree.

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Impossible Burger: FDA Scoffs As Center for Food Safety Lawyers Lose Another Battle Against Science

Dec 21 2019 - 12:12
Center for Food Safety, an organic industry-funded activist group, tried to stop the Impossible Burger from being "approved" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the grounds that it is, you know, based on science.

That it is a plant, and therefore uses no meat, and therefore is more ethical and means less emissions than ranching, according to proponents, did not matter, because the organic food industry can't grow if science does; they truly fund deniers for hire to block out things like genetic engineering.

But not all genetic engineering. They are fine with mutagenesis, plant strains created using chemical and radiation baths, they are even happy those are certified organic - only with 80 synthetic exemptions that can still carry the organic label.

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No Isolator Needed: Space-Time Metasurface Makes Light Reflect Only In One Direction

Dec 21 2019 - 10:12
Light propagation usually goes both ways; it is reciprocal in that the trajectory of light traveling one direction is identical in the opposite direction.

Isolators and circulators, which make light propagate only in one direction, are vital building blocks in many modern laser and communication systems, but are almost exclusively based on the magneto-optic effect, making devices bulky and difficult for integration. A magnetic-free route would be a great breakthrough for many optical applications. 

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The Historical Evolution Of Christmas Decorations

Dec 21 2019 - 07:12

The idea of hanging up decorations in the middle of winter is older than Christmas itself. Decorations are mentioned in ancient descriptions of the Roman feast of Saturnalia, which is thought to have originated in the 5th century BC.

Some 900 years later, a Christian bishop in Turkey wrote disapprovingly about members of his congregation who were drinking, feasting, dancing and “crowning their doors” with decorations in a pagan fashion at this time of year.

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'Torture': Vegan Couple Charged With Murder After Son Dies From Malnutrition

Dec 20 2019 - 18:12
Ryan Patrick O'Leary, 30, and Sheila O'Leary, 35, only fed their kids raw fruit and vegetables and their 18-month-old son starved to death. According to the police report, the child weighed only 17 pounds, what a healthy seven-month-old would weigh but was starvation for a child nearly two years of age. The child was born in their home and had never seen a doctor. 

A Lee County Grand Jury has indicted the couple, charging them with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect. It was simple torture, according to authorities.

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Operation Vapor Lock: DEA Cracks Down On 44 Websites Advertising Illicit THC Vaping Cartridges

Dec 20 2019 - 12:12
The CDC has updated its fatality and illness list due to illicit marijuana vaping. Now there have been 54 deaths and 2,506 hospitalizations. The culprit is Vitamin E acetate, needed to make marijuana tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)products into a vapor because, unlike nicotine, it does not dilute readily.

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Falcons See Prey At Twice The Speed Of Humans - And What That Means For All Bird Care

Dec 20 2019 - 11:12
You may be aware that film runs at 25 frames per second because humans will then not see it as individual images. These 'blinks per second' are measured in Hertz and some humans can see up to 60 Hz.

You may not sleep well if you have a light blinking all night. And a new study shows that in bird care, light control is even more important than realized.

A new study has found that birds of prey have much greater visual acuity but a peregrine falcon is over twice as adept as humans - 129 Hz, which would be like being able to see the details of a race car driver's face as they zoom by you at 200 miles per hour.

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Unmanned Starliner Delivery Vehicle Fails To Reach Correct Orbit

Dec 20 2019 - 10:12
NASA has spent $7 billion on a program to launch humans from the U.S. and end reliance on Russians to get to the International Space Station, but an important test for Boeing hit a snag.

The Starliner is hoping to compete with SpaceX, which already had a successful docking earlier this year.

NASA wants to outsource more of this kind of thing but the program is two years behind schedule, which along with chronics overruns and delays on programs like the James Webb Space Telescope has led to renewed concerns that NASA is no longer equipped to do big programs and should stick to smaller experiments like cute robots on Mars, while outsourcing advanced technology to contractors, the way they did in the 1960s.

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Ervebo Is First FDA-Approved Vaccine For Prevention Of Ebola

Dec 19 2019 - 21:12
Merck has received approval for Ervebo, the first F vaccine for the prevention of Ebola virus disease (EVD), caused by Zaire ebolavirus in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Cases of EVD are very rare in the U.S., only acquired by individuals in other countries who then traveled to the U.S., or health care workers who became ill after treating patients with EVD.

“While the risk of Ebola virus disease in the U.S. remains low, the U.S. government remains deeply committed to fighting devastating Ebola outbreaks in Africa, including the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Anna Abram, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Legislation, and International Affairs.

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Philippines Approves Golden Rice

Dec 19 2019 - 18:12
Lacking any corporate overlord with highly paid attorneys, environmental groups have been able to keep Golden Rice - genetically engineered to produce more beta carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, necessary for healthy living - from being approved in countries where malnourished kids are common.

No longer. Philippines has shucked off Western neo-colonialists and their White Savior rhetoric about protecting poor people from science and approved Golden Rice. 

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Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Letter To A Shipping Company That Ruined His Turkey

Dec 19 2019 - 13:12
This morning I took a shot on Twitter at Skybound Games, which is a presumably small company that wants to make a go of it in comics and custom collectible stuff, but are now on their third missed date for something I ordered and have also irked fans of another collectible product.

Good thing for them I am not Charles Dickens, The Man Who Invented Christmas, because if I were, people would be reading my letter 150 years from now. 

Dickens is, of course, the author of "A Christmas Carol", which not only rejuvenated his career after a few flops (and over the skepticism of his publisher, because it was a relatively minor religious holiday, and adding in ghosts was garish in their minds), it made Christmas the phenomenon it is now.

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Hallmark CSI: The Formula Works For Anything. I Made My Own And So Can You

Dec 19 2019 - 12:12
Two years ago we were helping my mother-in-law get settled into her new place and, with the manual labor done and my usefulness diminished, she and her daughters talked details and I sat in a chair. A Hallmark movie was on. I had never seen it before but I was convinced I had.

After about 10 minutes, when a seemingly avoidable misunderstanding occurred onscreen, I began taking notes on my phone and talking about the action. My family asked what I was doing and I declared that this was brilliant storytelling. This formula could work with anything, it was that rock solid.

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At 386 Million Years Old, New York Has The World's Oldest Forest

Dec 19 2019 - 00:12

Scientists have discovered remnants of the world's oldest fossil forest in of all places, a sandstone quarry in Cairo, New York.

It is believed the extensive network of trees is around 386 million years old and spread into Pennsylvania and beyond.

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Applications Open For March 2020 AAAS Adolescent Health Journalism Boot Camp

Dec 18 2019 - 14:12

SciLine, a journalism program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is hosting a free boot camp for journalists at University of Maryland, Baltimore County from March 19 - 21, 2020.

"Covering the Evidence: Adolescent Health" is an all-expenses-paid boot camp designed to deepen journalists’ knowledge of adolescent health and behavior issues, while also building communication skills among scientists conducting related research and fostering trust and understanding between these two professional groups. In addition to joint activities with scientists, journalists will get up to speed on the science behind newsworthy issues facing today’s teens.

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Trump Administration Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking To Import Prescription Drugs From Canada

Dec 18 2019 - 11:12
The Trump administration has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow for the importation of certain prescription drugs from Canada. In addition, the Administration is announcing the availability of a new draft guidance for industry that describes procedures drug manufacturers can follow to facilitate importation of prescription drugs, including biological products, that are FDA-approved, manufactured abroad, authorized for sale in any foreign country, and originally intended for sale in that foreign country.

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Like Board Games? This Is The Surprising Best U.S. City For You

Dec 17 2019 - 12:12
Board games, where you play on an actual board, were once common in every household. Games have a long history, thousands of years, but board games took off in diversity in the 20th century, thanks to "Monopoly" and then others.

It's impossible to predict the future so they may never again reach the peak popularity they once had, or they may stage a resurgence as young people want to take a break from an increasingly digital society. They may even become bigger than ever. I never once played Texas Hold 'em as a young guy in Pennsylvania but in the 2000s it took off nationwide and has now become the most popular form of poker.(1) My kids have never played draw or stud but I showed them how to play Hold'em.

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Britain's The Guardian Has A Real Gullibility Problem When It Comes To Science

Dec 16 2019 - 18:12
The Guardian is a left-wing newspaper in the U.K. and so it's no surprise that they cop to a lot of the issues that left-wing people in the UK agree with - all modern biology leads to Frankenfoods, all energy except solar and wind are bad, vaccines causes autism (they seems to have finally reversed course on that one), and while I noted in Science Left Behind that kooky progressives believe in a lot more woo than the normal public - from psychics and ghosts to UFOs - I didn't think they thought chemicals were traveling back in time.

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Mitochondria Send Out Cellular Distress Signals When DNA Are Damaged, Like In Chemotherapy

Dec 16 2019 - 14:12
Mitochondria, the energy factories in most of our cells that convert the fat, carbohydrates, and protein we eat into a common energy currency used by our bodies, also set off molecular alarms when cells are exposed to stress or chemicals that can damage DNA, such as chemotherapy, according to a new study in Nature Metabolism.

This basic research could one day lead to applied science, like cancer treatments that prevent tumors from becoming resistant to chemotherapy.

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Humans Have A “Natural” Lifespan Of 38 Years

Dec 15 2019 - 06:12

Humans have a “natural” lifespan of around 38 years, according to a new method we have developed for estimating the lifespans of different species by analyzing their DNA.

Extrapolating from genetic studies of species with known lifespans, we found that the extinct woolly mammoth probably lived around 60 years and bowhead whales can expect to enjoy more than two and a half centuries of life.

Our research, in Scientific Reports, looked at how DNA changes as an animal ages – and found that it varies from species to species and is related to how long the animal is likely to live.

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