What we're talking about Sunday, December 4, 2016

Never Mind About that Paper...

Look! No question mark in my title. This is from a post on retraction watch about “Nuclear energy and path dependence in Europe’s ‘Energy union’: coherence or continued divergence?” by Andrew Lawrence, Benjamin Sovacool, and Andrew Stirling, Climate Policy, 2016; 16 (5): 622 DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2016.1179616. Given the title and conclusions the pro-nuke folk weren’t likely…

I don’t have many “rules” per se about blogging, but one informal rule that I do live by is that I never blog about a study if all I can access is the abstract. In general, I insist on having the complete study before I will blog it, because to me the abstract isn’t enough.…

The crackpots are bustin’ out all over — not just in politics, but also in science. Remember Stuart Pivar? The septic tank tycoon who invented a whole new theory of evolution and development that he called Lifecode, built entirely around imaginary drawings of how embryos formed by folding and stretching themselves like balloon animals? It…

A few scientific papers are retracted after they're published, such as this analysis of nuclear energy that appears to have been nixed for poor methodology and bad numbers on Stoat. William M. Connolley adds that because of the politics surrounding nuclear power in Europe, "this crude level of analysis would be unlikely to be useful." Meanwhile, on Respectful Insolence, Orac looks at an anti-vaccine abstract that was so awful the publisher decided to take it down before the paper could be published. Orac writes, "basically, this paper is crap, so much so that even a predatory open access publisher pulled it, at least temporarily." And on Pharyngula, PZ Myers has fun deconstructing the "balloon animal biology" of Stuart Pivar et. al. which despite being well-illustrated "is all entirely fanciful, not based on observations of real animals at all." PZ continues: "I just…I just…I don’t know what to say. This is madness."

Channel Surfing

Life Science

The American alligator is found only in the US, and is widespread in Texas. It is found at several inland localities, and along the coast. And, it turns out that the preferred locations for many of the important activities in the day to day live of the American alligator overlap a great deal with humans.…

I know this is not a comparative physiology topic, but this article caught my attention as I know I just ate a rather high fat meal last week for Thanksgiving and I plan to do the same throughout the holiday season. Insulin does more than just lowering blood sugar by increasing its uptake into tissues.…

Physical Science

“I think there are a number of experiments that are thinking about how you could look in different frequency bands, and get a glimpse of the primordial gravitational wave background. I think that would be really revolutionary, because that would be your first glimpse at the very first instant of our Universe.” -Dave Reitze, LIGO’s…

“There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” -Lord Kelvin The particle physics ‘nightmare scenario’ was that the LHC at CERN would achieve its desired energies and collision rates, that it would find a single Higgs boson between about 120 and 140 GeV, and…

I’m not posting as much as I did last year, when I was on sabbatical (gasp, shock, surprise), so making Forbes-blog links dump posts a monthly thing is probably just about sustainable. — What Math Do You Need For Physics? It Depends: Some thoughts about, well, the math you need to learn to be a…

Environment

More than 2 million U.S. adults may be living with workplace-related asthma, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among the different professional categories, scientists and engineers remain very highly respected by the public, at least compared to politicians, business leaders, the media, and even religious authorities. Part of this is due to the fact that success in the scientific enterprise depends on impartial analysis and independence from political ideology. And yet there are…

EPA met its first major milestone under the new chemical safety law passed by Congress this past June. It announced its list for the first 10 chemicals for which it will prepare risk evaluations. Those evaluations could lead to restrictions on use or phase-outs of chemicals that presents an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment.

Humanities

More than 2 million U.S. adults may be living with workplace-related asthma, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A free, two-month course on global supply chains is being offered on-line by the Global Labour University starting on January 12, 2017. The course is being taught in English by Penn State University Professor Mark Anner, one the leading labor-oriented researchers on the global economy.

I know this is not a comparative physiology topic, but this article caught my attention as I know I just ate a rather high fat meal last week for Thanksgiving and I plan to do the same throughout the holiday season. Insulin does more than just lowering blood sugar by increasing its uptake into tissues.…

Education

I know this is not a comparative physiology topic, but this article caught my attention as I know I just ate a rather high fat meal last week for Thanksgiving and I plan to do the same throughout the holiday season. Insulin does more than just lowering blood sugar by increasing its uptake into tissues.…

OK, lets start out with the assumption that it does not matter who you or anyone else supported in the last election or what your politics are. If it happens, hypothetically, to be the case that a vulnerable person feels threatened by some sort of bully, wouldn’t you like that vulnerable person to know that…

I’m teaching introductory mechanics for the umpteenth time, using the Matter and Interactions curriculum, as we have for a while. This is going to be my last time teaching out of M&I, though, because last year the department decided to switch to a different book. Starting this winter term, we’ll be using Halliday, Resnick and…

Politics

The press helped elect Donald Trump. The mainstream press loved itself that false balance, giving absurdly pseudo-even coverage to whatever tripe might be spewed by willfully ignorant conservatives. So, screw them, and we await their apology. Meanwhile, the tabloid press has made its own contribution to the problem. Part of that is impressing on so…

This is going to be a bit of a rant, because there’s a recurring theme in my recent social media that’s really bugging me, and I need to vent. I’m going to do it as a blog post rather than an early-morning tweetstorm, because tweets are more likely to be pulled out of context, and…

Among the different professional categories, scientists and engineers remain very highly respected by the public, at least compared to politicians, business leaders, the media, and even religious authorities. Part of this is due to the fact that success in the scientific enterprise depends on impartial analysis and independence from political ideology. And yet there are…

Medicine

More than 2 million U.S. adults may be living with workplace-related asthma, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Back in the day, I used to write posts with titles like When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California. I even wrote a followup, When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California, 2014 edition. The reason, of course, was that California was one of the epicenters of vaccine hesitancy as well as the home…

A week and a half ago, a conference was held at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Confronting Vaccine Resistance: Strategies for Success. It featured speakers and panelists whom I admire quite a bit, including Paul Offit, the man who is to antivaccine loons Satan, Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Sauron all rolled up into one. Also…

Brain & Behavior

I know this is not a comparative physiology topic, but this article caught my attention as I know I just ate a rather high fat meal last week for Thanksgiving and I plan to do the same throughout the holiday season. Insulin does more than just lowering blood sugar by increasing its uptake into tissues.…

More and more of America’s adolescents and young adults are struggling with depression, especially young women, according to a study released earlier this week.

Pioneering research being conducted by Dr. Gregoire Courtine (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Lausanne) may enable paralyzed humans to walk again someday. Through his collaborative research with a lab in Beijing China, he has developed a wireless brain implant that detects signals in the brain and then sends these signals to electrodes implanted in the lower…

Technology

You know what LEGO is. Do you know what LEGO Ideas is? This is a program where people — not normal people but Lego Ninja Expert people — propose lego builds. The builds are normally actually built, but some are just designed or have parts that are just designed. These propose builds are then vetted…

So, today I was on my way to the pharmacy to buy important medicine for my son. The medicine cost about 50 bucks, and I had a fifty dollar bill in my back pocket. In my front pocket, I had a twenty. Just before I walk into the pharmacy, this dude with a mask comes…

I’ve reviewed, researched, and generally looked around for a selection of gifts that could work for kids ranging from very small to High School (and beyond!?!?) that are science oriented. (For gifts, mainly books, for adults, see THIS.) Coding The best kids coding books these days are probably those that use scratch. Before suggesting a…

Information Science

Here I have just a few suggestions for science books for the kiddos. See this post for the adult version. The Outdoor Science Lab for Kids and the other books in the same series are excellent, highly recommended, and reviewed here. Treecology is also a science activity book that people seem to love. Chance are…

Here is my selection of the top science books from 2016, excluding those mainly for kids. Also, I don’t include climate change related books here either. (These will both be covered in separate posts.) The number of books on this list is not large, and I think this was not the most prolific year ever…

Somehow this post from News Biscuit seems even more relevant now than when it was intially published back in August. Of course, we all shudder to think who will be under that ghostly costume, orange hair, Alaska plaid, Brietbart ball cap and all. Scooby Doo Team Expose Climate Change Tricksters A two-man, two-woman, one-Great Dane…

Jobs

More than 2 million U.S. adults may be living with workplace-related asthma, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new report by four leading workers’ rights group shows just how hard it is to get international clothing brands to fix problems in their global supply chains despite the fact that 1,100 workers were killed in an instant in an unsafe garment factory in Bangladesh.  Three and a half years after the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, five major clothing brands – Walmart, Gap, VF, Target and Hudson’s Bay – were found to have continuing hazards and dangerous delays in fixing them.

Advocates sound off on whether worker safety will survive under Trump; an intimate interview with a waitress highlights inconsistent income and sexual harassment; a court blocks Obama’s overtime rule from taking effect; and United Food and Commercial Workers pushes for health and safety training for California’s marijuana workers.