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Why Vegetable Farmers Aren't On Board The No-Till Train

February 19, 2017 - 3:03am
No-till farming uses cover crops to conserve soil and suppress weeds but many vegetable producers haven't embraced it yet.

The reason is simple; small-seeded vegetable crops struggle to emerge through thick cover crop residues. A recent program sought to see how it might work better with string beans, a common staple of many dinners, and possessing larger seeds. In both Illinois and Washington, USDA-ARS agronomist Rick Boydston and University of Illinois ecologist Marty Williams grew vetch, rye, and a combination of the two cover crops before killing them with a roller-crimper—a machine that evenly flattens and crimps standing plant biomass—or with a combination of the roller-crimper and a burndown herbicide.
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Two Physics Blogs You Should Not Miss

February 18, 2017 - 12:04pm
I would like to use this space to advertise a couple of blogs you might be interesting to know about. Many of you who erratically read this blog may probably have already bumped into those sites, but I figured that as the readership of a site varies continuously, there is always the need to do some periodic evangelization.

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Advanced Racism For Dr Duke And Prof Slattery: Why Hate Jews?

February 17, 2017 - 5:38am
Never compare between only Blacks (B) and others for example, or only Caucasian Whites (CW) and B. One should consider at least three together instead of only two. For example, consider also the North East Asians (NEA). Why? Without considering NEA, B and CW are merely two different regions in whatever parameter space, say crime rates, and all interpretations are still on the table. But relative to B, NEA are almost invariably on the other side of the CW data points, at even higher intelligence, even less crime, even less sexual dimorphism/rape, even higher GDP, graduation rates, and so on. -->

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Hype Or Health? Sitting Is As Bad For You As Smoking

February 15, 2017 - 9:17pm
Sitting has been branded the “new smoking” for its supposed public health risks, especially for people with sit-down office jobs.

Over the past 15 years or so sitting has been linked with cancer, heart disease and diabetes and even -->

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The First Known Deuterostome?

February 14, 2017 - 9:41pm
A few days ago I read an article in the Telegraph Humanity’s earliest known ancestor discovered - and it looks like a ‘wrinkled old sack’, featuring this creature:
 

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The Six-Month Cycle Of The Experimental Physicist

February 12, 2017 - 4:39pm
Every year, at about this time, the level of activity of physicists working in experimental collaborations at high-energy colliders and elsewhere increases dramatically. We are approaching the time of "winter conferences", so called in order to distinguish them from "summer conferences". 
During winter conferences, which take place between mid-February and the end of March in La Thuile, Lake Louise, and other fashionable places close to ski resorts, experimentalists gather to show off their latest results. The same ritual repeats during the summer in a few more varied locations around the world. 

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False Positives Make Women More Likely To Delay Next Mammogram

February 9, 2017 - 5:30pm
Women who received a health scare in the form of a false positive result from a screening mammogram were more likely to delay or even forgo the next mammogram than women who had a correct negative result.

A false positive result from a screening mammogram often leads to emotional, physical, and economic stress, though false positives are an expected part of proper medical care. For this study, the authors obtained data for women who received mammography screening through a large health care organization with multiple facilities in the greater metropolitan Chicago area. Among the 741,150 screening mammograms from 261,767 women included in the analysis were 12.3 percent that yielded a false positive result; the remaining 87.7 percent yielded true negative results.
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12th Dead Sea Scrolls Cave Found

February 9, 2017 - 4:28pm
The Dead Sea scrolls used to be revered as holding some special insight, perhaps we were only now mature enough to understand it. More recently, it's clear these were errors and cast-offs that were given a proper burial, but have no real benefit.

To archaeologists, it's instead just science, another way to understand the past. A new cave has been found, though scientists didn't get their first, they were clearly looted in the middle of the 20th Century, but the scholars still suggest the cave should be numbered as Cave 12, along with the 11 caves previously known to have housed hidden Dead Sea scrolls, even though this one has no scrolls.
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When We Didn't Have Enough CO2 And Oxygen, Snowball Earth

February 8, 2017 - 1:09pm
We think we know the perfect balance of gases in the atmosphere, and it involves a time before there was any industry, when the human population was tiny, when almost all of the planet was covered in plants. Basically, the dream of environmental groups today (with their members being the few allowed to live, of course.)

But we don't really know. There have been times when the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 10X what it is today, but we were only slightly warmed, and there were times when it was lower than today, and we were covered in ice. What we do know is that things are pretty good now, and we don't want a planet covered in ice, or to live in a greenhouse. 
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Tiny Survey Claims Vaping Will Cause People To Start Smoking

February 8, 2017 - 12:53pm
If you sip a beer when you are a teenager, are you going to become a raging alcoholic? You are according to the logic of anti-smoking activists who won the war on cigarettes and need a one place to use their army - and their funding.

Cigarette smoking has plummeted, which is what we have all wanted, and part of the reason for that is smoking cessation tools, like gums, patches, smokeless tobacco and things like e-cigarettes. Those are also used for harm reduction; smoking is as uncool as can be these days, so from a health point of view every cigarette not smoked is a win. They work because nicotine is addictive, like caffeine and alcohol, so providing that stimulus without the toxins is good.
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No Hummingbird Collapse; They're In A Boom

February 8, 2017 - 12:36pm
Its not a great idea to use surveys, but sometimes those are all we have. After environmental groups drummed up publicity about a colony collapse disorder in honeybees, for example, concerned amateurs began taking up beekeeping. Since nature is not a perfect system, and the new folks didn't know what they were doing, these amateurs killed off a lot of bees, but there is no checkbox on the survey for that, so they blamed pesticides.

Declaring things endangered, even species that were only just discovered, is good for business, and a species of hummingbird has been added to conservation watchlists and global warming has been blamed - except it isn't endangered, it's instead migratory. 
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Rational Suckers

February 8, 2017 - 9:47am
Why do people skip queues, cause traffic jams, and create delays for everyone? Who are these misbehaving creatures lacking basic cooperation skills? Are they really all that different from you? Are you perhaps one of them? -->

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The Many Ways Farmers Control Pests

February 7, 2017 - 9:23pm

The post originally appeared on the Putting Pesticides in Perspective (PPIP) Blog on 2/7/17 on which there are also 6 related sub-posts

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The Hard Science Behind The Non-Browning Arctic Apple

February 7, 2017 - 4:27am
With the availability of Arctic Apples around the corner, there are a lot of questions swirling about how the browning is suppressed when the apple is exposed to air.   The browning process has great implications for the value of fruits and fruit products.  This natural discoloration leads to less consumption of fruit, as well as substantial economic loss and food waste.

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Convergent Evolution: Why Some Plants Became Carnivorous

February 6, 2017 - 6:38pm
In Insectivorous Plants, Sir Charles Darwin pondered carnivorous plants. They live in habitats poor in nutrients, mostly on nitrogen and phosphorous, and have compensated this lack with the ability to digest animals such as insects and other arthropods.

Adapting and surviving with a carnivorous diet in nutrient-poor soils is an evolutionary process that some evolutionary unrelated species have been going through, repeatedly and independently, from the same set of genes and proteins, according to a new study in Nature Ecology&Evolution.
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In Dating, Education Matters Less As We Age

February 6, 2017 - 4:27pm
In dating, at least the online kind, younger people tend to have a hard line on educational matching, but older people feel like that's less important.
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The Machiavellian Side Of Cholera

February 6, 2017 - 12:51pm
Recently, two armies were pitted against each other, with harpoon-like appendages covered in poison. They went two war, stabbing each other and rupturing victims like water balloons.

It was all mathematically predictable, at least over time. In a one-off scenario, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, though in over 90 other instances where a team in the playoffs was down by 19 after three quarters, they lost. Knowing the math could lead to new, targeted therapies to fight infections.

But dueling bacteria would not be the infectors in that scenario; they'd be the remedy.
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LHCb Finds Suppressed Lambda_B Decay

February 4, 2017 - 3:41pm
The so-called Lambda_b baryon is a well-studied particle nowadays, with several experiments having measured its main production properties and decay modes in the course of the past two decades. It is a particle made of quarks: three of them, like the proton and the neutron. Being electrically neutral, it is easily likened to the neutron, which has a quark composition "udd". In the space of quark configurations, the Lambda_b is in fact obtained by exchanging a down-type quark of the neutron with a bottom quark, getting the "udb" combination. -->

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As Laundry Pod Popularity Increased, So Did Eye Injuries In Kids - But Don't Panic

February 3, 2017 - 3:52pm
Between 2012 and 2015, the number of chemical burns to the eye associated with laundry detergent pods increased more than 30-fold among preschool-aged children in the US, according to a new analysis, but don't fall prey to the scaremongering that will be done by CNN and PBS.

Detergent pods are dissolvable pouches containing enough laundry detergent for a single use - they lead to less waste because  the amount used is precise. That's good for the environment. But harried parents are being given one more thing to be terrified about, and academics are blaming "candy-like appearance."
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