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Updated: 35 min 17 sec ago

Government Is Watching You, And That Amplifies Police Bias And Overreach

Jun 13 2020 - 06:06

Video of police in riot gear clashing with unarmed protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has filled social media feeds. Meanwhile, police surveillance of protesters has remained largely out of sight.

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QIH: Mice Don't Hibernate, But Now They Can - And What That May Mean For Human Space Travel

Jun 12 2020 - 12:06
Humans do not hibernate, but in science-fiction films long-distance travel often involves "suspended animation" where muscular atrophy, starvation, and oxygen deprivation don't occur. 

Mice don't hibernate either but they just did in experiments. Mice are obviously not little people, that is why claims involving mice are in the exploratory camp, but animals models are often a waypoint on the path to humans.

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Batrachopus Grandis: Crocodille Ancestor Walked On Two Feet

Jun 11 2020 - 18:06

Well-preserved footprints from the Lower Cretaceous Jinju Formation of South Korea, 110 million years ago, show that an ancestor of modern-day crocodiles, named Batrachopus grandis, walked on two feet.

Palaeontologists knew that some crocodiles from the "age of dinosaurs" were more adapted to life on land than their modern relatives but those were smaller creatures, about three feet long with footprints showing they walked on all fours. Batrachopus grandis was instead 12 feet in size and bipedal. It is more like a Gorn from the television show "Star Trek" than what we think of as a crocodile.

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When It Comes To Psychological Trauma What Doesn't Kill You Doesn't Make You Stronger Either

Jun 11 2020 - 13:06
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger is a popular phrase, but how true it ever was is unclear. Bones are not stronger after they break and while some people relax about small drama after real trauma, many also become more sensitized to stress instead of more resilient.

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Epidemiologists Advocate For Warning Labels On Soda - And Hope California Will Notice

Jun 10 2020 - 17:06
A team of epidemiologists who correlate specific types of calories, rather than simply too many calories, to obesity have written a new paper advocating for cigarette-style warning labels on soda. 

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Robot Cockroaches Are All We Need To Make 2020 Just Peachy

Jun 09 2020 - 14:06
2020 started out being a weird and devastating way to end the decade yet we naively thought those Australian wildfires were as bad as it could get.

Now people outside that country barely remember they happened. Because then we got coronavirus. Luckily, we dodged the murder hornets but then went right to race wars. New York, the city, county, and state, has had the worst of both COVID-19(1) and the looting, but fear not Manhattan, June is probably as bad as it gets for 2020. 

Well, maybe, unless July really has a surprise in store.

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American Agriculture Got Us Through Coronavirus, Why Are Academic Activists Still So Down On Farming?

Jun 08 2020 - 14:06
In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked "experts" what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like "mythographer" - no scientists invited - so it's no surprise only one response had real-world relevance.(1) A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone.

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New Personal Web Page

Jun 07 2020 - 12:06
For the past 11 years I have blogged for Science2.0 (formerly Scientific Blogging), and I have considered this site my true personal web page, too - the articles I have published here for over a decade are a much better representation of who I am, what I do, and of my personal expertise than anything else I can ever think of putting together in a web site.

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Coronavirus Risks In Public Bathrooms

Jun 05 2020 - 13:06

Most public restrooms are grungy in the best of times. Now, we have the coronavirus risk to contend with, too. There are lots of risks – dirty sinks and door handles, airborne particles and other people in small, enclosed spaces who may or may not be breathing out the coronavirus.

So, how do you stay safe when you’re away from home and you’ve really got to go?

As a medical doctor and epidemiologist, I study infectious diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract. Here are four things to pay attention to when it comes to any public restroom.

What goes into the toilet doesn’t always stay there

Have you ever thought about what happens when you flush a toilet?

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Who Is Surgisphere And How Did They Get Into A Lancet Hydroxychloroquine Paper?

Jun 04 2020 - 15:06
Surgisphere, a company that bills itself as having one of the largest and fastest hospital databases in the world, was riding high a few days ago. Their data had led to papers in both New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, they moved WHO to stop clinical trials because their data showed no benefit but some risks of hydroxychloroquine.

Not bad for a company with three employees and 170 Twitter followers.

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FMRI Images Are Just Pretty Pictures

Jun 04 2020 - 14:06
Ten years ago science journalists talked about functional MRI (fMRI) scans all of the time. Because if a part of the brain lit up when someone did, said, or read something, it went into a paper. Few asked who was doing the interpreting, how legitimate the scale was, and if it had any scientific relevance. We got media claims that fMRI would predict behavior and the resulting media attention caused scholars to rush to produce even more fMRI papers.

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Some Good News: Yellowstone Won't Blow Up This Year

Jun 04 2020 - 12:06
From Australian wildfires to COVID-19 to murder hornets to race wars in Manhattan, 2020 looks to be a challenging year. It could still get worse, but science shows it won't be due to Yellowstone blowing its top. 

Yellowstone is one of those scenarios doomsday "preppers" worry about. They are right to be concerned if it does happen, but they don't understand hazard (what could happen) and risk (the likelihood of the hazard) any better than environmentalists worrying about weedkillers do. 

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One Hydroxychloroquine A Day Does Not Keep The Doctor Away

Jun 04 2020 - 10:06
As the search for an effective COVID19 treatment goes on, one therapy keeps re-appearing in the headlines: hydroxychloroquine. Early, observational studies on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID19 failed to show any real benefits of the drug. The ability of hydroxychloroquine to prevent the development of COVID19, however, remained largely untested. But a study on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID19 has been published and the results are not what anyone was hoping for.

The Set-Up

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Do No Harm? Doctors Are Giving Out 9X As Many Hydroxychloroquine Prescriptions, And That Puts People Who Need It At Risk

Jun 04 2020 - 06:06
The antimalarial drug chloroquine (analogue hydroxychloroquine) is also successfully used to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune diseases said to have similar biological mechanisms as COVID-19 and, lacking any remedies besides what can be done for the flu, in March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for those compounds as treatments.

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Cover Crops Lead To Better Decomposition Rates And Increased Mineralization

Jun 04 2020 - 01:06

Cover crops are touted for their soil and water quality related benefits. A new paper found that incorporating cover crops with tillage results in increased cover crop decomposition rates and increased mineralization of nutrients from cover crop biomass.

Other studies have reported mixed results for corn-soybean grain yields when planted after cover crops.

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Randomized Double-Blind Trial Of Hydroxychloroquine Finds It's In The Placebo Range

Jun 03 2020 - 17:06
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to test hydroxychloroquine as post-exposure prophylaxis found that it does not prevent illness. 

Enrollment began on March 17th, 2020. To be eligible, people had be enrolled within 3 days after confirmed exposure. 821 asymptomatic participants, 719 who had reported a high-risk exposure to a confirmed Covid-19 contact, were enrolled.

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Business Insider Takes A Trip Down 2019 Chemophobia Lane

Jun 03 2020 - 13:06
Thanks to COVID-19, the public has gotten a lot more skeptical about claims that chemicals, food, and medicine are corporate conspiracies created to replace natural products that worked just fine. Even more ridiculous has been the belief that millions and millions of people are dying from these newer products even though there are no bodies to be found.

Science is back, and that may be why Business Insider published what can perhaps be described as an advertorial for environmental groups who have to be sweating now that their campaigns against the modern world are being laughed at.

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Baryon Acoustic Oscillations, Dark Energy, And Cosmic Expansion

Jun 03 2020 - 12:06
A new paper uses a combination of cosmic voids – large expanding bubbles of space containing very few galaxies – and the faint imprint of sound waves in the very early Universe, known as baryon acoustic oscillations, that can be seen in the distribution of galaxies, to show how large structures in the distribution of galaxies in the Universe can provide the most precise tests of dark energy and cosmic expansion yet.

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The Emperor Has No Clothes: The Failure Of Hydroxychloroquine As A COVID-19 Treatment And The Science That Explains It

Jun 02 2020 - 15:06
The antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted as a miracle cure for COVID-19, has hit another roadblock, and this time it is heartbreaking. A new study published in the Lancet analyzed the records of patients from 6 continents and found that not only is hydroxychloroquine not an effective treatment, it’s cardiac side effects are potentially dangerous.

The Study

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New Flu? Coronavirus Might Become Cause Of A Seasonal Illness

Jun 02 2020 - 10:06
The flu kills over 600,000 people each year and in 2020 another virus exploded in public health circles for the third time in 17 years; coronavirus.

SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has killed nearly 400,000, and given the risk factors it is hard to say how people would have been killed by any respiratory disease, but one question is not philosophical: is this the new normal? 

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