Science2.0

The Case Of The Missing Booze: Brits Drink 12 Million More Bottles Per Week Than Previous Estimates

Science2.0 - May 23, 2015 - 2:32pm
Many of us have a tipple on special occasions but including these drinks in official data has been found to increase England’s alcohol consumption by 12 million bottles of wine per week.

According to a new study published in BMC Medicine, alcohol consumption figures account for only 60% of alcohol sold in England, due to a discrepancy between self-reported consumption data and retail figures.

The new research has discovered where the missing alcohol can be found.

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First Drug To Treat Radiation Sickness Approved

Science2.0 - May 23, 2015 - 2:32pm
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Neupogen,  the first approved drug to treat the deleterious effects of radiation exposure following a nuclear incident. 
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Researchers Recovered A Dinosaur Foot From A Bird

Science2.0 - May 23, 2015 - 2:32pm
A unique adaptation in the foot of birds is the presence of a thumb-like opposable toe, which allows them to grasp and perch.

In their dinosaur ancestors, this toe was small and non- opposable, and did not even touch the ground, resembling the dewclaws of dogs and cats.

The embryonic development of birds provides a parallel of this evolutionary history: The toe starts out like their dinosaur ancestors, but then its base (the metatarsal) becomes twisted, making it opposable. Brazilian researcher Joâo Botelho, working at the lab of Alexander Vargas at the University of Chile, decided to study the underlying mechanisms. Botelho observed that the twisting occurred shortly after the embryonic musculature of this toe was in place.
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Include Men In Osteoporosis Screening Guidelines

Science2.0 - May 23, 2015 - 6:50am

Most people associate osteoporosis with women. But the truth is, one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of this condition. That's more men than will have prostate cancer, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.


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Risk Management Turned Upside Down

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 11:53pm

A true story. To protect the innocent – and the writer – I’ll use no names.

The president of a large, multi-national engineering and construction firm decided to attract more contracts by reducing customers’ risks. A sound decision, yes? 

It was what he did (which was to offer fixed-price contracts instead of cost-plus contracts) and how he did it (by developing his people and by continuous process improvement) that got him fired - even though the move was showing every sign of success.

So why was he dismissed? The answer lies in that ol’ stereotype of the corporation as an externality-generating machine.

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The Culturally Subjective Nature Of Good Acoustics

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 11:01pm
Acoustics would seem to be primarily science - make sure sound waves are not piling up on each other in strange places and that everyone can hear what they are supposed to hear -  but a new study says it is not so objective and the response of audiences and performers to acoustic characteristics is a function of their worldview, according to archaeo-acoustician Steven J. Waller at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Pittsburgh.

"It's a parallel to 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder': perfect performance spaces are really in the ear of the listener. Today we value qualities like clarity--how it makes a modern orchestra sound," Waller continued, "whereas prior to sound wave theory, echoes were considered mysterious and divine."
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Numenta And IBM To Build Biologically Inspired Intelligent Machines.

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 8:44pm

When we catch balls, Jeff Hawkins, cofounder of Numenta and author of “On Intelligence,” tells us we aren’t solving differential equations. A robot, on the other hand, does solve differential equations, requiring roughly 3-trillion calculations for a 1s toss (“Kinematically Optimal Catching a Flying Ball with a Hand-Arm-System,” Berthold Bauml, Thomas Wimbock and Gerd Hirzinger, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, 2010).

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Highest Energy Collisions ? Not In My Book

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 7:57pm
Yesterday I posed a question - Are the first collisions recorded by the LHC running at 13 TeV the highest-energy ever produced by mankind with subatomic particles ? It was a tricky one, as usual, meant to think about the matter.

I received several tentative answer in the comments thread, and thus answered there. I paste the text here as it is of some interest to some of you and I wish it does not go overlooked.

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Dear all,  -->

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Many Women Buy Products Because Models Are Thin, But There's A Market For Normal

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 6:11pm

Fashion is a huge industry and they use thin models because creating an ideal - the belief that women will look like that if they buy the clothes - is a time-honored strategy.

Yet as more American women become overweight and obese, and it becomes more difficult to create suspension of disbelief about body imaging psychology, that old strategy is less effective. A survey of diverse group of 239 women finds that marketing to the "thin ideal" -- the belief that thinner is better -- could be alienating up to 70 percent of their audience, said James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.  

Advertisers tend to default to this ideal without knowing for sure if other options are viable, James Roberts said.


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Photogrammetry: Of Viking Graves And Sunken Ships

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 5:39pm
Mapping archaeological digs used to take plenty of time and a lot of measuring, photographing, drawing and note taking, much of which can now be done with a technique called photogrammetry.

Photogrammetry is a method that uses two-dimensional images of an archaeological find to construct a 3-D model and it doesn't require special glasses or advanced equipment. Coupled with precise measurements of the excavation, photogrammetry can create a complete detailed map of an archaeological excavation site while being more precise than older, more time-consuming methods.

This method is already being put to use by archaeologists. When a possible Viking grave was found in Skaun in Sør-Trøndelag in 2014, the excavation site was mapped using photogrammetry.
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Smaller Volumes In Certain Regions Of The Brain Could Lead To Increased Likelihood Of Drug Addiction

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 5:20pm

A study has found that individual differences in brain structure could help to determine the risk for future drug addiction. The study found that occasional users who subsequently increased their drug use compared with those who did not, showed brain structural differences when they started using drugs.


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New Gene Implicated In Multiple Sclerosis Disease Activity

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 5:20pm

A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) reports the discovery of a genetic variant that is associated with a patient's likelihood of responding to interferon-beta, one of the medications used in treating multiple sclerosis (MS). Published in the Annals of Neurology on May 14, the study also presents evidence that the affected gene, SLC9A9, may have a broader role in regulating the development and activity of certain immune cells that play important roles in inflammatory diseases like MS.

A proportion of MS patients experience disease activity despite treatment. The early identification of the most effective drug for a given individual is critical to impact long-term outcome and to move toward a personalized treatment approach.


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World Biodiversity Day: Wetlands, Biodiversity And The Role Of Earth Observations

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 4:40pm
It is somehow ingrained in my body, I think. The appreciation of biodiversity. I know I love wetlands, growing up by a lake (mostly in it as a child) as I did. It turns out that parts of that lake are so-called Ramsar wetlands of international importance. Little did I know, growing up to be an astrophysicist that these sites existed and that it would once become part of my professional life. Here. On my home planet. 
Bliksvaer Ramsar site, Norway. Photo: Bente Lilja Bye
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This Eye-Opening Parasite Can Get In Through Your Contact Lens

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 4:30pm
A recent eye infection suffered by 18-year-old Nottingham University student Jess Greaney is the kind of story that fills us with horror.

Greaney had keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea, caused by Acanthamoeba castellanii, a parasite that was living and feasting on her eye.

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Even A Well-Respected Political Scientist Doesn't Know When His Own Data Has Been Faked

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 4:00pm
A paper in Science has been retracted - by the senior author. Because he did not know the data in his paper was fake.

Whether that makes political science or the peer review system look worse will be a matter of debate.
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Hesperornithiform: Cretaceous Birds Evolved To Go Fishing

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 3:07pm
A new study of some Hesperornithiform bird fossils from the Cretaceous shows how several separate lineages evolved adaptations for diving. They began to go fishing.

Living at the same time as the dinosaurs,  Hesperornithiform has been found in North America, Europe and Asia in 65–95 million years old rocks. Dr. Alyssa Bell and Professor Luis Chiappe of the Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, undertook a detailed analysis of their evolution, showing that separate lineages became progressively more adept at diving into water to catch fishes, like modern day loons and grebes.
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AI: Trial And Error Empowers Reinforced Learning In Robot

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 2:27pm
Researchers have developed algorithms that enable robots to learn motor tasks through trial and error, using a process that more closely approximates the way humans learn.

They demonstrated their technique, a type of reinforcement learning, by having a robot complete various tasks -- putting a clothes hanger on a rack, assembling a toy plane, screwing a cap on a water bottle, and more -- without pre-programmed details about its surroundings. 
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Rotating Or Mixing? Science Determines The Best Way To Slow Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 2:15pm
Though the popular imagery of farming is a small family operation on a tiny patch of land, that isn't really the case.

Over 90 percent of American farms are run by families but they are high-tech operations. Farmers want yields to go up and costs to come down and that means having data.
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5 Big Weather Myths Debunked

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 1:00pm

 Karin Heineman, Inside Science –  Predicting and analyzing weather is a highly sophisticated scientific endeavor these days. But, it is also peppered with a good deal of lore.

We're here to debunk some popular weather myths.

Myth #1: Heat lightning, or the distant flashes of lightning you see in the sky (without hearing the clap of thunder) during the hot summer months, only occur because it is hot out.

Wrong. The truth is you're actually seeing lightning from a storm that's really far away. Since most severe thunderstorms often happen during hot summer months – the name "heat" lightning stuck.

Myth #2: The Earth is farthest from the sun in January.

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Mystery Of Morgellons - Disease Or Delusion - Scientific Hypothesis Of Connection With Lyme Disease

Science2.0 - May 22, 2015 - 12:45pm

One day you feel a strange stinging, biting or crawling sensation beneath your skin, which just won't go away. Then fibres begin to protrude from the skin or you may see red or blue lines below the surface of your skin. Eventually sores erupt all over your body, including in places you can't reach such as the middle of your back. You go to the doctor - and - after doing tests to rule out many other similar conditions, he finds that you fit the symptoms of a very rare condition, popularly called "Morgellons". He or she then tells you that this is not a real disease, but rather is a delusional condition. There is nothing physical causing this. It's just something going on in your mind which leads to all these symptoms.

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