Tag Archives | Science

The Hotly Contested Link Between Science Denial and Conspiracy Theories

Interesting link between denial of science and predilection for conspiracy theories via the Washington Post:

In 2013, the University of Bristol psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues published two papers containing a provocative claim: A tendency to endorse conspiracy theories, they suggested, makes people more likely to challenge various aspects of science, too. Across the two papers, they linked conspiratorial beliefs to science rejection on no less than five issues: climate change, vaccines, genetically modified organisms, and the ties between HIV and AIDS and smoking and lung cancer.

XFilesCreditsS1-7.jpg

Since then, the research has been widely discussed and criticized — particularly the conclusion about climate science rejection — and now, the intensity of the debate seems set to go up yet another notch. The reason is that the journal Psychological Science has just published two papers on the matter: one, a statistical critique of the Lewandowsky papers, and the other a response from Lewandowsky and his co-authors (also discussed in a blog post here).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth and Human Transformation

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAC5AAAAJGI1ZWU3NzI1LTAzNzAtNDM2ZS1iYjBlLTFjMTlkY2FiYWE2ZA

The tag line for this story is a simple one… “One day on a Greek Island, and your view of the universe will change forever.” I have often thought this to be true. It might just be…

JOTUEvery so often a filmed series is created that brings an incredible amount of knowledge and insight; enough, some might say, to change the world… or at least your perspective on it. When the series JOURNEY OF THE UNIVERSE was being conceived, the creators sought just that… to develop an audio/video and written body of work that would change perspective and possibly change our collective thinking about the universe and the role we now play, as humans, in its destiny. Their efforts resulted in three major works: a book, an award-winning film and an expansive series of filmed interviews, conversations per se, with great minds. For me, this trilogy of work stands with such previous powerful works as Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Joseph Campbell & the Power of Myth.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Common Link Among Female Criminals: Brain Injury

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Coghlan (CC BY 2.0)

Christopher Wanjek via Live Science [July 28, 2014]:

Nearly 40 percent of women in prison in Ontario, Canada, have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published this month in the Journal of Correctional Health Care.

The study, the first to look at the rate of TBIs among prison populations in Canada, contributes to a growing body of evidence associating blows to the head with a multitude of long-term, negative health outcomes, from homelessness and substance abuse to risky behavior and incarceration.

In revealing the high rate of TBIs among people in prison, particularly among female inmates, the research team hopes to raise awareness of a widespread yet overlooked public health problem.

“TBIs are common, and most are not associated with offending behaviors,” said Dr. Angela Colantonio, the lead author on the report and a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. “However, the question is whether early intervention and support for those living with the effects of brain injury could prevent offending behavior or recidivism.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

It’s a sci-fi trope, but are “beings of pure energy” really possible?

“Beings of pure energy” are oft-used tropes in sci-fi. They have no physical bodies, tend to be “enlightened,” and transcend time and space. But, is this transcendent state possible? Xaq Rzetelny at Ars Technica investigates:

If you’ve experienced science fiction in any of its many forms, chances are you’ve encountered “energy beings.” Unlike the other aliens in sci-fi, they have no ‘physical’ bodies but rather exist as beings of pure energy. They’re usually able to flit about the Universe at will and often demonstrate great abilities befitting their advanced, ultra-evolved state.

They are also typically portrayed as more powerful, more enlightened, and possessing a deeper understanding of the universe. It’s almost a given in most science fiction that sufficiently advanced civilizations will eventually develop this way. Converting themselves into beings of pure energy seems like the ultimate stage in the development of any civilization. It’s a ubiquitous trope—as if “pure energy” is our own mass cultural idea of humankind’s far future.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Scientists Seek Ban on Method of Editing the Human Genome

Richard Ricciardi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Richard Ricciardi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Via Nicholas Wade at The New York Times:

A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited.

The biologists fear that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead before its safety can be assessed. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, which could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence. The latter is a path that many ethicists believe should never be taken.

“You could exert control over human heredity with this technique, and that is why we are raising the issue,” said David Baltimore, a former president of the California Institute of Technology and a member of the group whose paper on the topic was published in the journal Science.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

This Major Newspaper Just Declared War on Fossil Fuels

observista (CC BY-ND 2.0)

observista (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Tim McDonnell at Mother Jones:

After 20 years at the helm of one of the United Kingdom’s most influential newspapers, Alan Rusbridger is about to step down as editor of the Guardian. He’s not going quietly: In an op-ed a couple weeks ago, Rusbridger pledged to use his waning weeks to launch a full-out war on climate change:

So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness theGuardian’s best resources to describe what is happening…For the purposes of our coming coverage, we will assume that the scientific consensus about man-made climate change and its likely effects is overwhelming. We will leave the sceptics and deniers to waste their time challenging the science. The mainstream argument has moved on to the politics and economics…

We will look at who is getting the subsidies and who is doing the lobbying.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Can a Molecular 3D Printer Change the Way We Make Everything?

Kyle Maxey via engineering.com

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has become one of the wonder-techs of the new millennium. Granted, while the vast majority of 3D printers on the market are little more than souped-up trinkets, some machines are leveraging the technology’s additive assets to instigate real change.

Chemistry has always been a daunting subject. When confronted with working on the molecular level, extreme precision is required. For many researchers the process of working with small molecules requires such long-durations and precise equipment to synthesize that it prevents them from doing any fundamental research.

To stop this production bottleneck Martin Burke, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, has been developing a “3D Printer” that can replicate what nature does when it builds small molecules. Key to Burke’s machine is an understanding that there is a small number of small molecules that nature uses to produce a large portion of life’s chemistry.

Read the rest
Continue Reading