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Don't blame liberals for anti-vaccination sentiment

About a year ago i panned Scientific American for trying to say that liberals were just as anti-science (or moreso) than conservatives by citing anti-vaccination and anti-GMO sentiment. Kevin Drum links to an American Prospect report showing a study that anti-vaccination sentiment, at least, is not really concentrated amongst liberals and is actually slightly higher amongst conservatives (and especially Michele Bachmann!).

As Kevin Drum says, that just leaves GMO, and some of that sentiment is less anti-science per se and more distrust of corporations, and especially their business practices (e.g. contamination of non-GMO farmers' fields, suing farmers for using their seed "technology"), and a desire for more testing and regulation. Maybe you think that's a distinction without a difference. But as i mentioned in my post from a year ago, the scale of the resistance is something else entirely; it's not lot like you have Democrats in Congress opposing GMOs the way you have Republicans opposing measures to combat global warming.

By fnord12 | January 29, 2014, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (0)| Link

You Wish You Had It So Good

From The Epigenetics Revolution:

Learning and memory both improved in mice kept in conditions known as environmentally enriched. This is a fancy way of saying they had access to two running wheels and the inside of a toilet paper roll.

I think i can get access to some toilet paper rolls, but i'm not so sure about the running wheels.

By min | January 24, 2014, 8:47 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

-2 AC Against Windmills

If you should ever find yourself being chased by bayonet-wielding raptors, head towards a windmill! It may be your only chance!

The study highlights an important facet of avian vision, says Graham Martin, emeritus professor at the University of Birmingham in England who was not involved in the study. Although humans see best the things that are directly in front of us, for for birds of prey, "the frontal stuff is not particularly important," Martin says. "Things that are important to birds are picked up in the lateral visual field," meaning off to the side. This is part of the reason birds of prey are often struck by windmills--they are evolved to look for prey off to the side or down below, but not in front. By the time they perceive a fast-turning windmill blade, it may be too late to avoid it.

By min | January 22, 2014, 9:43 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Remember When They Broke Vincent's Legs to Make Him Taller?



Today's genetic technologies are not yet a crystal ball for seeing a child's future, but doctors are closer than ever to routinely glimpsing the full genetic blueprints of a fetus just months after sperm meets egg.
Enthusiasm for arming parents with such broad genetic profiles has stoked concern in some circles that screenings would prompt a quest for so-called perfect babies, free of any genetic abnormalities or possessing desirable traits of beauty, intelligence or athleticism.

ETA: I can't remember if Gattaca was what you would call a "good" movie or not. I think i liked it (except for the aforementioned leg thing). You should watch it. Jude Law's in it. And Gore Vidal. Who can resist Gore Vidal?

And why is that relevant to this post? In Gattaca, science had advanced to the point where parents could choose what traits their offspring inherited from them, thus creating the perfect child. Vincent was the child they had the "natural" way.

By min | January 21, 2014, 11:22 PM | Movies & Science | Comments (2)| Link

All you @?#!ers quit lying!

A report that we sleep more than we say we do, which follows up on a report that says we work less than we say we do.

As Catherine Rampell says, there may be discrepancies between the reports that measure this stuff. I mean, i may surf the internet or stare into space and pray that a meteor will land on me, but i still consider that "working" in the sense that i am chained to my desk. But those of you who are inflating your industriousness, quit it! You're just setting new standards that the rest of us now have to lie to match, and then next year you'll have to inflate it further. You're not doing anyone any favors, including yourself.

By fnord12 | January 16, 2014, 4:01 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life & Science | Comments (0)| Link

With a Title Like That, Ofc I Was Gonna Click on It


"Highly Mobile" Testicles Frustrate Effort to Calm Hippos in Captivity

Hippos are blessed with, as lead author Chris Walzer of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna put it, "highly mobile testicles."

Unlike humans, hippos' testicles are not external, nor are they tucked inside the abdomen. Instead they are located inside the inguinal canal, a space in the lower front part of the body. But their exact location in the canal varies widely, sometimes minute by minute. "Hippo testicles are retractable, and can vary in depth by around 40cm, which makes them quite hard to find," Walzer said, adding that there had been in the past several documented efforts that tried and failed to locate them, and at least one paper that declared that it was "not known" where they are.

Be warned! If you click on that link, you are going to be subjected to a drawing of hippo genitals!

I've always said that the location of such a sensitive body part on men is really, really stupid. It's just hanging out there, unprotected! Guys need what hippos got - the "ability to yank them more than a foot further into the body".

By min | January 8, 2014, 1:34 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Mysterious Lights Coming From Rifts in the Earth


The authors suggest that, during an earthquake, the stress of rocks grinding against each other generates electric charges, which travel upwards along the nearly vertical geological faults that are common in rift zones. When the charges reach Earth's surface and interact with the atmosphere, they create a glow.

"Earthquake lights are a real phenomenon--they're not UFOs," says lead author Robert Thériault, a geologist at Quebec's Ministry of Natural Resources in Quebec City, Canada. "They can be scientifically explained."

Oh, i got your scientific explanation right here. It's pretty obvious to me that these glows followed by earthquakes are caused by Megalon digging his way out of Seatopia. Der.

By min | January 5, 2014, 11:25 AM | Godzilla & Science | Comments (0)| Link

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