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Updated: 58 min 46 sec ago

If Mom Had An Abortion, Teens More Likely To Have One Also

Jan 29 2018 - 16:01

In the developed world, abortions are common despite ubiquitous condoms, birth control and even the "morning after pill" - about 6.7 million per year.

In Canada, the teen pregnancy rate is 28 per 1000, with more than 50 percent of those ending in abortion, so a study in Canadian Medical Association Journal decided to see what was different about teens who had an abortion versus teens that did not. 

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Dijet Resonances With A Photon, And The 150 GeV ATLAS Excess

Jan 29 2018 - 07:01
A search just posted on the Cornell arXiv by the ATLAS Collaboration caught my eye today, as it involves a signature which I have been interested on for quite a while. This is the final state of proton-proton collisions that includes an energetic photon and a recoiling dijet system, when the dijet system may be the result of the decay of a W or Z boson - or of a heavier partner of the Z, called Z'. 


The setting
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The Doomsday Clock Is More Accurately A ‘Symbolic Clock For Averting Disasters’

Jan 28 2018 - 17:01

We get a regular announcment by the bulletin of Atomic Scientists at this time of year every year. It doesn't mean anything is going to happen soon. Indeed their focus is on the long term, not the short term. For instance the Cuban missile crisis didn’t lead to a shift in the clock. It is nothing to do with any short term politics about Norht Korea or Iran. Nowadays they also include global warming as an issue and the worst effects of that will be towards the end of the century. So when it says “2 minutes” - those minutes are not an actual time period. It’s a metaphor, indeed hyperbole (exaggerated analogy for emotional effect). The Doomsday Clock is neither about Doomsday and nor is it a clock.

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Why Aren't More Of You A Lefty?

Jan 27 2018 - 07:01

In graduate school, I earned beer money by modeling for life drawing classes in various art departments. (Don’t judge, grad school doesn’t pay well and beer isn’t free.) In the long hours standing around, I would survey the room and count how many of the aspiring artists were left-handed. Later in my career, I did the same thing — counting lefties, not standing around naked — in the biology classes I taught.

Funny thing, in any given class, around 10 per cent of the students were lefties. It turns out this is true for all human populations, not only middle-America university classes. Globally, about 90 per cent of people are righties. But why?

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The Real Risks Of A 'Natural' Dog Diet

Jan 26 2018 - 06:01

Just as many people are trying to eat less processed food to improve their health, some dog owners are turning away from conventional pet food. Instead they’re trying to get back to what they see as a more traditional “butcher’s dog” diet of raw meat, albeit with pre-prepared products that can be served easily and frozen for convenience.

A recent study has raised concerns about the health risks of these raw meat based diet products as possible sources of some bacterial and parasitic diseases. But just how big a problem is this, and who is really at risk?

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Plenitude Principle As Necessary For Fundamental Physics And Much More

Jan 25 2018 - 23:01

The Plenitude Principle says “all possible exists”. According to hype, the Plenitude Principle is the result of quantum mechanics and particular Many Worlds Interpretations (MWI) of quantum physics. However, the Plenitude Principle is self-evident and likely many thousand years old. Pierre Fermat suggested considering ‘parallel worlds’ to Blaise Pascal in 1654 [Devlin 2008]. Such scientific Many Worlds/Minds (MW/M) descriptions facilitated the development of probability theory and were essential in the development of statistical mechanics in the nineteenth century, for example in the work of Boltzmann [Cohen 1997] and Ehrenfest [1912].

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This 'super Blue Blood Moon' Lunar Eclipse Is Just Light From Sunsets And Sunrises Shining On Distant Rock Of The Moon

Jan 25 2018 - 15:01

I’m cointinuing to get scared PMs and posts to our Doomsday Debunked group about the lunar eclipse on 31st January. There is nothing at all to worry about. You’ve had lunar eclipses like this many times in your life and never noticed. Now it appears in Facebook Trending with comments - and many people, children and adults, get all scared of it.

So first, Facebook Trending is not a reliable news source. It is just a rag bag of whatever is going viral at the moment. They have some automatic filtering that is supposed to get rid of the worst nonsense - but there is no human oversight. It has often served up fake news in the past.

See this article in the Washington Post from last year

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If Biased Algorithms Are Everywhere, Does That Mean They Are Ineffective?

Jan 23 2018 - 06:01
In 2018, you can guess the politics of many people by which newspapers they read, and you could also do that 100 years ago. Certainly some people, like me, read both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times but if someone defaults to MSNBC or Fox News, you can estimate their voting record with high levels of accuracy. -->

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RIP To Science 2.0 Journalist Greg Critser

Jan 22 2018 - 11:01
Science 2.0 community, it is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of long-time science journalist Greg Critser, the earliest science journalist to sign up on this site, in 2007.
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Why Is Illegal Immigration - And Everything Else - Once Again More Important Than Science?

Jan 20 2018 - 13:01
Yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate which, along with the House of Representatives, form the two chambers of Congress, which are one of the three branches of government,(1) refused to fund a "continuing resolution" to essentially keep funding government as is while a long-term budget is negotiated. 

Once again, there are a few claims that this will mean catastrophe for science funding, but many are now saying shutting down government is necessary and even courageous. Yet this exact same event occurred two, four, five, seven and even 22 years ago and it was framed as reckless and dangerous and a disaster for science.

What is different? Those other times a Democrat was President and Republicans were balking.
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How Plants Sense The World

Jan 20 2018 - 12:01

Plants somehow respond to environmental cues and dangers, especially virulent pathogens, despite a lack of eyes or ears.

How is that possible? It's thanks to hundreds of membrane proteins that can sense microbes or other stresses, but only a small portion of these sensing proteins have been studied through classical genetics, and knowledge on how these sensors function by forming complexes with one another is scarce.

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New Didactic Challenge: Turn The Roulette Table On The Casino

Jan 20 2018 - 09:01
SOCK-PUPPET: All your talk about betting strategies is irrelevant to the casino. The casino takes the money from those who just lost and gives it to those who won, from black to red or red to black. On average, every 37 times the ball hits the zero and the casino takes all the money on the table.

 

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Accelerating Dark Matter Searches With Machine Learning

Jan 18 2018 - 13:01
I am currently spending the week in Leiden (Netherlands), attending to a very interesting workshop that brought together computer scientists, astronomers, astrophysicists, and particle physicists to discuss how to apply the most cutting-edge tools in machine learning to improve our chances of discovering dark matter, the unknown non-luminous substance that vastly overweights luminous matter in the Universe. -->

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On The Qualifications Of Peer Reviewers For Scientific Papers

Jan 17 2018 - 09:01
Peer review is the backbone of high quality scientific publications. Although the idea that only articles that are approved by a set of anonymous nitpickers can ever see the light of publication on "serious" journals is old and perfectible, there is currently no valid alternative to identify verified, rigorous scientific work, and to filter out unsubstantiated claims, and methodologically unsound results - the scientific analogue of "fake news". -->

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'Two Brothers' Mummies - DNA Shows They Actually Are

Jan 17 2018 - 09:01
The 'Two Brothers' mummies, discovered by the modern world in 1907, reside in the Manchester Museum  and are the mummies of, unsurprisingly, two elite men (they didn't mummify peasants), Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ank.

The remains date to around 1800 B.C. but there has always been argument about whether or not the two are actually related even though they share a joint burial site at Deir Rifeh, a village 250 miles south of Cairo. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicated that both men were the sons of an unnamed local governor and had mothers with the same name, Khnum-aa. It was then the tomb and the men became known as the Two Brothers.
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Sugary Drink Consumption Has Declined While Obesity Has Gone Up

Jan 16 2018 - 05:01
Between 2003 and 2014, consumption of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages declined and yet obesity has continued to rise. Yet governments seeking new sources of revenue are looking for reasons to place sin taxes on soda are saying it's for public health.

When even Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says it's not so clear, you can bet it's not clear. They are usually on the front lines of scaremongering some food types and promoting new food fads. However, not all groups showed a decline. Kids still like soda, as do black and Hispanic groups, which lends weight to concern by free-market groups that soda taxes are inherently racist.
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The Global Age Of The Algorithm Manifested In Communist China's Dystopian Social Credit System

Jan 15 2018 - 12:01

The Chinese government’s ongoing attempts to create a social credit system aimed at rating the trustworthiness of people and companies have generated equal measures of fascination and anxiety around the world. Social credit is depicted as something uniquely Chinese – a nefarious and perverse digital innovation that could only be conceived of and carried out by a regime like the Chinese Communist Party.

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Gluten Intolerance Is Mostly An American Thing

Jan 15 2018 - 06:01
In Canada, even people with Celiac disease don't really think of it as a disease, so it's no surprise the more subjective gluten "intolerance", which food marketers have used to create a $5 billion industry south of the Canadian border, is basically unknown. 
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Glyphosate Doesn't Cause Cancer - Neither Do More Toxic Organic Pesticides

Jan 14 2018 - 16:01

It's been well-established by now but owing to a discredited International Agency for Research on Cancer claim, which environmental groups insist remains valid despite finding that a member of the Working Group had financial conflicts of interest (consulting for environmental groups) and signed an agreement with a litigation attorney before the claims were made public, concern has persisted.

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The Center Is Giving Way, The Left Is Driven In - Germany Abandons Emissions Goal

Jan 10 2018 - 13:01
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had unkind things to say about America after the country declined to participate in a new agreement, the Paris accords, knowing full well that China had been given unlimited emissions and was not even going to discuss it again until 2030.
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