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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Called Pluto A Planet Again: He's Not Wrong

Aug 30 2019 - 12:08
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine laid it on the table recently; to him, Pluto is a planet. News outlets are calling him out, saying the "official governing body" does not agree.

The Paris-based  International Astronomy Union (IAU) is not really astronomy’s official governing body any more than NASA is. They often claim to be but they are a few hundred astronomers. They do not determine official designations any more than a few scholars with expert in CRISPR at a National Academy can tell FDA to stop treating harmless gene editing in plant varietals as a new drug in the regulatory scheme.

Pluto was demoted by a vote of 237 people, not the science community. 

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A Few Fresh New Ideas In Fundamental Physics

Aug 30 2019 - 11:08
Today I am back from the 8th edition of the ICNFP conference, which finished yesterday in Kolymbari (Crete). This event is very interesting because of its wide scope, bringing together physicists from quite different fields in a venue that, due to its very relaxing, secluded nature favours post-session discussions and exchanges among the over 250 participants. 

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Peru: Chimu Culture Find Reveals Largest Child Sacrifice Rituals Ever

Aug 30 2019 - 10:08
Over 200 children were sacrificed by the Chimu culture in Peru to try and appease the gods and stave off, you guessed it, climate change, according to a recent find

Experts say the remain found from between the 13th and 15th centuries in the Pampa La Cruz sector of the Huanchaco beach area over 300 miles north of Lima, make it the world’s largest child sacrifice site.

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The New Yorker Worries The Right May Catch Up To The Left In Vaccine Denial - That's Unlikely

Aug 30 2019 - 06:08
At the beginning of this decade, there were clear lines in science denial. If you denied evolution or global warming, you were more likely to vote Republican, and if you denied medical, agricultural, or energy science, you were more likely to vote Democrat.

The evidence was clear; if you took a compass and drew a circle around a Whole Foods store, you were going to find anti-vaccine beliefs, organic food, and insistence that solar power would keep the lights running. And Whole Foods stores were only in wealthy areas, 80 percent of whom had voted for President Obama.

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Ancient Civilizations Messed Up The Planet Long Before You

Aug 30 2019 - 01:08

Celebrities and environmentalist jetting off to exotic locations to talk about climate change, renewable energy, and organic food may make you feel like the modern world is killing the planet but a huge collaborative study reveals that early humans across the entire globe were ruining their environments as far back as 10,000 years ago.

Farther back, 12,000 years ago, humans were mainly foraging, meaning they didn't interact with their environments as farmers do. By 3,000 years ago, farmers were feeding nations and causing free trade in many parts of the globe.

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Plant-Based Diets Risk Worsening Brain Health

Aug 30 2019 - 01:08
Claims that meat production are causing undue stress on the environment are highly exaggerated, as are the benefits of plant-based diets.

Instead of being ground in evidence, the plant-based and vegan diet fads could worsen an already low intake of an essential nutrient involved in brain health. And governments which spend time creating panic about salt and sugar fail to monitor dietary levels of this vital nutrient--choline--found predominantly in meat and eggs.

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Before Clovis? The Original Native Americans May Have Arrived 1,000 Years Before Previously Believed

Aug 30 2019 - 01:08

Artifacts from an archaeological dig at the Cooper's Ferry site located along the Salmon River, a tributary of the larger Columbia River basin in western Idaho, suggest that the original native Americans were here 1,000 years earlier than previously thought, about 16,000 years ago.

The findings add weight to the hypothesis that initial human migration to the Americas followed a Pacific coastal route rather than through the opening of an inland ice-free corridor. The belief is that timing and position of the Cooper's Ferry site, located at the confluence of Rock Creek and the lower Salmon River,  is consistent with and most easily explained as the result of an early Pacific coastal migration.

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In Case You Still Thought It Was A Thing, Another Study Concludes There Is No "Gay" Gene

Aug 29 2019 - 19:08
Decades ago, before the Human Genome project, there was speculation there might be a gay gene. While some applauded the idea - sexuality wasn't a choice - others were concerned that future science might start switching such genes off.

Neither extreme turned out to be valid and a new study affirms what scientists have long said; there is no "gay" gene. The genome-wide association in Science used 477,522 people, 26,827 reported same-sex sexual behavior. Even when all tested genetic variants were taken into account, they collectively accounted for no more than a quarter of the same-sex behavior reported by the study participants. 

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ArchaeoGLOBE Project: If There Is An Anthropocene Epoch, It Started 4,000 Years Ago

Aug 29 2019 - 19:08
Human land use due to manufacturing, population, and agriculture changing the shape of earth itself has been termed the Anthropocene Epoch, but if less hyperbolic scientists of the future agree with that at all, they are likely to agree it started 4,000 years before cars were invented.

Significant global landcover change had occurred by then, so if a new epoch really did start, it was not in the 20th century, finds a new study by a large international team of archaeologists and environmental scientists behind the ArchaeoGLOBE project.

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I Did NOT Warn Of Ocean Boiling Asteroid - Daily Express NONSENSE - Should NOT Run In Google News

Aug 29 2019 - 19:08

This is an example to show how utterly unreliable the Daily Express is. This is me according to the Daily Express. End of world: Scientist’s terrifying warning of apocalypse asteroid - ‘Would boil oceans!’ It is nonsense! Unlike most of the people they misquote or quote out of context, I can write blog posts for Science 2.0 and most of my posts go to the top of Google News for a while. So I am writing this in the hope that some of you scared of this story will find this post and also our group.

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The Left Wing Dominates Social Media In America, In Brazil The Right Is In Charge

Aug 29 2019 - 18:08
With fires happening in South America, the left has such dominance over social media in America they convinced the public that policies of right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil were to blame, while in Brazil the right's dominance of social media put him in power.

Northwestern University computer scientists say they can prove that WhatsApp use played a key role in the electoral process. Their analysis shows that the Brazilian right in 2018 did what the American left did in 2008; they used social media to beat their opponents in a way that left them baffled.

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The Most Volcanically Active Body In Our Solar System Is Not Earth, It's Jupiter's Moon Io. But Elsewhere...

Aug 29 2019 - 18:08
Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system but 550 light years away in the inconspicuous constellation of Lepus, underneath the bright Orion constellation, an exo-Io could be hidden at the exoplanet system WASP-49b. 

The possible exomoon would orbit a hot giant planet, which in turn would race once around its host star in less than three days. 

Theoretically, large amounts of sodium at an exoplanet could point to a hidden moon or ring of material, and ten years ago, researchers at Virginia calculated that such a compact system of three bodies: star, close-in giant planet and moon, can be stable over billions of years.  

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For New Science To Live, Old Scientists Must Die

Aug 29 2019 - 18:08
“A great scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” the physicist Max Planck wrote.

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Pain Patients Are Not The Problem, Shows CDC, Opiod Deaths Are Due To Recreational Fentanyl Plus Benzos, Cocaine, And Meth

Aug 29 2019 - 14:08
Though Johnson  &  Johnson and Purdue Pharma are on the hook for big judgments due to their marketing practices related to opioids, claims that they "created" an opioid epidemic are the scientific equivalent of fat shaming people if you don't like Burger King commercials.

Attorneys will claim it, they will get thousands of people to sign up as litigants, and juries will agree with the emotional arguments they hear, but that has nothing to do with science or health. In appeals cases, science data is used, which is why so many spectacularly ridiculous judgments (like baby powder or a weedkiller magically causing cancer) get overturned.

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The Northern White Rhino Is Not Going Extinct, It Isn't A Species And There Are 20,000 Of The Species Left

Aug 29 2019 - 14:08
White rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) are the second largest land mammal after the elephant. Adult males weigh up to 3.5 tons.

Called by some the square-lipped rhinoceros due to their square upper lip, they have a longer skull than black rhinos and a larger shoulder hump. They have two horns.

There are over 20,000 of them left, a big conservation win, but if you read environmental accounts they are going extinct, only two remain. 

How can there be 20,000 of a species and yet only two?

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Your Refrigerator Is Where All That Farmer's Market Produce Goes To Die

Aug 29 2019 - 12:08
In America, some groups tell us expiration dates on food are just a conservative guideline while other groups insist that if someone buys expired food the merchant should go to jail. In Europe it can be even more strange, they once tried to ban ugly fruit from being sold because it would likely be purchased by poor people,

If you are a believer in the precautionary principle over all, you buy armloads of organic food at the farmer's market on Saturday, ingest herbs and supplements to promote probiotic health, and religiously obey expiration dates, your refrigerator is probably where food goes to die.

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Burgundy Wine Grapes: A Climate Change Story

Aug 29 2019 - 11:08
If you believe in medieval accounts of wine harvest dates, Burgundy grapes are in crisis. A new look at dates of grape harvest from the last 664 years says wine grapes in Burgundy, eastern France, have been picked 13 days earlier on average since 1988 than they were in the previous six centuries, and that is due to the region's hotter and drier climate in recent years. 

How accurate that is beyond the last 30 years is unclear.

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Altruism And The Pathways To Imagination

Aug 29 2019 - 11:08
If you never care about Haiti until a hurricane hits, are you really altruistic or did you instead imagine how others will perceive your actions? Can altruism even exist or does it all come down to social exchange?

When people see someone in distress, neural pathways in the brain create facets of imagination that allow people to see the episode as it unfolds, finds a recent paper. That "episodic simulation", essentially the ability of individuals to re-organize memories from the past into a newly-imagined event simulated in the mindmay help them envision how to aid those in need.

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Net Generation: Z And Millennials Think They Use Technology Without Losing Productivity. Actually...

Aug 28 2019 - 16:08
Millennials, the first "Net Generation," say they can use many technologies simultaneously, masterfully switching from emails to instant messaging, app notifications, RSS feeds, and rants on Twitter much better than older generations.

Maybe they can. Generation Z certainly can.

A new study simulated a typical working environment, complete with technology interruptions, to allow scholars to track the effects on participants' inhibitory processes. College-age participants (naturally) totaling and a few other folks totaling 177 were divided into three groups: those who received IT interruptions; those who did not, and a control group. 

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Former 'Mythbusters' Host Jessi Combs Dies During Land-Speed Record Attempt

Aug 28 2019 - 15:08
Jessi Combs, age 36, the "fastest woman on four wheels" after setting a record of 398 mph in her jet-powered North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger in 2013, was killed yesterday in a crash while attempting to break her own land-speed record in southeast Oregon. She was 36.

The crash occurred on the Alvord Desert, a dry lake bed where several land-speed records have been set.


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