… Read the rest
2014 had its fair share of landmark scientific accomplishments: dramatic cuts to the cost of sequencing a genome; sweeping investigations of climate change impacts in the US; advances in private-sector space travel, and plenty more. But there was also no shortage of high-profile figures eager to publicly and shamelessly denounce well-established science—sometimes with serious consequences for public policy. So without further ado, the most egregious science denial of 2014:
Basically everything said by Donald Trump:
You can always count on The Donald to pull no punches. He got started early this year, when he pointed to freezing temperatures in parts of the country as evidence that “this very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop” and then told Fox News that the global warming “hoax” was merely the result of scientists“having a lot of fun.”
In September, Trump went on a Twitter screed linking vaccines to autism.
Tag Archives | Health
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) have frequent upsetting thoughts that they try to control by repeating certain rituals or behaviors.
Though healthy people also have rituals – including checking to see that the stove is off before leaving the house – people with OCD obsessively perform their rituals, even though they interfere with daily life.
“While some habits can make our life easier, like automating the act of preparing your morning coffee, others go too far and can take control of our lives in a much more insidious way, shaping our preferences, beliefs, and in the case of OCD, even our fears,” notes Prof. Trevor Robbins, a study author from the Department of Psychology at Cambridge.
He and Dr. Claire Gillan led a team of researchers to investigate the idea that compulsions in OCD result from an “overactive habit-system.”
via Good Times Weekly:
… Read the rest
A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams.
“Are you dreaming right now?” asks science writer and dream researcher David Jay Brown. We are sitting in the ivy-draped courtyard of Laili, next to a babbling fountain and a rowdy dinner party of 10.
“No!” I say, sure of the answer to such an absurd question.
“But how do you know?” he asks.
“I just know.”
“Well, have you tested it?” He picks up a fork and taps the wall. In a dream, maybe the tines would bend, he says. In a dream, the words on the menu would scramble the minute you looked away and looked back again. And if you plugged your nose and breathed out, you’d feel the air leaving your nostrils, even though they were plugged.
“Nope, not dreaming,” I say, through a pinched nose. But there’s an epiphany scratching around inside his point: even when fork tines bend with no effort and landscapes transform at the mere suggestion of thought, we accept what we’re experiencing in a dream as real.
Here’s one other DARPA-funded robotic limb controlled by thoughts alone — actually make that two, because Colorado man Les Baugh had two bionic arms attached from shoulder level. Baugh got them this summer, 40 years after losing both arms, as part of aRevolutionizing Prosthetics Program test run at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The project’s researchers have been developing these Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPL) over the past decade, but they say Baugh is the “first bilateral shoulder-level amputee” to wear two MPLs at the same time. Unlike Jan Scheuermann who controlled a robotic arm with a pair of neural implants, though, Baugh had to undergo a procedure called targeted muscle reinnervation, which reassigned the nerves that once controlled his arms and hands.
via OxFam America:
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It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true: There really are 10 companies that control most of the food and drinks you’ll find in the grocery store. Between them, these giants—whose revenues add up to more than a billion dollars a day—own hundreds of common brands, from Cheerios to Ben & Jerry’s, Odwalla to Tropicana. (See the infographic above to learn more.)
So why should these huge companies care about doing business responsibly? First, because their global operations touch countless lives. “These corporations are so powerful that their policies can have a major impact on the diets and working conditions of people worldwide, as well as on the environment,” wrote Alexander E.M. Hess in USA Today.
Second, because shoppers these days think about factors like fairness and sustainability—and we’re increasingly (and successfully) demanding that the brands we buy do the same. These food companies may be big, but no company is too big to listen to its customers.
For years, I’ve been looking at some of the dubious and harmful health claims TV doctors make on their talk shows. In carefully examining Dr. Oz, unpicking the evidence behind the ideas he peddles, I came to the conclusion that, on balance, the bulk of what he has to say is misleading at best, and total nonsense at worst.
He is, after all, in the business of entertainment. Real, evidence-based medicine isn’t often entertaining, especially on the subjects — weight loss, diets — he tends to cover.
Now, science has confirmed my suspicions.
Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal examined the health claims showcased on 40 randomly selected episodes of the two most popular internationally syndicated health talk shows, The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors.
via Washington Post:
… Read the rest
It seems that the Queen of England may have some hallucinogenics close at hand. Let she who has never let unidentified mushrooms flourish in the back yard cast the first stone.
During preparations for a TV special last week, film crews noticed that one of the many mushrooms growing in the gardens of Buckingham Palace — the home of Queen Elizabeth II of England — was of the “magic” variety. The AP reports that mushrooms in the garden are not used by the palace kitchens for recreation or ragout.
If you’re still suspicious, here’s the fungal 411: The mushroom that film crews spotted was the Amanita muscaria (known as the fly agaric). It’s that classic, shiny red shroom with white spots – think “Alice in Wonderland.”
But the hallucinogenic mushrooms that we talk about when we talk about drug use aren’t this species at all.
via 3D Print:
For those couples seeking to spice up their personal lives with a bit of power play, leaving the woman in charge of the action (as it were), some inventive makers are hard at work prototyping new devices. We’ve looked recently at Dame Products’ 3D printed prototype for the female-use Eva product; now it seems to be the men’s turn for their own toy.
One of the latest prototypes out there, comes from Shapeways user pedro69, and has been tested out by a friend of his who runs the Become Her Slave blog, which focuses on men who want their female partners to dominate them. This new prototype — the Keyholder Dream (KHD) X3 Espresso Short — is a “male chastity device” that keeps a man’s bits securely in place and puts him at the (playful) mercy of his partner, who quite literally holds the key.… Read the rest
If you’ve seen the documentary Tapped you already know that Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic bottles is very bad for your health. It turns out that the plastic lining of drinks in cans is also a source of BPA that very much ends up in your bloodstream per this report in the New York Times:
… Read the rest
People who regularly drink from cans and plastic bottles may want to reconsider: A new study shows that a common chemical in the containers can seep into beverages and raise blood pressure within a few hours.
The research raises new concerns about the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, which is widely found in plastic bottles, plastic packaging and the linings of food and beverage cans. Chronic exposure to BPA, as it is commonly known, has been associated with heart disease, cancer and other health problems. But the new study is among the first to show that a single exposure to the chemical can have a direct and fairly immediate impact on cardiovascular health.
By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne
Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now?
Digital commemoration emerged as the internet became readily accessible and an integral part of people’s communicative practices. Initially, during the 90s, it took the form of memorial websites hosted by the families and friends of the deceased.… Read the rest