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2016 SciMail

LATER War-bots? Universe Probs Older Humans Quizzes Hidden Harm Mind-wiping Earlier Us
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Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 23:32:56 +0100
Subject: "Google Doesn't Want to Accidentally Make Skynet, So It's Creating an AI Off Switch


"Google Doesn't Want to Accidentally Make Skynet, So It's Creating an AI Off Switch"

Ha!  These pious hopes of high minded folk are already doomed:  because gov'ts are already planning / developing `autonomous' war-bots (see today's coincidental radio prog `The Future of War | Will robots be the future of war?').  And you can almost bet your life (as we will be) they won't have any `safety features' at all.

Cheers
Ray D


http://gizmodo.com/google-doesnt-want-to-accidentally-make-skynet-so-its-1780317950
Google Doesn't Want to Accidentally Make Skynet, So It's Creating an AI Off Switch
Darren Orf | Yesterday 11:00am

There are two unmistakable sides to the debate concerning the future of artificial intelligence. In the `boom' corner are companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft aggressively investing in technology to make AI systems smarter and smarter. And in the `doom' corner are prominent thinkers like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking who've said that AI is like "summoning the demon."

Now, one of the the most advanced AI outfits, Google's DeepMind, is taking safety measures in case human operators need to "take control of a robot that is misbehaving [that] may lead to irreversible consequences," which I assume includes but is not limited to killing all humans. However, this paper doesn't get nearly so apocalyptic and keeps examples simple, like intelligent robots working in a factory.

The published document was a joint effort between Google's DeepMind and Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute, which as its name suggests, wants there to be a future for humanity. Founding director Nick Bostrom has been vocal about the possible dangers of developing AI for decades and has written whole books discussing the implications of super-intelligent robots.

This particular paper, titled `Safely Interruptible Agents,' investigates how to turn off AI if it starts doing something its human operator doesn't want it to do. The paper is filled with math 99 percent of us will never understand, which basically describes methods for building what the paper cheekily calls a "big red button" into AI.

The researchers have seen the same movies you have. You know, the one where the robot learns to ignore a turn-off command. They're prepared for that.

This paper explores a way to make sure a learning agent will not learn to prevent (or seek!) being interrupted by the environment or a human operator.

It may seem like overkill or a needless limitation considering the most impressive AI achievement humanity has ever seen is that it is really good at board games. But Bostrom has theorized before that it really only takes constructing a human-level AI to quickly catapult robot brains beyond our own:

Once artificial intelligence reaches human level, there will be a positive feedback loop that will give the development a further boost. AIs would help constructing better AIs, which in turn would help building better AIs, and so forth.

Better safe than sorry.
---







Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 10:56:20 +0100
Subject: Astronomers: Problems with CMB / or with Expansion of Universe


Astronomers: Problems with CMB / or with Expansion of Universe

Interesting.  We've talked about both these problems already.  Maybe check ansci8.html#grav-t and ansci902.html#no-bb for our (4 and 5 years ago) sitreps.
Ray


http://www.keckobservatory.org/recent/entry/universe_expansion_is_faster_than_expected
JUNE 2, 2016
Universe's Expansion is Faster Than Expected

MAUNAKEA, Hawaii - Astronomers using the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii have obtained the most precise measurement yet of how fast the universe is expanding at the present time, and it doesn't agree with predictions based on other data and our current understanding of the physics of the cosmos. The discrepancy - the universe is now expanding 9 percent faster than expected - means either that measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation are wrong, or that some unknown physical phenomenon is speeding up the expansion of space, the astronomers say. The results, using data from Keck Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope, will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

"If you really believe our number - and we have shed blood, sweat and tears to get our measurement right and to accurately understand the uncertainties - then it leads to the conclusion that there is a problem with predictions based on measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the leftover glow from the Big Bang," said Alex Filippenko, a UC Berkeley professor of astronomy and co-author of a paper announcing the discovery.

Using the Keck-I 10-meter telescope in Hawaii, Filippenko's group measured the chemical abundances of gases near the locations of Cepheid variable stars in the nearby galaxies hosting Type Ia supernovae. This allowed them to improve the accuracy of the derived distances of these galaxies, and thus to more accurately calibrate the peak luminosities of their Type Ia supernovae.

"We've done the world's best job of decreasing the uncertainty in the measured rate of universal expansion and of accurately assessing the size of this uncertainty," said Filippenko, "yet we find that our measured rate of expansion is probably incompatible with the rate expected from observations of the young universe, suggesting that there's something important missing in our physical understanding of the universe."

"Maybe the universe is tricking us, or our understanding of the universe isn't complete," he said.

The cause could be the existence of another, unknown particle - perhaps an often-hypothesized fourth flavor of neutrino - or that the influence of dark energy (which accelerates the expansion of the universe) has increased over the 13.8 billion year history of the universe. Or perhaps Einstein's general theory of relativity, the basis for the Standard Model, is slightly wrong.

"This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 percent of everything and don't emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter and dark radiation," said Nobel Laureate Adam Riess, the leader of the study from the Space Telescope Science Institute and The Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland. Riess is a former UC Berkeley post-doctoral fellow who worked with Filippenko.

A few years ago, the European Space Agency's Planck observatory - now out of commission - measured fluctuations in the cosmic background radiation to document the universe's early history. Planck's measurements, combined with the current Standard Model of physics, predicted an expansion rate today of 66.53 (±0.62) kilometers per second per megaparsec. A megaparsec equals 3.26 million light-years.

Previous direct measurements of galaxies pegged the current expansion rate, or Hubble constant, between 70 and 75 km/sec/Mpc, give or take about 5-10 percent - a result that is not definitely in conflict with the Planck predictions. But the new direct measurements yield a rate of 73.24 (±1.74) km/sec/Mpc, an uncertainty of only 2.4 percent, and clearly incompatible with the Planck predictions, Filippenko said.

The team, several of whom were part of the High-z Supernova Search Team that co-discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe in 1998, refined the universe's current expansion rate by developing innovative techniques that improved the precision of distance measurements to faraway galaxies.

The team looked for galaxies containing both a type of variable star called a Cepheid and Type Ia supernovae. Cepheid stars pulsate at rates that correspond to their true brightness (power), which can be compared with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth to accurately determine their distance and thus the distance of the galaxy. Type Ia supernovae, another commonly used cosmic yardstick, are exploding stars that flare with the same intrinsic brightness and are brilliant enough to be seen from much longer distances.

By measuring about 2,400 Cepheid stars in 19 nearby galaxies and comparing the apparent brightness of both types of stars, they accurately determined the true brightness of the Type Ia supernovae. They then used this calibration to calculate distances to roughly 300 Type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies.

"We needed both the nearby Cepheid distances for galaxies hosting Type Ia supernovae and the distances to the 300 more-distant Type Ia supernovae to determine the Hubble constant," Filippenko said. "The paper focuses on the 19 galaxies and getting their distances really, really well, with small uncertainties, and thoroughly understanding those uncertainties."

Calibrating Cepheid Variable Stars
"If we know the initial amounts of stuff in the universe, such as dark energy and dark matter, and we have the physics correct, then you can go from a measurement at the time shortly after the Big Bang and use that understanding to predict how fast the universe should be expanding today," said Riess. "However, if this discrepancy holds up, it appears we may not have the right understanding, and it changes how big the Hubble constant should be today."

Aside from an increase in the strength with which dark energy is pushing the universe apart, and the existence of a new fundamental subatomic particle - a nearly speed-of-light particle called `dark radiation' - another possible explanation is that dark matter possesses some weird, unexpected characteristics. Dark matter is the backbone of the universe upon which galaxies built themselves into the large-scale structures seen today.

The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Keck Observatory is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization and a scientific partnership of the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and NASA.
---







Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 10:34:22 +0100
Subject: "Stone-age tools found, but who wielded them?"


"Stone-age tools found, but who wielded them?"

Ha!  See the `experts' are still turning a blind eye to real evidence - that humans are way older than they think, and that `Out of Africa 60,000 yrs ago' is much too short a time for all our sophisticated differences to evolve.  But the Prof. arrogantly says "the tools were not made by Homo sapiens. They are just too old for that" - with no proof at all. Ray D


http://phys.org/news/2016-01-stone-age-tools-wielded.html
Stone-age tools found, but who wielded them?
January 13, 2016 by Marlowe Hood

Scientists have discovered stone-age tools at least 118,000-years-old on an Indonesian island but no trace of the early humans that made them, according to a study released Wednesday. The research, published in the journal Nature, also points to a possible link with the first peoples to arrive in Australia.

Unearthed at four separate sites on Sulawesi, the trove of several hundred implements is likely to fuel a long-simmering debate about the identity of now-extinct human species that first came to the island chain.

In 2003, fossil remains from a diminutive species of hominin - a term that groups extinct lineages of early man and modern humans - was discovered in the neighbouring island of Flores. Dubbed the "Hobbit", Homo floresiensis had arrived there at least a million years earlier, dating tests revealed.

The new find shows "that Flores was not the only island once inhabited by archaic humans before Homo sapiens" - a.k.a. modern man - "got there around 50,000 years ago," lead author Gerrit van den Bergh, a researcher at the University of Wollongong in Australia, told AFP.

The Hobbit, many scientists say, is a descendant of the extinct species Homo erectus that became smaller across hundreds of generations, a process called "insular dwarfing" whereby animals `after migrating across land bridges during periods of low sea level' wind up marooned on islands as oceans rise.

"The fossil fauna associated with the Hobbit and the stone artefacts clearly indicate isolated island conditions," van den Bergh explained.

Other scientists had argued that Flores man, as it is sometimes called, might have had distinct origins, and a few had even suggested it was a tribe of modern humans suffering a genetic disorder resulting in an abnormally small skull. But both of these notions have been largely dismissed.

Genetic commingling
Whether the makers of the Sulawesi tools are also derived from H. erectus - which lived in nearby Java at least 1.5 million years ago - is impossible to know without fossil evidence. But the new discovery, van den Bergh said, raises the intriguing possibility of a link with the earliest humans to populate what is today Australia.

"We know from genetic evidence that the first people coming to Australia, and their descendants, have a tiny proportion of their DNA inherited from an enigmatic group of humans called the Denisovans," he said.

Related to both human and Neanderthal lineages, Denisovans are thought to have split off from the former about 600,000 years ago, and the latter some 400,000 years later. They survived until at least 40,000 years ago.

Fossil records are so meagre - a few teeth and a pinkie bone excavated from a cave in Siberia- that scientists don't even know what they might have looked like. But the DNA link with Australia's original inhabitants strongly suggests that some made their way deep into Asia.

"The genetic exchange between the ancestors of the modern Australians and Denisovans probably took place somewhere in Southeast Asia," van den Bergh said. "It could well be that the makers of the recently dated stone tools from Sulawesi could have been these Denisovans."

Unfortunately, DNA does not survive nearly as well in tropical climes as in frigid Siberia, so the chances of finding genetic clues are diminished.

One thing that is certain, the study said, is that the tools were not made by Homo sapiens. "They are just too old for that," van den Bergh said.
The sharp-edged tools - single- or double-faced - were made by chipping flakes away from a piece of limestone.

More information: Gerrit D. van den Bergh et al. Earliest hominin occupation of Sulawesi, Indonesia, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature16448 Journal reference: Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v529/n7585/full/nature16448.html
---







Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2016 20:50:11 +0100
Subject: "Can We Guess Your Highest Education Level?


Heck!  Higher education must be really dumbing down.  General knowledge and a reasonable reading past should get you a score on this.
(Some trick questions - maybe take your time)
Ray


http://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17308?utm_source=taboola&utm_campaign=17308
Can We Guess Your Highest Education Level?

YOU FINISHED THE QUIZ
Your Score: 96%
PhD
---
and the next quiz might seem a bit obvious but is tricky in places
http://offbeat.topix.com/quiz/17278/qidx1?no_cover=1&showresults=17308&tr=recirc/recirc-quiz-next/17308////,1464895158,rvo88a98
QUIZ: Can You Identify These Famous Historical Figures?

YOU FINISHED THE QUIZ
Your Score: 90%
History Genius
Your skill in identifying famous historical figures is unmatched! Good job!
---






Date: Sun, 29 May 2016 17:55:11 +0100
Subject: Earlier post + "The Hidden Harms of Antidepressants"


Earlier post + "The Hidden Harms of Antidepressants"

Yup, this just-found item more than confirms suspicions about Big Pharma / bent Gov'ts / venal Doctors (see earlier message below - "Half of antidepressant prescriptions given to people who don't have depression".

If we accept, as I usually do, FDR's dictum:  "In politics, nothing happens by accident - If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way" - then a fairly horrifying scenario opens up, and it has probably existed for quite a while.
Cheers
Ray D


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-hidden-harms-of-antidepressants/
The Hidden Harms of Antidepressants
Data about the true risks of suicide and aggression for children and teens taking these drugs have been suppressed
By Diana Kwon on May 1, 2016

More than one in 10 Americans older than 12 takes antidepressants, according to a 2011 report by the National Center for Health Statistics. A significant but unknown number of children younger than 12 take them, too. Although most such drugs are not approved for young children, doctors have prescribed them off-label for years because they have been thought to have relatively mild side effects. Yet recent reports have revealed that important data about the safety of these drugs - especially their risks for children and adolescents - have been withheld from the medical community and the public.

In the latest and most comprehensive analysis, published in January in the BMJ, researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen showed that pharmaceutical companies have not been revealing the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports, which are detailed documents sent to regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when applying for approval of a new drug.

The researchers examined reports from 70 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of two common categories of antidepressants - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) - and found that the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior doubled in children and adolescents who used these drugs.

The investigators discovered that some of the most revealing information was buried in appendices where individual patient outcomes are listed. For example, they found clear instances of suicidal thinking that had been passed off as "emotional lability" or "worsening depression" in the report itself. This information, however, was available for only 32 out of the 70 trials.

"We found that a lot of the appendices were often only available on request to the authorities, and the authorities had never requested them," says Tarang Sharma, a Ph.D. student at Cochrane and lead author of the study. "I'm actually kind of scared about how bad the actual situation would be if we had the complete data."

This study "confirms that the full degree of harm of antidepressants is not reported," says Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist and researcher at University College London who was not involved in the study. "[These harms] are not reported in the published literature - we know that - and it appears that they are not properly reported in clinical study reports that go to the regulators and form the basis of decisions about licensing."

The researchers struggled for many years to get access to the clinical trial reports, which are often withheld under the guise of commercial confidentiality. "All this secrecy actually costs human lives," says Peter Gøtzsche, a clinician researcher at Cochrane and a co-author of the recent study. Eventually the EMA provided access after being publicly accused of mismanagement, but in the U.S. these documents remain inaccessible. "It's deeply unethical when patients volunteer to benefit science, and then we let drug companies decide that we cannot get access to the raw data," Gøtzsche says. "The testing of drugs should be a public enterprise."

The fact that antidepressants may cause suicidal ideation has been shown before, and in 2004 the FDA gave these drugs a black box warning - a label reserved for the most serious hazards. The EMA has issued similar alerts. There are no labels about risks for aggression, however. Although hints about hostile behavior existed in case studies, the BMJ study was the first large-scale work to demonstrate an increase in aggressive behavior in children and adolescents. "This is obviously important in the debate about school shootings in the [U.S.] and in other places where the perpetrators are frequently taking antidepressants," Moncrieff says.

Taken together with other research - including studies that suggest antidepressants are only marginally better than placebos - some experts say it is time to reevaluate the widespread use of these drugs. "My view is that we really don't have good enough evidence that antidepressants are effective, and we have increasing evidence that they can be harmful," Moncrieff says. "So we need to stop this increasing trend of prescribing them."

This article was originally published with the title "The Hidden Harms of Antidepressants"
---







Date: Sat, 28 May 2016 13:09:59 +0100
Subject: "Half of antidepressant prescriptions given to people who don't have depression


Ha!  Have long said that _any_ use of antidepressants is merely mind-wiping - allowed unknowingly by misinformed patients but organized knowingly by venal doctors and power-mad politicos.

Think about it:  antidepressants are necessarily mind-altering; and after that mind has been `altered' its mood is changed to a mild (or manic) thoughtless euphoria, quite often - in over-use cases - resulting in psychotic murders or other tragedies.  I.e. most recent mass murder / school slaughter events were perpetrated by people on heavy antidepressant dosages.

While the public is unaware, the medical profession and the politicos have full knowledge of all these facts - so we must presume this trend of extending `mind-wiping' throughout the population has been planned.

Cheers
Ray D
PS - don't miss the reference to antidepressants being implicated in the (rising) tide of autism and other mental disorders. RD


https://www.rt.com/usa/344252-antidepressant-prescriptions-anxiety-increase/
Half of antidepressant prescriptions given to people who don't have depression - study
Published time: 24 May, 2016 20:10

Physicians are increasingly prescribing antidepressant drugs for nondepressive conditions without approval from regulatory bodies, according to a new study. Of the 101,759 antidepressant prescriptions analyzed in the study, 55 percent were for depression.

About 10 years of electronic medical records in Quebec, Canada, analyzed by researchers in a study published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that just more than half of the 20,000 people who received those prescriptions were receiving treatment for disorders such as anxiety (18.5 percent), insomnia (10 percent), pain (6 percent), and other conditions such as attention deficit disorders.

"The findings indicate that the mere presence of an antidepressant prescription is a poor proxy for depression treatment, and they highlight the need to evaluate the evidence supporting off-label antidepressant use," the authors wrote.

The study was led by Jenna Wong, a PhD candidate at McGill University.

"It's an interesting phenomenon," Wong said, according to Time.com. "We had heard that in the scientific community there has been a suspicion among doctors that physicians are commonly prescribing antidepressants for uses other than depression. We also found that for the major classes of antidepressants, there was an increasing prescribing trend over time."

Plus anticholinergic drugs, which include tricyclic #antidepressants, raise #dementia risk. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/common-anticholinergic-drugs-like-benadryl-linked-increased-dementia-risk-201501287667 - https://twitter.com/AllenFrancesMD/status/735173314533036032

The study pointed out that antidepressant prescriptions are increasingly given for "off-label" disorders, or conditions that have not been approved by government regulators to be treated with antidepressants.

The effectiveness of antidepressant treatment for some nondepressive indications is lacking scientific evidence, Wong said. The study "raises the question of why" doctors "are prescribing them," she said.

Wong suspects that nontraditional uses for antidepressants are linked to a lack of other clear treatment options.

Read more
© Shannon Stapleton - Pregnant women using antidepressants more likely to have autistic kids - study

"Some of these conditions are things where there is no exact treatment," Wong said, according to Time.com. "The patients may be desperate for something to treat their ailments."

The study adds more evidence to reports and data that say drugs like antidepressants are over-prescribed in the US. In a JAMA study released in November, researchers found that three in five Americans take a prescription drug, up significantly from the year 2000. The study said antidepressant use in particular has gone up dramatically since then.

The rate of antidepressant use in the US among people ages 12 and older shot up by nearly 400 percent between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008, according to a report released in 2011 by the National Center for Health Statistics.
---







Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 19:00:53 +0100
Subject: `Modern humans' much older than the MSM say (even now)


`Modern humans' much older than the MSM say (even now)

Update:  Mainstream dogma is that humans came `out of Africa 60,000 years ago', and that later humans entered Europe c. 40 - 45,000 yrs ago.

However recent discoveries (below) show something different.  And to me it all hints that humans have existed for much longer than even these articles suggest.

I.e. due to virtual impossibility of finding archeological traces spaced regularly in time, it's likely that `modern' humans were around at least half a million years ago, or maybe even more than a million years ago.

Cheers
Ray D
PS - have paraphrased the main content of each article as a quick intro:

a) Humans and Neanderthals inter-mated about 100,000 years ago

& http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0217/Neanderthals-and-modern-humans-mated-50-000-years-earlier-than-we-thought-scientists-say
Neanderthals and modern humans mated 50,000 years earlier than we thought, scientists say.
Researchers discovered early modern human DNA in a Neanderthal genome. And that interbreeding event happened remarkably long ago.
By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer FEBRUARY 17, 2016
(more at page ...)
---
b) Human teeth were found in China dating to `between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago'
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/1014/Can-100-000-year-old-teeth-change-human-history
Can 100,000-year-old teeth change human history?
Archaeologists unearth human teeth in China from 50,000 years before humans were thought to live there, in `one of the most important finds coming out of Asia in the last decade.'
By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer OCTOBER 14, 2015
(more at page ...)
---
c) Stone (human) artifacts were found in Arabia dating to "at least" 100,000 years ago
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0422/When-did-humans-leave-Africa-New-model-suggests-earlier-dispersal.
When did humans leave Africa? New model suggests earlier dispersal.
Modern humans may have migrated out of Africa earlier than scientists have long believed, according to new research.
By Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience Contributor APRIL 22, 2014
(more at page ...)
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d) In a deep, dark cave, `built stacks' are dated to "176,500 years ago, give or take a couple thousand years" (so were automatically claimed to be Neanderthal?)
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0525/Mysterious-cave-edifice-Were-Neanderthals-complex-cavemen
Mysterious cave edifice: Were Neanderthals complex cavemen?
Someone built mysterious structures using hundreds of stalagmites in an underground cave in southern France some 176,500 years ago. Scientists say it had to have been Neanderthals, which suggests they weren't the simple brutes as previously thought.
By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer MAY 25, 2016
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Tue, 24 May 2016 13:53:46 +0100
Subject: Squid, octopus, and cuttlefish more abundant:


"Squid, octopus, and cuttlefish more abundant:"

It's rarely simple in nature!  Like during + just after WW I it was noticed that, although Mediterranean fishing had virtually ceased for the duration, populations of fish had actually fallen (see Volterra's Paradox).  Volterrra found the paradox was due to an increase in the numbers of sharks and other predators which previously had been kept down as `by-catch'.

Cheers
Ray D


www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0523/Squid-octopus-and-cuttlefish-more-abundant-Good-news-in-the-ocean
Squid, octopus, and cuttlefish more abundant: Good news in the ocean?
Cephalopods have become more and more abundant over the past 60 years, scientists say. But what does that mean for the rest of the ocean?
By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer MAY 23, 2016

It's rare to hear about life doing well in the oceans these days. But cephalopods - a group of marine animals that includes squids, octopuses, and cuttlefish - are thriving.

And cephalopods aren't merely getting by. Over the past six decades they've been on the rise, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Current Biology.

"It is certainly nice to see something going up," study lead author Zoë Doubleday, a marine biologist at the University of Adelaide, tells The Christian Science Monitor.
But there could be a downside to such an abundance.
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Sun, 22 May 2016 16:28:15 +0100
Subject: Ancient forest lost beneath the North Sea is uncovered


"Ancient forest lost beneath the North Sea is uncovered"

Slightly interesting.  Wiki says that oak, hazel and alder are more common in warmish areas, i.e. stretching from temperate regions to the subtropics (or right into the tropics in the case of oaks).

So seven thousand years ago that area (of northern UK and adjoining Denmark) was probably quite warm compared to the area's more chilly climate today.  Maybe confirm that in graph at glacials.html#ice-age1
Ray


www.dailymail.co.uk/~/North-sea-reveals-7-000-year-old-human-footprints-ancient-forest-Woodland-stretched-Denmark-covered-ocean.html Ancient forest lost beneath the North Sea is uncovered: Shifting sands reveal 7,000-year-old woodland and human footprints
By RYAN O'HARE | PUBLISHED: 17:40, 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 01:49, 17 May 2016

An ancient forest, which dates back more than 7,000 years and has lain buried beneath the sand for millennia, is slowly being uncovered by the ocean.
The North Sea has eroded the shore of a Northumberland beach to reveal the remnants of an ancient forest dating back 7,000 years. Archaeologists believe the preserved tree stumps and felled tree trunks lining the shoreline.

Forests would have covered the area once known as 'Doggerland' - an area of land stretching between England and Europe which existed before the North Sea was formed by glacial melt water and geological movements.

Studies of the ancient forest, which existed at a time when the sea level was much lower and Britain had only recently separated from what is now mainland Denmark, have revealed it would have consisted of oak, hazel and alder trees.
(more at page)
---







Date: Fri, 20 May 2016 00:24:51 +0100
Subject: Deceptive Math


Deceptive Math
After watching that `Meteor' movie (below) was reminded of a misconception that still plagues the mass-media.  That is, the `once in a thousand year flood' or the `once in a hundred thousand year impact' (see chart at westward.html#west) is taken to mean these things actually happen at those intervals.

Sadly, not so.  Those time spacings are only suggested by a `power curve', a mathematical graph which says that small events happen often, big events happen more rarely.

In real life there is a possibility that a `once in ten thousand year impact' might be followed by another `once in ten thousand year impact' within a year, or a week, or even less.

Maths is deceptive.

Cheers
Ray D

-
Date: Thu, 19 May 2016 22:36:17 +0100
Subject: Meteor Storm


Ha!  The big problem with the plot of this movie - that repeated meteor strikes will single out San Francisco - has also been ignored in one or two earlier movies.  That is, repeated incomings from extra-terrestrial masses of objects _should_ hit places on Earth more or less at random (depending on trajectories and spacing of the objects and any synchronisms with Earth's rotation).

But then again, Charles Fort had archives of falls of strange materials, etc. which were apparently from space but which repeatedly chose to hit the same town, or even same district of a town, year after year.  So maybe the plot isn't so wonky after all.
Ray


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqKrVWMFyC0
Meteor Storm - Disaster Movie






Date: Thu, 19 May 2016 10:20:03 +0100
Subject: Pizzly or grolar bear: grizzly-polar hybrid is a new result of climate change

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/22559/20160519/pizzly-grolar-bear-hybrid-grizzly-polar-cutest-result-climate-change.htm
Pizzly or grolar bear: grizzly-polar hybrid is a new result of climate change
Grizzly bears in Alaska and Canada are moving north as their environment warms, bringing them into contact with polar bears located on the coastline
(more ...)
---


Well it's right as far as it goes, except it's not `new'.  They forgot to mention it's all happened before - the climate has been much warmer than this many times in last 600,000 years - maybe check glacials.html#no-extremes and read about polar bear / brown bear (grizzlies etc) interbreeding in the past.
Cheers
Ray D







Date: Tue, 17 May 2016 09:49:34 +0100
Subject: `The Descent of Woman'


Just re-reading `The Descent of Woman' by Elaine Morgan (read it before, along with her `Aquatic Ape', `Descent of the Child') and am even more impressed, maybe because I now have the time to really appreciate her arguments (and her wit).  The `science' bits - the reason she wrote the book - are clearly presented, with sometimes shockingly amusing illustration.

As she explained, the fuddy-duddies of establishment anthropology were clinging to `Tarzan the Hunter' theories of human evolution, mainly because they were afraid to look at the real evidence;  so Elaine felt she had to hit hard to wake them up, and sometimes uses `female' humour to make her point.  As I've observed elsewhere, female humour - usually kept secret among women - is so truthful and witty that it really scares most men.

Have to recommend anyone to read this book, there's something for everyone, male or female, and some surprises, even for the most experienced of us.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Descent-Woman-Elaine-Morgan/dp/0285627007
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_Morgan_(writer)

Cheers
Ray D







Date: Fri, 13 May 2016 08:19:16 +0100
Subject: "Earth's magnetic field is changing"


"Earth's magnetic field is changing"

Nothing really new here, although the `map' is slightly interesting and movements have been more recently updated.
Ray D


http://www.spaceweather.com/
EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD IS CHANGING:
Anyone watching a compass needle point steadily north might suppose that Earth's magnetic field is a constant. It's not. Researchers have long known that changes are afoot. The north magnetic pole routinely moves, as much as 40 km/yr, causing compass needles to drift over time. Moreover, the global magnetic field has weakened 10% since the 19th century.

A new study by the European Space Agency's constellation of Swarm satellites reveals that changes may be happening even faster than previously thought. In this map, blue depicts where Earth's magnetic field is weak and red shows regions where it is strong:
Magnetic change

Data from Swarm, combined with observations from the CHAMP and Ørsted satellites, show clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest - the South Atlantic Anomaly - has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%. These changes have occured over the relatively brief period between 1999 and mid-2016.

Earth's magnetic field protects us from solar storms and cosmic rays. Less magnetism means more radiation can penetrate our planet's atmosphere. Indeed, high altitude balloons launched by Spaceweather.com routinely detect increasing levels of cosmic rays over California. Perhaps the ebbing magnetic field over North America contributes to that trend.

As remarkable as these changes sound, they're mild compared to what Earth's magnetic field has done in the past. Sometimes the field completely flips, with north and the south poles swapping places. Such reversals, recorded in the magnetism of ancient rocks, are unpredictable. They come at irregular intervals averaging about 300,000 years; the last one was 780,000 years ago. Are we overdue for another? No one knows.

Swarm is a trio of satellites equipped with vector magnetometers capable of sensing Earth's magnetic field all the way from orbital altitudes down to the edge of our planet's core. The constellation is expected to continue operations at least until 2017, and possibly beyond, so stay tuned for updates.
---







Date: Tue, 10 May 2016 09:42:42 +0100
Subject: ""One in five plant species threatened with extinction"


"One in five plant species threatened with extinction"

Ha!  These people either have short memories or are intending to mislead you.  We know from the fossil record there's been many extinction events - some say five or seven, others say more than twenty - see Extinction_event [Wiki] - when three quarters (three out of four) or even 95% (more than nine out of ten) of all species have gone extinct.

And we also know there is a `background extinction rate' - see Background_extinction_rate [Wiki] - which is basically a measure of how life gets more efficient at surviving (i.e. the least efficient die off).

So many more than "one in five" plant (or animal) species have ALWAYS been threatened with extinction, throughout Earth's history.
Ray D


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/one-in-five-of-worlds-plant-species-at-risk-of-extinction
The Guardian | Tuesday 10 May 2016 00.01 BST Last modified on Tuesday 10 May 2016 07.57 BST

One in five of the world's plant species is threatened with extinction, according to the first global assessment of flora, putting supplies of food and medicines at risk.

But the report also found that 2,000 new species of plant are discovered every year, raising hopes of new sources of food that are resilient to disease and climate change. New finds in 2015 included a giant insect-eating plant first spotted on Facebook and a 100-tonne tree hidden in an African forest.

The State of the World's Plants report, by experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, reveals that there are currently 390,000 species of known plants, with more than 30,000 used by people. However, more than 5,000 species have invaded foreign countries and are causing billions of dollars of damage every year.

"Plants are absolutely fundamental to humankind," said Prof Kathy Willis, director of science at Kew, who led the new report. "Plants provide us with everything - food, fuel, medicines, timber and they are incredibly important for our climate regulation. Without plants we would not be here. We are facing some devastating realities if we do not take stock and re-examine our priorities and efforts."

The report is the first of what will be an annual benchmark analysis to set out what is known - and not known - about plants and highlight critical issues and how they can be tackled. "I am reasonably optimistic," said Willis. "Once you know [about a problem], you can do something about it. The biggest problem is not knowing."

The biggest factors threatening plant species with extinction are the destruction of habitats for farming (31%) - such as palm oil production and cattle ranching, deforestation for timber (21%) and construction of buildings and infrastructure (13%).

Climate change is currently a smaller factor - 4% - but is likely to grow. "I suspect we won't actually see the full impact until 30 years down the line as it takes so long for plants, especially trees, to produce their offspring," said Willis. One important crop that is already suffering is coffee, as rising temperatures make the beans impossible to grow and increase diseases in key countries such as Ethiopia.

But the rate of new discoveries is a positive development, Willis said. "I find that really encouraging and exciting. We are still finding new species of trees, new species of food: five new species of onion were found last year, for example." Scientists at Kew alone identify 200-300 new species a year.

"There are huge areas of the world where we just don't know what is growing there," said Willis. "They may hold the key to the future of food. Genetic diversity in our foods is becoming poorer and poorer."

Many important crops have been bred over thousands of years to produce high yields, but have lost genes that help fight pests and cope with changes in climate. Bananas, sorghum and aubergines are among those with very little genetic diversity, making them highly vulnerable to new threats. Finding wild relatives of such crops means new, more robust varieties can be bred.

"Now, with the global challenges [of] population size, land-use change, plant diseases and pests, there is an increasing urgency to find and conserve crop wild relatives," said the report. "Having access to this large and diverse genetic pool is essential if we are to furnish crops with the valuable traits that enable resilience to climate change, pests and diseases, and ultimately underpin global food security."

Among the 2,000 new plants discovered in 2015 was an insect-eating sundew (Drosera magnifica) which grows to 1.5 metres, far bigger than most sundews. It is known to grow only on a mountain in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and was first discovered on Facebook, when a sundew specialist was reviewing photos taken years earlier by an orchid hunter.

Another new discovery was a 45m tree, Gilbertiodendron maximum, weighing more than 100 tonnes, which is known only in the rainforest in Gabon and is critically endangered. Five new custard apples and ylang-ylang relatives were also found along with a new species of sweet potato.

The importance of plants for the development of new medicines was revealed in the report, which found that 57% of the 31,000 species with known uses were those from which drugs were derived. More than 5,500 are human foods, while there are 2,500 poisons and 1,400 with `social uses', such as tobacco and cannabis.
(more ...)
---







Date: Sunday, May 08, 2016 3:30 PM
Subject: The Speed of Light is NOT About Light


I got into this one by chance, but then it is touching on something has bogged us down for some time concerning Relativity and the reality according to observation., they clashed and this is why, its not about Light which has been contentious lately, its about the origin of Einstein's Relativity or Special Relativity that is from the permutation of Lorentz force that explained the oddity between, light, space time and matter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msVuCEs8Ydo
Choong

On 08-May-16 11:12 PM, Ray Dickenson wrote:
Thanks Choong, well presented and I'll go with the Lorentz transform stuff - BUT have got strong disagreement with Einsteinian relativity.  Like J P Hogan explains, the Lorentz part of relativity can be true without any need for Einstein's mumbo-jumbo about space-time bending.  And, like Tom Van Flandern shows, NASA always uses an instantaneous gravity when working out its orbital calculations - because an instantaneous gravity works, while a gravity limited to `c' (light speed) doesn't work.
Ray


From: Choong K**** Y***
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2016 5:30 PM


Interesting Ray, meaning here Nasa is not "playing by the textbook" literally speaking, and this shows how much they know about magnetism that's not of "Industrial Standard" model? And btw the Norwegian spiral is still bugging me of what they were doing at that time in Norway.

Choong

Date: Sun, 8 May 2016 18:12:50 +0100

Right Choong, it does seem that NASA is saying one thing while doing the other (with regard to `gravity' calculations etc.).  Tom Van Flandern worked at the Naval Observatory most of his life and was privy to inside knowledge of how NASA was fooling everybody about Relativity while ignoring it themselves.

BTW that Naval Observatory was the base for the `cesium clock test' of Relativity - where two cesium clocks were flown at high altitude and high speed westerly and easterly around the world and compared with another cesium clock at the Naval Observatory.

According to `Relativity' both the moving clocks should have `lost' time (run slower) - but in fact the westward clock ran FASTER and [only] the eastward clock ran slower.  So the powers-that-be fiddled the results and claimed they agreed with relativity.  See cesium-relativity.txt.
Ray

Date: Sun, 8 May 2016 18:18:00 +0100
Forgot to mention - Tom's very impressive paper on the `real' speed-of-gravity is at http://www.metaresearch.org/cosmology/speed_of_gravity.asp
Well worth a read, maybe allow yourself plenty of time.
Ray







Date: Fri, 6 May 2016 13:01:40 +0100
Subject: "Yet To Identify 99.999 Percent Of Earth's Species"


"We Have Yet To Identify 99.999 Percent Of Earth's Species, Study Says"

Yup, back in 2011, when the `experts' claimed they'd catalogued "more than one-third of Earth's species" I immediately disbelieved them and said so - mentioning that it was more likely that "less than 1/100th of species" had even been discovered.
Cheers
Ray D


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/earth-home-to-1-trillion-species_us_5728f60de4b096e9f08f629f
We Have Yet To Identify 99.999 Percent Of Earth's Species, Study Says
Our planet is still a giant mystery.
05/03/2016 09:39 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago
Chris D'Angelo | Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii

Just when we humans thought we knew a thing or two about our home planet, Mother Earth made sure to remind us we've barely scratched the surface.

A new study has found that this magnificent blue ball may still be hiding up to a mind-blowing 1 trillion species - roughly 135 species for every man, woman and child alive today.

If the findings are true, they mean we humans have yet to unearth 99.999 percent of all species.

"Microbial biodiversity, it appears, is greater than we ever imagined," Jay T. Lennon, an associate professor of biology at Indiana University Bloomington, said in a press release.

Lennon and his colleague Ken Locey combed through databases from numerous government, academic and citizen science sources for their study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They compiled a list of over 5.6 million species - from the largest mammals to the smallest single-celled microbes - from 35,000 locations around the globe.
(more ...)
---







Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2016 10:08:13 +0100
Subject: FWD - "We found a reef where the textbooks said there shouldn't be one,"


"We found a reef where the textbooks said there shouldn't be one,"

Ha!  Like said before several times, the `experts' know almost nothing about the diversity and hardihood of Earth's life-forms.  Wherever there's a niche, some life-forms will find it and exploit it.

A while ago had to contradict the fashionable fuss + alarmism about `corals' and `sea- grasses', which have thrived for millions of years in much hotter and more acidic seas than today's.  So any harm to corals / sea-grasses is probably being done by run-off polluters / industrial trawlers and oil-drillers etc.
[ Maybe check ansci8.html#coral and the background at glacials.html#sol-effects ]

Cheers
Ray D


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/220416-Amazon-coral-reef-Brazil-ocean-river-fish/
By Craig Welch | PUBLISHED APRIL 22, 2016

Surprising, Vibrant Reef Discovered in the Muddy Amazon
Colorful sea fans, fish, and gigantic sponges found in murky waters. One scientist says the reef has the most amazing animals she's ever seen on an expedition.

Scientists on Friday announced that they have discovered a surprisingly intricate and extensive reef system in the ocean off the Amazon River made up of many unusual creatures, including sponges like this one.

After sampling muddy water from the mouth of the Amazon River, oceanographer Patricia Yager steamed in the research ship Atlantis toward the continental shelf, where a Brazilian colleague was chasing a phantom. Yager's colleague was carrying a 1977 six-page research paper that included a hand-drawn map suggesting this region might mask an extraordinary set of reefs.

Yager was skeptical. The mouth of the Amazon was thick with more runoff and sediment than any river in the world. She had heard diving in this area was like swimming through goopy, dark stew. "I thought that everything would have just been smothered by settling mud from the river's plume," she says.

But when her colleague, Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, dredged small areas near the shelf that day in 2012, he uncovered one of the most surprising finds in modern sea research - an extensive deepwater reef system up to 120 kilometers offshore, below the Amazon's thick, dirty plume.

Scientists were particularly surprised to find the reef in a region dominated by muddy water flowing from the massive river system, which many had assumed would smother corals and other structures on the seafloor.

"We brought up the most amazing animals I've ever seen on an expedition like this," says Yager, at University of Georgia, who studies microbial communities where the Amazon spills into the Atlantic Ocean. There were sea fans, and yellow tubes, and tiny, sunset-colored fish, as well as pink coral-like crusted algae called rhodoliths, and gorgeous sponges in yellow and red. "All the scientists just hung over the rails amazed at what we were finding."

The discovery, detailed Friday in a study published in the journal Science, caught many by surprise, including the researchers who were hunting for it, and has scientists reconsidering their basic knowledge about reefs. Unlike typical tropical corals, much of this system exists in areas with no light, no photosynthesis, and extremely small amounts of oxygen. Yet some sections stand 30 meters high and extend 300 meters in length.

"We found a reef where the textbooks said there shouldn't be one," says study co-author Fabiano Thompson of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 01:25:04 +0100
Subject: "Earth getting greener due to rising carbon dioxide levels


Good or Bad? - "Earth getting greener"

Ha!  This latest research report (below) is desperately trying to make good things look bad.

However, a couple of years ago Dr Patrick Moore went on record (at a Senate hearing) saying:
"there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species"
and:
"It is `extremely likely' that a warmer temperature than today's would be far better than a cooler one" (text version available here).

"Dr. Patrick Moore Testimony in US Senate Subcommittee" (Youtube version).

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/global-snapshot-shows-how-humans-are-greening-the-earth/7346382
Earth getting greener due to rising carbon dioxide levels, global snapshot shows
ABC Science By Anna Salleh | Updated 26 April 2016

Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased plant growth across the planet over the past three decades, a new study has found.
* A few areas on Earth have browned but the vast majority have greened
* Plant coverage has grown by 18 million square kilometres in a few decades
* The main cause is increase in atmospheric CO2  * Nitrogen from agricultural fertilisers has also contributed

The most comprehensive modelling of remote sensing data so far shows the area on Earth covered by plants in this time has increased by 18 million square kilometres - about 2.5 times the size of the Australian continent - largely due to the fertilising effect of carbon dioxide (CO2).

"[The greening] has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system," said Dr Zaichun Zhu, from Peking University in China and lead author of the new study, which appears today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Carbon fertilisation is the dominant process for greening across the globe, particularly in the tropics because there's so much leaf area there.

"This is a snapshot of humans' global influence on the functioning of the entire global biosphere," said co-author CSIRO's Dr Pep Canadell of the Global Carbon Project.

The new findings come from analysis of data from the past 33 years taken by three different satellite missions that measured the green light reflected by photosynthesising leaves.

Dr Canadell said the remote sensing data was run through 10 global environmental change models to identify the cause of the greening.

INFOGRAPHIC: A map of the Earth showing how much different areas have greened since 1982 (Ranga Myneni)
About 85 per cent of Earth's ice-free land is covered by plants, and each year photosynthesis soaks up about one quarter of the nearly 10 billion tonnes of carbon emitted by humans.

Drs Zhu, Canadell and colleagues found that the 46 parts per million increase in atmospheric CO2 between 1982 and 2009 was responsible for 50 to 70 per cent of the observed greening.

"Carbon fertilisation is the dominant process for greening across the globe, particularly in the tropics because there's so much leaf area there," Dr Canadell said.

Scientists have long established humans as a key source of atmospheric CO2 through the use of chemical signatures that distinguishes carbon from different sources.

"The growth of CO2 in the atmosphere is almost exclusively due to fossil fuel burning and deforestation," said Dr Canadell.

The new study found other causes of the greening, including nitrogen from agricultural fertilisers.

'Surprising' finding given increase in droughts

Dr Canadell said the greening has surprised scientists who expected to see more browning, given the increase in droughts associated with global warming.

While the researchers found between 25 to 50 per cent of all vegetated areas of the land have become greener, only 4 per cent have become browner.

These included Mongolia, Argentina and areas of North America close to Alaska.

While south-eastern Australia also showed browning, overall the Australian continent was greening, said Dr Canadell.

While a greener Earth might seem like a positive from CO2-induced global warming, along with milder winters and longer growing seasons, he said there were many more negative impacts - including rising sea levels and severe weather.

"These will eventually outweigh by far any benefit from the greening," he said.
---







Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2016 15:39:39 +0100
Subject: `Royal' Astronomer Martin Rees speculates on Alien Life


`Royal' Astronomer Martin Rees speculates on Alien Life

Well, he's finally gotten around to this idea (similar to Boltzmann's Brains but without their cosmological implications, or maybe more like Fred Hoyle's conscious and intelligent `Black Cloud').

A while ago speculated along those lines, concentrating more on ancient thinking patterns of inertial energy - the most intense and powerful form of energy in the universe.

It's at friend-foe.html and, if you scroll a bit, note that more recently experts in places like the Vatican seem to be agreeing with the idea.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/anybody-out-there-aliens-could-7796769
Is there anybody out there? Aliens could turn out to be colossal electronic brains
20:02, 20 APR 2016 UPDATED 22:20, 20 APR 2016 - BY MARTIN REES
Baron Reese of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal, former President of the Royal Society says an ET signal would come from, "immensely intricate and powerful electronic brains"

When I tell people I'm an astronomer, the most common questions I'm asked are "Does ET exist?" or "Are we alone in the universe?"  They're the most fascinating questions to me too.

We can't answer them, but the good news is that there are serious efforts being made to find out whether life - even intelligent life - exists in the cosmos. And it's not just science fiction writers who try to guess what aliens might be like.

(more at page ...)

An ET signal would more likely come from immensely intricate and powerful electronic brains. This is the view I'll put forward in a BBC 4 programme this evening.

I infer this from what has happened on Earth, and - more importantly - on how we expect life and intelligence to evolve in the far future. The first tiny organisms emerged when the Earth was young, four billion years ago.
...
But humans aren't the end of this process - they may not be even the half-way stage. It will be more than five billion years before the Sun runs out of fuel. So future evolution - the post-human era - could extend billions of years into the future.

But the dominant future creatures won't be flesh and blood. Robots and `artificial intelligence' will surpass humans. Some expect this by 2100. Some think it may take centuries. Be that as it may, the timescales are an instant compared to the aeons lying ahead.

If life began on a distant planet, it could have evolved slower or faster than here. If it evolved slower, we'd detect no signals (though we may observe evidence of vegetation). But if it evolved faster, it would likely already have reached the post-human stage when `brains' were electronic, not the `wet' hardware in human skulls. So if these searches detect anything, that's what it would be.

These entities would think so differently from us we couldn't guess whether a signal was a message, or just `leakage'. Could we build up communication? If they exist, they would be so far off exchanging messages may take centuries.

Moreover the only type of intelligence­ we could detect would be one that led to a technology we could recognise. But some `brains' may think in ways we can't conceive. Others could be uncommunicative, living contemplative lives doing nothing to reveal their presence.

So, though the search is worthwhile, we should remember the maxim `absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence'.
---







Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 18:01:06 +0100
Subject: Brain `15-second delay' shields us ...


Brain `15-second delay' shields us from hallucinogenic experience - research

Interesting and it certainly explains the "un-noticed gorilla" in many experiments of perceptions.  Yet, thinking about it, other beings who might know about our brain-workings could easily exploit that perceptual gap and be walking among us unseen.

Cheers
Ray


https://www.rt.com/news/brain-neuroscience-visual-information-709/
Reuters / Eddie Keogh | Published time: 7 Apr, 2014 16:34

Brain `15-second delay' shields us from hallucinogenic experience - research

Scientists have revealed the human brain has a 15-second lag that helps stabilize incoming visual information, which we don't notice bombarding us in the course of our everyday lives.

Eyes tend to receive an enormous information load from dusk till dawn, and as one opens his or her eyes in the morning, the brain starts its intensive work, processing incoming pictures from the surroundings, including imagery from TV screens and computer monitors.

A team of vision scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed this secret of the human brain: To save us from insanity induced by a constantly changing torrent of pictures, shapes and colors - both virtual and real world - the brain filters out information, failing in most cases to notice small changes in a 15-second period of time.

It actually means that what we do see is, in fact, a mixture of past and present. According to the research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, stability is attained at the expense of accuracy.

"What you are seeing at the present moment is not a fresh snapshot of the world but rather an average of what you've seen in the past 10 to 15 seconds," said study author Jason Fischer, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at MIT.

The discovery, called a continuity field, at first seems to be yet another optical illusion, good to explain why we miss errors in film editing.

"The continuity field smoothes what would otherwise be a jittery perception of object features over time," said David Whitney, associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study. "Essentially, it pulls together physically but not radically different objects to appear more similar to each other. This is surprising because it means the visual system sacrifices accuracy for the sake of the continuous, stable perception of objects."

However, according to the scientists, a continuity field is an advantageous mechanism, as it excludes visual `noise'. "The changes that continuity fields cause us to miss are most often unimportant," Fischer said.

What is more, without such brain development humans would find the world an unsteady and frightening place to be. It might be similar to a person on hallucinogenic drugs experiencing sudden changes of color, a play of shadows and splashes of light. It would be just too overwhelming to live like this on a daily basis - a severe ordeal for the psyche.
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2016 08:23:26 +0100
Subject: IPCC Climate data `mostly made up.'


IPCC Southern Hemisphere Climate data `mostly made up'

Yup, am inclined - by weight of real evidence - to suspect Earth's climate is almost entirely driven by direct and indirect solar influences, and that these influences are cyclical and quasi-cyclical in their long and short-term actions;  the shortest of those being the 11 year or 22 year "Solar Cycle", and the longest being unknown but extending over many thousands of years.

Maybe check arguments for and against AGW (anthropogenic global warming) at glacials.html and there's a short (+ irreverent) text intro at try-logic.txt.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.wnd.com/2016/04/revealed-feds-demands-to-manipulate-global-warming-data/
REVEALED! FEDS' DEMANDS TO MANIPULATE GLOBAL-WARMING DATA
30 pages on 'how to change the IPCC's science document'
Published: 10 hours ago

It's something climate skeptics have long suspected: Government involvement in science has skewed data to reflect the government's agenda.

"Many have suspected that U.S. political intervention in climate science has corrupted the outcome," notes Ron Arnold in an essay posted on CFact.org. "The new emergence of an old 1995 document from the U.S. State Department to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms those suspicions, or at least gives the allegation credence enough to ask questions."
...
"The document itself consists of a three-page cover letter to Sir John Houghton, head of IPCC Working Group - (Science), from Day Mount, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Acting, Environment and Development, United States Department of State, long with the thirty-page instruction set with line-by-line `suggestions,' written by scientist Robert Watson and others," writes Arnold.

He also notes, "Among the more revealing tidbits is a remark scolding a scientist for being honest about the weakness of aerosol forcing data: `We clearly cannot use aerosol forcing as the trigger of our smoking gun, and then make a generalized appeal to uncertainty to exclude these effects from the forward-looking modeling analysis.' One instruction was to change a correct statement about warming rates into a flat lie: `Change `continue to rise' to `rise by even greater amounts' to provide a sense of magnitude of the extended change.'"

This verbal manipulation as far back as 1995 illustrates how government involvement in climate science is skewing the outcome to reflect an agenda.

In an article entitled "Climate Policy's Advocates Take Page From Same-Sex Marriage Playbook," Coral Davenport notes, "Two months ahead of a federal court hearing on President Obama's signature climate change rule, a coordinated public relations offensive has begun - modeled after the same-sex marriage campaign - to influence the outcome of the case. - While developing the campaign, the environmental advocates closely examined the messaging tactics of the same-sex marriage efforts - particularly the message that the issue affects individual lives beyond the gay community.

"`On gay marriage, it was that everyone has a friend, a neighbor, a sibling who could be impacted,'" said Joshua Dorner, a strategist at the Washington political communications firm SKDKnickerbocker, who worked on the same-sex marriage public relations campaigns ahead of the Supreme Court argument. The same message could be applied to a campaign on climate change, `showing how it directly impacts people's lives,'" he said.

NASA is noted to have altered its own temperature data by 0.5C since 2001. "NASA temperature data doesn't even agree with NASA temperature data from 15 years ago," notes the article "Global temperature record is a smoking gun of collusion and fraud."



image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2016/04/Climate-change-article-4-12-16-graph-NASA-global-surface-temperature.jpg
NASA global surface temperature, 2001 vs. 2016; source Real Science

The article also chronicles similar manipulation by the Japan Meteorological Agency; and that much of the Southern Hemisphere data is `mostly made up.'

"The claimed agreement in temperature data is simply not legitimate," it notes. "The people involved know that their data is inadequate, tampered and largely made up. They all use basically the same GHCN data set from NOAA (which has lost more than 80 percent of their stations over the past few decades) and E-mails show that they discussed with each other ways to alter the data to make it agree with their theory."

WND has reported extensively on global warming, including a few months back when, despite no rise in average global temperature for nearly two decades, some two-dozen scientists with major U.S. universities urged President Obama to use RICO laws to prosecute opponents who deny mankind is causing catastrophic changes in the climate.

That's the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which can put people in jail.

The scientists said their critics' methods "are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry," which was the target of a RICO investigation that "played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking."

Tim Ball, a former University of Winnipeg climatology professor, said global temperatures have been dropping since the turn of the century, prompting the change in terminology from `global warming' to `climate change.'

Activists are also spending less time discussing temperatures and more time pointing to more extreme events such as tornadoes, droughts, cold snaps and heat waves. Ball said there's a shred of truth there, but it's being badly distorted.

Marc Morano is executive editor and chief correspondent for ClimateDepot, as well as host and producer of the upcoming film `Climate Hustle.' In an interview with WND, he said, "These documents further reveal how the grand narrative of man-made global warming has been crafted and forged into a partisan like campaign cause. The U.N. reports were altered as needed to promote the ideological and political goals of the establishment pushing climate fears.

"Any talking points that did not fit their narrative were cast aside and any expression of uncertainty quashed," he added. "The `global warming' movement is a pure lobbying movement on some levels. These old documents echo the 2009 Climategate scandal where the upper echelon of the U.N. scientists were exposed colluding on now to craft a narrative and mold the science to persuade the public, media and policy makers of the urgency of `acting' on `global warming.''

Manipulation of public emotion through various strategies influences public policy in massive ways, which makes the 1995 document noteworthy for how far back this goes.

"The 1995 document raises 2016 questions about the State Department's actions in the subsequent United National IPCC Assessment Reports," notes Arnold. "What did they do? Where are the correspondence and instructions to change the science in all the IPCC Assessments? What is the Obama State Department doing to corrupt climate science to its forward its radical social and political agenda? Some of that is obvious. It's the clandestine part we need to know."
----







Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 20:27:21 +0100
Subject: Greenland's Melt Season Begins Almost 2 Months Early


Ha!  Note they never tell the whole story.  I.e. before around 2,000 yrs ago the world was much warmer than now, and from 1000 AD to about 1400 AD we saw the Medieval Warm Period, when vineyards were cultivated in northern England (where it's too cold just now).  Check northern-wine.txt for the details and also glacials.html#ice-age1 for the temperature graphs (from ice-core sampling).

So Greenland has seen much less ice-cover than now, and none at all in the distant past.

Cheers
Ray D
PS - to see the periods when the poles were ice-free, check warm-poles.txt [Wiki]


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/greenland-s-melt-season-begins-almost-2-months-early/
Greenland's Melt Season Begins Almost 2 Months Early
More than 10 percent of the ice sheet was melting as of April 10, crushing the previous record

By Brian Kahn, Climate Central on April 13, 2016

To say the 2016 Greenland melt season is off to the races is an understatement.
Warm, wet conditions rapidly kicked off the melt season this weekend, more than a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. It has easily set a record for earliest melt season onset, and marks the first time it's begun in April.
(more ...) ---







Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2016 15:03:18 +0100
Subject: Billion-light-year galactic wall may be largest object in cosmos


Ha!  It's only the latest - and maybe largest - of lots of super-sized "walls" and "filaments" which are way too big to have evolved / grown in the assumed lifetime of the Universe.

Yet another indication of a maybe infinite Universe - in both time and space terms.

Ray D


https://www.newscientist.com/article/2079986-billion-light-year-galactic-wall-may-be-largest-object-in-cosmos/
Billion-light-year galactic wall may be largest object in cosmos
Astronomers peering into the distant universe have discovered the BOSS Great Wall, a vast superstructure of 830 galaxies that is a billion light years across

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/meet-boss-largest-structure-universe-180958378/?no-ist
Meet the BOSS, the Largest Structure in the Universe (So Far)
Astronomers recently discovered a wall of galaxies 1 billion light years across, larger than anything else yet identified in the cosmos
---







Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2016 22:10:52 +0100
Subject: `Reality' and the Mind


`Reality' and the Mind

Just now reading Roger Penrose's `Shadows of the Mind' - a sequel and extension to his `Emperor's New Mind' - where he began investigating modern science's take on `consciousness', `self-awareness', `free will' etc.  [Part of his agenda is to try to prove that a human brain uses some ability that a computer could not have access to - and therefore we humans will never be ruled by AIs.]

In detail, Penrose uses Gödel's theorem - which proved that humans can "see" that some statement is true or false even if it is not computable and so not able to be proved by logic (or mathematics) - as a main plank of his argument that there is a "mysterious something" in an organic brain which is more connected to the real universe than any `machine' (computer or AI) can ever be.  [I'm paraphrasing him there - he's not actually said that, so far.]

Although, as he says more than once, many mammals, some birds etc. also show obvious signs of `consciousness' and `self-awareness'.  (On a personal note, would have to agree - and would extend that to baboons, seals etc and even to an experience with UK bumblebees).

A second angle to Penrose's line of thought is that allowed by `quantum' results.  And, although `quantum' experiments have been used and abused by all sorts of woolly-minded metaphysical hypothesizers, they reveal enough distinct differences between provable reality and non-reality to give food for thought.

Am only partway through the book now, yet it seems to extend the message of `Emperor's N.M', that there is a lot of room for useful metaphysical thinking about `reality', and about the specialness of mind.

Cheers
Ray D

PS - already have a copy of his `The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe' (2004), which is a dauntingly massive reference book, although written following the theme familiar from `ENM' and `Shadows' - daunting because he includes all the mathematics behind the experiments (yet kindly shows the non-mathematical reader what can be skipped while following the story).

And have ordered his next blockbuster `Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe', due out in August - suspect there's a lot of bed-time reading there also.
RD







Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2016 21:15:56 +0100
Subject: A Hoax?


I'm making no comment about the text - except that these two `newspapers' (one leftish, one rightish) are populist rags.  (Privately, have reasons to think it's a complex psychological hoax.)
Cheers
Ray D

[ PS - 1st reason to think it's a hoax is that ambitious young psychologists (like this chap - named in article) have recently begun floating ridiculous stories in the cheap press, monitoring public reactions, then publishing a `research paper' based (roughly or not at all) on those supposed public reactions;

2nd reason is experience - the duration of a sexual encounter is highly dependent on personality, opportunity and the mutual mood of the occasion.  I.e. one excitable young woman would sometimes demand `fast sex' (in exhibitionist situations) which might have lasted only a few minutes.  Whereas a longer-term girl friend, after saying `come up for a coffee' (post dinner-date), would make a session last until near breakfast-time, maybe with a (partial) break for a drink/smoke.  From her comments reckon she compared notes, and maybe boasted a bit, with her girlfriends back home. - RD ]


www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/science/how-long-should-sex-last-7693252
How long should sex last? Science finally answers this age-old question

www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3522596/How-long-DOES-sex-normally-Study-finds-range-33-seconds-44-minutes-average-5-minutes.html
How long DOES sex normally last? Study finds it can range from 33 seconds to 44 minutes - but the average is 5 minutes
---







Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2016 12:57:55 +0100
Subject: Great Barrier Reef pollution


Great Barrier Reef pollution

Ha!  As said in recent post (see ansci912.html#coral and links), corals are now known to be resilient to temperature changes, even extreme ones.

And, as said in earlier post (see ansci8.html#coral and links), what's hurting corals today is pollution / run-off, hard over-fishing / brutal trawling etc.

But of course the `global warming' scammers are always looking to blame us, rather than the polluters / over-fishers.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/03/great-barrier-reef-pollution-control-efforts-not-enough-to-meet-targets
Australian Associated Press | Monday 4 April 2016 00.40 BST

Great Barrier Reef pollution control efforts `not enough to meet targets'

Scientists' findings that Reef 2050 Plan water quality targets will probably not be met come as Queensland government gives green light to Australia' largest coalmine

Aerial surveys of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland' far north have revealed extensive coral bleaching. Australia has lobbied Unesco to keep the reef off the world heritage committee' `in danger' list.

Australia is unlikely to meet water quality targets designed to protect the Great Barrier Reef, researchers from the federal government's marine science agency have warned.
(more ...)
---







Date: Sun, 3 Apr 2016 15:22:57 +0100
Subject: Animals are now legally recognised as 'sentient' beings in New Zealand


Animals are now legally recognised as 'sentient' beings in New Zealand

About time!  Anyone who's been around mammals, (inc. marine), and even some large insects, knows that they are `conscious' and `self-aware'.
Ray D


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/animals-are-now-legally-recognised-as-sentient-beings-in-new-zealand-10256006.html
Sophie McIntyre Sunday | 17 May 2015

Animals are now legally recognised as 'sentient' beings in New Zealand
The legislation included a ban on the use of animals for cosmetic testing

The New Zealand Government has formally recognised animals as 'sentient' beings by amending animal welfare legislation.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill was passed on Tuesday.

The Act stipulates that it is now necessary to 'recognise animals as sentient' and that owners must `attend properly to the welfare of those animals'.
(more ...)
--







Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 15:06:08 +0100
Subject: USEFUL! "Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground"


USEFUL! "Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground"

Now this is neat - and maybe a multi-task device.  Am pretty sure you can think of other things it can do well?
[ Like putting one in a drone to go prospecting for gold, uranium etc - Hey? ]

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35926147
By Jonathan Webb - Science reporter, BBC News | 30 March 2016
Small, cheap gravity gadget to peer underground
[ Image at http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpsprodpb/5D70/production/_89002932_img_1811.jpg ]

UK researchers have built a small device that measures tiny fluctuations in gravity, and could be used to monitor volcanoes or search for oil.  Such gravimeters already exist but compared to this postage stamp-sized gadget, they are bulky and pricy.

The new design is based on the little accelerometers found in smartphones.

To begin with, the team - from the University of Glasgow - tested it by measuring the Earth's tides over a period of several days.
Tidal forces, caused by the interacting pull of the Sun and Moon, not only drag the oceans up and down but slightly squash the Earth's diameter.
"It's not a very big squeeze, but it means that essentially Glasgow - or anywhere else on the Earth's crust - goes up and down by about 40cm over the course of 12-13 hours," said Richard Middlemiss, the PhD student who made the new instrument.
"That means that we get a change in gravitational acceleration - so that's what we've been able to measure."

In fact, Mr Middlemiss and his colleagues, writing in the journal Nature, report that their contraption can detect even smaller gravity changes - such as those that would be caused by a tunnel less than 1m across, buried 2m underground.
(more...)
---







Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2016 11:59:33 +0100
Subject: Is Planet X to blame for Earth's mass extinctions?


Is Planet X to blame for Earth's mass extinctions?

Well, well, seems the mainstream is getting closer and closer to the scenario we've held for quite a while.
Ray D


http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Is_Planet_X_to_blame_for_Earths_mass_extinctions_999.html
Brooks Hays - Fayetteville, Ark. (UPI) Mar 30, 2016

Is Planet X to blame for Earth's mass extinctions?
Earlier this year, scientists at Caltech offered the most convincing evidence yet of a ninth planet, Planet X. Now, a retired astrophysicist suggests the hidden planet is responsible for Earth's periodic mass extinctions -- like the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

In a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Daniel Whitmire argues that an undiscovered ninth planet triggers disruptive comet showers every 27 million years.
(more ...)
---







Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 23:58:55 +0100
Subject: "Tenth" Planet? More signs


"Tenth" Planet? More signs

Recall initial announcement (see metamail103.html#nib Feb) last month?
Seems more folk are seeing more indications.
Ray D


www.independent.co.uk/news/science/planet-nine-scientists-find-more-evidence-that-hidden-planet-is-sitting-at-the-edge-of-our-solar-a6954986.html
Andrew Griffin @_andrew_griffin

Planet Nine: Scientists find more evidence that hidden planet is sitting at the edge of our solar system
There appears to be something very odd happening at the edge of our solar system - and at least some scientists suggest that it is being caused by a huge, mysterious planet

New evidence strengthens the idea that there is a mysterious planet hiding at the far edge of our solar system.

Objects have been spotted moving around unusually at the edge of our solar system. And the best explanation for the strange orbits is the mysterious Planet Nine, according to one of the scientists who has argued that the hidden planet exists.

In January, a pair of scientists argued that they had found another planet, based on calculations using objects at the distant end of our solar system. By studying the orbit of six objects in the Kuiper Belt - a mysterious area thought to be filled of astroids and other icy objects - they argued that they were being affected by something large and previously unknown.

Now Mike Brown, who made those original claims, says that he has tracked another object in that Kuiper Belt that is also moving unusually. And its strange movement is exactly how what would be expected if Planet Nine is real, he claimed.
(more ...)







Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 21:40:47 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: FWD - Study Finds Remote Coral Reefs Are Thriving, Despite Changing Climate


Study Finds Remote Coral Reefs Are Thriving, Despite Changing Climate
http://www.vnews.com/News/Nation-World/Study-Remote-coral-reefs-thrive-despite-climate-change-1134242.aspx
Study Finds Remote Coral Reefs Are Thriving, Despite Changing Climate
By Joshua Emerson Smith | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Wednesday, March 23, 2016
(more at page ...)


Ha!  A while ago I got a bit impatient with all the dire warnings about how coral reefs are all doomed - presented without any evidence of coral behavior.
So looked up the history of corals - in Wiki and other scientific sources.  Surprise!  It turns out that corals have a very ancient history and have survived and even flourished in much hotter (and more acidic) seas than today's.

Maybe check glacials.html#coral for overview, ansci8.html#coral for coral details, coral-news4.txt for an update & ansci901.html#sea-g for associated sea-grasses.

Cheers
Ray D







Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 00:15:57 -0000
Subject: Stone Age Apocalypse


Just begun watching this - it features a phenomenon I've been interested in for a while because it's so useful in historical reconstruction.  That is, using DNA analysis to determine when there were genetic `bottlenecks' when humans were suddenly hit by catastrophic `wipe-outs' and came close to extinction.

F'rinstance think there was an Earth-wide event about 4,200 yrs ago which had an immediate & striking effect on weather / climate / crops and conditions around the world - see normreal.html#egypt2 (scroll) for the detective work.

Am only at the beginning of the video but it seems there were probably many such events, some much more scary than others.
Cheers
Ray D


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM7Y1D8NMo8
Stone Age Apocalypse







Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 00:52:09 -0000
Subject: Catastrophe / Supervolcano


Catastrophe / Supervolcano

Watched this movie a few times.  Firstly because it's fairly factual and much more realist than most, and secondly because it brings home the fact that our so-called `safe' lives and civilization is always on the brink of wipe-out / catastrophe - whether from asteroid or comet strike, or a nearby star going nova (or `jetting'), or any local Earth event like a super-volcano.
Ray D


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d14ntlWFsAA
OR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AjQvOWUJ2o
Supervolcano


Update 26 Mar. 2016 - Coincidental release of new `eruptions track' timings (and magnitudes see Wiki MAP), maybe increases Yellowstone worries. - RD






Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:14:18 -0000
Subject: Who's Out There - Orson Welles - 28 mins


Interesting - yet maybe bear in mind that the calculations of the `brains trust' panel (Sagan, Morrison (of MIT) et al) about numbers of stars in Milky Way and number of planets per star, were about a thousand times too pessimistic, as we now know today.

So multiply all their `chances of life' by a thousand times and you might be about right.
Ray D


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wADj4-5LZY
Nasa Documentary Who's Out There - Orson Welles - 28 mins






Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2016 19:12:51 -0000
Subject: Life Stories - Wallace


Interesting although predictably a bit mealy-mouthed about Darwin's plagiarism and credit-theft.

Maybe check wallace.html for some reality.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zt5xr
David Attenborough's Life Stories
Series 2, Wallace
7/20 David Attenborough on the achievements of scientist Alfred Russell Wallace.
Listen in pop-out player | 29 days left to listen - 10 minutes

It was the great travel books written in the 19th century by Alfred Russell Wallace that inspired David Attenborough himself to achieve great things in the realm of natural history. But Attenborough tells us that Wallace was more than just a great travel writer.

His power of meticulous observation and recording as he explored many parts of the world were in the highest league imaginable, even for Victorian standards - and his power of analysis very much akin with Darwin, his great contemporary.

Wallace independently came up with a theory of evolution that was in parallel to Darwin's thinking - two field naturalists breaking huge conventions of the time and coming up with the single most important theory in Biology. How did they resolve the conflict between themselves?

Written and presented by David Attenborough
Produced by Julian Hector.
---







Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:14:17 -0000
Subject: "BBC Inside Science - Is some science just too dangerous to do?


Interesting and horrifying details - i.e. of mis-handling of intensified anthrax samples sent around the globe without due precautions to prevent world pandemics - and more.
Ray D


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b072hlw8
BBC Inside Science | Available now - 30 minutes
Gain-of-function research, Mindfulness, Women in science, Snake locomotion
Tracey Logan investigates whether there is some science that is just too dangerous to do. (R)

This week in the US, public discussions are taking place into controversial Gain of Function research. Who should decide the limits of studies where scientists make new, deadlier viruses in the laboratory? Dr Filippa Lentzos, biosecurity expert from King's College, London, lists a litany of accidental security breaches from the past. Should we stop this kind of dangerous research, or encourage it, in the interests of national security?

Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment. As part of BBC School Report, students from Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone have tested themselves to see whether meditation helps with their studies. Tracey Logan discusses the scientific research underpinning this trend with psychologist Claudia Hammond.

The Royal Society released a report this week entitled "Parent, Carer, Scientist." The idea is to encourage an environment in research institutions where scientists can have a life as well as a vocation. Professor Ottoline Leyser, Professor of Plant Development and Director of Cambridge University's Sainsbury Laboratory, discusses what needs to change to ensure more female scientists to stay in science.

How do snakes move across sand? BBC science reporter Jonathan Webb meets Perrin Schiebel, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. A physicist, she works with a giant sand pit and high-speed cameras, putting snakes through their paces to unpick how they can push their bodies off the sand without sinking into it.
---







Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016 02:19:49 -0000
Subject: "Saving Science from the Scientists


Not the first time we've seen these figures, but the first time the BBC (and presumably the rest of MSM) has admitted the facts.
Ray


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b072jdqm
Saving Science from the Scientists - Available now - 28 minutes

Is science quite as scientific as it's supposed to be?

After years of covering science in the news, Alok Jha began to wonder whether science is as rigorous as it should be, and in this two-part series, he will try to find out.

Many of us might be forgiven for assuming that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a precise and controlled process, one that involves detailed experiments, careful analysis, peer review and demonstrable evidence. But what if it's not as simple as that?

Scientists are human beings after all, so what if they are prone to the same weaknesses, failings and uncertainties as everyone else? And what would that mean for their findings?

Alok delves into dodgy data, questionable practices and genuine ambiguity to ask if human decision making is impeding scientific progress, and if anything can be done about it.

Along the way he hears from academics who think almost all science is wrong, scientists who think the system is in crisis and those who say error and uncertainty are actually an integral part of science's creative process. He'll also talk to a former professor caught out after going to the ultimate extreme - faking his data - to find out what drives someone to betray their entire field.

Quoted in program: - "Most published research findings are false"! - And in a study of 100 psychology papers only about 40 passed the `reproduceability test'.

Producer: Faizal Farook
---







Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2016 15:43:24 -0000
Subject: "Fukushima causes mutations & DNA damage with `no end in sight' - Greenpeace


I'd thought all this was over-rated - seems I was wrong.
Ray


https://www.rt.com/news/334612-fukushima-mutations-damage-greenpeace/
Fukushima causes mutations & DNA damage with `no end in sight' - Greenpeace
Published time: 5 Mar, 2016 05:28

Greenpeace has released a new report outlining the environmental and health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and warning of long-term consequences lasting decades to even centuries.

Stressing there is `no end in sight' to the ecological fallout, the NGO says the impact in a number of areas will continue, which will include but not be limited to mutations in trees, DNA-damaged worms and butterflies, as well as radiation-contaminated mountain water tables.

"The government's massive decontamination program will have almost no impact on reducing the ecological threat from the enormous amount of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Already, over 9 million cubic meters of nuclear waste are scattered over at least 113,000 locations across Fukushima prefecture," said Kendra Ulrich, Senior nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The study based on five years of independent scientific research in addition to 25 radiological investigations by Greenpeace radiation specialists paint a dire picture. The impact from the 2011 disaster are already becoming apparent, the environmental group says. These are seen in the high radiation concentrations in new leaves, and growth mutations of fir trees and pale blue grass butterfly mutations.

Based on scientific studies, Greenpeace also notes decreases in 57 bird species and high levels of cesium contamination in freshwater fish. The NGO is raising the alarm regarding the contamination of coastal estuaries as well.

Greenpeace warns against the government's decision to lift a number of evacuation orders around the Fukushima plant by March 2017. The NGO says the International Atomic Energy Agency and the government are operating under `deeply flawed assumptions' when it comes to decontamination and ecosystem risks.

"The Abe government is perpetuating a myth that five years after the start of the nuclear accident the situation is returning to normal. The evidence exposes this as political rhetoric, not scientific fact. And unfortunately for the victims, this means they are being told it is safe to return to environments where radiation levels are often still too high and are surrounded by heavy contamination," Ulrich said.

Based on the 56-page report the environmental advocacy group believes that around 100,000 people won't be able to return home in the immediate future.

"The Japanese government should put its citizens first, the majority of who reject the restart of nuclear reactors. Many are demanding the only safe and clean options that can meet Japan's needs - renewable energy," said Ulrich.
---







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