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Archives for May, 2012

Day and night, the sun is something most of us take for granted. But on Respectful Insolence, disciples stare at it intently in order to gain its energy. Orac writes “sun gazers seem to think that mammals are like plants in possessing an ability to absorb energy directly from the sun”—and diehard gurus claim to…

Just a Drop to Drink

According to UN Water, “Each of us needs to drink 2 to 4 litres of water every day. But it takes 2000 to 5000 litres of water to produce one person’s daily food.” If that seems like a lot, it is. But it’s funny how much depends on your perspective. A graphic from the USGS…

On Denialism Blog, Mark Hoofnagle argues that unless homeschooling is better regulated, it should be banned altogether.  He writes “universal primary and secondary education is part of why our country has been so successful.”  While Rick Santorum can teach his kids that global warming is a hoax and the earth was created in a day,…

Genetic Strength in Numbers

On the Weizmann Wave, researchers have made a discovery surrounding exons—”bits of genetic code that are snipped out of the sequence and spliced together to make the protein instruction list.” When a cell needs to make a protein, it pulls exons out of pre-messenger RNA and stitches them together to form messenger RNA. Alternating sequences…

Cost, Cause & Effect

Cause and effect weave a tangled web, but a new data analysis tool called MIC can help make sense of it all.  The Weizmann Institute writes that “Large data sets with thousands of variables are increasingly common in fields as diverse as genomics, physics, political science, economics and more.”  Evaluating pairs of variables from among…