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Why There Are Seven Days In A Week

Jan 18 2020 - 07:01

Waiting for the weekend can often seem unbearable, a whole seven days between Saturdays. Having seven days in a week has been the case for a very long time, and so people don’t often stop to ask why.

Most of our time reckoning is due to the movements of the planets, Moon and stars. Our day is equal to one full rotation of the Earth around its axis. Our year is a rotation of the Earth around the Sun, which takes 364 and ¼ days, which is why we add an extra day in February every four years, for a leap year.

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Release The Kraken Genome!

Jan 17 2020 - 12:01
Sailors have told tales of giant tentacled sea monsters for millennia. In ancient times, it was the Kraken. In more recent work, Jules Verne delighted and terrified the public while reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

The monstrous Architeuthis dux, the giant squid, must have been terrifying to ancient mariners. They were the size of modern school buses, never a good thing when you are in a wooden trireme, with eyes as big as dinner plates and tentacles that can snatch prey 10 yards away.

During an evolutionary scale when most creatures got smaller, how did this squid get so big?
Publication of its full genome sequence may give us clues.

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Braille Math And Science Textbooks Feel Good - Now They Can Be Far Less Expensive

Jan 17 2020 - 12:01
Since math is a language, there is no reason blind people can't learn it, but math and science textbooks in Braille require an enormous effort to produce. That means much higher cost for a small market, which means it can only be done by nonprofits on one economic end of the scale, or wealthy book companies on the other end, who want to offset their guilt at charging college students $200 for a book that should be $20 on Amazon.

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Microsoft Made-Up Math: They'll Become Carbon Neutral Using Electric Cars And Charging Themselves Carbon Taxes

Jan 17 2020 - 06:01
Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are trying to out-compete each other in ways to wrap themselves in the flag of environmental sustainability, but some of the ways they want to do it are laughable. Amazon's Jeff Bezos wants to do his part to stop global warming and his plan is running a million small business owners in India into extinction; which is why a giant chunk of the country booed when the newest White Savior from a rich country got off his private jet.

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Machine Learning For Jets: A Workshop In New York

Jan 16 2020 - 16:01

The third "Machine Learning for Jets" workshop is ongoing these days at the Kimmel centre of New York University, a nice venue overlooking Washington Square park in downtown Manhattan. I came to attend it and remain up-to-date with the most advanced new algorithms that are been used for research in collider physics, as I have done last year. The workshop is really well organized and all talks are quite interesting, so this is definitely a good time investment for me.

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True Health Initiative: How Epidemiologists Walter Willett And Frank Hu Use Targeted Harassment To Prevent Criticism

Jan 16 2020 - 11:01
The True Health Initiative (THI) describes itself as a nonprofit devoted to “fighting fake facts and combating false doubts to create a world free of preventable diseases, using the time-honored, evidence-based, fundamentals of lifestyle and medicine.” 

That sounds like a terrific place to be, Science 2.0 does the exact same thing.

Except we actually do that. We are not instead selling a belief system promoted by scholars here. And that is what True Health Initiative does, despite the legitimate-sounding name.

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When An App Can Predict Your Life Expectancy, Do You Want To Know?

Jan 16 2020 - 06:01

When will I die?

This question has endured across cultures and civilisations. It has given rise to a plethora of religions and spiritual paths over thousands of years, and more recently, some highly amusing apps.

But this question now prompts a different response, as technology slowly brings us closer to accurately predicting the answer.

Predicting the lifespan of people, or their “Personal Life Expectancy” (PLE) would greatly alter our lives.

On one hand, it may have benefits for policy making, and help optimise an individual’s health, or the services they receive.

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Be Wary Of Probiotic Health Claims In Media - That Means Be Wary Of Health Journalism

Jan 15 2020 - 14:01
There is no question that our microbiome is important to health, but just like science behind mitochondrial function inside cells set off an antioxidant craze in the 1970s, all of the applied health claims about probiotics in the 2000s are nonsense. If you enjoy the taste of expensive yogurt buy it, but if there was any chance it was really impacting your trillions of bacteria, it could just as easily be doing harm.

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Is The Red Giant Betelgeuse About To Explode?

Jan 15 2020 - 06:01

Every season has its characteristic star constellations in the night sky. Orion – one of the most recognizable – is distinctly visible on crisp, clear winter nights in the northern hemisphere. The constellation is easy to spot even in light-polluted cities, with its bright stars representing the shape of a person.

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Vegetable Consumption Doesn't Decrease Prostate Cancer Progression

Jan 15 2020 - 05:01
Guidelines for increased vegetable consumption asa way to improve to improve outcomes for prostate cancer survivors are based on expert opinion, inference, and statistical correlation, but a recent randomized clinical trial that included 478 patients found no difference in prostate cancer progression over two years among men with early-stage disease.

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Vaccines and Autism Concern Is No Longer Just a West Coast Thing - Now Only 45% Of The Country Accepts The Science

Jan 14 2020 - 19:01
Once upon a time, if you were going to find a pocket of concern about vaccines and autism in America, you had to find a relatively small radius around a Whole Foods store. Rich, white people, who bought organic food and lots of supplements were going to over-represent when it came to denial of vaccines.

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Just Because You Can Buy Breast Milk Online Doesn't Mean You Should

Jan 14 2020 - 18:01
Breast milk has become popular due to both well-meaning (statistical correlation to everything from higher income to higher IQ) and mommy-shaming (if you use formula, you are a bad parent) groups that it may actually be putting more kids at risk.

If you simply can't express enough milk, or don't want the hassle, you may be tempted to buy breast milk online. Obviously the hope is you get a reputable source but if you do run into problems, Aoife Finnerty, adjunct at the University College Cork, outlines the legal situation.

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Skepticism Warranted Regarding New Study Suggesting Link Between Chemical Exposures And IQ Loss

Jan 14 2020 - 10:01

Earlier today, Dr. Leonardo Trasande and colleagues from New York University (NYU) published yet another in a series of economic studies which they interpret to indicate that low level general population exposures to some brominated flame retardants (PBDEs)1 and organophosphate pesticides (OPPs)2 are now causing a larger share of societal economic burden from IQ loss and intellectual disability than from what they regard as the more traditional threats of lead and methylmercury. 

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Netflix: The Goop Lab Is An Infomercial For Gwyneth Paltrow's Pseudoscience Business

Jan 13 2020 - 17:01

Last week, Netflix dropped the trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow’s new show The Goop Lab. It is a six-episode docuseries launching on Jan. 24 that, according to the trailers, focuses on approaches to wellness that are “out there,” “unregulated” and “dangerous.” (Read: science-free.)

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How Restricting Legal Trade In Endangered Species Backfires

Jan 13 2020 - 11:01

Every year humans buy and sell hundreds of millions of wild animals and plants around the world. Much of this commerce is legal, but illegal trade and over-harvesting have driven many species toward extinction.

One common response is to adopt bans on trading in threatened or endangered species. But research shows that this approach can backfire. Restricting high-value species can actually trigger market booms.

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Solar Power Is A Manifestation Of Income Inequality, Solar Geoengineering May Instead Fix It

Jan 13 2020 - 10:01
Solar panel proponents rave about their solar energy. They tout how low their electricity bills are, that the utility is forced to buy energy from them at the same price they sell it, and that they are helping the planet.

The problem is that solar panels are subsidized by poor people who can't afford the installations in order to get a rebate. And that those who rent, or who live in apartments. Multi-million dollar Malibu solar installations that have their costs passed through to poor families, because no company with employees and infrastructure can afford to buy and sell at the same price and government created regulations to penalize those who use more affordable energy.

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Majorana Fermion: We Found The God Particle, Why Is The 'Angel Particle' Still Missing?

Jan 13 2020 - 10:01
Majorana fermions, particles that act as their own antiparticle and were first hypothesized by Italian physicist Ettore Majorana in 1937, have not been detected after all.

A 2017 report of the discovery of a particular kind of Majorana fermion, the chiral Majorana fermion, was a false alarm, finds a new study, which means construction of a topological quantum computer also remains elusive.

Some particle physicists are using underground observatories to discover if the ghost-like particle known as the neutrino, a subatomic particle that rarely interacts with matter, might be a Majorana fermion.

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Spurious Thinking: Why You're More Susceptible To Misinformation Than You Think

Jan 11 2020 - 06:01

Online misinformation works, or so it would seem. One of the more interesting statistics from the 2019 UK general election was that 88% of advertisements posted on social media by the Conservative Party pushed figures that had already been deemed misleading by the UK’s leading fact-checking organization, Full Fact. And, of course, the Conservatives won the election by a comfortable margin.

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It's The Calories In Pizza That Will Make You Fat, Not The Box: Congress Wants To Ban The Box

Jan 10 2020 - 16:01
A few years ago I sent an employee to a debate to argue over what was more harmful for your body, the pizza or the pizza box.

I am not kidding. A subset of activists absolutely says with straight faces that a trace chemical in a box is more harmful than getting fat. And now they have gotten Democrats in Congress to demonize over 6,000 forms of PFAS and open up nearly every company in America to lawsuits.

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'Gift Of Life' Appeals: Why Do They Work For Blood Drives But Not Organ Donations?

Jan 10 2020 - 16:01
Every time a disaster occurs, people show their philanthropic side, but the same framing that works for blood drives, such as 'gift of life' appeals, is far less effective when it comes to organ donation.

Though much is known about why people donate blood or register as an organ donor, we don't know a lot about why individuals continue to choose not to do so. Most people do not and never will donate so it makes sense that asking people 'why not' rather than 'why' has more value.  The anonymous data for the study was collected via a survey promoted by Australian donation organisations including Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, and Transplant Australia.

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