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Seabirds Love Plastic - If 'Bioaccumulation' Is Real, There May Be Cause For Concern

Oct 11 2021 - 06:10
Though it is common to see environmental videos of birds caught in plastic, less well known is that, like cats, seabirds love to eat it.

Paracelsus famously noted that the dose makes the poison but in the 1990s some activist scientists began claiming that any dose is a poison, so even if birds excrete the plastic, chemicals can "bioaccumulate" and cause harm.

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A Mentor's Pentalogue

Oct 09 2021 - 06:10
I believe oceans of ink were spent, ever since pens were a thing, writing on the mentor-student relationship, its do's and don'ts, and the consequences of deviations from proper practice. And rightly so, as the balancing act required for a proper, effective teaching action is entirely non trivial. The fact that our didactical systems and academia are in constant evolution, that rules and courses formats change over time, and that as humans we tend to forget what has been learnt in the past (on good practice, I mean), require us to keep thinking about the topic, and continue to keep the discussion alive. 

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We Were Wrong About Daniel Craig As James Bond, Maybe We Were Wrong About His Stress Relief Also

Oct 08 2021 - 14:10
When Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond, he took a lot of criticism. I will be honest, I was among the critics. I have read every book, seen all the films, I wear both Charvet and Turnbull  &  Asser shirts for no other reason than they were in the books (the French brand for villains, naturally, and then Turnbull for the man himself) and I was firmly on Team Clive Owen for the role.

Craig was clearly a Sean Connery and not a Roger Moore, who was most like the Eton-schooled Bond in the books. He was too short but author Ian Fleming was creating an idealized version of himself, much like Dan Brown fictionalized himself as an Indiana Jones for art history majors, yet I conceded there is no reason all spies had to be 6 feet and up. 

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A Nobel To A Friend

Oct 08 2021 - 12:10
I very much would like to write about the Nobel prize in physics here today, but I realize I cannot really pay a good service to the three winners, nor to my readers, on that topic. The reason is, quite bluntly, that I am not qualified to do that without harming my self-respect. Also, I never knew about the research of two of the winners. 

As for the third, I do know Giorgio Parisi's research in qualitative terms, and I happen to know him personally; well, at least we are Facebook friends, as maybe 500 of his contacts can also claim - plus, he once invited me to a symposium at the Accademia dei Lincei, of which he his vice-president. And I did write about his scientific accomplishments in the past here, on two occasions.

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Organic Food Is Finally Big Food, Large Enough Monsanto Got Into It

Oct 07 2021 - 17:10
Organic food is a $120 billion industry, and while that's a tiny fraction of regular food it is large enough that companies like Chipotle and General Mills have tried to gain traction.

But a large seed company? That is new. Bayer, secretly now Monsanto (as anti-science activists love to claim in their conspiracy tales), is rolling out organic-certified seeds. 

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Hunting And Conservation: Why Environmentalists Should Be Allies

Oct 07 2021 - 10:10
In the modern environmental era, activists are mostly among a political tribe that opposes activities like hunting but they should not be. Hunters, fishers, and others are terrific stewards of nature and a natural world humans are banned from experiencing is a natural world that loses funding. Activists should want people experiencing nature.

Hunters are terrific allies. A new estimate finds that hunting also reduces CO2 emissions.



My approval of hunting is tempered with the same reality for why the organic backyard gardens of Dave Goulson or Michael Pollan are not sustainable for the public.

Here are 3 reasons to be skeptical

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The Science Surprise When OSIRIS-REx Reached Asteroid Bennu

Oct 06 2021 - 16:10
Telescopes and inference told scientists that the asteroid Bennu was covered in large swaths of fine regolith, smaller than a few centimeters. What they found when OSIRIS-REx arrived at Bennu was something else: A surface covered in boulders.

The surprise lack of fine regolith became even more interesting when mission scientists observed evidence of processes capable of grinding boulders into fine regolith. Yet they had not.

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California Court Dismisses Weedkiller Cancer Claim

Oct 06 2021 - 12:10
Clark v. Monsanto Co., 20STCV46616, filed by personal injury lawyers for Destiny Clark, was based on Clark's claim that the weedkiller Roundup was used outside their home and her belief it caused her son Ezra Clark's Burkitt's lymphoma. The company knew it caused cancer and refused to warn people, she alleged.

The case failed in court and trial lawyer advocates like US Right To Know will now be scrambling to do damage control for their clients.

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War On Vaccines: Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine Claims A Vegetarian Diet Makes COVID-19 Mortality Drop

Oct 06 2021 - 07:10
The animal right group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has an op-ed in American Journal of Medicine claiming that if you want the COVID-19 vaccine to work 'better', whatever that is supposed to mean, adopt a vegetarian diet.

It's easy to dunk on people taking ivermectin, they are dumb Republicans according to science-y Twitter, but this kind of nonsense is just as reckless if we want the public to trust science. I certainly would not want to visit Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where the lead author of the opinion piece teaches.

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Do You Fear 5G? 'Green' Airborne Antennas May Be For You

Oct 05 2021 - 12:10
A certain demographic have long had concerns about vaccines causing autism, along with fears about GMOs and cellphones causing cancer.

That last one has been the least active. Rich people have always been able to afford organic food and to count on poor kids getting enough vaccines to create herd immunity for their special snowflakes, but cell phones are more challenging because they are individual - and getting a new iPhone was a status symbol. Due to their omnipresence, signals are everywhere, just like TV and radio and cosmic rays before them, so most elites give up and recognize that unless Jimmy Choo makes a hat lined with tinfoil, they are stuck.

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Using Cell Lines And A Bioreactor, Finland Has Developed The Future Of Coffee

Oct 04 2021 - 13:10
Coffee may be about to get its first significant upgrade in 600 years. That's not to say there haven't been efforts to modernize coffee production since its earliest days in Sufi shrines, but that has been mainly in technology. The pan, like you use in delicious Turkish coffee, gave way to a syphon, which used the awesome power of heat-created vacuum physics, then gave way to its opposite, using good old brute force for espresso, but since then it has been all refinement to make brewing easier. If you have ever used a syphon or a truly old espressso machine you know it can be an artistic endeavor getting it right. 

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Acinus: Engineers Have Built A Pancreatic Cancer Time Machine

Oct 01 2021 - 14:10
Pancreatic cancer tends to develop from chronic inflammation that happens when a mutation has caused digestive enzymes to digest the pancreas itself.

What if we could go 'back in time' and reverse that process?

Purdue University Professor Bumsoo Han and his team built is a lifelike reproduction of a pancreatic structure called the acinus, which produces and secretes those digestive enzymes into the small intestine. The goal is reprogram the cancerous acinar cells that produce those enzymes, and perhaps completely reset the pancreas. 

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In 18 Years, Pumpkin Spice Knocked Out Apple As The Flavor Of Fall

Oct 01 2021 - 10:10
In the fall of 2003, Starbucks tested a new latte in two cities and autumn hasn't been the same since. The pumpkin spice craze was born. 

How did it all happen? We can thank free market economics. The company already had Christmas locked up with cups and flavors, like Peppermint Mocha and Eggnog latte, and wanted to do the same for Halloween. Or Thanksgiving. Whatever period lasts as long as Christmas seems to, they wanted to make money and the way to do that was to come up with something new, or at least new for their customers. 

Some cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove later and they had...pumpkin? Yep, except for some whipped cream on top there was no pumpkin in at all.

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Statistics Lectures, And On Ancillarity And The Neyman Construction

Oct 01 2021 - 06:10
The Corfu Summer Institute is a well-established institution for higher education, run since the paleolithic by the inexhaustible George Zoupanos, the soul of the whole thing. Generations of physicists have been trained in doctoral schools and conferences there over the past few decades. Of course the beauty of the island, set in the Ionian sea and green from the top of its mountains to the blue sea below, has helped to keep the events there well-attended, and even during the pandemic the events have been run in person.

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'Silent Earth' Review: Scientists Have Been Bought Off, Organic Can Feed Everyone - It's Retro Creepy In 2021

Sep 30 2021 - 14:09
To most people, food production, home ownership, and energy don't have much in common, but in the hands of 'science is a corporate conspiracy' theorist Dave Goulson, humans are ruining the planet. The common cultural cancer underpinning of our problem, he believes, is capitalism.

Rachel Carson believed misuse of DDT was harming birds, Goulson claims our very existence is. And his solemn false dichotomy choice to prevent it is Draconian. Start culling the human herd or create a level of social authoritarianism that even John Holdren, Paul Ehrlich, and Anne Ehrlich didn't advocate in their book "Ecoscience." And they embraced eugenics.(1)

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Come And Do Research In Particle Physics With Machine Learning In Padova!

Sep 28 2021 - 18:09
I used some spare research funds to open a six-months internship to help my research group in Padova, and the call is open for applications at this site (the second in the list right now, the number is #23584). So here I wish to answer a few questions from potential applicants, namely:
1) Can I apply? 
2) When is the call deadline?
3) What is the salary?
4) What is the purpose of the position? What can I expect to gain from it?

5) What will I be doing if I get selected? 


Answers:

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Does Biden's OSHA Mandate Violate The Nuremberg Code?

Sep 28 2021 - 12:09
President Biden is using his Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agency to mandate vaccines for companies - by saying they need it to protect workers' safety.

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Gallop: Both Republicans And Democrats Are Wildly Overstating Risks From COVID-19

Sep 28 2021 - 09:09
There is no question that COVID-19 is the worst pandemic of my lifetime. It has led to greater absolute US deaths than the Asian Flu of 1957 and the Spanish Flu of 1918, though obviously we are 2X and 3X the population, respectively, of those pandemics so in relative terms they remain way ahead.

Where we also lead over the two other large US pandemics of the last 100 years is fear and misinformation. That is due to corporate media. Thanks to corporate media, an anti-vaccination movement that was overwhelmingly Democrats two years ago has now lurched to being Republicans. Thanks to media, the risks of COVID-19 are so blown out of proportion that neither group has a real handle on facts. They are just yelling at each other.

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