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Updated: 42 min 28 sec ago

Mass Effect Legendary: A Graphical Update, But Is That Worth Over $50?

May 14 2021 - 18:05
Bioware has released the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, with graphical modernization and some gameplay improvements, but at nearly $60 it's not cheap.

Is the story still great? Yes it is, one of the best ever (dream sequences in Mass Effect 3 aside). Are the characters still compelling? Sure.

But it already was, so is it worth spending nearly $60 again?

That's a little trickier. If you already have the games, maybe not. If you don't, the story and characters won't be compelling enough to feel like you got value. While ME and certainly Mass Effect 2 made great advances in decision-driven story telling, they are not exceptional now.

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Glyphosate: From $2 Billion To $25 Million On Its Way To $0

May 14 2021 - 15:05
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, located in San Francisco, is unsurprisingly  the most 'progressive' appeals court in the United States. That their judges are so California when it comes to decisions is why they dominate the others when it comes to being overturned by the Supreme Court.

San Francisco is a great place to file a lawsuit if you are anti-science and that is why when a fellow with cancer claimed it was due to a weedkiller, the federal multidistrict litigation lawsuit was filed there.

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Intel Labs Gives Photorealism Enhancement A Giant AI Boost

May 13 2021 - 15:05
Stephan Richter, Hassan Abu AlHaija, and Vladlen Koltun of Intel Labs have written a paper outlining their new G-buffer encoder which takes photorealism to a whole new level.


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Tree Farts And Ghost Forests A New Target For Climate Change

May 13 2021 - 13:05
A new paper finds that greenhouse gas emissions from standing dead trees in coastal wetland forests are not properly accounted for when assessing the environmental impact of so-called "ghost forests."

Ghost forests are what is left of former forests in coastal regions where changes led to shifts in the height of land. As salt water moves in, dead, white, trees are created. North Carolina has some that can even be seen from space.

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Quantum Computing In Finance – Where We Stand And Where We Could Go

May 13 2021 - 07:05

Quantum computers (QCs) operate totally differently than classical computers. Due to the quantum effects known as superposition and entanglement, quantum bits (called qubits) can take on non-binary states represented by complex numbers. This facilitates computational solutions to mathematical problems that cannot be solved by classical computers because they require sequentially computing an astronomical number of combinations or permutations. 

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WHO Panel On Coronavirus Was Clearly Told Not To Mention China So It Says All Countries 'Made Mistakes'

May 12 2021 - 14:05
The latest coronavirus pandemic started in Wuhan, China. You'd barely learn that from yet another non-report courtesy of the World Health Organisation, they don't mention it until page 15. You certainly won't learn anything about how it began.

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Real World Turbulence Is So Difficult To Understand Even Quantum Turbulence Is Simpler To Model

May 12 2021 - 11:05
Turbulence is part of the cultural lexicon. For casual situations where there are short-term challenges that just require some managing, people often say they are experiencing turbulence. Anyone who has taken a few plane trips has experienced the bumpy ride caused by turbulence in the air.

A new technique for studying turbulence in quantum fluids used a mechanical resonator, a miniscule bar 1/1000th the width of a human hair, in superfluid helium near absolute zero temperature to effectively 'trap' a single vortex for study.

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The Thorny Problem Of COVID-19 Vaccines And Spike Proteins

May 12 2021 - 08:05
Almost since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a piece of the SARS-CoV2 virus called the “spike protein” has drawn interest from researchers and healthcare professionals.

New research by Yuyang Lei and colleagues published in the journal Circulation Research sheds new light on how the spike protein might play a critical role in the widespread damage caused by SARS-CoV2, and offers insight into treating the complications of COVID-19.

Vaccine skeptics have seized on the study to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines. But a review of the study’s findings shows that the concerns raised by vaccine doubters are much ado about nothing.

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Popularity Doesn't Matter: People Are More Persuaded By The Actual Messages In Social Media

May 11 2021 - 17:05
If a post is not popular, you will never see it, so views count, but it is the message and not the popularity of it that persuades people, according to a new paper.

819 demographically diverse American adults aged 18-35 were shown two YouTube videos either for or against vaping. The pro-vaping videos were commercials for e-cigarette brands. The anti-vaping videos were public service announcements produced by anti-tobacco groups. What was changed was the view numbers that participants saw for the videos.

Participants saw view numbers either around 10, 100, 100,000 or 1,000,000.

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Chemicals To Put Out Fires Are 'Riskier' For Firefighters Than Actual Fires? Not According To Science

May 10 2021 - 12:05
A new paper uses emotional verbiage like "forever chemicals" and sketchy correlation to try and claim that fires are not what firefighters should be worried about when the alarm rings, it's the chemicals created by Evil Corporations they should fear.

Firefighters are going to be enraged if they see it, and they should be. It puts their lives at risk. This is not junk science, it isn't science at all.

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Did Science Just Create The Perfect Lullaby?

May 07 2021 - 12:05
Getting kids to go to sleep has long been a challenge for some, and there are beliefs that it got more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spotify got science and music together (the parts that aren't already together, music is applied math) to create what they are calling the perfect lullaby. Maybe it will help.

Swedish rappers Jaqueline “Mapei” Cummings and Jason “Timbuktu” are both parents of young children. After Jaqueline gave birth they went to the studio armed with the science of what sounds to use to create the most soothing lullaby according to sleep expert Helena Kubicek Boye. Then they released the work on Spotify Kids.

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Imaging The Human Body With Muons

May 07 2021 - 12:05
While exchanging ideas with a dear colleague of mine on possible applications of differentiable programming to the optimization of the design of detection instruments, I came about an interesting, crazy idea which, since I do not have enough time to investigate at the moment, is only suitable for this blog. The rationale is that if it is a viable, patentable idea worth something, once it is published here it becomes of public knowledge and it becomes non-patentable anymore... Which in turn means nobody owns it, and it can be exploited without problem, like the Salk vaccine.

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If The Bubonic Plague Didn't Kill You, It Helped Make Your Descendants Stronger

May 06 2021 - 14:05
The remains of 36 bubonic plague victims from a 16th century mass grave in Germany provide evidence that evolutionary adaptive processes, driven by the disease, may have conferred immunity on later generations of people from the region.

The researchers collected DNA samples from the inner ear bones of individuals in a mass grave in the southern German city of Ellwangen which experienced bubonic plague outbreaks in the 16th and 17th centuries. Then they took DNA samples from 50 current residents of the town. They compared their frequency spectra - the distribution of gene variants in a given sample - for a large panel of immunity-related genes and found that innate immune markers increased in frequency in modern people from the town compared to plague victims.

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Young Women Seem Healthier Than Men, And If They Claim Heart Attack Symptoms That Delays Treatment

May 06 2021 - 11:05
Men may be more reluctant to go to a doctor for chest pain but when they get to a care facility, a new analysis finds they get it quicker than women.

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60 Years Ago Today Alan Shepard Became The First American In Space - Where Will We Be In 60 More Years?

May 05 2021 - 16:05
Today is May 5th, when modern Americans assuming this is the day of Mexican independence (it isn't) consume Mexican stuff like burritos and margaritas (those aren't Mexican) but what we should be celebrating is Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard going into space.

On this day in 1961, 60 years ago, Alan Shepard let himself be strapped into a capsule sitting on top of a skyscraper of rocket fuel using parts all selected because they were the lowest bidder on a government contract - and set off for the unknown.

Seriously, this was a risk only test pilots would happily have taken. If you look at the spec that NASA gave to all the corporations that actually put us into space, it reads like aspirational quotes more than engineering:

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People Often Choose Partners Similar In Social Status - That May Also Be True For Schizophrenia

May 04 2021 - 14:05
A new analysis finds that nearly 50 percent of people who have children with a partner who suffers from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder themselves meet the criteria for a mental disorder.

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They Have Light Sabers In Space Now?

May 04 2021 - 11:05
It's May 4th, which in 2011 became a Star Wars celebration Day - a play on the first-religious-then-biological "may the force be with you" from the films. 

"May the fourth be with you" had nothing to do with "Star Wars" initially. It was instead used as congratulations to new UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who took office on that day in 1979. Then it showed up in an episode of "Count Duckula" spoofing the movies. Toronto had the first real celebration of it in 2011 and it took off from there.

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You Can't Get Into Eleven Madison, Now You Won't Want To Anyway

May 03 2021 - 14:05
Epicurious, a food website owned by the billion-dollar Condé Nast group, has stated it will no longer carry recipes that use beef. Because of the environment.

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Push Is On To Get A Space Station Named After Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins

Apr 30 2021 - 16:04
A man who was a test pilot, a major general in the Air Force, and who was an astronaut in both the Gemini and Apollo programs achieved a lot. Yet if you ask most people to name Apollo 11 astronauts, many will get Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, only a few can name Michael Collins.

That's because he walked in space but he never walked on the moon. He was instead the command module pilot for Apollo 11, which went to the astronaut NASA regarded as the most experienced.

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