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Updated: 57 min 52 sec ago

Selection Bias In Publication? Minorities, Women And Republicans Are All Penalized. But Women Are Improving

Jul 09 2018 - 12:07
A new study using a massive database of scientific articles, 486,644 articles with two to nine authors published in medical journals by U.S. scientists between 1946 and 2009, suggests that minority women  are not double penalized by being minorities and women, but they do have what might be called a "one-and-a-half bind." They are still worse off than other groups, but their disadvantage is less than the disadvantage of being black or Hispanic plus the disadvantage of being a woman.

There are obvious confounders. Medical journals are a small subset of journals and journals will have more academic representation, since that is the metric government panels use to give out grants, a concern private sector scientists don't have. 

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AI May Improve Medical Diagnostics - But The Limit Is Algorithms

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
A.I. - artificial intelligence - has seen a resurgence of buzzword activity. It's the Internet of Things for 2018. But if the limitation is the algorithm underneath, it's not really AI.

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Natural Fatty Acid As A Potential Anti-Inflammatory

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
Francisella tularensis bacteria are the cause of tularemia, a life-threatening disease spread to humans via contact with an infected animal or through the bite of a mosquito, tick or deer fly. The bacteria are able to suppress host inflammation when infecting mouse and human cells - and lipids help. A lipid is waxy, fatty acid but what helps bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection may also be a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases. 

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P120C - Largest Rocket Motor Ever Built Goes To The Test Stand

Jul 09 2018 - 11:07
The P120C solid-fuel rocket motor that will power Ariane 6 and Vega-C at liftoff has been transferred to the test stand for its first hot firing at Europe’s Spaceport.

P120C will replace P80 as the first stage motor of Vega-C, which is expected to debut in mid-2019 and comprises four stages. Three stages will use solid-propellant motors and one will use liquid propellants.  The first stage is the P120C, the largest monolithic carbon fiber solid-propellant rocket motor ever built. Two or four P120Cs will also be strapped onto Ariane 6 as boosters for liftoff.

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The Long Peace - 1945, 1965 Or Just A Statistical Blip?

Jul 09 2018 - 10:07
What accounts for modern peace? There are varying ideas. When America won World War II and occupied Germany and Japan in 1945, two militant cultures were off the table, while psychologist Steven Pinker argues in 2011's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" argues that there has been a continuous decline in the relative levels of virtually all types of violence, and he writes of a “humanitarian revolution”, driven by democracy, trade and information. Perhaps World War II, and the implementation of "total war" and nuclear weapons, sent wars into decline - at least major wars.

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup And Sucrose - Is There A Health Difference?

Jul 08 2018 - 22:07

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made from corn starch whereas sucrose us usually made from sugarcane or beets. Because starch itself is asimple sugar, a chain of glucose molecules joined together, once it's broken down into individual glucose molecules, it's corn syrup, which is essentially 100% glucose. It becomes high-fructose corn syrup when enzymes are 

HFCS is sometimes called isoglucose and is used in the food industry to sweeten processed foods such as soft drinks, creams, cakes, confectionery, yogurts etc. to keep costs lower. It's sweeter than regular sugar, more like honey.

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Ichthyosis: Progress Addressing This Severe Skin Disease Affecting Dogs And Humans

Jul 08 2018 - 18:07

Skin, with its densely packed layers of cells and lipids, keeps foreign substances from leaking in and water from leaking out. It's a reverse raincoat for our organs. 

In ichthyosis and other skin diseases, this barrier breaks down, and problems arise. Unlike more commonly known skin diseases, in ichthyosis thick layers of scales can build up because the lipid-synthesis process in the skin goes awry. Besides causing discomfort and a scaly appearance, the condition can make the skin prone to secondary infections.

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Oxygen Loss In The Coastal Baltic 'Unprecedentedly Severe'

Jul 06 2018 - 17:07

The Baltic Sea is home to some of the world's largest areas of oxygen-starved waters where most marine animals can't survive - dead zones - and it has been that way for as long as records have been kept, but a new study estimates that oxygen loss in coastal areas over the past century is unprecedented in the last 1500 years.

According to the researchers, human-induced pollution, from fertilizers and sewage running off the countries surrounding the Baltic into the sea, is the main driver of recent oxygen loss in the region's coastal waters. If low-oxygen areas spread it can reduce fish yields for indigenous people and even lead to increased mortality of marine animals.

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Tropical Forest Conservation Is A Rich Country Solution Paid For By Poor Indigenous People

Jul 06 2018 - 15:07

In ireland 100 years ago, 1 percent of the island was forest, now it is 11 percent, and Irish people have no problem with food. They even grow Spruce, which is not native, to craft and sell furniture.

Given that developed countries have lots of forest now, despite going through periods of growth where they felled far more than they planted, it smacks of hypocrisy that wealthy nations tell poor ones how vital the rainforest is.  

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Faulty Cancer Claim Driving Weed Killer Lawsuits

Jul 06 2018 - 12:07

Thousands of lawsuits around the nation claim glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer Roundup—causes cancer. These cases are based on pretty much zero evidence, but if trial lawyers can get a jury to accept their false narrative, thousands of more cases may proceed. 

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Suicide Nation: What's Behind It?

Jul 06 2018 - 01:07

Suicide rates in the U.S. have increased nearly 30 percent in less than 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported June 7. These mind-numbing statistics were released the same week two very famous, successful and beloved people committed suicide – Kate Spade, a tremendous entrepreneur, trendsetter and fashion icon, and Anthony Bourdain, a distinguished chef and world traveler who took us on gastronomic journeys to all corners of the world through his TV shows.

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30 Percent Of Indians Are Anemic - Switching From Rice (Or Bioengineering Better Stuff) Would Help

Jul 05 2018 - 17:07
Starting in the 1960s, a Green Revolution in India led to a boom in rice and wheat production and that helped reduce hunger - but it meant demands on the water supply and pollution from fertilizer.

When Indians have embraced modern technology more recently, pollution from fertilizer has gone down, but rice takes a lot of water. And "natural" rice is not great nutritionally. Nutrient deficiencies are already widespread in India today--30 percent or more are anemic--and many regions are chronically water-stressed. 

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Cover Crops Enhance Soil Quality - At A Cost

Jul 05 2018 - 17:07
Replacing fallow lands with cover crops in order to increase the levels of carbon and soil nitrogen  also enhances its quality and mitigates nitrate leaching in an agricultural land, according to a new analysis. 

After collecting data for ten years, results indicate that such cover crops, which maintain the soil protected during winter months, reduce degradation and provide an extra organic matter after their completion, though not without cost.

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Chasing The Higgs Self Coupling: New CMS Results

Jul 04 2018 - 08:07
Happy Birthday Higgs boson! The discovery of the last fundamental particle of the Standard Model was announced exactly 6 years ago at CERN (well, plus one day, since I decided to postpone to July 5 the publication of this post...).

In the Standard Model, the theory of fundamental interactions among elementary particles which enshrines our current understanding of the subnuclear world,  particles that constitute matter are fermionic: they have a haif-integer value of a quantity we call spin; and particles that mediate interactions between those fermions, keeping them together and governing their behaviour, are bosonic: they have an integer value of spin. 

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500 Million Year Old Gene Could Mean A Path To New Treatments For Influenza, Arthritis - And You Can Help Name It

Jul 02 2018 - 14:07
A gene called called C6orf106, or "C6", has existed for 500 million years, but understanding how it controls the production of proteins involved in infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes is only being understood more recently. The human genome was first fully sequenced in 2003, which means there are still thousands of genes that we know very little about.

Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease. C6 regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiralling out of control.

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Soapbox For Science This Saturday

Jun 29 2018 - 08:06
This Saturday women are going to talk to the public about their research. After seven years, the annual Soapbox Science event is an international occasion for women to talk about their work and how they got to where they are today.

One of them is Dr. Helen Metcalfe, who is putting on her lab coat this Saturday lunchtime and climbing onto a soapbox in the middle of a Milton Keynes shopping center to talk about her work with weeds and about her journey to a life in agricultural science. Metcalfe is a postdoctoral research scientist working at Rothamsted Research where she creates models of ecosystems to understand the effects of farming practices on the environment.

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The James Webb Space Telescope Continues To Bleed, Other NASA Experiments Will Continue To Hemorrhage

Jun 27 2018 - 15:06
Science 2.0 began 11 years ago, the year that the James Webb Space Telescope was supposed to be completed, but there was no real cause for alarm about the delays until 2010, when it was three years and $1.5 billion late. Not many in science communication really noticed, though that is easy to dismiss as modern journalists being cheerleaders rather than critical thinkers. Instead, the science community has continued to gush how great it will be as JWST missed milestone after milestone. 

Even last month, people were still continuing to write sentences like "JWST will be able to..." about 2020. 

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Biosignatures: When Will We Find Signs Of Life In Space?

Jun 26 2018 - 12:06
A new paper believes detection of atmospheric signatures for a few potentially habitable planets could occur before 2030.

Does that mean life on other planets?

Perhaps. perhaps not. We could be first in the universe, even though mathematically we should not be, just like mathematically light from infinite stars could make our sky pure white even at night. But if we are not first, the challenge becomes how to really detect anything else. We are currently unable to visit exoplanets, and since we determined 15 years ago we couldn't even return to the moon until 2020 (and then the succeeding president scrapped that mission) we are not visiting them any time soon. But we can use telescopes to remotely examine them for so-called biosignatures. 

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Global Climatic Event Leads To New Geologic Time Scale, The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age

Jun 26 2018 - 09:06
Around 2,200 B.C, agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt cooling and a critical mega-drought. Humans had been progressing nicely since the end of the last Ice Age, and suddenly this cooling, and accompanying droughts, forced the collapse of civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley, which led to migrations and regenerations in other areas. 

Evidence of this period, now called the 4.2 kiloyear climatic event, has been found on all seven continents and it has become the reason for the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale,  now called the Late Holocene Meghalayan Age.

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Anti-Science Mommy Bloggers Declare War On Mark Lynas - Again

Jun 26 2018 - 09:06
It can't have been easy for former environmental activist Mark Lynas to change sides. His friends were on the anti-science side, he was a dutiful reader of The Guardian, where activists and environmental trade groups reign supreme, and he was adored there.

But he had an ethical dilemma. How could he talk about the science consensus on climate change, despite generous potential funding by corporations to say otherwise (no, really, anti-science people think that happens), while continuing to deny the science consensus in agriculture. Exxon's revenue was 20X that of Monsanto and yet even with far fewer scientists in climate studies they were not "bought off" as his side claimed about farming.

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