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Science Online

Science Online

A room dedicated to online scientific communication. Previously: Science Blogging 2008.
Eric Logan
Gold on Earth formed in collision of exotic stars -
Gold on Earth formed in collision of exotic stars
Dying stars billions of years ago cooked up most of the lighter elements in the universe, the oxygen in the air and calcium of our bones, and blasted it across the cosmos in their final explosive moments. We are stardust, as the singer Joni Mitchell put it. But some of the heaviest atoms, including gold, defied this explanation, requiring an even more exotic origin. A team led by Harvard astronomer Edo Berger now reports that gold is likely created as an aftereffect of the collision of two "neutron" stars. Neutron stars are themselves the collapsed remains of imploded stars, incredibly dense stellar objects that weigh at least 1.4 times as much as the sun but which are thought to be less than 10 miles wide. While ordinary stars explode about once every century in our galaxy, Berger says, explosive collisions of two neutron stars happen only about once every 10,000 years. And it appears they spew out gold and other heavy elements in the week after their merger. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Smallest, Faintest Galaxies of the Ancient Universe Spotted. -
Smallest, Faintest Galaxies of the Ancient Universe Spotted.
Two of NASA's most powerful space telescopes have teamed up to shed new light on the early history of the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope utilized a natural zoom lens to capture nearly 60 of the smallest, faintest galaxies ever spotted in the distant universe. In a separate study, observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope helped researchers determine the masses of four of the brightest early galaxies after Hubble picked them out. Both results could be followed up by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, an $8.8 billion observatory slated to be launched in late 2018, officials said. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
The ash dieback fungus, Chalara fraxinea, might have a mechanism to define territory and to combat viruses, research shows #ashdieback -
Vegetative compatibility (vc) systems are a fungal equivalent of the tissue rejection systems in humans, enabling the fungus to distinguish between self and non-self. Fungal colonies of the same vc-type can fuse to form a single individual, but those of a different vc-type cannot. Vc systems are central to the ecology and survival of a fungus, enabling it to define its territory, to resist viral attack and to promote outbreeding. Initial results show that the vc system of C. fraxinea generates a reaction between incompatible colonies which makes their filaments (the mycelium) collapse, creating a zone between the two colonies where growth is inhibited. - Halil
Commenting on their results, Professor Brasier said: “This research is still at a preliminary stage. The fact that most isolates of Chalara fraxinea are incompatible with each other could mean that it might be difficult to deploy damaging fungal viruses against the pathogen as a disease control method, since viruses usually spread more readily in a fungal population when the colonies are able to fuse.” - Halil
Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans Growth from Conidia and Mycelial Extension by Bacterially Produced Volatile Organic Compounds. -
The recently identified causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS), Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has been implicated in the mortality of an estimated 5.5 million North American bats since its initial documentation in 2006 (Frick et al. in Science 329:679-682, 2010). In an effort to identify potential biological and chemical control options for WNS, 6 previously described bacterially produced volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were screened for anti-P. destructans activity. The compounds include decanal; 2-ethyl-1-hexanol; nonanal; benzothiazole; benzaldehyde; andN,N-dimethyloctylamine. P. destructans conidia and mycelial plugs were exposed to the VOCs in a closed air space at 15 and 4 °C and then evaluated for growth inhibition. All VOCs inhibited growth from conidia as well as inhibiting radial mycelial extension, with the greatest effect at 4 °C. Studies of the ecology of fungistatic soils and the natural abundance of the fungistatic VOCs present in these environments suggest a... more... - Halil from Bookmarklet
How would one go about using VOCs? Spraying the infected caves? How safe would this be and what of the potential ecological impact on other wildlife? I'm assuming risk assessments are made, but how thorough are these and who usually conducts them? - Halil
Fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats proves hardy survivor -
“It can basically live on any complex carbon source, which encompasses insects, undigested insect parts in guano, wood, dead fungi and cave fish,” Raudabaugh said. “We looked at all the different nitrogen sources and found that basically it can grow on all of them. It can grow over a very wide range of pH; it doesn’t have trouble in any pH unless it’s extremely acidic.” .... “P. destructans can tolerate naturally occurring inhibitory sulfur compounds, and elevated levels of calcium have no effect on fungal growth,” Raudabaugh said. - Halil from Bookmarklet
“Dan found that P. destructans can live perfectly happily off the remains of most organisms that co-inhabit the caves with the bats,” Miller said. “This means that whether the bats are there or not, it’s going to be in the caves for a very long time.” - Halil
This is not good news! I'm having visions of the Andromeda strain! :( - Halil
Original abstract for this research: Nutritional Capability of and Substrate Suitability for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White-Nose Syndrome. Raudabaugh DB, Miller AN. - Halil
West Nile virus - responsible for the recent ~27 Bald Eagle deaths in Utah! -
West Nile virus - responsible for the recent ~27 Bald Eagle deaths in Utah!
West Nile virus - responsible for the recent ~27 Bald Eagle deaths in Utah!
Please see for more info about the bald eagle deaths! - Halil from Bookmarklet
:( - Stephen Mack from iPhone
Eric Logan
This video of the sun based on data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, shows the wide range of wavelengths -- invisible to the naked eye -- that the telescope can view. SDO converts the wavelengths into an image humans can see, and the light is colorized into a rainbow of colors. - Eric Logan
2013’s Biggest Medical Breakthroughs: From Mind-Controlled Robotic Legs To HIV Vaccines -
2013’s Biggest Medical Breakthroughs: From Mind-Controlled Robotic Legs To HIV Vaccines
This past year saw a tremendous number of major medical and health science stories. It was no easy feat putting together a list of the year’s biggest breakthroughs. Ultimately, we decided on 13 — for the year, 2013, but also to represent the 13-person Medical Daily editorial team. In no particular order: - Halil from Bookmarklet
The treatment has, so far, only been shown to work in HIV-infected mice. Clinical trials would be needed to establish whether it could work in people. As it stands, there are no plans in place to fund a trial. The treatment would work by taking blood from infected patients, treating it with the enzyme, and transfusing it back into the patients. The enzyme targets stem cells, altering their DNA. Once reintroduced into the body, these cells would reproduce, and cut the HIV from other infected cells. Such results were seen in the mice. Professor Hauber said that 'the amount of virus was clearly reduced, and even no longer to be found in the blood.' - Halil from Bookmarklet
why does this read like the premise of a particularly nasty episode of Doctor Who? - Big Joe Silence
The first details of HIV's inner coat could hold clues for future drugs that may no longer target the virus, but instead will attack the protective shell that encases it. #HIV #AIDS #Cure -
The findings, published in the May 30 issue of Nature, take a closer look at the 4-million-atom structure of HIV's protein shell, also known as the capsid. "The capsid is critically important for HIV replication, so knowing its structure in detail could lead us to new drugs that can treat or prevent the infection," said Peijun Zhang, senior author of the study and associate professor in the department of structural biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "This approach has the potential to be a powerful alternative to our current HIV therapies, which work by targeting certain enzymes, but drug resistance is an enormous challenge due to the virus' high mutation rate." - Halil from Bookmarklet
"The capsid is very sensitive to mutation, so if we can disrupt those interfaces, we could interfere with capsid function," Zhang said. "The capsid has to remain intact to protect the HIV genome and get it into the human cell, but once inside it has to come apart to release its content so that the virus can replicate. Developing drugs that cause capsid dysfunction by preventing its assembly or disassembly might stop the virus from reproducing." - Halil
Sounds promising. But I still don't understand why we have such high rates of "new" infections in younger generations in countries like the US and the EU! for stats see - Halil
I just saw some stats from Greece about how HIV rates have soared after the economic downturn (which especially affect young people in the West). I guess there must be some link between the feeling of hopelessness and risky behavior. - Eivind
There does seem to be some correlation between depression, whatever the cause, and risky behaviour, just did a search. It's interesting though, I'm old enough to remember the initial outbreak and everyone back then suffered horribly and died soon after infection; now newer/better drugs can prolong and actually mediate some semblance of a normal life, it's no longer the immediate death... more... - Halil
*bump* - Halil
Being cured of HIV is 'wonderful,' US man says - #HIV #AIDS #Cure -
Being cured of HIV is 'wonderful,' US man says - #HIV #AIDS #Cure
The only person believed to have been cured of HIV infection through a bone marrow transplant says he feels wonderful and is launching a new foundation to boost research toward a cure. Timothy Ray Brown, 47, an American from Seattle, Washington, rose to fame as the so-called "Berlin patient" after doctors tried a novel technique to use an HIV-resistant donor for a stem cell transplant to treat Brown's leukemia. Since 2007, he has had two high-risk bone marrow transplants and continues to test negative for HIV, stunning researchers and offering new pathways for research into how gene therapy may lead to a more widely acceptable approach. "I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS," Brown told AFP in an interview. "It's very wonderful, being cured of HIV." - Halil from Bookmarklet
*bump* - Halil
Eric Logan
Alzheimer's-Causing Protein Could Be Nanomaterial of the Future - IEEE Spectrum -
Alzheimer's-Causing Protein Could Be Nanomaterial of the Future - IEEE Spectrum
Researchers at Chalmers and Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland revealed last month how laser techniques aimed at the amyloid protein could help find a cure for not only Alzheimer’s, but also other brain diseases caused by the amyloid, such as Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (known as Mad Cow disease). “Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now,” says Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers in a press release. “This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light.” But beyond a treatment for these brain diseases, the researchers believe that it could have even more far afield applications in photonics an optoelectronics. The researchers believe that the ability to change the characteristics of a material that have been merged with the amyloid just by using multi-photon irradiation opens up some sci-fi capabilities for the material. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Reddit has banned climate change deniers, and ripped its own reputation to shreds – Telegraph Blogs -
Reddit has banned climate change deniers, and ripped its own reputation to shreds – Telegraph Blogs
Reddit, the massively popular links-sharing website where users post stories, pictures or info that they find interesting, prides itself on being open and liberal. It describes itself as “passionately dedicated to free speech”. In which case, why has it banned from its forums anyone who raises awkward or annoying questions about the science of climate change? In a move that has been described by one British academic as “positive censorship”, a Reddit moderator has announced that Reddit is becoming “increasingly stringent with deniers”. The Reddit moderator says climate “contrarians” were too often expressing “uninformed and outspoken opinions”, and so the site decided to adopt a much more “proactive moderation”. Now, whenever a user makes a “potentially controversial submission” on climate change, the moderators issue that user with a “warning”. If the user persists in posting “potentially controversial submissions”, he’s “banned from the forum”. Reddit’s moderators are really happy... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
I oppose censorship, but it is true that most global warming deniers are abusive idiots with a crude political agenda that has nothing to do with objective science. Simply take a close look at who is funding them. - Sean McBride
I read some pretty cogent arguments in the forums where I participate, but yeah that's true in many forums it's just a constant barrage of insults . I am not even sure about the funding as much as many people self identify on purely ideological grounds one way or the other. - Eric Logan
For me, this subject is totally non-ideological and non-political -- I have no dogmatic point of view to promote and am willing to change my mind on a daily basis. I am simply trying to follow the best facts wherever they lead (but cognizant always that some of the scenarios that have been developed by some leading climate scientists are alarming in the extreme). - Sean McBride
As I have said before I have business reasons for following the topic and am prepared to transition as soon as it is necessary or viable. I read both sides this was a really good Pro- AGW article from yesterday. I had to remind myself after reading it that, thank god all the models are wrong so far. ==> - Eric Logan
"Reid Bryson, stated as early as in 1933 that a model is "nothing more than a formal statement of how the modeller believes that the part of the world of his concern actually works". Global climate models are often defended by stating that they are based on well established laws of physics. There is, however, much more to the models than just the laws of physics. Otherwise they would... more... - Eric Logan
All computer models are in a sense arguments, but some models and arguments are better than others -- based on better facts and superior reasoning. The trick is in sorting all that out. - Sean McBride
#Science should be able to withstand scrutiny. #OpScience - p01yN0Nym0u5
QUOTE. Climate models are, in effect, nothing more than mathematical ways for experts to express their best opinion about how the real world functions. END QUOTE. And therein lies the problem with climate change models: they are lacking the physics of the processes *because they aren't yet known*. That's why none of the models foresaw the 17-year global temperature hiatus as indicated... more... - MRW_8 PAGE 1-39 (Leaked IPCC AR5 Second Order Draft, Dec 2012, wasn’t supposed to be changed but it was in June 2013 to the link in the second blurb down). Ignore the gray bands as they aren’t part of the model scenarios. - MRW_8
An animation of the differences in the various IPCC AR reports AS shown in the link above since 1990 versus the actual observed data: - MRW_8
This is the IPCC AR5 document as released in September on their official site Click on Introduction and look at page 1-46, or click on this link to see the pdf directly: - MRW_8
None of the models match the observed data, yet we’re going to let govts create policy based on those models? Here’s another chart with all the models named: http://wattsupwiththat.files.w... - MRW_8
German paper “Can climate models explain the recent stagnation in global warming?” Von Storch, et al. (2013) The answer is no. “we find that the continued warming stagnation over fifteen years, from 1998 -2012, is no longer consistent with model projections even at the 2% confidence... more... - MRW_8
[article; title=Interview: Hans von Storch on Problems with Climate Change Models; periodical=Spiegel Online; date=June 20, 2013; url =] - Sean McBride
quote=STORCH: We still have compelling evidence of a man-made greenhouse effect. There is very little doubt about it. - Sean McBride
quote= SPIEGEL: Despite all these problem areas, do you still believe global warming will continue? STORCH: Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more -- and by the end of this century, mind you. - Sean McBride
quote=SPIEGEL: Are there findings related to global warming that worry you? STORCH: The potential acidification of the oceans due to CO2 entering them from the atmosphere. This is a phenomenon that seems sinister to me, perhaps in part because I understand too little about it. But if marine animals are no longer able to form shells and skeletons well, it will affect nutrient cycles in the oceans. And that certainly makes me nervous. - Sean McBride
“NOAA deploys first buoy in region to monitor levels of CO2 absorbed by ocean” In the Arctic. August 2013. “The moored buoy is the first of its kind to be deployed north of the Arctic circle in a region where very little is known about how carbon dioxide (CO2) is entering the ocean environment." - MRW_8
They don’t even have the proper tools to measure acidification. The Wendy Schmidt [Eric Schmidt’s wife] Ocean Health X Prize was announcedin in September 2013 “$2 million in prizes offered for better tools to monitor ocean acidification.” Because they don’t know. Don’t have a clue. - MRW_8
The pH of the ocean is still alkaline. It has to be below 7.0 pH to be acidic. It’s currently at 8.1 or 8.2 (memory), and was either 8.2, or 8.3, 100 years ago. The pH scale is logarithmic, not linear, so a drop of 1 unit in pH equals a ten-fold increase in acidity. Anyone who says they can project the acidity in two decades, much less by 2100 AD, is full of shit, or mumbling for funding. - MRW_8
"The pH of the ocean is still alkaline. It has to be below 7.0 pH to be acidic." -- WTF? The point is that the pH is rapidly dropping ("acidification") not that it's already acidic and becoming more so. - Andrew C (✔)
Fossil records suggest strongly that acidification is occurring and it's altering ocean life: - Andrew C (✔)
Andrew, the discover magazine article links to the 2009 paper. The abstract of the paper clearly shows that they were doing lab work with shells and sedimentary fossils, with a lot of caveats and guesses about acidification. The lead author was William R Howard of Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Tasmania. Their website (which I assume was update... more... - MRW_8
The director of Avatar and Titanic, Jim whatever, is an ocean buff. I remember when he went down to the Mariana Trench last year in the sub he invented. When he came up exhilarated, he remarked that the most we know about the oceans is 3% of what's there. - MRW_8
From the Argo buoy site: QUOTE. Lack of sustained observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land have hindered the development and validation of climate models. An example comes from a recent analysis which concluded that the currents transporting heat northwards in the Atlantic and influencing western European climate had weakened by 30% in the past decade. This result had to be based... more... - MRW_8
[article; TITLE Report finds CO2 causing rapid ocean acidification DATE December 13, 2013 AUTHOR Laura Sesana PERIODICAL Washington Times URL http://communities.washingtont...] - Sean McBride
[<; QUOTE A report released in November concludes that the world’s oceans are acidifying at an “unprecedented rate.” Authored by researchers at the 2012 Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World, the report warns that oceans have become 26% more acidic since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and continue to do so. PARAGRAPH Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s oceans have absorbed about a quarter of all CO2 emissions released by humans, according to the report.] - Sean McBride
[<; QUOTE “What I’m hoping is that people realize that CO2 is not just a question of global warming. That we are acidifying the ocean at a rate that has been unprecedented — for millions and millions of years,” said one of the report’s authors, Daniela Schmidt from the University of Bristol, to CNN. “The more CO2 emissions, the more acidification. The ocean is in direct interchange with the atmosphere.”] - Sean McBride
We may not possess absolute certainty about the science of global warming and acidification, but we know enough about the science to be highly concerned. The vast majority of people I have encountered who have tried to blow off that concern have been ignoramuses of the first order. Many of them are wacky conspiracy theorists who believe that all environmentalists are tools of the totalitarian New World Order -- Alex Jones fans. - Sean McBride
Eric Logan
International Living With a Star. -
International Living With a Star.
Free Book: "The Sun, The Earth, and Near Earth Space" A Guide to the Sun-Earth System By John A. Eddy - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
First noble-gas molecules found in space - -
First noble-gas molecules found in space -
First noble-gas molecules found in space -
An international team of astronomers has accidentally spotted the first space molecules bearing a noble gas, argon. The surprising discovery, in the debris of an exploded star, reveals the element's isotopic composition, confirming long-standing predictions that argon is forged in such doomed stars. - Halil from Bookmarklet
...they saw two mysterious emission lines – one at a wavelength of 243 microns, the other at 486 microns, exactly twice as long. "That was a giveaway that it was a simple diatomic molecule – two atoms rotating about each other," says Barlow. After failing to find a match with common diatomic molecules, the scientists realized that they had spotted the argon hydride molecular ion, the... more... - Halil
Eric Logan
The Future of Us: Transcension Hypothosis. -
The Future of Us: Transcension Hypothosis.
Eric Logan
Why Humans Don't Have Much To Do With Climate Change | Lawrence Solomon -
Why Humans Don't Have Much To Do With Climate Change | Lawrence Solomon
"The Sun, not man, warms the Earth," an earlier article by Lüdecke, concisely expresses the emergent view that humans play an inconsequential role in climate change. The accumulation of evidence from scientists relying on celestial rather than man-made explanations for changes to the global climate has led even the BBC, an ardent advocate of the man-made global warming theory, to credit the Sun. "Real risk of a Maunder Minimum 'Little Ice Age,'" stated a BBC headline in October, in reporting the view of Mike Lockwood, Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University's Meteorology Department, that "solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years." By the standard of recent years, global cooling predictions and natural explanations for climate change are controversial, even outlandish. By the broader standard of the last century of science -- and the centuries that preceded it -- what's outlandish is attributing massive changes in climate... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Lawrence Solomon is torn to pieces in the Huffington Post comments -- predictable. - Sean McBride
This sounds like it is from a third grade science report that leaves out the fact that greenhouse gasses trap heat from the sun. Basic physics. - Todd Hoff
From 2011==> A German climate researcher has discovered that the surge in solar radiation that began in 1700, peaked in 1960 and is still at historically high levels was far stronger and more significant than had previously been realized. According to Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, who spent months comparing the varying widths of annual tree-rings and stalagmite deposits with recent... more... - Eric Logan
Eric Logan
China Lands On The Moon: Historic Robotic Lunar Landing Includes 1st Chinese Rover. -
China Lands On The Moon: Historic Robotic Lunar Landing Includes 1st Chinese Rover.
China has landed its first robotic lander on the moon, a historic lunar arrival that makes the country only the third nation to make a soft-landing on Earth's celestial neighbor. China's Chang'e 3 moon lander and its Yutu rover touched down on the moon Saturday (Dec. 14) at about 8:11 a.m. EST (1311 GMT), though it was late Saturday night local time at the mission's control center in Beijing during the landing. It is the first soft-landing on the moon by any spacecraft in 37 years. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Scientists discover Yellowstone volcano is even bigger than they thought | Mail Online -
Scientists discover Yellowstone volcano is even bigger than they thought | Mail Online
The cavern of molten rock in the super volcano lurking underneath Yellowstone is even bigger that scientists had thought. A study measuring earthquake activity around the 3,468 sq mile national park revealed that the magma chamber was 2.5 times bigger than previous estimates. Stretching 55 miles across and 30 miles wide, and reaching depths of up to 9 miles, any eruption from the super volcano would be catastrophic for the whole world. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Teens publish studies on pest-killing wasps, berry fungus -
We know more about wildlife this week, thanks to research by two Canadian teens. Teens from Ottawa and rural British Columbia published their research in this week's issue of a scientific journal, The Canadian Field-Naturalist. Their research on wasps and leaf disease reveal that a Canadian wasp is an efficient killer of an agricultural pest, and a little-known fungus is hurting Highbush Cranberries. Both research articles were subject to the same peer-review process and met the same scientific standards as articles authored by professors and other professional scientists. - Halil from Bookmarklet
budding scientists - Halil
Eric Logan
Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram : Nature News & Comment -
Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram : Nature News & Comment
A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed1 that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity. Maldacena's idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a 'duality', that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
The contact lens that could save millions from blindness -
The contact lens that could save millions from blindness
The lens features a thin polymer film of latanoprost, the most common drug used to treat glaucoma. For the first time, scientists were able to ensure a consistent transfer of medicine to the aqueous humour of the eye - the fluid surrounding the eyeball. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Could this be used to administer ant-inflammatory steroids as well or would that be too risky? - Halil
Eric Logan
Minus credibility? Antarctic record low temperature disputed — RT News -
Minus credibility? Antarctic record low temperature disputed — RT News
Show all
American scientists claim they have found the coldest place on Earth - in Antarctica, where temperatures can fall below -91C. One Russian scientist calls this into question, pointing out the new record was made using remote measurements. American researchers from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) prepare to make public satellite temperature measurements data which maintains that a record temperature of -91.2°C was registered in Antarctica on August 3, 2004, near the Japanese Dome Fuji station, situated on the Valkyrie Dome in the heart of the White Continent. The preface of the report prepared for the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco suggests that the space-borne Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors aboard NASA’s satellites registered the record low temperature “during periods of extensive clear sky conditions” nearly a decade ago “along the highest section of... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
12 things policy-makers and scientists should know about the public. -
12 things policy-makers and scientists should know about the public.
We have had the Top 20 things politicians need to know about science and the Top 20 things scientists need to know about policy-making. But where does the rest of society fit into this? People can easily become invisible in the discourse between policy wonks and scientists, or they are regarded as barriers to ‘acceptance’ of whatever particular policy or technology is the flavour of the moment. That is simplistic of course because there are multiple ways in which people can and do have their voice within our democracy, but in the interest of balance here is a complementary list. There are only 12 of them, because 20 are too many. The evidence for these derives from the public dialogues evaluated by Sciencewise alongside public attitude surveys and direct personal experience of public engagement over many years. If you're interested in some studies of public attitudes, the Wellcome Trust and BIS/BSA Ipsos Mori reports are well worth a read. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Great list. Thanks. Number 2 is especially important: "People are perfectly capable of understanding complex issues and technologies," but I would add that they hampered in knowing the complex issues and technologies, especially contentious ones, by being denied access to the original science papers, or being forced to pay ridiculous prices like $38 for a 12-page paper. Instead, they... more... - MRW_8
Harmonine, a defence compound from the harlequin ladybird, inhibits mycobacterial growth and demonstrates multi-stage antimalarial activity - http://rsbl.royalsocietypublis...
Its invasive success has been attributed to its vigorous resistance against diverse pathogens. This study demonstrates that harmonine ((17R,9Z)-1,17-diaminooctadec-9-ene), which is present in H. axyridis haemolymph, displays broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity that includes human pathogens. Antibacterial activity is most pronounced against fast-growing mycobacteria and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the growth of both chloroquine-sensitive and -resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains is inhibited. Harmonine displays gametocytocidal activity, and inhibits the exflagellation of microgametocytes and zygote formation. In an Anopheles stephensi mosquito feeding model, harmonine displays transmission-blocking activity. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity - -
Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity -
In today's world, brimful as it is with opinion and falsehoods masquerading as facts, you'd think the one place you can depend on for verifiable facts is science. You'd be wrong. Many billions of dollars' worth of wrong. A few years ago, scientists at the Thousand Oaks biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology. The idea was to make sure that research on which Amgen was spending millions of development dollars still held up. They figured that a few of the studies would fail the test — that the original results couldn't be reproduced because the findings were especially novel or described fresh therapeutic approaches. But what they found was startling: Of the 53 landmark papers, only six could be proved valid. "Even knowing the limitations of preclinical research," observed C. Glenn Begley, then Amgen's head of global cancer research, "this was a shocking result." - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Yeah, we now pretty much know how pharmaceuticals companies are only financing the potentially lucrative projects and any 'research' goes ghetto for the greater good of business, forcing students to go with less principle more realistic concessions to reach their goals. - Zu from AOD
Eric Logan
The Great Filter theory suggests humans have already conquered the threat of extinction. -
The Great Filter theory suggests humans have already conquered the threat of extinction.
Here's how it likely happened: Once a self-replicating molecule emerged, the presence of RNA allowed for the formation of protobionts, a theoretic precursor to prokaryotic cells. These tightly bound bundles of organic molecules contained RNA within their membranes — which could have evolved into proper prokaryotic cells. And here's where it gets interesting. After the formation of prokaryotes — about 3.5 billion years ago — nothing changed in the biological landscape for the next 1.8 billion years. Life in this primitive form was completely stuck. Imagine that — no evolution for almost two billion years. It was only after the endosymbiosis of multiple prokaryotes that complex single-cell life finally emerged — a change that was by no means guaranteed, and possibly unlikely. And it's this highly improbable step, say some scientists, that's the Great Filter. Everything that happened afterward is a complete bonus. Now that said, there may have been other filters as well. These could... more... - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
So why is it humans can't go extinct? His doesn't make a lot of sense. - Todd Hoff
I don't think the argument is that we can't go extinct. Clearly we have the ability to destroy ourselves in our present form. The great filter argument refers to the genesis of complex single celled life that would probably survive somewhere on the planet even if we effectively destroy ourselves. - Eric Logan
Ah, that makes sense, the title is ambiguous. - Todd Hoff
Eric Logan
Unprecedented neutrino discovery is a "Nobel Prize in the making" -
Unprecedented neutrino discovery is a "Nobel Prize in the making"
By drilling a 1.5 mile hole deep into an Antarctic glacier, physicists working at the IceCube South Pole Observatory have captured 28 extraterrestrial neutrinos — those mysterious and extremely powerful subatomic particles that can pass straight through solid matter. Welcome to an entirely new age of astronomy. Back in April of this year, the same team of physicists captured the highest energy neutrinos ever detected. Dubbed Bert and Ernie, the elusive subatomic particles likely originated from beyond our solar system, and possibly even our galaxy. - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
Thats why I'm firmly in the Hendrik Svensmark camp. ;-) - MRW_8
The Fantastic Mr Feynman | BBC documentary 2013 -
The Fantastic Mr Feynman | BBC documentary 2013
"Family and friends contribute to a celebration of Richard Feynman, one of the most inspiring and influential scientists of the 20th century. Feynman, who died 25 years ago, helped design the atomic bomb, won a Nobel Prize for Physics and solved the mystery of the Challenger shuttle catastrophe." - Amira from Bookmarklet
Eric Logan
Underwater 'tree rings': Calcite crusts of arctic algae record 650 years of sea ice change -
Underwater 'tree rings': Calcite crusts of arctic algae record 650 years of sea ice change
Halfar says the coralline algae represent not only a new method for climate reconstruction, but are vital to extending knowledge of the climate record back in time to permit more accurate modeling of future climate change. Currently, observational information about annual changes in the Earth's temperature and climate go back 150 years. Reliable information about sea-ice coverage comes from satellites and dates back only to the late 1970s. "In the north, there is nothing in the shallow oceans that tells us about climate, water temperature or sea ice coverage on an annual basis," says Halfar. "These algae, which live over a thousand years, can now provide us with that information." - Eric Logan from Bookmarklet
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