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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 21:15
In Science Left Behind I wrote a segment about a national discrimination issue that was eroding not only science, but the very notion of fairness in our culture.

No, it wasn't the lack of Republicans in faculty jobs at universities. It was instead that, for decades, schools had been using skin color to routinely impede the chances for the best students to get admitted. They were using racial profiling to skew who got to attend.

This wasn't 1950s Alabama, it was - and is - mainstream academia from the 1970s on.

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Author: "Hank Campbell" Tags: "Science Education and Policy"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 16:42

Today, the Boy Scouts of America seemed to back peddle on last year’s promise to accept and recognize gay scouts--by rejecting and banning a gay scoutmaster who was...gay.

Why did the organization do that?

Nasty administrators? Probably not.

Bigoted leadership? Maybe.

I suspect another factor: the organization’s core values.


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Author: "Greg Critser" Tags: "Random Thoughts"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 16:33
Apparently the EPA has not yet discovered how to do a video conference.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Administrator Gina McCarthy will promote President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations by doing an Earth Week Tour, flying around to talk about how we should cut emissions.

She likes to fly. When she is not flying around to save all of us from emissions, she is commuting to Washington, D.C. weekly from her home in Boston.

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Author: "Hank Campbell" Tags: "Science Education and Policy"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 16:21
Our universe is eternal, expanding indefinitely, and not threatened by any form of 'heath death'. All evidence points into this direction. In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century Ludwig Boltzmann had collected all the evidence to draw such conclusions. His consistent reasoning on how to render the reversible laws of physics compatible with the second law of thermodynamics brought him close, but he failed to make the final decisive steps.

Ok, I realize that at Boltzmann's time our knowledge of the universe didn't stretch beyond the Milky Way, the island of stars that we inhabit. And yes, I admit reasoning here with the benefit of a heap of hindsight. But even now, in the twenty-first century, this hindsight is apparently not distributed uniformly.

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Author: "Johannes Koelman" Tags: "Physics"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 16:11

Researchers report that they have discovered a new genus and species of electric knifefish in several tributaries of the Negro River in the Amazonia State of Brazil.

Professor Cristina Cox Fernandes at UMass Amherst, with Adília Nogueira and José Antônio Alves-Gomes of INPA, describe the new bluntnose knifefish in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and detail the new genus and species' anatomy, range, relationship to other fish, salient features of its skeleton, coloration, electric organs and patterns of electric organ discharge (EOD).

True to their name, these fish produce electric discharges in distinct pulses that can be detected by some other fish. 


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Ecology and Zoology"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 14:54

Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of women who undergo routine screening mammography during a ten-year period will experience a false-positive mammogram.

They then suffer anxiety while they undergo additional testing, sometimes involving a biopsy, to confirm that cancer is not present.

Researchers have suspected that increased anxiety, pain, and the bother of additional tests might adversely affect the quality of life for women who experience false-positive screening mammograms. In a new paper, Dartmouth scholars used data collected by the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST), which was conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), to study the impact a false-positive mammogram has on women's lives.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Psychology"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 14:50

Are you on the go a lot? Is your time so limited even moving your eyeballs is putting you behind?

If so, there is an app for that. If not, app developers are looking to create a market for that kind of personalized optimization, so they have devised speed-reading software that eliminates the time we supposedly waste by moving our eyes as we read.

Are eyes just passive conduits getting in the way of the modern world with their ancient biological mechanism? 

A paper in Psychological Science argues that eye movements we make during reading actually play a critical role in our ability to understand what we've just read.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Technology"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 14:18

The term "tween" is a marketing colloquialism for a child who is between the ages of 8 and 12 -not quite a little kid but not yet a teenager. A pre-adolescent. 

This demographic watches more television than any other age group and is thus considered a lucrative market for advertisers. Tween television programming often consists of the following: "teen scene" and "action-adventure" , which a pair of academics say is shaping stereotypes in tweens rather than reflecting what kids want to watch.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 10:30
77% of Americans prefer summer over winter and while we know what temperatures actually were this past winter, what people think they were in a recent Harris Poll is something else.

When it came to the temperature, 88 percent of Midwesterners and 84 percent of Easterners say it was colder than normal. 71 percent believe it was while only 18 percent felt it was colder than normal. 45% in the West believe it was warmer than normal.

When it came to precipitation, 77 percent of those in the Midwest, 73 percent in the East and 49 percent say there was more rain or snow in their area. In the West, 62% say they had less rain or snow this winter.

Was the snow due to climate change?

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:28
Dr. Bruna Bezerra from the University of Bristol and colleagues have captured video of a wild male marmoset embracing and caring for his dying partner after she accidentally fell from a tree in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil, the first time that compassionate care-taking behavior towards a dying adult group member has been observed in monkeys.

Previously, such behavior was believed to be unique to humans and chimpanzees.

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Anthropology"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:02

Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows' gut bacteria. The findings, reported in mBio® the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, hints that cow manure is a potential source of new types of antibiotic resistance genes that transfer to bacteria in the soils where food is grown.

Thousands of antibiotic resistance (AR) genes have already been identified, but the vast majority of them don't pose a problem when found in harmless bacteria. The real worry is when these genes appear in the types of pathogenic bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses or hospital infections.


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Author: "News Staff"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 04:27
2,234 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17, 2014 by The Harris Poll reveal that people are concerned about the environment - but may not be doing much about it.

And over 80 percent avoid labels like “green”, “conservationist” and “environmentalist”, which shows that environmental corporations have lost a lot of credibility among the public. 

However, parents with younger kids are more concerned than childless people, though they are only slightly more likely to tell others to be more environmentally responsible. Women are more likely to indicate encouraging others to be more environmentally-friendly. 25% more women than men claim they are making more effort to be environmentally-conscious than they did a year ago.

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Science and Society"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 03:29
We are all familiar with the Mafia. In China, it is the Triads, in Italy it is La Cosa Nostra. You pay for protection or disaster is sure to befall you.

It happens in the bird world too, according to a new report. A bird will lay an egg in your home and you will raise the hatchling or pay the price. Throw the little parasite out and an accident will befall your nest.

It is a child-rearing strategy, but is it an effective one? Evolutionary biologist Amotz Zahavi postulated the mafia hypothesis back in 1979 and it has been contentious ever since. Critics argue that the retaliation gives the parasites no advantage, carrying high costs instead.

Evolutionary biologists created a mathematical model to find out. 

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Evolution"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 02:00

For the first time, researchers have studied the Black Death bacterium's entire family tree to fully understand how some of the family members evolve to become harmful. Contrary to popular belief, pathogenic members of this bacterial family do not share a recent common disease-causing ancestor, but instead, have followed parallel evolutionary paths to become harmful.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Microbiology"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 01:26

Think global warming might change things a little? You haven't seen anything compared to 50 million years ago.

Though Antarctica is year-round one of the coldest places on Earth, and the continent's interior is the coldest place, with annual average land temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit, during the Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago, there was a period with high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and consequently a greenhouse climate.  


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Oceanography"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 00:53

What looked at first like a sort of upside-down planet in
the binary star system KOI-3278
has instead revealed a new method for studying binary star systems, according to a University of Washington team who writes of the first "self-lensing" binary star system — one in which the mass of the closer star can be measured by how powerfully it magnifies light from its more distant companion star.

Our sun stands alone but about 40 percent of similar stars are in binary (two-star) or multi-star systems, orbiting their companions in a gravitational dance.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Space"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 16:08

The latest fad in implied health benefits that can slip under the regulatory radar are edible flowers from China. 

Why implied? Because they are rich in phenolics and have good antioxidant capacity.  What will that do? No one knows. Antioxidants haven't been shown to help anyone at all and phenolics claims were how the rationalization that organic food was healthier arose - and then debunked. To maintain a level of credibility the key phrase "may be partly responsible" is liberally applied.

Some edible flowers, which have been used as ingredients, seasoning and garnish in Chinese food for centuries, contain phenolics that 

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Pharmacology"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 16:01

The confirmation of the Higgs boson and what it can tell us about the origins of mass is getting all of the attention but there are scientific mysteries about less-understood forces that may also be keys to figuring out natural laws.

Among these is quantum turbulence, the chaotic motion - at very high rates - of fluids that exist at temperatures close to zero. Observers as far back as Leonardo da Vinci have studied turbulence, a complex state of fluid motion. He observed that water falling into a pond creates eddies of motion, thus realizing that the motion of water shaped the landscape.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Physics"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 15:30

Why is Edward Snowden a villain to some people while the same people regard Bradley Manning as a hero? Why do so many people say they never thought it could happen if someone they know commits a crime? When is an atrocity not remembered that way at all? An in-group portrayal may make the difference.


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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Psychology"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 15:01
Preliminary results of a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial on osteoarthritis of the knee using ActiPatch Therapy have been announced.

BioElectronics Corporation says the initial interim analysis showed statistically significant results for the primary and secondary outcomes measures. The study is being led by Doctor Gianluca Bagnato, Division of Rheumatology, University Hospital Gaetano Martino, Messina, Italy. The final analysis of the full study data set will be carried out soon and the results have been accepted in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases and presented at the European League against Rheumatism 2014 conference.

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Author: "News Staff" Tags: "Clinical Research"
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