Science

Controversial GMO-rat tumor study republished (UPDATE: Not peer reviewed)

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Recall that really, really awful paper that was published about genetically modified maize, Monsanto and Round-up weed killer? You know, the unethical one with the tumor-laden rats which was eventually retracted? Well, here is another example of YOU CAN GET ANYTHING PUBISHED. It’s been published in another journal. It includes a new analysis. Retracted Seralini GMO-rat…

U.S. young-earth creation views steady but evolution acceptance growing!

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While there is little movement in percentages of conservative belief, there is much to be encouraged about in the latest Gallop poll on evolution versus Creationism. In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins. More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago,…

Gender bruhaha over female storm names

Hurricane Sandy impacts the ENTIRE Eastern U.S.

So, this caused a kerfuffle yesterday on the internet. A study regarding a gender bias turned into a debate about sexism and misogyny. Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes. Meteorologists and geoscientists have called for greater consideration of social science factors that predict responses to natural hazards. We answer this call by highlighting the…

Face it! Cydonia region of Mars Exposed

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Stuart Robbins of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast has put together a great new video that, well, exposes some bogus claims in astronomy. This one is going to get Richard Hoagland a bit angered as he covers the speculation from the Cydonia region of Mars – you know, the face. Richard C. Hoagland made this famous…

“At first I was skeptical” is a convincing ploy, unless you are wise to it

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A new paper was just published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology that is further confirmation of something skeptics of the paranormal and alt med treatments have noticed for a long time. It’s called the “avowal of prior skepticism”. This is a narrative device used by a person telling a story in which…

Animal Planet and Discovery channels make MONSTROUS missteps for Monster Week

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Last week was Monster Week on Animal Planet. This weekend is Monster Weekend on Discovery Channel. (The two channels are affiliated under the Discovery Network). I came across a series of stories today that relate to these Discovery Channel/Animal Planet offerings. I decided to put them all together. From the past offerings of a dubious…

Gamma-ray Burst False Alarm: Self-Correcting Science and Public Scientific Enthusiasm

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are powerful flashes of energetic gamma-rays lasting from less than a second to several minutes. They release a tremendous amount of energy in this short time making them the most powerful events in the Universe. They are thought to be mostly associated with the explosion of stars that collapse into black holes. In the explosion, two jets of very fast-moving material are ejected, as depicted in this artist’s illustration. If a jet happens to be aimed at Earth, we see a brief but powerful gamma-ray burst. (By ESO/A. Roquette at Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0)

It’s been a tumultuous week in astronomy-related false alarms. See also Citizen journalism asteroid hoax should be a lesson to CNN (Doubtful News). This week, social media buzzed rather excitedly about a “possible gamma ray burst detected in Andromeda.” But despite the excitement and speculation as to whether the detected emission was a gamma-ray burst (GRB)…

Cosmos series irritates those who hold anti-science ideas

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The new Cosmos reboot is generating some waves for sure. Creationists have a beef with the exclusion (even derision) of the God concept while teachers are excited to have interesting science content for their classes. Now, climate change deniers might get a little broiled over the latest episode to air. New Video: Neil deGrasse Tyson Destroys…

Physicists plan to make photons matter (and no, it’s not a Star Trek replicator)…

A Feynman diagram of an electron and positron exchanging a photon, by JabberWok at Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Professor Stephen Rose and his research team at Imperial College London have designed an experimental test of a 1934 model by Breit and Wheeler, which would provide empirical verification of the process’s ability to create matter from photons. UK discovery ‘starts race’ to turn light into matter (BBC News): Breit and Wheeler’s theoretical prediction [...] that…

HAARP terminated

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Conspiracy theorists’ favorite excuse is gone down the toilet. In an update to this story from last year about HAARP being closed, it’s not reopening. Air Force prepares to dismantle HAARP ahead of summer shutdown | State News | ADN.com. The U.S. Air Force gave official notice to Congress Wednesday that it intends to dismantle…

Cue all the “vampire” headlines

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Yep. “We want young blood” is soon to become a popular request as studies show it is rejuvenating. New studies show that young blood reverses the effects of aging when put into older mice – The Washington Post. A trio of new studies has discovered that the blood of young mice appears to reverse some…

Periodic Updates

Periodic Table (OpenClipArt Public Domain Image)

What happens when a new element is discovered? Another new element, Element 117, is one step closer to being named. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) will review findings and rule on whether the element will be granted an official name and be allowed to strike terror into the hearts of high…

AP poll has experts lamenting science literacy – It’s more complicated

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Should we be surprised by this? No, I’m not. Disappointed, maybe. But, we should be used to these results by now. Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans. Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own…

Evidence-based skepticism in the spotlight thanks to Bill Nye’s debate

Screen capture from the video where Bill Nye talks about evolution

It’s so very exciting to see the reverberation of the Creation-Evolution debate continuing. And I am very happy to see Skeptical Inquirer play a role in it. This current issue of SI has an exclusive piece written by Bill Nye, The Science Guy himself, discussing the behind-the-scenes goings on that took place before and during…

The Big Bad Moon, used to sell fear to the superstitious

If the moon ever REALLY looks like this, we're DOOMED.

Tuesday, April 15th marks the first of four lunar “blood moon” eclipses over the next two years. The tetrad — or four consecutive and complete lunar eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals — will all be visible over the United States during 2014 -2015. The other dates are Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015…