Monday, 7 December 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 30/11 - 6/12/15

Hi followers,

Behold, i am your prophetic leader, i can see the very-near future, or at least the present.

Last week, i quasi-randomly chose the superstitious belief in Bigfoot, as a comparator to Quantum Physics' achievement of discovering the type-II Weyl fermion.

One would be very obvious if it existed, as all megafauna tend to be; the other, very difficult to discover as it is minute and only discoverable under specific circumstances.

The former has not been found; the latter has. Supernatural 0-1 Science

Little did i know, that National Geographic and Newsweek magazines were concurrently claiming the 'supernatural' and Bigfoot to be real, respectively, in order for them to devote issues to what we 'know' about them.

I would have thought it were necessary to have actually, verifiably, seen at least one Bigfoot, before it were possible to start analysing its travels and modes of speech!

Clearly, Nat Geo has something to learn about the supernatural, from Newsweek’s magical seeing-things-that-aren’t-there powers :-D

The Bigfootist pseudo-analysis is directly comparable to religion, wherein superstitious people have convinced themselves not only that something exists, despite all of the evidence of absence, but also that they know where it is, and what it does. Migration, and speech patterns are just the start of it.

With this form, i'm expecting cryptozoologists to declare Bigfoot's opinions on genitals, women's hair, and abortions, any decade now!

‘National Geographic’s War On Science’

Happy 100-million-views milestone, Thunder. Let's hope the Rationalist movement picks up again, after it's dealt with feminism.

'How Feminism destroyed 'New Atheism''

Hyperbollocks in titles, for the win :-D


'SOHO Celebrates 20 Years of Space-based Science'

In other news:

China has banned dishonesty. At least, that's what the press release title says. In practice, what the country's regulators for overseeing the academic publishing of scientific articles have done, is to ban the practices that dishonest people rely on, to manifest their dishonesty in the research literature. More than a hundred papers and articles have been retracted by scientific journals, just this year, from Chinese authors alone, over fake peer-reviews. As far as i'm concerned, any effort to discourage dishonesty should be welcome in the rest of the world, too, as part of a generalised scientific interest in eliminating systematic error from research. The elimination of industry funding is a huge problem that introduces systematic error into research, corrupting the evidence base in sometimes highly dangerous ways (in medicine, for example). Also introducing systematic biases, are contorlling ideologies, such as religion, feminism, and personal fame an nationalism. The Obokata case is an example of that - she deliberately faked data, for the sake of personal glory, the glory of her institute's directors, and of Japan on the 'world stage'. But when that corruptive force is allowed to succeed, the opposite is achieved - unscientific ignominy. Peter Duesberg, William Lane Craig, and Anita Sarkeesian - what do they all have in common? [ideologue]-science.

#MarketingFail. You might have seen an article in the news, in the last week, claiming variously that 'a glass of sugar water is as good as a sports drink' (Telegraph) through 'some glasses of sugar are better than sports drinks' (Grauniad) to 'ditch the sports drinks, drink the sugar water' (Daily Fail). As expected with a press release that's been churnalised into common print, this is marketing chunder. And, seeing as it mentions sugar, it's unsurprising that it was made by Sugar Nutrition UK - a sugar industry front group, serving only to increase sales of sugar. But surely the sugar-solutions marketed as 'sports drinks' sell far more sugar, than DIY Poppins-esque concoctions. As detailed in Bazian's analysis for the NHS Choices website, the study actually showed comparable performance between sucrose and glucose, for maintaining the stamina of long-distance athletes. It did not compare industry-manufactured sugar solutions with DIY ones, as presented by the populist press. And nor did it say anything about most of us couch potatoes! Somehow, i don't think Sugar Nutrition UK would have foreseen the 'don't buy sports drinks' (Failist) headline as being all that helpful. But then, any publicity's good publicity, right guys? :-D

What is it with the Papers' obsession with tatties? The Torygraph, Dependent and Daily Diana all published articles, this week, claiming that potatoes can cure stomach cancer. The first two hypotheses for why, are surely: a press release by the potato industry; and, a press release by a quack selling a fad diet and/or diet book. But no! This bullshit seems to have been created by the moron journalists themselves. The actual study, of diets across Europe, the USA, Japan, China, and Korea, where people don't eat so many potatoes at all, found that, as expected, consumption of meats increased risk of stomach cancer, and consumption of fruit and veg didn't. It was a very generalised study, that didn't track any individual species at all - including potatoes! What they actually found, was that people consuming a higher proportion of 'white vegetables' which includes potatoes, onions, cabbage and cauliflower, had a lower risk of developing stomach cancer. Note: "proportion". What that means, is that they're eating less meat, which other research has shown to reduce risk of intestinal cancers. This study was a study into the effects of diet on one particular cancer - not a study into one particular root vegetable's effect on one particular cancer. Gordon Bennett! Next time you see Gordon, BTW, ask him why he thinks the papers' are so obsessed with potatoes. Maybe the journos and editors see them as kin?!

Never to be beaten, however, the Daily Fail's gone with a vigorous dive for the belt, with a fear-mongering story about how dads being overweight is killing their children... with autism!! That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the Daily Fail took a small study, that found a correlation between the epi-genetics of fathers' sperm and their weight-health, and turned it into a fat-shaming for "directly" giving non-existent children obesity, and autism. The study didn't look at more than one generation, and so couldn't have said anything about 'inheritance' of obesity or autism. I should point out that the Dependent, Grauniad and Torygraph also ran this science-abusing story, but they didn't do it with quite as little class as the Daily Fail did.

LMAO. "illness and other negative things develop out of radiation that turns left". Pure word salad. A charlatan in Germany has defrauded
1800 out of a local council, which was acting on behalf of grieving relatives of people who died in road traffic accidents, on one particular road. They believed that the number of deaths on the road (just five) was more than can happen by chance (it's not) and he was there to shit goddlebook into their faces (nonsense about the "left turn of the water radiation") and take their money. The charlatan should be arrested for fraud, and ordered to repay his criminal gains. And his quotes should be submitted to New Scientist's Feedback column. They love 'fruitloopery' there.

The EU's food-labelling regulations seem to be working, with 'fish fraud' sharply reducing since instigation. A series of studies going back 5 years had shown mislabelling in up to 40% of samples, from supermarkets, markets and fishmongers across the EU. Reducing fraud is a good thing on its own, because it means people can get what they want, without being duped; but it has the additional benefit of empowering them to make environmental decisions, based less on their personal interests. Measurements of fish fraud have fallen to 4.9%, with tuna, for example, at 6.8%. If consumers don't really know which come from sustainable stocks, then they can't make an informed choice in favour of sustainability. Thank humanity for the EU. Again ;-)

The UN has officially condemned the Turkish government's banning of YouTube, for two years, between 2008 and 2010, stating that it violated conventions on freedom of expression. The purported motive was that 10 videos had been deemed insulting to modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. That seems like a pretty pathetic motive for such an indiscriminate act, which also affected thousands of other websites, unmentioned in the UN report. The same government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014, after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating Erdogan (the President) and his inner circle in corruption. Erdogan has made no secret of his disdain for social networks, comparing them to a "murderer's knife" and vowing to "eradicate" Twitter. That doesn't sound like the nuanced understanding of an intelligent leader, to me.

Researchers have identified eight fossilized endocarps (pits) from 2.5-million-year-old peaches, in southwest China. While the pits look practically identical to modern peach pits, the fleshy fruit, pre-domestication, might have been quite different. That, of course, has not fossilized. The previous oldest archaeological remains of peaches date back 8000 years, so this discovery, in a roadwork excavation near the lead author's home, certainly bolsters the idea that peaches originate in China.

As a reader of this blog, you might well know that bacteria are not the universal evil that they are often made out to be. Human digestive tracts, for example, are populated with nine times as many 'friendly' bacterial cells as there are cells in an entire human body. The monocellular world of bacteria is a micro-world of predation, just like our macro-world, but how to predating bacteria know how to not eat themselves? A useful predatory bacterium called Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus eats other bacteria (including important pathogens of humans, animals and crops) by attacking them with enzymes (DD-endopeptidases) that first loosen the cell walls of prey bacteria and then cause them to round up like a pufferfish, providing space as a temporary home for the predator. A joint research project in the UK, has found that Bdellovibrio uses an ankyrin-type protein called Bd3460 as a shield, so as not to eat itself while munching on its prey. It binds to the tip of the enzyme weapons, guarding the Bdellovibrio as they pass out and into the prey bacterium. Most bacteria are not predatory, but knowing how these mechanisms work can inform medicinists, in developing therapies that work as an anti-biotic, and also without conferring resistance to the pathogenic bacterial species being targetted.

Last week, Delhi's environmental court damned the government for not doing *anything* to mitigate air pollution in the capital city, which is now the worst in the world, since China's government has committed to effective measures to reduce pollution in their biggest (and therefore most polluted) cities. Despite China's lead, the Indian government, led by Narendra Modi, has been petulantly, conservative, insisting that economic growth is more important than real people's lives. But what is the point of economic growth, if not to serve people?? According to the executive director of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, there is at least one death per hour due to air pollution related diseases, and for that reason and many more, she was congratulating the local Delhi government for committing to a reduction of private vehicles on the capital's roads, the closure of a coal-fired power plant, and vacuum-cleaning roads to reduce dust. Nanedra Modi called it 'knee jerk'. What a knee-jerk he is, himself.

VW's car sales are down 20% in the USA alone. So... how are you going to celebrate? :-D

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'Luminous beings are we!'

'SFN #143: Directly Imaging Exoplanets? Ground-Based Telescopes Lead the Way!'

'How a Space Suit Works - with Helen Sharman'

'New Horizons returns first of the best images of Pluto'

'Dutch mosaic from Copernicus Sentinel data'

'The Evidence for Chlorpromazine'
The concluding details would be more useful if presented alongside absolute frequencies, to guage total cost e.g. twice as many seizures doesn't really matter if seizures are a 1 in a 1,000,000 frequency. I'd take that risk, for the benefits.

'BHA exposé on unregistered, illegal Jewish schools which only teach about Judaism'

'coming out' - Theramin Trees

'Is Glyphosate "Probably Carcinogenic to Humans" ?'
The pronunciations in this video are wizard ;-D

'Floating City DEBUNK'

This was the Hoax Of The Week 6 weeks ago.

'My First Reaction Video'

'NERDS: A Manifesto (A Capella Science)'

'Queen - In The Lap Of The Gods (Live At The Odeon - Hammersmith 1975)'

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: prissy -- fussily and excessively 'respectable'; probably best defined by Urban Dictionary :-D

Etymology Of The Week: agog -- meaning 'very eager or curious to witness something'; from Old French 'en gogues' meaning 'in jest, good humor, joyfulness'; 'gogue' means 'fun' but is of unknown origin

Easiest-To-Answer Rhetorically-Questioning Article Title Of The Week: 'Is there an underlying sympathy between new atheism and protestant fundamentalism?'

{The answer, of course, is "no". The moronic theologian who wrote the article, however, struggled somewhat, to see the obvious! They had to wedge their bullshit in, somehow. Shame to the University of Edinburgh, that employs the man to do this kind of shit}

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

‘Brocken Aeroplane’

'Frankie Laine - Rawhide (Original 1958 Single Version)'

'American Mcgee's Grimm Walkthrough'
Probably not for kids :-D

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