2018年4月30日 星期一

Daily Bulletin for 04/30/2018 

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Stop Talking About Race and IQ

William Saletan, Slate

The race-and-IQ debate is back. The latest round started a few weeks ago when Harvard geneticist David Reich wrote a New York Times op-ed in defense of race as a biological fact. The piece resurfaced Sam Harris' year-old Waking Up podcast interview with Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, and launched a Twitter debate between Harris and Vox's Ezra Klein. Klein then responded to Harris and Reich in Vox, Harris fired back, and Andrew Sullivan went after Klein. Two weeks ago, Klein and Harris released a two-hour podcast in which they fruitlessly continued their dispute.

How Big Will the Universe Get?

Ethan Siegel, Forbes

Our Universe, as we observe it today, is a vast, enormous place, full of stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and vast cosmic voids in between them. As time goes on, gravitation will continue to pull these large concentrations of matter towards one another, but the expansion of the Universe works to drive them apart.

7 Common Myths from Biology Class

Philip Perry, Big Think

Science classes are supposed to give students not only the most up-to-date knowledge and information but also a belief in the scientific method and perhaps imbue them with the logic and reasoning skills associated with it. Trouble is, there are a lot of myths out there that sabotage these lofty goals. In fact, many of them originate in science classes themselves, taught over and over by teachers too lazy to look them up.

60 Minutes' 'Grossly Slanted' CRISPR Coverage

Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution Is True

Not too long ago in the Washington Post, I reviewed (favorably) Jennifer Doudna's new book on CRISPR, A Crack in Creation, which describes for a popular audience this amazing new method of genetic engineering, a method based on DNA and enzymes that bacteria use as their immune defense against viruses.

High Schooler Shows That Carbon Can Form 7 Bonds

Yasmin Tayag, Inverse

You may not remember much from high school chemistry, but you probably recall learning the fundamental lesson that carbon, the quintessential element of life, can form four bonds with other molecules. Carbon's four bonds are responsible for the structure of diamonds, methane, and alcohol, to name a few.

How Are the World's Sandy Beaches Doing?

Ross Pomeroy, RealClearScience

Though human beings live on land, the Earth is unquestionably a water world. The oceans cover 71% of our planet and make up 90% of the biosphere. Thus, for most people, warm, sandy beaches serve as idyllic gateways to a whole other world.

In Physics, Beauty Does Not Equal Truth

Chris Lee, Ars Technica

A review of Sabine Hossenfelder's book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray begs for a Hamlet introduction. Phrases like something is rotten at the heart of theoretical physics fly about like vampire clichs, ready to suck the joy out of any passing writer.Nevertheless, Hossenfelder is sounding that alarm by suggesting that perhaps theoretical physicists need to spend a little more time on introspection and examining some of their working assumptions.

'Pebble Accretion' Explains How Infant Worlds Grow

Alexandra Witze, Knowable

Some 4.5 billion years ago, the solar system was a nursery full of planetary toddlers.Around the young sun swirled a disk of gas and dust left over from the solar system's birth. Studded within the orbiting disk were planetesimals, rocky objects roughly 1 to 100 kilometers across, and bigger protoplanets some 1,000 kilometers wide. It was as if a bunch of children of different sizes were corralled into the same room.

This Island Earth

Caleb Scharf, Scientific American

In cosmic terms the size and composition of planet Earth are not terribly unusual. Of course, we don't yet know quite enough about other worlds to make that statement with absolute certainty. But measured by the most basic characteristics, Earth is not a crazy freak. In fact, rocky worlds of this size and general makeup appear likely to be incredibly abundant in our galaxy.

What Happens When Science Just Disappears?

Sarah Scoles, Wired

Kay Dickersin knew she was leaping to the front lines of scholarly publication when she joined The Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials. Scientific print-publishing wasand still isslow and cumbersome, and reading its results sometimes required researchers to go to the library. But as associate editor at this electronic peer-reviewed journalone of the very first, launched in the summer of 1992Dickersin was poised to help bring scientists into the new digital age.

How DNA Tracked Down a Serial Killer Suspect

Tina Hesman Saey, SciNews

Using DNA to find a killer sounds easy: Upload some DNA to a database, get a match and bingo suspect found. But it took new genetic sleuthing tools to track down the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer.Investigators have confirmed they used a public genealogy database, GEDmatch, to connect crime scene evidence to distant relatives of Joseph James DeAngelo. The 72-year-old former police officer, arrested April 24 at his home in Sacramento, is suspected in a string of about 50 rapes and 12 murders committed between 1974 and May 1986.

How to Reason with Flat Earthers

Nikk Effingham, The Conversation

Thinking that the earth might be flat appears to have grown in popularity in recent years. Indeed, flat earthers are gathering for their annual conference this year in Birmingham, just two miles from my own university.But the earth isn't flat. Unsurprisingly, this isn't hard to prove. But as scads of YouTube videos demonstrate, these proofs fail to convince everyone. A glance at the comments show there's still vitriolic disagreement in some quarters.

How Did the Vikings Cross the Atlantic?

Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlas Obscura

Here is what we know: In the 10th century, some Vikings piled into boats and shoved off the shore of what is now Norway. They eventually ended up in Greenland, more than 1,000 miles away. How they found their way there? No one is exactly sure.It was a long voyage through the dicey water of the North Atlanticthree weeks if all went wellwith land rarely in sight.

One of the Worst Studies I Have Ever Seen

Ross Pomeroy, RealClearScience

A new meta-analysis published in PLoS ONE comparing acupuncture and drugs for the treatment of chronic constipation is one of the worst studies I have ever seen. Chinese researchers from Longhua District Central Hospital in Shanghai, China found that "Acupuncture is more effective than drugs in improving chronic constipation and has the least side effects," but they came to that conclusion by employing misleading tactics intended to produce that result.

Did Math Kill God?

Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

Once upon a time, a great Italian published a work called the Siderius Nuncius. Galileo had seen the moons of Jupiter through his telescope. He had seen Venus moving. So, in 1606, he endorsed the ideas Copernicus had written down a half-century earlier in the De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.

Cancer Dormancy: Why Do Cancer Cells Go to Sleep?

Francesco Crea, Conv

Cancer has always been thought of as something that grows rapidly and uncontrollably, but this view may be wrong. New evidence suggests that cancer alternatively uses the accelerator and the brake in order to survive.If you plot the growth of prostate cancer tumour progression over years, you get a graph that looks something like this:

Scientists Keep Pig Brains Alive Outside Body for 36 Hours

Nicola Davis, Guard

Researchers in the US say they have managed to keep the brains of decapitated pigs alive outside of the body for up to 36 hours by circulating an oxygen-rich fluid through the organs.While the scientists, led by Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan, say the brains are not conscious, they add the feat might help researchers to probe how the brain works, and aid studies into experimental treatments for diseases ranging from cancer to dementia.
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