Science2.0

The White House Plan To Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 5:12pm

There has been much press lately about President Obama’s plan to address the growing crisis of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. And I agree with many that there is much to like in the plan.  But I also find a number of key deficiencies that will lead us nowhere.

The goals of the plan are all laudable –

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Green Energy Subsidies Surge To $270 Billion In 2014

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 3:24pm

Government subsidies for renewable energy rebounded strongly last year, registering a solid 17% increase after two years of declines. Major expansion of solar installations in China and Japan and government=backed investments in offshore wind projects in Europe helped propel green energy spending to $270 billion.


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200th Anniversary Of Tambora Eruption - It Made 2010's Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Look Like A Sneeze

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 2:31pm

The 2010 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull grounded thousands of air flights and spread ash over much of western Europe, yet it was puny compared to the eruption 200 years ago of Tambora, a volcano that probably killed more than 60,000 people in what is now Indonesia and turned summer into winter over much of the Northern Hemisphere.


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2 New Species Of Primitive Fish Discovered

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 2:31pm

Saurichthys is a predatory fish characterized by a long thin body and a sharply pointed snout with numerous teeth. This distinctive ray-finned fish lived in marine and freshwater environments all over the world 252-201 million years ago during the Triassic period.


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Proto-Clusters: Precursors Of Dense Galaxy Clusters Discovered?

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 2:30pm
Cosmologists may have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today. Galaxies like our Milky Way, with its 100 billion stars, are usually not found in isolation. 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang, many are in dense clusters of tens, hundreds or even thousands of galaxies. 
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ID4 Gene Switch Might Tame Triple Negative Breast Cancers

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 2:00pm

Triple-negative breast cancers are around 15% of all breast cancers and they lack any of the three receptors (oestrogen, progesterone or HER2) that would make them responsive to targeted drugs.

Triple-negative breast cancer patients have a higher risk of disease recurrence and shorter survival than those with other breast cancers and tend to fall into two categories: those that succumb to their disease within 3-5 years, regardless of treatment; and those that remain disease free for longer than the average non-triple-negative breast cancer patient (at least 8 years post-diagnosis).  Survival prospects tend to be either very good or very bad because triple-negative breast cancers are two distinct diseases that likely originate from different cell types.


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Get Some Sun: More Than A Third Of College Athletes Have Low Vitamin D

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 2:00pm

Up to 1 billion people globally have insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels even though many western nations fortify milk with it. The reason is lack of sun exposure in some places but with a culture war on both sunshine and diet low vitamin D levels have become more common, even for elite college athletes, according to a new study. 

But don't be duped into buying supplements, you can get it from your diet. Just eat more fish.

The work found that more than one-third of Division I college athletes may have low levels of vitamin D, which is critical in helping the body to absorb calcium needed to maintain bone mass, and to minimize musculoskeletal pain and injury risk.


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Climate Change Is Not Causing Extreme Winters

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:30pm
Though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has asked science journalists and political writers wearing a scientific beard to not attribute every weather event to climate change, it is still common to have every storm, drought and temperature to be listed as proof of climate change.

But that isn't science.  Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ETH Zurich have instead shown that global warming actually tends to reduce temperature variability.
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‘Kúl’, ‘Beibí’, ‘Plís’ And Their Threat To Icelandic Language

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:19pm
Compared to most languages in the developed world, Icelandic is quite conservative. Formal German is almost useless in actual German society due to slang and informal terms, for example, while English has few rules but so many exceptions and colloquial phrases it can be difficult for tourists to understand eating in a restaurant.

Icelandic, by contrast, has a vocabulary well preserved in Old Norse roots and Icelanders want to keep it that way.  The purist tradition of preferring native words to foreign ones is thought to be connected to Iceland’s long process of liberation from Denmark, which was noticeable in the Icelandic language from the second half of the 19th century to some decades after the final independence in 1944.
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Petrichor: How The Term For The Smell Of Rain Came To Be

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:00pm

Australia’s CSIRO has come up with some pretty amazing inventions over the past 86 years of research, from polymer banknotes to insect repellent and the world-changing Wi-Fi. But we can also lay claim to something a little more esoteric – we actually invented a whole new word.

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Volcanic Eruptions And Long-Term North Atlantic Climate Impact

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:00pm
It is well established that particles emitted during major volcanic eruptions cool the atmosphere for two or three years  due to a 'parasol' effect that reflects sunlight.
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Fighting Plagiarism In Scientific Papers

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 12:57pm
Plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery, they say (or rather, this is said of imitation). In arts - literature, music, painting - it can at times be tolerated, as an artist might want to take inspiration from others, elaborate on an idea, or give it a different twist. In art it is the realization of the idea which matters. -->

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Nitrogen Fertilizers Not Recommended For Radiata Pine Plantations

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 12:30pm
A new study has recommended against using nitrogen to fertilize radiata pine plantations after analysis of more than 1,500 soil samples gathered in timber woodlands in Bizkaia and the north of Araba-Álava in recent years.  Fertilizing using phosphorus is recommended in virtually the whole area in the study as it may be helpful in obtaining better yields on radiata pine plantations.  
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Statins Or No Statins?

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 4:57am

Cholesterol-lowering statins have transformed the treatment of heart disease. But while the decision to use the drugs in patients with a history of heart attacks and strokes is mostly clear-cut, that choice can be a far trickier proposition for the tens of millions of Americans with high cholesterol but no overt disease.

Now a report from preventive cardiologists at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere offers a set of useful tips for physicians to help their patients make the right call.

The report, published March 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, combines the experts' collective clinical wisdom with previously published research on the benefits and potential downsides to long-term statin use.


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Men Who Eat Produce That Usually Has Higher Pesticide Residues May Have Lower Semen Quality

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:42am
A new paper creates a link between exposure to pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables and semen quality. 

Men who ate fruits and vegetables with higher levels of pesticide residues, like strawberries, spinach, and peppers, had lower sperm count and a lower percentage of normal sperm than those who ate produce with lower residue levels, according to the new paper.
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Intelligent Neuroprostheses: Brain-Controlled Devices Mimic Natural Motor Control

Science2.0 - March 31, 2015 - 1:25am
Researchers have tested a range of neuroprosthetic devices, from wheelchairs to robots to advanced limbs, that work with their users to intelligently perform tasks.

They work by decoding brain signals to determine the actions their users want to take, and then use advanced robotics to do the work of the spinal cord in orchestrating the movements. The use of shared control - new to neuroprostheses - "empowers users to perform complex tasks," says José del R. Millán, who presented the new work at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) conference in San Francisco today.
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Confirmation Bias: Why The Moon Gets Blamed For A Lot

Science2.0 - March 30, 2015 - 8:51pm

In ancient times, attributing effects to the moon made some sense. If it could change tides, which everyone except Galileo recognized it did, why not cause effects in people? 
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Media's Response To The IPCC Examined

Science2.0 - March 30, 2015 - 8:24pm

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of climate change experts representatively selected from regions around the world that periodically releases Assessment Reports in order to inform policymakers and the public about the latest evidence for climate change. The publication of each report is a key event in the debate about climate change, but their reception and coverage in the media has varied widely.

A new paper has for the first time analyzed how Twitter, TV and newspapers reported the IPCC's climate evidence. Understanding how media coverage varies is important because people's knowledge and opinions on climate change are influenced by how the media reports on the issue.


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Greenhouse Gases Unbalanced

Science2.0 - March 30, 2015 - 8:24pm

Natural wetlands usually emit methane and sequester carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic interventions, in particular the conversion of wetlands for agriculture, result in a significant increase in CO2 emissions, which overcompensate potential decreases in methane emission. A large international research team now calculated that the conversion of arctic and boreal wetlands into agricultural land would result in an additional cumulative radiative forcing of about 0,1 MilliJoule (mJ) per square meter for the next 100 years.


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Urine Is Not Really Sterile

Science2.0 - March 30, 2015 - 6:20pm
Urine is commonly believed to be sterile until it reaches the urethra but that has led to numerous misconceptions about what can and should or should not be done with it. Drinking urine is a bad idea, for example, because even though it is sterile it contains urea and other substances that can still be toxic.
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