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A Fantasy In Db Minor

Jul 12 2022 - 13:07
Now and then I find the time to write music for piano. It is a compelling, satisfying activity that however demands my full immersion for several hours at a time - if I want anything to come out from it. It happened again last Sunday, when I spent the whole day at the keyboard of the beautiful Yamaha C3 artistic edition I bought last year (and am still paying). But in truth, the work is only initially at the keyboard of the piano: after having taken note of a few themes and ideas, the activity switches to a software called Finale, which enables one to write sheet music and check it through a synthesizer that lets you hear what you wrote sounds like without having to go back and forth to the piano. 

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FDA Busts US Royal Honey LLC For Its All Natural Products - Because They Contain Illegal Drugs

Jul 12 2022 - 11:07
Another day, another all-natural sexual enhancement stimulant product has been shown to be a dangerous fraud. The US FDA has sent a warning to four companies claiming they are "all natural" but containing real drugs illegally; Cialis (tadalafil) and Viagra (sildenafil).

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Environmental Governance

Jul 12 2022 - 11:07

Lately I’ve been thinking and writing about environmental governance. Here’s a summary. It has to do with the consequences of not thinking systemically; combining top-down and bottom-up policies; technology forcing; fairness and the SDGs; and prospects of violence.

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Mendel At 200: Why The Austrian Monk Is The Father Of Genetics

Jul 12 2022 - 09:07
Newly-discovered historical information adds weight to the belief that given what was known in the mid-19th century, Gregor Mendel, the Austrian (Moravian, now part of the Czech Republic) Monk was even further ahead of his time.  So advanced his work was criticized by some as 'too good to be true' despite surviving every challenge.

Resentful scientists may have later tried to claim he must have used more than science but today he is seen as so ahead of his time his work is uncontroversial. Yet at the time the science community ignored him, perhaps because he was a religious leader and not a career scientist, and perhaps because he had no desire to self-promote, or perhaps because it was too advanced for the existing science community to accept.

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There's A Gender Pay Gap But It's Smaller In Occupations Dominated By Men

Jul 08 2022 - 14:07
The wage gap between genders has always had some cultural traction but there were also always odd pockets where it was worse - including what you wouldn't have expected. Environmental groups had far more women but the wage gap between what they paid men and women was alarming compared to engineering, where there were fewer women as a total percentage but no meaningful pay disparity.

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Maybe Hangry Is Not Just A Marketing Invention - New Survey Links Hunger To Irritability

Jul 07 2022 - 17:07
Hangry, a portmanteau of hungry and angry, is widely used in everyday language but the phenomenon has not been widely explored by science outside of laboratory environments. You have probably seen it in television commercials, where someone is irritable, complains a lot, or fatigued until they get a candy bar, when they revert back to themselves.

A new survey finds it is not just clever marketing. 

The team recruited 64 adult participants from central Europe, who recorded their levels of hunger and various measures of emotional wellbeing over a 21-day period.

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Observations From The Past Can Help Inform Climate Changes

Jul 07 2022 - 14:07
Prior to the 1980s, most thermometers were both inaccurate and not placed using scientific methodology. But tree rings need time and ice cores even longer, which means for recent periods of time have to rely on observational claims and hope to control for their accuracy.

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A Million-Year-Old Mammoth May Hold The Key To The Future Of Food

Jul 07 2022 - 13:07

Our modern human diet is remarkably versatile. Modern farming practices and technological innovations allowed an unprecedented variety of dietary choices. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors, though, didn't have this luxury. The harsh climate during cold seasons forced them to hunt for prey to satisfy their caloric needs when  plants were too scarce. The hunting pressure was so high that it drove many species to extinction, including mammoths.

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Appetite Map Of How Brain Functions Shape Cravings

Jul 07 2022 - 10:07
Why do most people eat dessert after dinner but not before? Culture, or the brain? 

The prevailing belief is that the body often needs protein so only after that is obtained are carbohydrates 'craved', to add to the body’s fat stores. Yet it is not so simple and a new study combines effects to see how the brain's parallel internal states guide behavior.

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FDA Lets Pharmacists Prescribe Paxlovid For COVID-19

Jul 06 2022 - 16:07
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) now allows pharmacists to prescribe it.

The reason is because it needs to be administered within 5 days and in modern health care, you are lucky to get an appointment within 2 months - unless you have the same health insurance politicians give themselves. So FDA wants to make it possible for pharmacists to provide it and bypass the morass politicians created in health care.

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How The Brain Reduces The Urge To Act Impulsively

Jul 06 2022 - 11:07
We all know people who have poor impulse control. They can't open a bag of chips without eating the whole thing, or they lose their temper over something minor and can't calm down. A new study finds it may involve two major circuits in the basal ganglia. 

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The Clean Power Plan Was Abuse Of Regulatory Power And Never Enacted - SCOTUS Shows Why

Jul 04 2022 - 17:07
In the waning days of the Obama administration, he did what presidents often do when they have no campaigns left - moved on pet projects. In this case, he had an irrational love of solar power, believing that if government threw $50 billion at it all at once, it would accomplish what the private sector had not been able to do for 50 years.

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Artificial-Intelligence Assisted Design Of Experiments

Jul 01 2022 - 16:07
Yes, I know - I have touched on this topic already a couple of times in this blog, so you have the right to be bored and surf away. I am bound to talk about this now and then anyway, though, because this is the focus of my research these days. 
Recently I was in the Elba island (a wonderful place) for a conference on advanced detectors for fundamental physics, and I presented a poster there on the topic of artificial-intelligence-assistend design of instruments for fundamental physics. Below is the poster (I hope it's readable in this compressed version - if you really want a better pic just ask).



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There Is Already A 14 Week Abortion Ban - In France

Jun 29 2022 - 10:06
On the heels of the Supreme Court making a somewhat bizarre ruling that undid another bizarre ruling - Roe V Wade in 1973 found that abortion could not be illegal under the 14th Amendment, the 2022 ruling found that the 14th was irrelevant to abortion - there are concerns about abortion limits being put into place by states.

The problem is the same as it always was, and what made abortions controversial in the US and abroad - there were no limits. America was one of only two countries (Canada the other) that had no federal limit. They couldn't, because Roe V Wade only found that it could not be illegal, not that it was like interstate trucking and was under the control of the federal government.

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Odin Tubulin May Be A Missing Link Beween Single-Celled Organisms And Humans

Jun 28 2022 - 11:06
Eukaryogenesis is the point at which animal and plant cells separate from bacteria. In animal and plant cells, tubulin forms microtubules which are critical to their internal organization, because they support the cell, giving it structure, shape, and internal organization.

Because it is so essential to the cell, uncovering the origin of tubulin would be a remarkable step in understanding how the complex cells found in animals and plants diverged from the single cells of bacteria.

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Supply Chain Issues Are Creating A Food America Environmentalists Want - And That's Bad

Jun 27 2022 - 19:06
In the 1960s and '70s, population apocalypse stories were popular. Movies like "Soylent Green" and books like "The Population Bomb" and "Ecoscience" provided dystopian views of the future, where science would fail and government would be forced to get drastic, with forced sterilization and abortion needed until the number of people got down to a limit farming could sustain.

That never happened. Progress did. Companies created new agricultural tools, herbicides were created that avoided resistance. Then we got GMOs. First in insulin, then they saved the papaya in Hawaii, and then we got common products like corn, soybean, and cotton. Food got more plentiful and more affordable.

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In A Unanimous Decision, SCOTUS Helps Pain Patients

Jun 27 2022 - 14:06
Prior to a real pandemic that they were hopelessly unequipped to deal with, the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had begun to manufacture epidemics. Once their mandate was increased to include that "and prevention" part, they began looking for issues to turn into crises. And funding.

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Rich People Who Grew Up Poor Are Less Likely To Be Sympathetic To The Poor Than Those Born Wealthy

Jun 27 2022 - 11:06
A saying in psychology goes that more truth comes out when people are drunk. This is even when it comes to politics, where studies showed that young people who espouse more liberal beliefs get more conservative when they are inebriated. They stop saying what they think they should be saying based on what people want to hear.

Along that line, a wealthy person who was raised poor is more likely to see through excuses of poor people than someone born into money, according to a new paper. They are less 'sympathetic' than people who have never had to struggle. 

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