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Updated: 5 min 55 sec ago

Modern Human-Like Gripping Capabilities Existed In Ancestors 500,000 Years Ago

14 min 58 sec ago
A technique used to produce stone tools that were first found 500,000 years ago is likely to have needed a modern human-like hand, according to new research.

The technique is called 'platform preparation' - preparing a striking area on a tool to remove specific stone flakes and shape the tool into a pre-conceived design - and without the ability to perform highly forceful precision grips, our ancestors would not have been able to produce advanced types of stone tool like spear points. 

Platform preparation is essential for making many different types of advanced prehistoric stone tool, with the earliest known occurrence observed at the 500,000-year-old site of Boxgrove in West Sussex, UK.

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3 Reasons To Worry If There Is A New Pandemic

48 min 32 sec ago

One hundred years after the Great Influenza pandemic of 1918, global health leadership stands at a crossroads. The United States continues to expand its policy of isolationism at a time when international cooperation in health could not be more important. The state of pandemic preparedness and the necessary steps for protecting the people throughout the world was the topic of The Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs’ 2nd Annual White Paper.

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Psychologists Discover Your Personality May Change Over 50 Years

2 hours 19 min ago
Does your base personality change over time? Psychologists are conflicted over that, but Galileo once claimed the Moon did not impact the tides, so without a science foundation, or with poor data gathering, anything is possible. 

And we get both in surveys, which is why a new paper by social psychologists does little to advance psychological science - it declares personality is somewhat hard-wired and somewhat shaped by environment. Which everyone knew 4,000 years ago.

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Exoplanets Containing Water May Be More Common Than Believed

2 hours 36 min ago

Some exoplanets with masses two to four times the size of Earth can be explained by large amounts of water - and they may be more common than previously thought, say researchers.

The 1992 discovery of exoplanets orbiting other stars has sparked interest in understanding the composition of these planets to determine, among other goals, whether they are suitable for the development of life. Now a new evaluation of data from the exoplanet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia mission indicates that many of the known planets may contain as much as 50% water. This is much more than the Earth's 0.02% (by weight) water content.

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A Capella Science At CERN

Aug 17 2018 - 11:08
Do you know the works of Tim Blais, the guy behind "A Capella Science"? I sincerely hope you do, but otherwise this post is for you. Tim has a youtube page where he publishes his amazing works.

Tim sings modified lyrics of famous songs, and mixes them with multiple tracks of his own voice imitating each of the instruments of the underlying orchestra, or other choral voices. Until here you could well say there's nothing new under the Sun, except that Tim has been capable, through amazing mixing and editing skills as well as awesome vocal gift, of producing quite entertaining videos. But there is more.

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3700 BC: Embalming Was Taking Place 1,500 Years Earlier Than Thought

Aug 16 2018 - 10:08
A mummy dating from 3700-3500 B.C. housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin since 1901 has never undergone any conservation treatments - and that provided a unique opportunity for some science.

And the results were a surprise. It was assumed the Turin mummy had been naturally mummified by the desiccating action of the hot, dry desert sand but chemical analysis showed that the mummy had undergone an embalming process, with a plant oil, heated conifer resin, an aromatic plant extract and a plant gum/sugar mixed together and used to impregnate the funerary textiles in which the body was wrapped.

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Epidemiologists Link DDT From The 1970s To Modern Autism Diagnoses

Aug 16 2018 - 09:08
DDT was banned by a politician in the US in 1972 and was banned a few years later in Finland, so how can it be causing autism now?

The answer is statistics. The same curve that can show autism is linked to organic food can link autism to anything and if you are at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health you are very much against corporations and in need of a way to get in the New York Times, so a recent paper links DDE, a metabolite of DDT, in the blood of pregnant women to autism.

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Statistics Gone Wild: Secondhand Smoke Causes Arthritis 30 Years Later, Says Questionnaire Result

Aug 15 2018 - 09:08
Secondhand smoke remains controversial because it takes statistical manipulation to link it to any deaths. Yes, it can be harmful to asthmatics, just like perfume or a wine cellar, but a whole advocacy industry has not been built up talking about how wine cellars must be killing people. And the most comprehensive study ever done on secondhand smoke and mortality has never been shown to be flawed. 

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Peering Into The Void: Cosmic Web Reveals This Part Of The Early Universe Had Almost No Matter!

Aug 15 2018 - 07:08
About 1 billion years after the Big Bang, the gas in deep space was highly opaque to ultraviolet light and its transparency varied widely from place to place, obscuring much of the light emitted by distant galaxies. This opaque quality contains tantalizing mysteries about the universe.

That's because now the gas between galaxies is almost totally transparent thanks to being kept ionized-- electrons detached from their atoms--by an energetic bath of ultraviolet radiation.

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HBO No: John Oliver's Awkward Support For The Anti-Vaccine Community

Aug 14 2018 - 09:08

On Sunday evening, John Oliver of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" took a break from talking about Paul Manafort's clothing to talk about public trust in science. Well, sort of. Really, he claimed he wanted to expose "astroturf" groups - fake organizations that look like real "grassroots" ones. You can imagine how I surprised I was on Saturday when I found out he was going to be talking about me.

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Young Religious Americans Care About The Environment, Because Religious Leaders Have Avoided Activist Politics

Aug 12 2018 - 12:08
Young religious Americans are more concerned about the environment than older parishioners, and that may be thanks to religious leaders. They talk about caring for the world given to them and avoid the political activism. 

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Guest Post: Alessandro De Angelis, Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Aug 10 2018 - 09:08
I am very happy to host here today an article by my INFN colleague Alessandro de Angelis, a well-known and authoritative italian astrophysicist. Alessandro has recently published a beautiful new book on this subject, which I invite you to have a look at (see link at the bottom of the article) - T.Dorigo .

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Appeals Court Wants EPA Needs To Ban Chlorpyrifos, Without Seeing Any Data

Aug 09 2018 - 16:08

Environmental trial lawyers are thrilled that the politically friendly 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California

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The Cooling Effect Of Historic Wildfires

Aug 09 2018 - 10:08
Historically, large atmospheric events like fires and volcanic eruptions have had cooling effects. It is the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", for example, part of which was inspired by the gloom from a volcanic eruption that led to 'a year without a summer' in Europe of 1816.

Fires and other events cause the release of soot and other aerosols to be released which can cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space and increasing cloud brightness. A new study finda that such a cooling effect on the planet may have been significantly underestimated by previous researchers. 

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Not As Scary As It Seems: Planet At Risk Of Heading Towards “Hothouse Earth” State

Aug 08 2018 - 01:08

This is scaring some people - because they describe dramatic things that could happen like floods tens of meters deep, and the world too hot for humans. Most of this is for far into the future. The sea rising 10s of meters would be thousands of years into the future - many of the news stories didn’t make that clear.

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Do Any Supplements Work For A Cold?

Aug 06 2018 - 14:08

Last week I had a shocking cold. Blocked nose, sore throat, and feeling poorly. This made me think about the countless vitamins and supplements on the market that promise to ease symptoms of a cold, help you recover faster, and reduce your chance of getting another cold.

When it comes to the common cold (also called upper respiratory tract infections) there is no magic cure (I wish) but some supplements may deliver very minor improvements. Here is what the latest research evidence says.

Vitamin C

For the average person, taking vitamin C does not reduce the number of colds you get, or the severity of your cold.

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Congress Pulls Funding For IARC Statistics Organization

Aug 06 2018 - 10:08
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organisation, which is part of the United Nations, but it is really its own agency that shares little in common with WHO. Whereas WHO wants to save lives, IARC has taken to using statistics to scaremonger trace chemicals by conflating hazard and risk. So if high doses, 10,000 exposures of a chemical all at once, might be linked to cancer by looking at statistics, their flawed methodology, where five orders of magnitude are considered equal, will cause them to declare even 1 exposure a hazard. 

And though they do not calculate risk, they frequently talk about risk in their media kits for journalists, which leads to confusion in media and therefore the public.

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Encounters With Giant Sharks In The Arctic

Aug 02 2018 - 12:08
It was one of these extremely rare days of calms seas far north in the world. When visiting the Arctic coasts of Norway, I often joke and say that the climate here is the same all year around, low temperatures, windy and in general very unpredictable weather. You can have blue skies one minute and rain pouring down almost horizontally! within the next minute.

But this was not the case on this day, the 23rd July 2018. The temperature was reaching a whopping 32 Celsius and there were almost no movements of the air. In fact it was so hot, that the only livable place to be for a northerner was out in the open ocean.

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Metastasis: Broken Cellular Function Mechanism Observed In Mice

Aug 02 2018 - 10:08
Metastasis is the formation of secondary tumors and a leading contributor to deaths related to cancer. The exact mechanism for how cellular function becomes broken in cells far removed from a cancer’s primary tumor have been unclear.

But it's been pondered for almost a hundred years. It was postulated that metastatic cells spontaneously caused secondary tumors by fusing their cellular material with regular cells and re-establishing their errant gene expression, but spontaneous is not a concept scientists like, so the search for the real causes has been ongoing.

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The Silence On BPA Is Deafening – Let The CLARITY Data Speak!

Aug 01 2018 - 10:08

For years it would not have been possible to use the word “silence” in the same sentence with BPA (bisphenol A).  The safety of BPA has been a long-running, robust controversy, in particular regarding concerns that BPA might cause health effects at exposure levels in the very low range that we as consumers might experience every day. 

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