2018年3月29日 星期四

Daily Bulletin for 03/29/2018 

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Why 'Black Stars' Are Nonsense

Sabine Hossenfelder, Backreaction

I came to physics by accident. I had studied mathematics, but the math department was broke. When I asked the mathematicians for a job, they sent me to the other side of the building. Ask the physicists, they said.The physicists didn't only give me a job. They also gave me a desk, a computer, and before I knew I had a topic for a diploma thesis. I was supposed to show that black holes don't exist.

Organic Food 'Utopia' Would Be a Disaster

Ross Pomeroy, RCScience

What if the entire world converted to organic agriculture? Over the past decade, a number of scientists have explored this utopian vision, and they all say it's possible. Yes, even with the human population projected to rise another 2.1 billion to 9.7 billion people in 2050, we can feed them all organically.But what would a strictly organic world look like? Drilling into the details, it seems more dystopian than utopian.

Should We Embrace Transhumanism?

David Trippett, The Conversation

Biological evolution takes place over generations. But imagine if it could be expedited beyond the incremental change envisaged by Darwin to a matter of individual experience. Such things are dreamt of by so-called transhumanists. Transhumanism has come to connote different things to different people, from a belief system to a cultural movement, a field of study to a technological fantasy.

Artificial Gametes Could Revolutionize Reproduction

Jason Pontin, Wired

About 40 years ago, Louise Brown, the first human created using in vitro fertilization, was conceived in a petri dish. Not long after her birth, Leon Kass, a prominent biologist and ethicist at the University of Chicago, wrung his hands about the then-revolutionary technology of joining sperm and egg outside the body.

X-Ray 'Ghost Images' Could Cut Radiation Doses

Sophia Chen, Science News

On its own, a single-pixel camera captures pictures that are pretty dull: squares that are completely black, completely white, or some shade of gray in between. All it does, after all, is detect brightness.Yet by connecting a single-pixel camera to a patterned light source, a team of physicists in China has made detailed x-ray images using a statistical technique called ghost imaging, first pioneered 20 years ago in infrared and visible light.

Quantum Gambling and the Nature of Reality

Adam Becker, PBS NOVA

In 1952, John Bell saw the impossible done. Bell was a young physicist working in the particle accelerator division of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in England; he spent his days finding new and better ways to smash subatomic particles together at high speeds, turning energy directly into mass, and searching for the fundamental constituents of all matter.

Man Has World's Worst Super-Gonorrhea

James Gallagher, BBC News

A man in the UK has caught the world's "worst-ever" case of super-gonorrhoea.He had a regular partner in the UK, but picked up the superbug after a sexual encounter with a woman in south-east Asia.Public Health England says it is the first time the infection cannot be cured with first choice antibiotics.

Beguiling Dark Matter Signal Persists After 20 Years

Davide Castelvecchi, Nature

A group of physicists says that it is still detecting the presence of dark matter the mystery substance thought to make up 85% of matter in the Universe 20 years after it saw the first hints of such a signal.DAMA, a collaboration of Italian and Chinese researchers, has announced long-awaited results from six years of data-taking, which followed an upgrade to the experiment in 2010.

Causality Can Get Messy in a Quantum World

Caslav Brukner, Physics Today

A neatly aligned row of dominoes stands before you. Satisfyingly, you gently tap the first tile with your finger to topple it. The domino falls and crashes into its neighbor, which falls in the same way, and creates a ripple effect that continues until all the dominoes have toppled.Falling dominoes illustrate a deeply rooted concept of science and of everyday life: causation. Event B (the last domino falls) occurs because of event A (the first domino falls). B occurs only if A occurs, and the occurrence of A is independent of that of B.

The Return of Power Posing

Emma Young, Research Digest

Does power posing such as standing with your hands on your hips and your feet spaced well apart really help to improve your life?Yes according to Amy Cuddy, one of the pioneers of the idea, at Harvard University (famous for her massively popular TED talk on the subject and her best-selling book Presence). No according to a critical analysis by Joseph Simmons and Uri Simonsohn at the University of Pennsylvania, published in Psychological Science in 2017.

The Sun Is Spitting Out Strange Patterns of Gamma Rays

Shannon Hall, Sci Am

Our closest star remains an enigma. Every 11 years or so its activity crescendos, creating flares and coronal mass ejectionsthe plasma-spewing eruptions that shower Earth with charged particles and beautiful auroral displaysbut then it decrescendos. The so-called solar maximum fades toward solar minimum, and the sun's surface grows eerily quiet.

In Defense of Scientism

Thomas Cortellesi, Quillette

Nothing provokes widespread horror quite like science trespassing where it is said not to belong. This aversion is so powerful that it can unite the most disparate areas of the sociopolitical spectrum in a righteous fury. The extension of science into other spheres is typically decried as scientism, but the term is so broadly used that it's often hard to pin down exactly what is being criticized.

James Webb Slips Again, and Astronomy Suffers

Lee Billings, Sci Am

For more than a generation, astronomers have been waiting for the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's successor to the iconic Hubble Space Telescope. On Tuesday they learned they will have to wait even longer, as agency officials revealed Webb's launch date has slipped from spring of 2019 to approximately May 2020a delay that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, breaching the $8.8-billion telescope's Congressionally mandated cost cap and requiring legislators to either provide more funding or abandon the project.

The Interstitium: New 'Organ' Found

Rachael Rettner, Live Science

With all that's known about human anatomy, you wouldn't expect doctors to discover a new body part in this day and age. But now, researchers say they've done just that: They've found a network of fluid-filled spaces in tissue that hadn't been seen before.These fluid-filled spaces were discovered in connective tissues all over the body, including below the skin's surface; lining the digestive tract, lungs and urinary systems; and surrounding muscles, according to a new study detailing the findings, published today (March 27) in the journal Scientific Reports.

Pioneering Alzheimer's Study Zeroes In on Protein

Sara Reardon, Nature News

Jhon Kennedy was building a house for his family when he realized that his 45-year-old father was beginning to struggle with daily life. His dad tried to help with the construction project but often forgot to complete simple tasks. And he kept getting lost on the way home from work.

Why the LHC Is One of the Coldest Places on the Planet

Sarah Charley, Symmetry

Liquid helium is constantly pulsing through sophisticated plumbing that runs both inside and outside of the Large Hadron Collider. Thanks to this cryogenic cooling system, the LHC is colder than interstellar space. But why does it need to be kept at these intensely frigid temperatures?

The Sad Reason I'm Happy to Leave GMO Research

Devang Mehta, Massive

A few weeks ago, like thousands of other scientists around the globe have done before, I stood up in front of a public audience and defended my PhD thesis to a jury of senior scientists. The PhD defense is probably the single-most significant milestone in a career in science. It's part examination and part ritual PhD defenses in the Netherlands, for instance, feature a robed jury and a master of ceremonies with a ceremonial mace.
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