Science & Health

All sciences, health & medical news

During the past two years, fake news has been a frequent topic of real news, with articles considering the role of social media in spreading fake news, the advent of fake videos and the role these play in the political process.

Something less well-known, though, is that fake news has also become a topic of scientific investigation.

A lot of smart people spend a lot of time trying to predict how much oil and gas is going to come out of the ground in the future.

Lately, they've been getting it wrong.

"Unpredictability, measured as the frequency of extreme errors in ... projections, has increased in the most recent decade," according to an unusual new study by a team at Carnegie Mellon University that found analysts are getting worse at predicting both how much oil and gas will be produced and how much Americans will need.

It's 3 a.m. You wake up abruptly with a bad case of dry mouth. You drag yourself out of bed and begin fumbling in the dark to get a glass of water.

You flip on the light switch, and there it is — a brown flash. A cockroach skitters across the counter.

Did reading this disgust you?

It may seem instinctive to recoil in horror after seeing a roach in your kitchen. But psychologist Rachel Herz argues that it's not.

Abraham Haileamlak is a professor of pediatric cardiology at Jimma University in Ethiopia. He's also the editor-in-chief of the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Haileamlak does research on children's health and rheumatic heart disease. But when he shares his studies with journals based in high-income countries, he's often greeted with surprise.

"They say they do not expect such quality research from a low-income country," he says.

Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of the upcoming book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. His scientific studies are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Education.

Skiers in Russia posted some bizarre photos on social media over the weekend: slopes covered in snow with an unmistakably orange tinge.

Meanwhile in Crete, the sky had a similar mandarin glow, as if scooped from the same pint of sherbet.

It turns out these two phenomena have the same cause: strong winds in North Africa that are stirring sand from the Sahara and blowing it northeast across the Mediterranean.

Rachel Ralph works long hours at an accounting firm in Oakland, Calif., and coordinates much of her life via the apps on her phone.

So when she first heard several months ago that she could order her usual brand of birth control pills via an app and have them delivered to her doorstep in a day or two, it seemed perfect. She was working 12-hour days.

"Food was delivered; dinner was often delivered," Ralph says. "Anything I could get sent to my house with little effort — the better."

Sunita Williams wasn't the kind of kid who wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. She wanted to be a veterinarian. But she managed to achieve the former kid's dream job, anyway.

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The endangered North Atlantic right whale population took a big hit last year with a record number of animals killed by fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes. Now, an ongoing debate over threats posed by Maine's lobster industry is gaining new urgency as scientists estimate these whales could become extinct in just 20 years.

When Allison Ruddick was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in October 2014, she turned to the world of hashtags.

After her initial diagnosis it wasn't clear if the cancer had metastasized, so she was in for a nerve-wracking wait, she says. She wanted outside advice. "But they don't really give you a handbook, so you search kind of anywhere for answers," Ruddick says. "Social media was one of the first places I went."

Between California and Hawaii, there's a teeming patch of garbage that's stretched over an area more than double the size of Texas.

We already knew it was huge. There's a reason it's called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." But new research has found that there is many times more garbage in this patch than previously thought – 4 to 16 times more than past estimates, according to a paper published today in Nature Scientific Reports.

To reach the Martinez home in Puerto Rico's central mountains, social worker Eileen Calderon steers around piles of dirt, treacherous potholes and power company trucks that block the road. Finally, we pull up to a sagging cement home, the roof done in by Hurricane Maria. Laundry hangs under a tarp, and a cat is tied to a leash outside the door.

The Antipodes had a mouse problem. But no more.

New Zealand, which owns the subantarctic archipelago, says its years-long effort to rid the rodents has finally paid off.

"This is huge news for conservation both in New Zealand and internationally," said conservation minister Eugenie Sage.

The Trump administration named HIV expert Dr. Robert Redfield to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignoring complaints that he botched high-profile vaccine research more than 20 years ago.

The Army in 1994 acknowledged accuracy issues with HIV vaccine clinical trials led by Redfield, but concluded at the time that the data errors did not constitute misconduct.

Scientific advancement: It's all in the wiggle.

When Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler announced that scientists had discovered the virus that caused AIDS at a press conference in 1984, the disease was still mysterious and invariably fatal.

If movie critics have kept you from watching A Wrinkle in Time, take a second look.

This is not one of your typical kids' movies that also caters to the adults that take them to the movie theater. Those are fun, of course, especially for the adults, even if many puns and jokes fly over the heads of most of the youngsters in the room. Think The Lego Movie.

Derek Klingenberg is kind of a farmer celebrity.

His YouTube channel draws more than 70,000 subscribers for ag-themed pop-music parodies, trombone covers and, more recently, cow art made with satellites.

Autism, Haircuts And A Nursery Rhyme

Mar 21, 2018

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The Puzzle Of Quantum Reality

Mar 20, 2018

There's a hole at the heart of quantum physics.

It's a deep hole. Yet it's not a hole that prevents the theory from working. Quantum physics is, by any measure, astonishingly successful. It's the theory that underpins nearly all of modern technology, from the silicon chips buried in your phone to the LEDs in its screen, from the nuclear hearts of the most distant space probes to the lasers in the supermarket checkout scanner. It explains why the sun shines and how your eyes can see. Quantum physics works.

Remember that skeleton hanging in the front of your biology — or art — classroom?

It's possible those bones are not plastic, but actual human remains. A lot of classroom skeletons, in high schools, universities and medical schools, are real.

Robots have taken over many of America's factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

"You kind of learn, when you get into this — it's really hard to match what humans can do," says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)

In an effort to reduce the number of invasive iguanas in South Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has funded a project in which scientists from the University of Florida approach green iguanas sleeping at night with the goal of killing them.

In Robin Dando's lab, several mice chowed down on a specialized diet designed to make them as fat as possible. "I can say the mice are happy. They love this unhealthy diet, and pretty fast they get pretty overweight," says Dando, an assistant professor of food science at Cornell University.

But the mice were not long for this world. Eight weeks after they started their delicious nosh, they were euthanized and their tongues were excised for direct comparison against their skinnier brethren.

A Chinese space lab the size of a city bus will soon be falling back to Earth, and no one knows exactly where bits of it might crash down.

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