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The Kerguelen Plateau And Formation Of Continents

Jun 22 2020 - 13:06
How did the continents form? It's a complex question, and no firm answers will be coming soon, but the oceanic plateau of the Kerguelen Islands may provide part of the answer, according to a new paper.

From a geological point of view, it is the Earth's outermost layer that distinguishes the continents from the oceans: oceanic crust, which is relatively thin, is mainly made up of basalts, resulting from the melting of the Earth's underlying mantle, whereas continental crust, which is thicker and of granitic composition, is derived from magmas that evolved at depth before solidifying.

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The Science Reason Businesses Should Provide Free Trials

Jun 22 2020 - 12:06
Netflix is the big name in streaming, virtually everyone who has any interest in digital shows has heard of them, but they still give you a free trial.

No matter your size, and even if it's an existing customer, it makes good business sense, finds a new paper.

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The Myth Of An 'Insect Apocalypse’ Caused By Pesticides And ‘Industrial Farming’ Is Officially Dead

Jun 22 2020 - 11:06
The last three years have been a banner time for environmental crisis hyperbole, especially when it comes to reporting about insects and agriculture.

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New Study: Beef In A Healthy Diet Does Not Increase Risk Of Heart Attacks

Jun 19 2020 - 11:06
For decades there has been a statistical controversy about meat. By statistical I mean it was never a real health issue. Instead, though we clearly evolved to eat it, epidemiologists statistically correlated meat to dying and said therefore we shouldn't eat it. Though such studies noted down at the bottom that the relationship was not causal, they wanted the public to believe it because they highlighted the causal inference in press releases, and so media rushed to claim that meat causes heart attacks.

A few years ago, epidemiologists at France's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) joined in, using their own meta-analyses to declare that meat was just as hazardous to health as plutonium. And smoking. And mustard gas.

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Perchlorate In Water Is Not Harmful, Find EPA Scientists - There Is Too Little To Be Harmful

Jun 18 2020 - 12:06
Perchlorate can harm infant brain development, say environmental lawyers. It is a rocket fuel ingredient in your water, say their marketing teams.

Both of those are true. Yet meaningless. There hasn't been a single instance of a child getting brain damage from perchlorate in water, it can only even be detected in water because in modern times we can detect anything in anything. Perchlorate is one compound in rocket fuel, but we share 50 percent of our DNA in common with bananas. That does not make you a fruit.

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Mosquitoe Diseases Kill Tens Of Millions Per Year Worldwide But American Parents Worry More About Ticks

Jun 16 2020 - 14:06
A few species of mosquitoes are nothing but carriers of disease, so pesticides were used to wipe them out in much of North America. Worldwide they remain a public health problem and while some ecologists claim a mythical (and scientifically debunked) 'balance of nature' and therefore insist Aedes aegypti might have some benefit, if we turned them extinct we'd have nothing but less  yellow fever, dengue fever, and Zika worldwide, the way we do in the U.S.

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There Could Be 6 Billion Planets Like Ours In Just This Galaxy

Jun 16 2020 - 13:06
How big is the universe? No one really knows, but since we are in just one Orion spur of the arm of Sagittarius in one galaxy, and there are an unknown number of galaxies, it's big. So big our galaxy alone could have 6,000,000,000 planets like ours, according to a new estimate.

To be a potential planet like Earth, the new model estimating the number of planets like ours must be rocky, roughly Earth-sized and orbiting Sol-like (G-type) stars. It also has to orbit in the habitable zones of its star, which is the range of distances from a star in which a rocky planet could host liquid water  on its surface.

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Homeopathy Is Mostly Harmless Nonsense - Unless You Inject It. Then It's Dangerous

Jun 16 2020 - 12:06
No homeopathic products have been approved by the FDA for any use but they can still be sold, thanks to President Clinton removing supplements and "alternative" medicine from FDA oversight with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.

So people can sell water with a molecule of something in it and claim it has medical properties, as long as the package states that FDA has not agreed that magic is real. 

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Four Charm Quarks In A Bundle

Jun 16 2020 - 12:06
Fundamental science works by alternating phases of interpretation and refutation. When interpreting the result of experiments, physicists spend their time sweating shirt after shirt in the attempt of formulating economical and coherent explanations of observed phenomena. If the process converges, they formulate a theory which works well, whereby they celebrate for a little while. Then a second phase starts, when hypotheses are formulated on how to refute the shiny new model, finding effects and observatons that do not fit in the formulated framework. And so on.

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Cholesterol Is Rising In Asian Countries, Dropping In The West

Jun 16 2020 - 11:06
A few decades ago, Asian diets were regarded as superior because lower incomes meant they ate less meat - and those who were tested had less cholesterol, a substance found in the blood that the body uses to build healthy cells, but which can lead to a build-up in blood vessels. Cholesterol has been correlated to a risk factor for a risk factor for heart attacks.

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A Sun Clock For 2020 - It Can Predict Solar Cycle Activity With Surprising Precision

Jun 15 2020 - 10:06
The math used to analyze cyclic phenomena like the ebb and flow of ocean tides has been applied to Sol, the star we orbit. While it can't do anything to flatten its irregularities, or the impacts it has on communications, temperature, and weather, the "Sun clock" created by scholars shows it starts and stops on a much more precise schedule than can be discerned by observations plotted linearly over time.

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At 13,500 Years Old, This Songbird Is The Oldest Known Figurine

Jun 14 2020 - 07:06

(Inside Science) - An ancient bird statuette recovered from a refuse heap is the oldest known figurine discovered yet in China, shedding new light on how our ancestors created 3D art, a new study finds.

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Government Is Watching You, And That Amplifies Police Bias And Overreach

Jun 13 2020 - 06:06

Video of police in riot gear clashing with unarmed protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filled social media feeds. Meanwhile, police surveillance of protesters has remained largely out of sight.

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QIH: Mice Don't Hibernate, But Now They Can - And What That May Mean For Human Space Travel

Jun 12 2020 - 12:06
Humans do not hibernate, but in science-fiction films long-distance travel often involves "suspended animation" where muscular atrophy, starvation, and oxygen deprivation don't occur. 

Mice don't hibernate either but they just did in experiments. Mice are obviously not little people, that is why claims involving mice are in the exploratory camp, but animals models are often a waypoint on the path to humans.

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Batrachopus Grandis: Crocodille Ancestor Walked On Two Feet

Jun 11 2020 - 18:06

Well-preserved footprints from the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation of South Korea, 110 million years ago, show that an ancestor of modern-day crocodiles, named Batrachopus grandis, walked on two feet.

Palaeontologists knew that some crocodiles from the "age of dinosaurs" were more adapted to life on land than their modern relatives but those were smaller creatures, about three feet long with footprints showing they walked on all fours. Batrachopus grandis was instead 12 feet in size and bipedal. It is more like a Gorn from the television show "Star Trek" than what we think of as a crocodile.

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When It Comes To Psychological Trauma What Doesn't Kill You Doesn't Make You Stronger Either

Jun 11 2020 - 13:06
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger is a popular phrase, but how true it ever was is unclear. Bones are not stronger after they break and while some people relax about small drama after real trauma, many also become more sensitized to stress instead of more resilient.

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Epidemiologists Advocate For Warning Labels On Soda - And Hope California Will Notice

Jun 10 2020 - 17:06
A team of epidemiologists who correlate specific types of calories, rather than simply too many calories, to obesity have written a new paper advocating for cigarette-style warning labels on soda. 

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Robot Cockroaches Are All We Need To Make 2020 Just Peachy

Jun 09 2020 - 14:06
2020 started out being a weird and devastating way to end the decade yet we naively thought those Australian wildfires were as bad as it could get.

Now people outside that country barely remember they happened. Because then we got coronavirus. Luckily, we dodged the murder hornets but then went right to race wars. New York, the city, county, and state, has had the worst of both COVID-19(1) and the looting, but fear not Manhattan, June is probably as bad as it gets for 2020. 

Well, maybe, unless July really has a surprise in store.

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American Agriculture Got Us Through Coronavirus, Why Are Academic Activists Still So Down On Farming?

Jun 08 2020 - 14:06
In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked "experts" what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like "mythographer" - no scientists invited - so it's no surprise only one response had real-world relevance.(1) A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone.

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New Personal Web Page

Jun 07 2020 - 12:06
For the past 11 years I have blogged for Science2.0 (formerly Scientific Blogging), and I have considered this site my true personal web page, too - the articles I have published here for over a decade are a much better representation of who I am, what I do, and of my personal expertise than anything else I can ever think of putting together in a web site.

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