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Read Arkani-Hamed's Interview: Learn From The Clear Thinkers

Mar 08 2019 - 14:03
Nima Arkani-Hamed needs no introduction - he's a superstar theoretical physicist, and whenever he speaks, his colleagues listen - so much so that his seminars regularly overrun twice past their scheduled duration, without anybody blinking. 
And today it's your lucky day (and mine), as you get to listen to a clear thinker explaining what really is the status of research in fundamental physics, and why it is actually extremely exciting, much to the discomfort of those who would prefer that public money were spent to reduce taxes (if you don't get the pun, please leave).

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Pancreatic Cancer And Why Alex Trebek Is Right To Have Hope

Mar 08 2019 - 14:03
Legendary "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek recently announced that at age 78 he has been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Then he stated he was confident he was going to beat the odds. Was he just engaging in positive thinking publicly while getting things in order privately? Nearly 80, with stage IV cancer, and in the pancreas? Aren't those all really bleak from a prognosis point of view?

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Today Kicks Off British Science Week

Mar 08 2019 - 02:03
Today through March 19th (or 19 March, since the British like to do things wrong even if they make more sense) is British Science Week, where they celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in a formal way. Informally they celebrate it every day, since they use cell phones, televisions, mass transit and residents of London are photographed by government 300 times each day. 

They have citizen science programs, activity packs for all ages and even a 5K run. I don't know how running a 5K fits into science but neither does dancing your PhD, and that's still pretty cool.


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CERN Deliberates Against Strumia

Mar 07 2019 - 16:03
Today's news is that five months after Alessandro Strumia's controversial talk at a conference on "Theory and Gender", CERN decided to terminate the Italian theorist's status of "guest professor", effectively cutting its ties with him. The decision certainly affects the ability of Strumia to further his research in particle phenomenology, which centered on models of physics beyond the Standard Model, and is rather unprecedented. 

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Are North Korea Rebuilding Missile Test Site To Prepare For A Dramatic Media Event Blowing Them Up?

Mar 07 2019 - 16:03

First this site has never been used for missile launching. It has only been used for satellites as part of North Korea’s ambitious civilian space program. They want to become one of the few countries able to launch satellites to geostationary orbit.

Although it could be used for a missile test, this seems unlikely. One suggestion is that it is to have more things to offer to demolish as part of future negotiations. Other suggestions include signaling impatience with the pace of negotiations, and a chess move to ratchet up pressure on Washington. It is not an attempt to do anything in secret as they know the world watches everything they do here. Whatever their reasons, they are doing it intentionally for show.

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Bell Burnell Pulsar Chart, Newton's Annotated Principia, and Darwin’s Personal On The Origin of Species Go On Display Tomorrow

Mar 07 2019 - 15:03
An exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the Cambridge Philosophical Society begins tomorrow and will run  until August 31, 2019 at Cambridge University Library.

"Discovery: 200 years of the Cambridge Philosophical Society" notes its role in some of the most significant scientific advances of the period, including Darwin’s theory of evolution, Lord Rayleigh’s seminal work on waves (Cambridge’s first Nobel Prize - they've now had 107 reside there), and the birth of ‘Big Data’ experiments from the 19th century.

One display especially relevant for International Women’s Day is the chart which captures the moment pulsars were discovered by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. It will be on display for the first time.

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The Next Generation Of Parents May Think It's Normal To Let Kids Play Again

Mar 06 2019 - 19:03
Two generations ago, it was normal for kids to play out on the street. But trust in media was high then and sensationalized accounts of kidnappings and white vans and accidents led to helicopter parents worried that their children would be kidnapped.(1) Today, unless there is an organized play date scheduled well in advance, kids are likely to stay indoors. Sports will cause concussions, after all.

That has led to kids being isolated and often obese.

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Socialist Libertarianism: How To Get 7 Beliefs Common To All Cultures Worldwide

Mar 05 2019 - 16:03
A paper in Current Anthropology uses writing to distill what the authors believe are seven rules of morals common worldwide

It's certainly a catchy idea for people who sit at the bar asking why Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East can't get along but there is a big problem putting them into practice. Some morals aren't creating common ground because they are in opposition to each other. 

The seven common moral beliefs Drs. Curry, Mullins, and Whitehouse, all of Oxford, list are: helping your family, helping a larger cause, reciprocity, being brave, respecting authority, dividing resources equally or by splitting the difference, and respecting the property of others. 

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Humanities Scholars Say If You Look Like A Stereotypical Scientist, You're More Likely To Become One

Mar 05 2019 - 14:03
A new paper says that how much you look racially stereotypical, like other members of your racial group, influences how likely you are to get a degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields.

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Pedestrian Traffic Deaths Have Returned To 1990 Levels: What Is Causing It?

Mar 04 2019 - 13:03
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a simple chart of pedestrian deaths is worth 6,227 - that is the number of pedestrian deaths last year, not the length of this article.

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Arctic Permafrost Carbon Release Significant But Exaggerated In News - Fifth Of Degree By 2299 At Most, Can Be Carbon Negative

Mar 01 2019 - 12:03

Short summary. The journalist stories often don't even mention that studies are not agreed on whether it is carbon positive or even perhaps carbon negative. The amount in the worst case is around an extra quarter of a degree rise by 2100, a slow burner through to the next three or four centuries. That is for “business as usual”.

For 3°C which we are close to already and easily achievable, then it is possible that it remains carbon negative and removes the equivalent of CO2 a fifth of a degree by 2299, and at most it is a fifth of a degree increase by 2299.

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'Apollo 11' Documentary - Review

Mar 01 2019 - 10:03
If you are in a hurry, I will save you some time. Do not walk, fly at 20,000 MPH to your nearest theater or Fandango or however you get IMAX tickets and see "Apollo 11."

I want to be the first to congratulate Todd Douglas Miller on his 2020 Academy Award, because unless someone pumps out a documentary about a minority transgender person with their heart on the outside who escapes North Korea and wins the Olympics, this is going to win.

And for good reason. It looks glorious, it feels glorious, it hearkens back to a time when NASA was bold and not a job works program. As a kid who lived a short distance from Cape Canaveral, I was fortunate to see an Apollo launch in person, and I have to tell you this is better. 

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Four Frequently Used Welsh English Words Link Wales To The Rest Of The World

Mar 01 2019 - 05:03

It will likely come as no surprise that the large majority of – if not all – people in Wales can speak English. While Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, English, along with Flemish, first rooted itself in small enclaves in southwest Wales as far back as the 12th century.

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Megachile Pluto: Wallace's Giant Bee Was Never Extinct, It Was Just Hard To Find

Feb 28 2019 - 16:02
Megachile pluto, Wallace's giant bee, is the world's largest, with a wingspan more than 2.5 inches. Though it should be easy enough to see, some had believed it was extinct because it hadn't been seen by western scientists since 1981.

In January, a search team set out to photograph Wallace's giant bee and successfully did so, declaring in a documentary they have "rediscovered" the species in the North Moluccas, an island group in Indonesia.

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A Blood Test To Measure Pain

Feb 28 2019 - 15:02
One of the problems that led to both opioid and medical marijuana overuse has been that the notion of pain is subjective. If someone claims they are in pain, a doctor has no way to know how much of it is real and how much is psychological.

A new test can identify biomarkers in the blood that can help objectively determine how severe a patient’s pain is. The blood test, the first of its kind, would allow physicians far more accuracy in treating pain—as well as a better long-term look at the patient’s medical future.

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Croatia Has Become An Associate Member Of CERN

Feb 28 2019 - 15:02
Croatian scientists have been engaged in scientific work at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for close to 40 years. Croatian scientists worked on the SPS heavy-ion programme and in 1994, research groups from Split officially joined the CMS collaboration. One year later a research group from Zagreb joined the ALICE collaboration, working with Croatian industry partners to contribute to the construction of the experiments’ detectors.

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Trump Kim Meeting Broken Off - It’s Not Nearly As Bad As It Seems. More Of A Failure Of A Major Agreement Than A Major Disagreem

Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

It is reasonably good news. Kim wanted the US to drop all sanctions in response for dismantling the publicly disclosed plant to make nuclear weapons materials. They weren't ready to do that. The US were willing to drop all sanctions in response to him completely denuclearizing but he wasn't ready to do that. He has a vision but not the same as the US vision but closer than it was a year ago.

Trump talked about them knowing the country very well (including nuclear facilities that NK has not disclosed). And that he wasn't willing to do enough.

Not a big disagreement. More that they were on the point of a big agreement but it fell through. And as Trump said he is not afraid to walk away from a deal.

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1.26 Kilometer Diameter Asteriod 2010 GD37 Is NOT Expected To Hit In December 2019 - Warning Level 0, NASA Did Not Issue Warning

Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

Short summary - NASA did not warn about this - it’s only at warning level 0 and has to be 5 or above to be of public concern. The best fit projected orbit takes it to somewhere out beyond Mars's orbit in December, and what's more, at the opposite side of the sun from Earth on that date. But based on only three and a third days of orbit. If it was going to hit then our telescopes should have spotted it by now. In particular, the new ATLAS early warning system has a warning time of a year for one kilometer or larger asteroids with 100% confidence. So I think we are pretty safe from this one.

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UN Biodiversity Report Far From Bleak - Encouraging Survey Of Measures To Preserve, Mapping Ways Forward To Meet Challenges

Feb 28 2019 - 15:02

This UN Report is not saying we are going to be unable to feed everyone. But we need to be careful to maintain the biodiversity of the wild relatives of our crops and also of our ecosystems to be most resilient. We don’t risk mass famine, they say that specifically in the interview with the BBC but we need the biodiversity to deal with future issues such as for instance pests and diseases of our crops. On this the situation is rather encouraging, especially if you read the report itself.

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Make Iridescent Color From Clear Drops Using Only Light - No Inks Or Dyes Needed

Feb 28 2019 - 11:02
Even if you are obsessed with "natural" things, the awesome power of physics can still help you make fun colors. It's all thanks to “structural color,” the ability of an object to generate color simply by the way light interacts with its geometric structure.

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