Like humans everywhere, Native Americans shaped their environments to suit them, through burning, pruning, tilling and other practices. And the Amazon is no different: Look closer, and you can see the deep impressions that humans have made on the world's largest tropical rainforest, scientists reported yesterday in the journal Science.
https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/01/ask-the-food-lab-the-truth-about-msg.html, posted 19 Mar by peter in food health science
So where does that leave us in terms of using it for cooking? In the end, it seems that the subgroup sensitive to MSG is small enough and the adverse reaction rare enough that in all likelihood you’re gonna be just fine using it in your own food, especially if you make sure to eat a little MSG-free stuff to lay down a bed in your belly before getting to the goods. Moreover all evidence suggests that the effects are at worst a short-term discomfort with no long-lasting consequences.
So what most likely happened is that we have scientists describing the progression of climate change. They give the uncertainty range and the press decides to only mention the lower boundary of this range. Then they somehow turn it into a deadline, put this in many headlines and never tell their readers where the number comes from. This made #12years a somewhat viral political meme. Chinese whispers of the worst kind. Journalists please listen to Peter Hadfield: check the source.
Much misinformation and many falsehoods related to politics circulate online. This paper investigates how youth judge the accuracy of truth claims tied to controversial public issues. In an experiment embedded within a nationally representative survey of youth ages 15-27 (N=2,101), we examined factors that influenced youth judgements regarding the accuracy of the content. Consistent with research on motivated reasoning, youth assessments depended on a) the alignment of the claim with their prior policy position and, to a lesser extent, on b) whether the post included an inaccurate statement. However, and most importantly, among those participants who reported the most media literacy learning experiences, there was a large, statistically significant difference in ratings of accuracy between those exposed to a post that employed misinformation and those who saw an evidence-based post. Implications for educators and policymakers are discussed.
maxplanck.nautil.us/article/338/learning-to-read-in-your-30s-profoundly-transforms-the-brain, posted Nov '18 by peter in cognition science toread
In contrast to previous assumptions, the learning process leads to a reorganization that extends to deep brain structures in the thalamus and the brainstem. The relatively young phenomenon of human writing, therefore, changes brain regions that are very old in evolutionary terms and already core parts of mice and other mammalian brains.
maxplanck.nautil.us/article/326/first-evidence-of-sleep-in-flight, posted Oct '18 by peter in bird science
The flight data recorder revealed that frigatebirds sleep in both expected and unexpected ways during flight. During the day the birds stayed awake actively searching for foraging opportunities. As the sun set, the awake EEG pattern switched to a SWS pattern for periods lasting up to several minutes while the birds were soaring. Surprisingly, SWS could occur in one hemisphere at a time or both hemispheres together. The presence of such bihemispheric sleep indicates that unihemispheric sleep is not required to maintain aerodynamic control. Nonetheless, when compared to sleep on land, SWS was more often unihemispheric in flight.
The reputation of DNA testing remains mostly untainted, rose-tinted by the mental imagery of white-coated techs working in spotless labs to deliver justice, surrounded by all sorts of science stuff and high-powered computers. In reality, testing methods vary greatly from crime lab to crime lab, as do the standards for declaring a match. People lose their freedom thanks to inexact science and careless handling of samples. And it happens far more frequently than anyone involved in crime lab testing would like you to believe.
https://www.cnet.com/news/sending-tiny-spacecraft-to-alpha-centauri/, posted Aug '18 by peter in science space
But if Breakthrough Starshot succeeds, we could get snapshots of the Alpha Centauri solar system 4 light-years away — roughly the same as 6,800 trips to Pluto — 30 to 40 years from now. And maybe we'll get a better idea about just how rare life is in the universe./
Complementary Medicine, Refusal of Conventional Cancer Therapy, and Survival Among Patients With Curable Cancers
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2687972, posted Jul '18 by peter in health science
Question What patient characteristics are associated with use of complementary medicine for cancer and what is the association of complementary medicine with treatment adherence and survival?
Findings In this cohort study of 1 901 815 patients, use of complementary medicine varied by several factors and was associated with refusal of conventional cancer treatment, and with a 2-fold greater risk of death compared with patients who had no complementary medicine use.
Meaning Patients who received complementary medicine were more likely to refuse other conventional cancer treatment, and had a higher risk of death than no complementary medicine; however, this survival difference could be mediated by adherence to all recommended conventional cancer therapies.
Evidence That Lifelong Low Dose Rates of Ionizing Radiation Increase Lifespan in Long- and Short-Lived Dogs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347275/, posted Jul '18 by peter in health science
After the 1956 radiation scare to stop weapons testing, studies focused on cancer induction by low-level radiation. Concern has shifted to protecting “radiation-sensitive individuals.” Since longevity is a measure of health impact, this analysis reexamined data to compare the effect of dose rate on the lifespans of short-lived (5% and 10% mortality) dogs and on the lifespans of dogs at 50% mortality. The data came from 2 large-scale studies. One exposed 10 groups to different γ dose rates; the other exposed 8 groups to different lung burdens of plutonium. Reexamination indicated that normalized lifespans increased more for short-lived dogs than for average dogs, when radiation was moderately above background. This was apparent by interpolating between the lifespans of nonirradiated dogs and exposed dogs. The optimum lifespan increase appeared at 50 mGy/y. The threshold for harm (decreased lifespan) was 700 mGy/y for 50% mortality dogs and 1100 mGy/y for short-lived dogs. For inhaled α-emitting particulates, longevity was remarkably increased for short-lived dogs below the threshold for harm. Short-lived dogs seem more radiosensitive than average dogs and they benefit more from low radiation. If dogs model humans, this evidence would support a change to radiation protection policy. Maintaining exposures “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) appears questionable.