2019年2月1日 星期五

Daily Bulletin for 02/01/2019 

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What "Stupid" Meant to Richard Feynman

Paul Steinhardt, Nautilus

Impossible!The word resonated throughout the large lecture hall. I had just finished describing a revolutionary concept for a new type of matter that my graduate student, Dov Levine, and I had invented.The Caltech lecture room was packed with scientists from every discipline across campus. The discussion had gone remarkably well.

Our Alternative to Dark Matter Can Be Put to the Test

Juri Smirnov, Conversation

Scientists have been searching for dark matter an unknown and invisible substance thought to make up the vast majority of matter in the universe for nearly a century. The reason for this persistence is that dark matter is needed to account for the fact that galaxies don't seem to obey the fundamental laws of physics. However, dark matter searches have remained unsuccessful.

Foundations Built for a General Theory of Neural Networks

Kevin Hartnett, Quanta

When we design a skyscraper we expect it will perform to specification: that the tower will support so much weight and be able to withstand an earthquake of a certain strength.But with one of the most important technologies of the modern world, we're effectively building blind.

Pseudoscience Invades Social Work

Jann Bellamy, Science-Based Medicine

A recent article in the Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work documents over 400 websites of social workers, most engaged in some form of mental health counseling, using questionable practices, from Access Consciousness to Zero Balancing Practitioner. Given the pervasiveness of pseudoscience in healthcare, discussed countless times here on Science-Based Medicine, this should surprise no one.

More Mysterious Brain Injuries in Cuba

Beth Mole, Ars Technica

The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it will halve the number of diplomats at its embassy in Cuba after a 14th Canadian has mysteriously fallen ill with brain injuries there.The latest case from December suggests that the enigmatic incidentswhich began in late 2016 and have been considered by the US government to be attacksare still ongoing, straining relations between Cuba and the US, and now Cuba and Canada.

Evidence of First British Beer Discovered

Haroon Siddique, The Guardian

Evidence of the first beer believed to have been brewed in the UK, dating back more than 2,000 years, has been uncovered by road workers.Signs of the iron age brew from about 400BC were identified in fragments of charred residues from the beer-making process found during the 1.5bn upgrade of the A14 in Cambridgeshire.

The Emotional Toll of Graduate School

Prateek Puri, Scientific American

A recent Harvard study concluded that graduate students are over three times more likely than the average American to experience mental health disorders and depression. The study, which surveyed over 500 economics students from eight elite universities, also concluded that one in 10 students experienced suicidal thoughts over a two-week period, a result consistent with other recent reports.

Fusion in Five Years?

Steven Novella, Neurologica

One time I would like to be wrong in my pessimism about some corporation claiming a huge breakthrough over a short time period. This could just be confirmation bias, but there seems to be a rash of companies over-hyping and over-promising on major breakthroughs. Just yesterday I wrote on SBM about an Israeli company that claims it will cure cancer within a year (Umm No.).

We Can Prime Our Brains to Learn While We Sleep

Megan Schmidt, Discover

Learn a new language while you sleep! may sound like the start of a bad 3 a.m. infomercial, but new research has found some evidence for sleep learning. Of course, listening to French on tape while you sleep is unlikely to instantly give you the ability to order a vanilla latte and an omelet in a foreign tongue the next morning.

How Clickbait Killed a Synthetic Biologist

Will Storr, Quillette

Imagine that it were possible to create the perfect human. The process would be like making an app, but instead of computer code, your design language would be DNA. You'd do the creating itself on your smartphoneusing a piece of software called a Genome Compilerthen email what you'd come up with to a laboratory.

A Starfish-Killing Disease Is Remaking the Oceans

Ed Yong, The Atlantic

There were arms everywhere, Drew Harvell recalls. It looked like a blast zone.It was 2013, eight days before Christmas. Harvell and her colleagues were walking along Seattle's Alki Beach, sweeping their headlamps over wet gravel exposed by a receding tide. Wherever they looked, they saw dead and dying sea stars. Some had disintegrated into white mush.

Lugworm Blood, Coming to a Pharmacy Near You

Lorraine Boissoneault, Hakai

It started with a simple question: how does the lugworm, Arenicola marina, survive for six hours without breathing? The marine worm lives on beaches from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, eating sand and digesting the microorganisms therein. When the tide goes out, the worm burrows deep, leaving behind piles reminiscent of the poop emoji.

When Will Whole Foods Stop Lying?

Alex Berezow, ACSH

Whole Foods lies. A lot.The company's entire business model is premised upon a foundation of lies. Several years ago, I documented them in an article for RealClearScience. Among the many falsehoods perpetuated by the company, the most egregious include the claims that "organic certification" is a stringent standard and that organic food reduces health risks. Both are demonstrably false.

The Case for Professors of Stupidity

Brian Gallagher, Nautilus

On this past International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I reread a bit of Bertrand Russell. In 1933, dismayed at the Nazification of Germany, the philosopher wrote The Triumph of Stupidity, attributing the rise of Adolf Hitler to the organized fervor of stupid and brutal peopletwo qualities, he noted, that usually go together. He went on to make one of his most famous observations, that the fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

Making Sense of the Human Neurogenesis Mess

Neuroskeptic, Discover

What, if anything, is the function of adult neurogenesis in humans? Does neurogenesis even exist in our adult brains, or does it shut down during childhood?The debate over human neurogenesis has been one of the most prominent disputes in 21st century neuroscience.

Siberian Cave Challenges View of Cultural Evolution

Kate Wong, Sci American

Deep in the Altai mountains of southern Siberia sits a very choice piece of real estate. It's nothing so newfangled as a ski lodge or one of the traditional wood houses that dot the local countryside. Rather it's a primeval limestone cave, called Denisova, that overlooks a rushing river and the surrounding forest. Multiple human species, or hominins, have sought shelter in this cave over the past 300,000 years, such is its allure.

Tom Brady Makes Some Strange Claims About Body Chemistry

Julia Belluz, Vox

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, winner of five Super Bowls, is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He's also a peddler of baseless health claims, including in his 2017 exercise and diet book, The TB12 Method.The book details Brady's 12 principles for sustained peak performance, which he says will keep him on the field at least until the ancient-for-football age of 45.
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