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Electronic Cigarettes: Many Questions, Still Limited Research

August 5, 2014 - 5:03pm

Electronic cigarettes are booming in popularity, thanks to campaigns to reduce smoking and the goodwill of nicotine patches. There's no evidence foe health risks but evidence that they help people quit smoking is also limited, according to a research review in the July/August Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.


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PreEx Training Better? Your Exercise Routine Doesn't Need To Be That Complicated

August 5, 2014 - 2:30pm

A new study investigated the value of the Pre-Exhaustion (PreEx) training method and found that that the various arrangements of different exercise protocols is of less relevance than simply performing resistance training exercises with a high intensity of effort within any protocol. 


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The Triple Threat Of High Acidity Drinks On Teeth

August 5, 2014 - 2:07pm

Dental researchers writing in the Journal of Dentistry are warning parents of the dangers of soft drinks, fruit juice and sports drinks high in acidity- they call those a "triple-threat" of permanent damage to young people's teeth.

In the article, they demonstrate that lifelong damage is caused by acidity to the teeth within the first 30 seconds of acid attack. They also say drinks high in acidity combined with night-time tooth grinding and reflux can cause major, irreversible damage to young people's teeth.


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UV, Ionizing Radiation, Perchlorates Etc - Not Lethal For "Swimming Pools For Bacteria" - On Mars Surface

August 5, 2014 - 10:32am

I thought I'd post this because there are many who haven't followed the latest findings, who still think that present day life on the surface of Mars is absolutely impossible because of UV light, ionizing radiation, and perchlorates, and because the atmosphere is in almost perfect chemical equilibrium. 

That is indeed what most scientists believed, prior to about 2008. But it is now generally agreed in the field that if there do turn out to be nutritious warm and wet habitats on the surface of Mars, they will be habitable. 

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Regulations, Administration Are Why Cost-Saving Effort In Health Care Hasn't Worked

August 5, 2014 - 4:24am

A pilot program intended to implement and test a cost-saving strategy for orthopedic procedures at hospitals in California failed to meet its goals, succumbing to recruitment challenges, regulatory uncertainty, administrative burden and concerns about financial risk, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The outcome represents a disappointing effort to widely adopt bundled payments, a much-touted strategy that pays doctors and hospitals one fee for performing a procedure or caring for an illness. The strategy is seen as one of the most-promising ways to curb health care spending.


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Sulfur Signals In The Antarctic Snow

August 4, 2014 - 10:30pm

Sulfur signals in the Antarctic snow have revealed the importance of overlooked atmospheric chemistry for understanding climate, past and future.

The element sulfur is everywhere and occurs in four stable forms, or isotopes, each with a slightly different mass. Ordinary reactions incorporate sulfur isotopes into molecules according to mass. But sometimes sulfur divvies up differently so that the relative ratios of the different isotopes is anomalous. The authors of a new paper measured the direction and degree of that anomaly for individual layers of snow representing a single season's snowfall.


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Soaring, Buzzing, Floating, Hopping, Crawling And Inflatable Mars Rovers - Suggestions For UAE Mars Lander

August 4, 2014 - 10:22pm
The UAE plans its first Arab spaceship to Mars in 7 years. What's more, they plan to land it on Mars. With this, they are aiming high indeed, as Mars is probably the most difficult place to land a spacecraft in the inner solar system.

I have no idea what their plans are, but it could be a wonderful opportunity to do something truly astonishing - and fly some of the innovative light weight Mars craft that have been developed over the years.
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Dear Arsenal: Just So You Know, Goalies Are Prone To The Gambler's Fallacy

August 4, 2014 - 9:49pm
When soccer games are determined by penalty kicks, it's part technical and part psychological. Players at the highest levels have good technical skills but among them, a few players on each team really stand out - and whenever possible, they are taking the kicks. But they will likely be tired and they know if they miss completely there is no chance to score regardless of what the goalie does, so they approach the shot a little more conservatively than they otherwise would, so goalies know if they can simply guess left or right they stand a decent chance of blocking the shot.
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Putting Together How Things Fall Apart

August 4, 2014 - 9:30pm

Materials that are firmly bonded together with epoxy and other tough adhesives are ubiquitous in modern life — from crowns on teeth to modern composites used in construction. Yet it has proved remarkably difficult to study how these bonds fracture and fail, and how to make them more resistant to such failures.

Now researchers at MIT have found a way to study these bonding failures directly, revealing the crucial role of moisture in setting the stage for failure. 


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Oxytocin Does Not Cause Autism

August 4, 2014 - 9:05pm

Autism is not caused by a deficiency of oxytocin,  according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.


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Acoustic Bottles In Open Air Send Sound Waves On Trajectories

August 4, 2014 - 8:49pm

There's a new wave of sound on the horizon carrying with it a broad scope of tantalizing potential applications, including advanced ultrasonic imaging and therapy, acoustic cloaking, and levitation and particle manipulation. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories.


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Io: Jupiter's Moon Is The Only Other Place In The Solar System With Volcanic Lava Eruptions

August 4, 2014 - 7:39pm

Io, the innermost of Jupiter's four large "Galilean" moons, is about the same size as Earth's moon, some 2,300 miles across, but it is very different than our moon. So different it is the only other place in the solar system that shares one trait that Earth has - volcanoes erupting extremely hot lava.

Because of Io's low gravity, large volcanic eruptions produce an umbrella of debris that rises high into space and that can be seen from Earth. Last August, astronomers did just that, capturing three massive volcanic eruptions within a two-week period.

It may be that these rare "outbursts", sending material hundreds of miles above the surface, might be much more common than astronomers thought.


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Natural Fracking: How Long Did It Take?

August 4, 2014 - 7:27pm

Hydraulic fracturing is in the news because more natural gas has meant substantially fewer carbon emissions - and it has also been implicated in a variety of environmental issues.

Man is doing what nature has always done, albeit on a different time scale. A new GSA BULLETIN study  examines how long it takes natural Earth processes to form hydraulic fractures and whether the formation is driven by sediment compaction, oil and gas generation or something else. Plus, in order to make environmental models about modern hydraulic fracturing production, it's important to know what role these natural fractures play.


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Nonmonotonic Status Effects Will Impact Science 2.0 Uptake

August 4, 2014 - 6:21pm

Why are scientists at the apex of their careers least likely to adopt new technology? The quick answer is obvious, they got to where they are doing things their way and there is no reason to fix something unbroken. Younger scientists don't have much choice because they don't write the checks, the use the tools the principal investigator has.

It's scientists in the middle most likely to adopt new tools, or adopt the tools of collaborators and even competitors.

What it means for Thermo Fisher Scientific is that high-status scientists may not be the most effective use of their marketing budget. For Science 2.0 it means that adoption will not happen from the top down, counting on that will slow the pace. The sweet spot for influencers is in the middle.


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Backscatter Tech: No-Electricity Wi-Fi Uses Radio Waves For Energy

August 4, 2014 - 6:07pm

This not-so-distant "Internet of Things" will extend connectivity to billions of devices. Sensors could be embedded in everyday objects to help monitor and track everything from the structural safety of bridges to the health of your heart.

But having a way to cheaply power and connect these devices to the Internet has kept this from taking off. People are sick of batteries. They are sick of having to change them and they are irritated when they can't change them. In a world of information, there will need to be battery-free sensors.


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Implanted Neurons Made From Adult Stem Cells Become Part Of The Brain

August 4, 2014 - 3:00pm

Scientists have grafted neurons reprogrammed from skin cells into the brains of mice with long-term stability for the first time. Six months after implantation, the neurons had become fully functionally integrated into the brain. 

That's equivalent to about 20 years in human terms. Successful, stable implantation of neurons raises hope for future therapies that will replace sick neurons with healthy ones in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients, for example. 


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Sports: The History Of When A Female Is A Female

August 4, 2014 - 2:24pm

Was Spanish hurdler María José Martínez-Patiño a male or female athlete? If science can't answer such a basic biological question as that, how can it determine if Lance Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs? Yet the answer is sometimes cloudy. 

Males and females compete in different categories because men are biologically different. If men competed against women in many events, the participation of women would be scant because men would hold win all of the events and hold most of the records.  Martínez-Patiño
was a successful hurdler in the Spanish nationals but a persistent rumor - invoked again and again by female competitors - turned out to be true; Martínez-Patiño


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The Most Violent Era In America Was Before Europeans Arrived

August 4, 2014 - 6:34am

There's a mythology about the native Americans, that they were all peaceful and in harmony with nature - it's easy to create narratives when there is no written record.

But archeology keeps its own history and a new paper finds that the 20th century, with its hundreds of millions dead in wars and, in the case of Germany, China, Russia and other dictatorships, genocide, was not the most violent - on a per-capita basis that honor may belong to the central Mesa Verde of southwest Colorado and the Pueblo Indians.

Writing in the journal American Antiquity, Washington State University archaeologist Tim Kohler and colleagues document how nearly 90 percent of human remains from that period had trauma from blows to either their heads or parts of their arms.


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Gruseome Details Versus Evidence - The Brain Science Of Punishment Decisions

August 4, 2014 - 2:07am

Issues of crime and punishment and vengeance and justice date back to time when people first gathered and in the last few years why people decide just punishment has captured the attention of psychologists and certainly defende attorneys. 

A brain imaging study in Nature Neuroscience says it can identify the brain mechanisms that underlie our judgment of how severely a person who has harmed another should be punished. Specifically, the study looked at how the area of the brain changes when an act was believed to be intentional or unintentional. They found that the imaging is different and unintentional acts  trump the emotional urge to punish the person, however gruesome the harm may be.


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Global Warming Puzzle: A New Hypothesis On Why The Pacific Trade Winds Didn't Weaken

August 4, 2014 - 1:02am

Climate models predicted that the equatorial Pacific trade winds should weaken with increasing greenhouse gases, yet satellites and climate stations have instead revealed a rapid and unprecedented strengthening of the Pacific trade winds since the 1990s. 


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