We know metabolism plays a role in cancer development, epigenetics is less clear

Epigenetics claims are all the rage. In the fuzzy world of epidemiology and a shocking lack of understanding about p-values and statistical significance, a whole lot of papers can get published using data that have nothing to say. Epigenetics takes that to another level, with claims that what you eat today could impact the chances of your grandchild getting into Harvard, and more.

How accurate are wildlife surveys?

How accurate are wildlife surveys?

Do you know species are going extinct at an alarming rate? Do you know bees are in peril?

What if you found out those are all based on surveys? As we saw in the US election in 2016, surveys are not science, no matter how much groups claim they weight them. Unless the results are easily predictable (like the 2012 election) there is no way statistical significance will mean an accurate result.

Extreme ocean waves aren't due to global warming - we can just now detect them more

Extreme ocean waves aren't due to global warming - we can just now detect them more

Rogue waves can cause loss of life as well as damage to ships and offshore structures but we shouldn't allow nature to be exploited for political gain by claiming they are new - and caused by CO2 emissions - just because we can finally detect them better. 

A new study shows they can occur roughly twice daily at any given location in a storm.

Groups in tension: Why Republicans and Democrats still get along

It happens after every presidential election. The opposition will be the death of America, friendships are lost, society is doomed. Except it isn't. 

In actuality, proclamations of doom by political activists and those they whip into a frenzy never come to pass, because at heart all Americans share common moral values such as fairness and harm. And that is also why some on both sides are so afraid of new ideas. At least if we can go by social psychologists doing interviews. 

People remain fatter because adults have given up on losing weight - and it's society's fault

A study of 27,350 adults drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds that adults are not trying to lose weight. 

Part of that is cultural. We said women and men in media who were thin were sending an unrealistic body image to everyone else, it was "fat shaming" and they are probably anorexic anyway.

We enabled obesity and it worked. 

Liszt's forgotten opera heard for the first time

An unfinished opera by Franz Liszt had lain largely forgotten in a German archive for nearly two centuries but now it will be given its world premiere this summer.

Known only to a handful of Liszt scholars, the manuscript – with much of its music written in shorthand and only one act completed – was assumed to be fragmentary, often illegible and consequently indecipherable.

How gamers get good

How gamers get good

Data from online video games has been used to study what kinds of practice and habits help people acquire skill. Basically, what does it take to get good? 10,000 hours? Nope, not even close. But there are reasons why some people are great in The Division and you die in the Dark Zone within seconds after meeting another player. Basically, they learned shortcuts and before they ever met you, they warmed up.

Do school voucher programs increase test scores enough?

An analysis of 25 years of school voucher program results finds that voucher programs do not significantly improve test scores, and worse, that vouchers distract from proven policies and programs with more proven impact on test scores and graduation rates.

Stop kiln yourself: make ceramics with a press

Stop kiln yourself: make ceramics with a press

The manufacture of cement, bricks, bathroom tiles and porcelain crockery normally requires a great deal of heat: a kiln is used to fire the ceramic materials at temperatures well in excess of 1,000°C. Now, material scientists from ETH Zurich have developed what seems at first glance to be an astonishingly simple method of manufacture that works at room temperature. The scientists used a calcium carbonate nanopowder as the starting material and instead of firing it, they added a small amount of water and then compacted it.

Teens with autism go to the ER 400 percent more, but why?

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) use 400 percent more emergency-department services than peers without autism, which puts more strain on an over-burdened health care system. It may be that they need better access to primary care.