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Updated: 17 min 48 sec ago

Solar's On Demand Problem May Get Solved - And May Allow Solar Energy To Be Shipped Worldwide

Apr 11 2022 - 13:04
 Solar power has potential but a crippling weakness that has meant despite trillions of dollars in subsidies and continuing mandates, it has not made a dent in use of conventional energy; it is not on demand and batteries are expensive and going to do more harm to the future than natural gas.

The solar energy system MOST – Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage Systems is starting small but the concept of a specially designed molecule that changes shape when it comes into contact with sunlight scaled to operational sizes might mean real solar farms in remote places that provide electricity as well as conventional energy.

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Coral Reefs Recover Quickly After Bleaching Due To Water Temperature Changes

Apr 11 2022 - 12:04
Water has varied in temperature for as long as water has existed and it seems evolution has provided coral reefs a recovery mechanism after variation results in 'bleaching' - when corals expel algae and turn white. It can have some impact beyond algae because about 275 million people live near a coral reef and they can be tourist attractions and help support fishing industries.

In 2018, two years after the government protected Chagos Archipelago underwent bleaching, the reef coral cover and carbonate production were down by more than 70 percent. Yet by last year, they were found to have rebounded nicely. 

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The World's Rice Bowl Is Suffering With Lower Yields - Here Is How Science Is Helping

Apr 11 2022 - 11:04
South-East Asia is a substantial consumer of rice but also accounts for about 40 percent of international rice exports. Before population plateaus some time after 2050, and as globalization makes the world more prosperous, there will likely be 18 percent higher demand for rice in the region.

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Is The CDF W Mass Measurement A Nail In The SM Coffin?

Apr 09 2022 - 08:04
No.
... Ok, ok, I will elaborate. But first I feel the need to explain what we are talking about here, to anybody who does not have a Ph.D. in particle physics and is still reading this column.

Background: The Tevatron, CDF, and the W boson

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The Next Pollution Target Is Your Dryer Lint - Fabric Softener To The Rescue?

Apr 08 2022 - 10:04
A new study says that drying a load of laundry in a machine releases "microfibers" into the air but chemicals made by a $76 billion company will save us.

Microfibers? Is that a thing? Sure, we have defined healthy down to such an extent that no one is without a disease of some kind. With endocrine disrupting chemicals, small micron particulate matter, and supermarket food it is amazing any of us live more than a day. 

But is it really meaningful? As with Micronauts, it sounds like something that might be the science equivalent of an MCU show but on closer examination is really more like Hasbro latching onto a fad.

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The Biden Administration Agreed Courts Could Not Block A Trump Water Rule - Then Wanted SCOTUS To Side Against It Anyway

Apr 06 2022 - 15:04
In the 'politics makes strange bedfellows' department, the Biden administration conceded that a California judge appointed by Democrats had no legal authority to block a rule denying what Southern states tried to do to keep slavery - say that states rights were supreme over the US.

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Sports And School: Physically Fit Pupils Feel And Can Concentrate Better

Apr 05 2022 - 11:04
Bad dietary habits start young, as do most bad habits, from smoking to drug use. Good habits tend to be the same. It is known that movement on a regular basis keeps kids healthy but a new study found that physical fitness is also linked to concentration and health-related quality of life for primary school pupils.

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California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order Law Didn't Reduce Gun Violence

Apr 05 2022 - 11:04
Though activists will highlight mass shootings as a gun problem rather than a criminal act, as in a Sacramento, California shooting a few days ago, legal California gun ownership has had an inverse relationship to crime and deaths. More guns than ever are owned but there are fewer gun deaths per capita.

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HIV Drug Lamivudine A Promising Treatment In Metastatic Colon Cancer Trial

Apr 05 2022 - 10:04
A recent trial of lamivudine, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor used in HIV therapy, found that it stopped disease progression in patients with fourth-line metastatic colorectal cancer

The trial included 32 patients with advanced metastatic colon cancer whose disease progressed despite four lines of previous cancer treatments. The first nine patients received the standard HIV-approved dose of lamivudine. After adjusting the dosing four-fold, another 23 patients received lamivudine therapy where it was highly tolerated.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Caused Suicide Rates Among Women In Japan To Increase

Apr 04 2022 - 19:04
Japan has a high suicide rate, so it was news when there were reports from the National Police Agency that October 2020 had more suicide deaths in just that month than they had deaths due to COVID-19 for the year.(1) 

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Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Risk

Apr 01 2022 - 13:04
Though nearly everyone recognizes that smoking cigarettes is a known carcinogen, many marijuana users think marijuana smoke is safe. They may not realize it is inhaling the smoke, not that the smoke is from one plant or another, that is the worry. Nicotine or THC is as harmless as caffeine, but when combusted in a leaf with paper and inhaled, everything becomes harmful. Including marijuana plants.

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The Future Of Experimental Design

Apr 01 2022 - 10:04
Ever since experimental physics was a thing, the worth of scientists could be appraised by how carefully they designed their experiments, making sure that their devices could answer as precisely as possible the questions that crowded their mind. Indeed, the success of their research depended on making the right choices on what apparatus to build, with what materials, what precise geometry, and how to operate it for best results.


(Above: Ramsay and Pierre Curie in their lab)

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Planting Trees Can Fix The Climate, But Only If We Eliminate 80% Of Energy Usage

Mar 31 2022 - 14:03
Nothing is more ridiculous than annual logjammed airports because celebrities use private jets to go to climate conferences and tell attendees eating four-course meals they need to do more to convince poor people using dung and wood for fuel that they should want solar panels. Environmental journalists insist they must also attend in person because it "builds relationships" and they promise to give money to some company that says it will plant a tree to assuage their guilt.

It's all nonsense, of course, the kind of rich white elitism that has a different name than in the 19th century but is still warmed over colonialism. 

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Bruce Willis Has Aphasia: What Does That Mean?

Mar 30 2022 - 13:03
In an Instagram post, the family of Bruce Willis revealed that the actor has been diagnosed with aphasia, and the cognitive decline resulting means he is stepping away from his acting career.

Aphasia is devastating for an actor because all three kinds - Broca's aphasia, Wernicke's aphasia, and global aphasia - mean a loss of communications ability. And when an actor has to struggle to communicate at all, they are losing the ability to act.

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With Detection Of Earendel, Hubble Just Set A Viewing Distance Record Of 28 Billion Lightyears

Mar 30 2022 - 12:03
Fermilab, now a tourist attraction, found the Higgs Boson before the Large Hadron Collider did, but the lack of comparative luminosity made it a struggle to know that as quickly as the LHC did. 

That's why the discovery of a star by Hubble 28 billion lightyears away, a new record, may not last long if everything goes as planned with its long-delayed successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. It's so far away that Hubble can't tell astronomers if it is even one star or two, because statistical blips in the data need more clarity that a deeper space telescope will provide.

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Sea Cucumbers Are Ecologically Critical But Asian Food Market Demand Puts Them At Risk

Mar 29 2022 - 16:03
Tiger blood, rhino horns, any number of natural supplements, including from endangered species, are used in the alternative medicine spheres - and that market is dominated by Asia.

Sea cucumbers are used in Chinese folk medicine but are also a luxury food product and that demand has meant once-thriving Mexican sea cucumber populations have been decimated due to poaching. China doesn't care where its products come from, so any certification could be as illegitimate as an organic food sticker from Russia.

Sea cucumbers are ecologically critical but a new literature review finds that Asian food markets have them on the brink of crisis. 

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The Ukraine War Punctured The Myth Of Viable Alternative Energy

Mar 29 2022 - 14:03

The war in Ukraine has driven oil prices to their highest leve

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Recent Volcanism On Pluto Brings Up Questions

Mar 29 2022 - 11:03

Pluto, the Solar System’s largest dwarf planet, just became even more interesting with a report that icy lava flows have recently covered substantial tracts of its surface. In this context, “recently” means probably no more than a billion years ago. That’s old, of course – and there is no suggestion that volcanoes are still active – but it’s only a quarter the age of the Solar System and no one knows how Pluto brewed up the heat needed to power these eruptions.

The news, coming nearly seven years after NASA’s New Horizons probe made its spectacular flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015, is thanks to analysis of images and other data by a team led by Kelsi Singer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

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COVID-19 May Be Bad But If You Get That And Flu, It's Really Bad

Mar 27 2022 - 19:03
Prior to the latest coronavirus pandemic, many were indifferent about getting the flu vaccine. They shouldn't be. Co-infections are not common but a new study finds that adults in hospital who have COVID-19 and the flu at the same time are at much greater risk of severe disease and death - over four times more likely to require ventilation support and 2.4 times more likely to die than if they only had COVID-19.

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How Antibodies Navigate Pathogen Surfaces

Mar 24 2022 - 20:03
A new mode of how antibodies navigate the surface of pathogens like coronaviruses compares the migration of these pathogen hunters to the random movements of a child on stepping stones.

Antibodies are often thought of as Y-shaped proteins but perhaps a more accurate way to envision them is to flip the picture upside down and regard antibodies as walking stick figures, stepping on antigens. Those two characteristic “Y” branches function as legs of sorts.

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