Save the World with Nuclear Power – Leslie Dewan – TEDxUniversityofRochester

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoAcntoAVXE

December 14, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

Rebecca Watson: Facebook Deletes Science Fact Check at Ted Cruz’s Request

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gwinZO8J0I

October 7, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Abortion, Health care, Media bias, Science. Leave a comment.

Scott Adams: A Message for Children About Climate Change

https://www.scottadamssays.com/2019/09/23/a-message-for-children-about-climate-change/

A Message for Children About Climate Change

By Scott Adams

September 23, 2019

Dear Children,

I’m sorry adults have frightened you about climate change and how it might affect your future. You might be less afraid if you knew some facts that adults intentionally do not explain to you. I’ll tell you here.

The news was once a source of real information, or so we thought. But in the modern world, the news people discovered they can make more money by presenting scary news regardless of whether it is true or not. Today, much of the news on the right and the left is opinion that is meant to scare you, not inform you, because scary things get more attention, and that makes the news business more profitable. The same is true for people who write books; authors often make books scary so you will buy them. Most adults know all the scariness is not real. Most kids do not. You just learned it.

Nuclear energy used to be dangerous, back in the olden days. Today’s nuclear power plants (the ones built in the past 20 years all over the world) have killed zero people, and are considered the safest form of energy in the world. More people have died installing solar panels and falling off roofs than have died from nuclear power problems anywhere in the world for the past few decades. And nuclear energy is the obvious way to address climate change, say most of the smartest adults in the world, because it can provide abundant, cheap, clean energy with zero carbon emissions.

Nuclear energy as a solution to climate change is one of the rare solutions backed by several Democrats running for president and nearly all Republicans. Please note that two Democrats in favor of nuclear energy (Corey Booker and Andrew Yang) are among the youngest and smartest in the game. To be fair, the oldest Democrat running for president, Joe Biden, also supports nuclear energy because he is well-informed.

If you are worried about nuclear waste, you probably should not be. Every country with nuclear energy (and there are lots of them) successfully stores their nuclear waste. If you put all the nuclear waste in the world in one place, it would fit on one football field. It isn’t a big problem. And new nuclear power designs will actually eat that nuclear waste and turn it into electricity, so the total amount of waste could come way down.

The United Nations estimates that the economic impact of climate change will reduce the economy by 10% in eighty years. What they don’t tell you is that the economy will be about five times bigger and better by then, so you won’t even notice the 10% that didn’t happen. And that worst case is only if we do nothing to address climate change, which is not the case.

A number of companies have recently built machines that can suck CO2 right out of the air. At the moment, using those machines would be too expensive. But as they come down in cost and improve in efficiency, we have a solution already in hand should it ever be needed. It would be expensive, but there is no real risk of CO2 ruining the world now that we know how to remove any excess from the atmosphere. (Plants need CO2 to thrive, so we don’t want to remove too much. Greenhouses actually pump in CO2 to make plants grow better.)

Scientists tell us that we could reduce climate risks by planting more trees. (A lot more.) That’s all doable, should the world decide it is necessary. There are a number of other companies and technologies that also address climate change in a variety of ways. Any one of the approaches I mentioned (nuclear energy, CO2 scrubbers, planting trees) could be enough to address any climate risks, but there are dozens of ways of dealing with climate change, and more coming every day.

Throughout all modern history, when we humans see a problem coming from far away, we have a 100% success rate in solving it. Climate change is no different. All the right people are working hard at a wide variety of solutions and already know how to get there, meaning more nuclear power plus CO2 scrubbers, plus lots of green power from solar, wind, and more.

If you are worried about rising sea levels, don’t be. The smartest and richest people in the world are still buying property on the beach. They don’t see the problem. And if sea levels do rise, it will happen slowly enough for people to adjust.

Adults sometimes like to use children to carry their messages because it makes it hard for the other side to criticize them without seeming like monsters. If adults have encouraged you to panic about climate change without telling you what I am telling you here, they do not have your best interests at heart. They are using you.

When you ask adults about nuclear energy, expect them to have old understanding about it, meaning they don’t know the newer nuclear energy technologies are the safest energy on the planet.

What I told you today is not always understood even by adults. You are now smarter than most adults on the topic of climate.

My generation has a lot of faith in your generation. You will be the most educated and effective humans of all time. My generation (and a few generations younger than me) already has the fixes to address climate risks coming online. Your generation will finish the job.

We adults respect your passion and your energy on the topic of climate. But it isn’t fair for us to deny you the basic facts while at the same time scaring you into action. I hope this letter helps you sleep better. We adults have this problem under control, or will soon, and you’ll help us finish the job. So get some good sleep tonight. Together, we got this.

Scott Adams

September 26, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

TED Talk: Michael Shellenberger explains why he switched from being anti-nuclear power to pro-nuclear power

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciStnd9Y2ak

September 14, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

Here’s my response to a Washington Post article called “Ocasio-Cortez says the world will end in 12 years. She is absolutely right.”

I know that manmade global warming is real.

I know that as we burn fossil fuels, we increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and this makes the atmosphere’s temperature increase.

I am not a denier of global warming.

But I am someone who rejects the ridiculous scaremongering that is going on regarding global warming.

The Washington Post recently published this article, which is called, “Ocasio-Cortez says the world will end in 12 years. She is absolutely right.”

Here’s video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez making her statement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHk8nn0nw18

I would now like to propose my own hypothesis: Even if we were to do absolutely nothing to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide in the next 12 years, our release of carbon dioxide will not cause the world to end in 12 years.

My hypothesis is based on the following four scientific observations:

1) According to this article from Live Science, back when the dinosaurs were alive, carbon dioxide levels in the air were five times as high as they are today. But the world did not end. On the contrary, life thrived, and the world had its biggest land animals of all time.

2) According to this article from the BBC, back when the dinosaurs were alive, global temperatures were so high that there were no polar ice caps. But the world did not end. On the contrary, life thrived, and the world had its biggest land animals of all time.

3) According to this article from the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Rural Affairs, the owners of commercial greenhouses deliberately pump extra carbon dioxide into the air inside their greenhouses. But this has not caused the world to end. On the contrary, it makes the plants inside the greenhouses grow better.

4) According to this article from NASA, humans’ burning of fossil fuels has caused an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. But the world did not end. On the contrary, the title of the NASA article is “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds.”

So there we have four different real world examples – all verified by scientists – that show that having higher levels of carbon dioxide causes an increase, not a decrease, in plant life.

Animals eat plants.

And other animals eat the animals that eat plants.

Carbon dioxide is plant food.

Carbon dioxide if the bottom of the food chain.

Therefore, to repeat my hypothesis: Even if we were to do absolutely nothing to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide in the next 12 years, our release of carbon dioxide will not cause the world to end in 12 years.

One of the great things that we learn from the scientific method is that if an event is based on science, then that event can be repeated. Given the four scientific observations that I have posted above, science tells us that having more carbon dioxide in the air makes things better for life, not worse.

Another great thing about the scientific method is that over time, we can find out if our hypothesis turns out to be true or false.

So all we have to do now is to wait 12 years, and we’ll find out who is right and who is wrong about the world ending in 12 years due to our emissions of carbon dioxide.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/24/ocasio-cortez-says-world-will-end-years-she-is-absolutely-right/

Ocasio-Cortez says the world will end in 12 years. She is absolutely right.

January 24, 2019

Apparently all anyone has any strength or enthusiasm for is applying a literalism test on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)’s all-too-accurate warnings. She said recently that if we don’t start to address climate change aggressively right now, the world will end in 12 years. I know, let’s feign alarm that she has exaggerated instead of having genuine alarm about the genuine problem she is raising the red flags over.

Here’s another idea. Why don’t we apply the same exactitude of judgment on some other things that have been said about climate change? Here’s a sampler:

“Climate change is a hoax.” “The science is unclear.” “If there were warming, we’d see it.” “If we saw it, we’d do something.” “Maybe it’s cooling.” “It’s too soon to act.” “There’s nothing we can do.” “If this is climate change, I’ll take it!” “It’s arrogant to think humans could change the climate.” “It’s cold today, so climate science is wrong.” “Yes, there’s a problem but hardly a crisis.”

That last position is where the Washington consensus currently resides (President Sir Lies-a-Lot notwithstanding), and it is that position that is dangerously wrong, and what AOC is (correctly) fighting against. The last word on the subject from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could not have been more dire.

We need to start NOW, to cut carbon emissions aggressively, or by 2030 we may have passed a tipping point beyond which the planet, and yes you people living on it, is in for a world of possibly permanent hurt. So let’s quibble that AOC said the world will end instead of the world as humans and current species have known it and depended on it will end, forever.

Meanwhile, your friendly corporations believe in climate change, all right. They are planning to bleed your last coins into their pockets selling you generators when the climate disasters wipe out your power grid.

Now tell me who is getting this crisis right and in your best interests.

February 2, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Environmentalism, Science. 3 comments.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t seem to know that there is actually an INVERSE correlation between billionaires and dangerous intestinal parasites

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said that it was immoral to allow billionaires to exist when there are people who have ringworm.

She later said that she had meant hookworm, not ringworm.

Hookworm is transmitted to people when they walk barefoot in the feces of other people who are infected with hookworm.

And in the real world, there is actually an inverse correlation between the existence of billionaires, and the rate of hookworm infection.

According to wikipedia, this is how to prevent hookworm:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookworm_infection

Hookworm infection

Prevention

The main lines of precaution are those dictated by good hygiene behaviors:

Do not defecate in the open, but rather in toilets.

Do not use untreated human excreta or raw sewage as fertilizer in agriculture.

Do not walk barefoot in known infected areas.

The places with the highest concentrations of billionaires, such as Manhattan, Silicon Valley, and Singapore, have very few or even zero cases of hookworm. (Although I will admit that San Francisco may be an exception to this trend, as an expert on global public health recently stated that the city’s high rate and tolerance of open defecation actually makes the city dirtier than third world countries. San Francisco is run so badly that the government spends $37,000 on each homeless person per year, and yet they still somehow manage to remain homeless. Can you imagine how much housing any city that wasn’t run by idiots could rent or buy for that much money?)

A long time ago, when there were no billionaires anywhere in the world, hookworm was very common all over the world.

Anyone who is truly against hookworm would be in favor of the existence of billionaires, not against it.

And that’s not even taking into account the charitable work of billionaires such as Bill Gates, which has saved huge numbers of lives.

And that also doesn’t take into account all the jobs that these billionaires provide, as well as the goods and services that these billionaires provide. For example, think of LEGO billionaire Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and IKEA billionaire Ingvar Kamprad. Does anyone seriously want to argue that the world would be better off if the countries of western Europe had not allowed these two people to become billionaires?

January 27, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Animals, Economics, Environmentalism, Health care, Science. Leave a comment.

Something called the “Good Country Index” ranks the U.S. at #38 in “Science and Technology,” while the #1 country in that category is the Ukraine

This is the link to wikipedia’s article on something called the “Good Country Index.”

For the year 2017 (the most recent year available), in the category called “Science and Technology,” the U.S. is ranked all the way down at #38.

Meanwhile, the #1 country in that same category is the Ukraine.

Those two facts are enough to tell me that the “Good Country Index” has no credibility whatsoever.

If you’re interested in other indexes that do have a lot of credibility, I recommend these three:

Index of Economic Freedom

Freedom in the World

Corruption Perceptions Index

December 29, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Science, Technology. 2 comments.

Woman takes mitochondrial DNA test to find out which African tribe she descends from, and is horrified to find out that her mitochondrial DNA is of “non-African lineage”

In the first five minutes of this video, this woman goes on and on about how happy and excited she is because she just got back the results of her mitochondrial DNA test. She took the test because she wanted to find out which African tribe or tribes she is descended from. A person (male or female) inherits Mitochondrial DNA solely from their mother.

After five minutes of joyous anticipation, she finally opens the envelope and looks at the results.

She is absolutely devastated to find out that her mitochondrial DNA is of “non-African lineage.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5u_jTzwbL0

December 17, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Racism, Science. 5 comments.

Academic journal caves in to social justice warriors who demanded censorship of a scientific paper

This is first paragraph of wikipedia’s article on something known as the “variability hypothesis”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variability_hypothesis

Variability hypothesis

The variability hypothesis , also the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, is the hypothesis that males display greater variability in traits than females do. It has often been discussed in relation to cognitive ability, where it has been observed that human males are more likely than females to have very high or very low intelligence. The sex-difference in the variability of intelligence has been discussed since at least Charles Darwin. Sex-differences in variability are present in many abilities and traits – including physical, psychological and genetic ones. It is not only found in humans but in other sexually-selected species as well.

Either the variability hypothesis is true, or it is false.

The only way to know is to do research.

On August 28, 2018, Theodore P. Hill, a retired professor of mathematics at Georgia Institute of Technology, published a scientific paper titled “An Evolutionary Theory for the Variability Hypothesis,” which supported the variability hypothesis.

The paper has been put online here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.04184.pdf

And here is an archive of that same link: https://web.archive.org/web/20180910143245/https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.04184.pdf

Social justice accused an academic journal of sexism for publishing the paper. The journal acted very cowardly and has since rescinded the publication. Since the journal still owns the copyright, other academic journals are not allowed to publish it.

Censoring the paper has caused it to become far more popular than it otherwise would have been. Apparently, social justice warriors either don’t know about, don’t care about, or don’t understand the Streisand effect.

September 11, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Education, Math, Political correctness, Science, Sexism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Miami bridge that collapsed lifted into place without suspension cables, support tower

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/03/16/miami-bridge-collapse-suspension-cables-support-tower/431418002/

Miami bridge that collapsed lifted into place without suspension cables, support tower

March 16, 2018

The pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Miami was designed as a suspension bridge, but the central tower typical of such a structure wasn’t in place when the main span was lifted into place Saturday.

Florida International University posted pictures of the bridge as envisioned, with a tall central column and cables stretching down to hold the bridge, shaped like a sailboat. The design is called a cable-stayed bridge, which is a type of suspension bridge.

Cable-stayed bridges have cables attached directly from the column to the span, while suspension bridges string cables between towers and have other cables descend to the span.

#DidYouKnow the new pedestrian bridge that will connect our FIU and the @CitySweetwater is the first in the world to be constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete? #WorldsAheadpic.twitter.com/lQVJh09Pv2
— FIU News (@FIUnews) March 10, 2018

Amjad Aref, a professor at University of Buffalo’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, said a suspended bridge is typically built gradually, with the center tower or towers erected early.

Pictures from the scene of the collapse don’t show a central tower.

“Whoever is going to investigate, they will ask the fundamental question: shouldn’t the tower be there, and the cables ready to connect to the structure, when you lift it?” Aref said. “That’s a question for them to answer.”

Andrew Hermann, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, said cable-stayed bridges are built in stages, with pieces of roadbed placed on piers before the cables are attached. At each phase in the project, the supports such as piers are designed to hold the entire weight placed on them, he said.

“When you’re doing staged construction like this, what you have to make sure is that at each stage that the structure is strong enough for the loads that are on the bridge,” Hermann said. “The engineering, both design and the construction engineering, should have taken that into account with the bridge in that condition.”


National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt led a team of investigators Thursday to determine what went wrong and what could prevent similar collapses in the future.

“That’s part of our investigation,” Sumwalt said of the lack of central column.

Suspension bridges are popular across the country — from the George Washington Bridge in New York to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco— because the way they are built allows for construction across rivers.

The Kosciuszko Bridge, which carries Interstate 278 called the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway over Newtown Creek in New York City is a cable-stayed bridge. So is the John James Audubon Bridge across the Mississippi River in Louisiana and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa.

Those bridges are much longer and heavier than the bridge at Florida International University, which was built to only handle pedestrians, not cars and trucks.

“I wish I would be on that kind of investigation, to be honest with you, because in this country we build so many cable-stay bridges for carrying trucks, not pedestrians, and all of them work fine,” Aref said. “The spans, from one end to the other, is much larger than that.”

Typically on such bridges, the central tower or towers are erected first, Aref said. Then slabs of pavement are lifted into place, alternated from each end and connected to the shortest cables closest to the span connected to the main tower, he said.

“When they cross rivers, you don’t have the luxury of having a big bridge in one piece and moving it in place like this,” Aref said.

Robert Bea, a professor of engineering and construction management at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Associated Press that without knowing precisely what happened, the “innovative installation” was risky because the bridge spanned a heavily traveled thoroughfare.

“Innovations take a design firm into an area where they don’t have applicable experience, and then we have another unexpected failure on our hands,” Bea said after reviewing the bridge’s design and photos of the collapse.

The $14.2 million FIU bridge was designed under a process called “accelerated bridge construction” that allowed for larger sections to be built and then lifted into place. A 174-foot section weighing 950 tons was hoisted and rotated into place across the six-lane road Saturday. When finished, the bridge would have been 289 feet long and 109 feet tall.

Aref said he was unaware of such a large section of bridge being put in place without supporting cables.

“I don’t want to speculate. From a structural-engineering point of view, the forensic engineers won’t take long to figure out what happened,” Aref said. “I think it is not a long investigation. There are glaring things.”

Munilla Construction Management, a Miami-based construction management firm, won the bridge contract with FIGG Bridge Engineers of Tallahassee. Munilla said it would cooperate with the investigation. FIGG said in a statement “in our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before.”

But FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton section of bridge collapsed on railroad tracks in Virginia. Munilla was accused of substandard work in a lawsuit filed this month after a makeshift bridge collapsed at Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

Occupational Safety Health Administration records show fines totaling more than $50,000 against Munilla for 11 safety violations in the past five years for complaints about unsafe trenches, cement dust and other problems.

March 16, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Science, Technology. 1 comment.

R.I.P. Stephen Hawking

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43396008

Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

March 14, 2018

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.

He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.

The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.

The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.

In a statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”

They praised his “courage and persistence” and said his “brilliance and humour” inspired people across the world.

“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”

A book of condolence is due to be opened at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, where Prof Hawking was a fellow.

Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.

He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing – a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.

Through his work with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose he demonstrated that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.

The scientist gained popularity outside the academic world and appeared in several TV shows including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and The Big Bang Theory.

He was portrayed in both TV and film – recently by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, which charted his rise to fame and relationship with his first wife, Jane.

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, was one of the first people to pay tribute to Prof Hawking.

“We have lost a colossal mind and a wonderful spirit. Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking,” he said.

The vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge – where Prof Hawking had studied and worked – Professor Stephen Toope, said he was a “unique individual” who would be remembered with “warmth and affection”.

He added: “His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions.”

Prof James Hartle, who worked with him to create the Hartle-Hawking wavefunction to explain the Big Bang, said Prof Hawking had a “unique” ability to “see through all the clutter in physics” and get to the point.

He told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “My memory of him would be… first our work together as scientists and, second, as a human being whose whole story is a triumph over adversity [and] who inspired a lot of people, including me.”

American astrophysicist Prof George Smoot, who knew and worked with Prof Hawking, described him as “very competitive”.

He told Today: “Whenever I did something, he wanted to do it better.

“The one thing he was jealous of was I got the Nobel Prize before he did.”

Prof Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, who was at university with Prof Hawking when he was diagnosed, said his friend had “amazing willpower and determination”.

“Even mere survival would have been a medical marvel, but of course he didn’t just survive,” he said. “He became one of the most famous scientists in the world.”

British astronaut Tim Peake said Prof Hawking “inspired generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe”.

He added: “His personality and genius will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family.”

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said Prof Hawking was “an inspiration to us all, whatever our station in life, to reach for the stars”.

He tweeted: “RIP Sir. You epitomised true courage over adversity as you explained the wonders of the universe to the world. Your achievements symbolise the pwr (sic) of the human mind.”

Local government minister Sajid Javid said: “One of most inspirational people throughout my life. A brief history on earth, an eternity in the stars.”

Labour’s Chuka Umunna tweeted: “What a wonderful and extraordinary man. A huge loss for the world, not just our country. Thinking of his family today.”

Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak said: “Stephen Hawking’s integrity and scientific dedication placed him above pure brilliance,”

Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive, said: “We lost a great one today. Stephen Hawking will be remembered for his incredible contributions to science – making complex theories and concepts more accessible to the masses.

“He’ll also be remembered for his spirit and unbounded pursuit to gain a complete understanding of the universe, despite the obstacles he faced.”

In his 2013 memoir he described how he felt when first diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me,” he wrote.

“At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realise the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”

Speaking to the BBC in 2002, his mother, Isobelle, described him as a “very normal young man”.

She said: “He liked parties. He liked pretty girls – only pretty ones. He liked adventure and he did, to some extent, like work.”

 

March 14, 2018. Tags: , . Science. Leave a comment.

These drones with super bright lights could easily be mistaken for UFOs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhOeky8yEow

February 24, 2018. Tags: , , , , . Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

Nuclear scientist wins Miss USA pageant

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2017/05/14/miss-d-c-kara-mccullough-a-25-year-old-scientist-wins-the-miss-usa-pageant/?utm_term=.cc51c10ff483

Miss D.C. Kára McCullough, a 25-year-old scientist, wins the Miss USA pageant

May 14, 2017


Miss District of Columbia USA Kara McCullough reacts after being crowned the new Miss USA in Las Vegas.

For the second year in a row, Miss D.C. won the crown at the Miss USA pageant.

Kára McCullough, a 25-year-old scientist who works at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, won the top prize Sunday night over the runner-up, Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, and the third-place finisher, Miss Minnesota, Meridith Gould.

McCullough — born in Italy and raised in Virginia Beach — studied nuclear chemistry at South Carolina State University. She wowed the judges early on (producers dubbed her “one of the most intelligent contestants in recent memory”), explaining that she hosts a community outreach program that helps children learn about science. She added that she hopes to inspire women who are interested in technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“If you would have been my science teacher, I would have paid more attention in class!” declared actor Terrence Jenkins, who co-hosted the pageant along with “Dancing With the Stars” judge Julianne Hough.

In typical beauty pageant fashion, the Q&A portion required contestants to address controversial issues. McCullough’s answers to both questions — about health-care and feminism — sparked debate on social media. The first query: “Do you think affordable health-care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege and why?”

“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough responded. “As a government employee, I am granted health-care. And I see firsthand that for one to have health-care, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health-care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.”

The reaction on Twitter was immediate. Same with her second question: “What do you consider feminism to be, and do you consider yourself a feminist?”

“So as a woman scientist in the government, I’d like to lately transpose the word feminism to equalism,” McCullough said as members of the audience cheered. “I don’t really want to consider myself — try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men.’ But one thing I’m gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”

“And I say firsthand: I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences, as well as just in the office environment,” she added. “So as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.”

In a video posted on the Miss USA Twitter account after the competition, McCullough wept backstage as she said she was feeling “extremely overwhelmed with joy,” given that she had just entered the pageant for fun. “I decided to take life as it comes, and if I could encourage anyone else in the world to do that, please — just take your time. Understand the process is so much more important to focus on than just looking toward the outcome,” she said.

McCullough takes the crown from the reigning Miss USA, Miss D.C. Deshauna Barber. A former Army Reserve officer and IT analyst for the U.S. Commerce Department, Barber, 27, said she’s now embarking on a career as a motivational speaker.

May 15, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , . Science. Leave a comment.

Here’s the 1996 clip from “Bill Nye the Science Guy” which is currently being censored on Netflix

During the original 1996 broadcast of the “Probability” episode of the TV program “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” there was a segment that explained how a person’s gender is determined by genetics.

In 2017, Netflix aired a version of this episode in which this segment had been removed.

I don’t know if it was Netflix, Nye himself, or some other party that instigated this censorship.

Since YouTube has a nasty habit of removing politically incorrect videos, I’m including links to four videos, all of which have the clip.

The censored footage consists entirely and exclusively of the part where the young lady is talking about how gender is determined by genetics. Some of these videos also contain additional content which was not censored:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5z9s_bimnw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PArom6CRB0Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNpac2TYX5Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sV_W5nFmjA

May 3, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Education, LGBT, Political correctness, Science, Social justice warriors, Television. 1 comment.

The robotic brain surgeon will see you now: drill can perform complex procedures 50 times faster

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/01/robotic-brain-surgeon-will-see-now-drill-can-perform-complex/

The robotic brain surgeon will see you now: drill can perform complex procedures 50 times faster

May 1, 2017

Scientists have revealed a robotic drill that can cut the most sensitive brain surgery down from two hours to two and a half minutes.

The machine, developed at the University of Utah, is being hailed as a potential breakthrough in survival for brain patients as the reduced time they spend in surgery will drastically cut the chances of infection.

Researchers say can make one type of complex cranial surgery 50 times faster than standard procedures.

They say the drill produces fast, clean, and safe cuts, reducing the time the wound is open and the patient anaesthetized, which also decreases the chances of human error, as well as the cost of surgery.

In complex surgeries, especially cranial surgeries, surgeons typically use hand drills to make intricate openings, adding hours to a procedure.

Dr William Couldwell, neurosurgeon at University of Utah, she said: “It was like doing archaeology. We had to slowly take away the bone to avoid sensitive structures.

“We knew the technology was already available in the machine world, but no one ever applied it to medical applications.”

Under the new system, patients will undergo CT scans to establish the exact location of sensitive structures such as nerves, major veins and arteries that must be avoided.

Surgeons use this information to program the cutting path of the drill and the surgeon can program safety barriers along the cutting path within 1 mm of sensitive structures.

Dr A.K. Balaji, who also worked on the drill, said: “The software lets the surgeon choose the optimum path from point A to point B, like Google Maps.

“Think of the barriers like a construction zone. You slow down to navigate it safely.”

The drill does the heavy lifting by removing most of the bone, similar to a mill, accurately and rapidly.

It has so far not been tested on a human patient.

The research was published in the journal Neurosurgical Focus.

May 1, 2017. Tags: , , , , . Health care, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

These fourth grade black and Latino students’ reaction to racism is far more mature than the behavior of college aged social justice warriors

My blog has a category called “social justice warriors,” which includes a huge number of examples – many with videos – of the immature, irrational, and absurd behavior of college aged social justice warriors, who oftentimes act like spoiled, crybaby toddlers throwing temper tantrums.

By comparison, take a look at the mature, dignified, and psychologically healthy way that these fourth grade black and Latino students, whose “Panther Bots” robotics team had just won a competition, reacted to the racist taunts that were hurled at them. After these fourth grade students from Indianapolis’ Pleasant Run Elementary School had racial slurs thrown at them, they responded by saying

“I feel like what they say doesn’t affect us.”

and

“When you are a good team, people are going to hate you for being good and I think what people say can make you greater.”

I hope the social justice warriors on college campuses will learn a lesson from these fourth graders.

Here’s a picture of the happy champions (image taken form here, used under fair use):



March 20, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Education, Racism, Science, Social justice warriors, Technology. 1 comment.

Heroic dog saves friend from river! Or he just wants a stick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6xJIw0V2Fk

February 5, 2017. Tags: , , , , , . Animals, Science. 1 comment.

NASA: “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds”

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds

April 26, 2016

From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.

carbon-dioxide-fertilization

This image shows the change in leaf area across the globe from 1982-2015. Credits: Boston University/R. Myneni

Green leaves use energy from sunlight through photosynthesis to chemically combine carbon dioxide drawn in from the air with water and nutrients tapped from the ground to produce sugars, which are the main source of food, fiber and fuel for life on Earth. Studies have shown that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth.

However, carbon dioxide fertilization isn’t the only cause of increased plant growth—nitrogen, land cover change and climate change by way of global temperature, precipitation and sunlight changes all contribute to the greening effect. To determine the extent of carbon dioxide’s contribution, researchers ran the data for carbon dioxide and each of the other variables in isolation through several computer models that mimic the plant growth observed in the satellite data.

Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. “The second most important driver is nitrogen, at 9 percent. So we see what an outsized role CO2 plays in this process.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOwHT8yS1XI

About 85 percent of Earth’s ice-free lands is covered by vegetation. The area covered by all the green leaves on Earth is equal to, on average, 32 percent of Earth’s total surface area – oceans, lands and permanent ice sheets combined. The extent of the greening over the past 35 years “has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system,” said lead author Zaichun Zhu, a researcher from Peking University, China, who did the first half of this study with Myneni as a visiting scholar at Boston University.

Every year, about half of the 10 billion tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from human activities remains temporarily stored, in about equal parts, in the oceans and plants. “While our study did not address the connection between greening and carbon storage in plants, other studies have reported an increasing carbon sink on land since the 1980s, which is entirely consistent with the idea of a greening Earth,” said co-author Shilong Piao of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences at Peking University.

While rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the air can be beneficial for plants, it is also the chief culprit of climate change. The gas, which traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing since the industrial age due to the burning of oil, gas, coal and wood for energy and is continuing to reach concentrations not seen in at least 500,000 years. The impacts of climate change include global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice as well as more severe weather events.

The beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide on plants may also be limited, said co-author Dr. Philippe Ciais, associate director of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-suv-Yvette, France. “Studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising carbon dioxide concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”

“While the detection of greening is based on data, the attribution to various drivers is based on models,” said co-author Josep Canadell of the Oceans and Atmosphere Division in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Canberra, Australia. Canadell added that while the models represent the best possible simulation of Earth system components, they are continually being improved.

Read the paper at Nature Climate Change: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3004.html

November 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science. Leave a comment.

Social justice warrior says we should abandon science because it’s “racist.” Then the hypocrite uses her smartphone!

This video, which is from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, has been showing up on a lot of different YouTube channels, along with the new phrase “decolonize science” and the twitter hashtag #sciencemustfall.

The woman says that science is “racist” and we should abandon it, because it does not treat African witchcraft and black magic the same way that it treats Newtonian physics.

But she’s wrong on that – for two reasons.

First of all, science is not “racist.” Science treats all races the same. The same laws of science apply to people of all races. Newtonian physics applies to people of all races.

Secondly, science actually does treat African black magic and witchcraft the exact dame way that it treats Newtonian physics, because in both cases, science requires these things to be provable, repeatable, and predictable. The fact that Newtonian physics is provable, repeatable, and predictable, while African black magic and witchcraft are not, is irrelevant. What does matter is that both can be subject to scientific testing.

The woman also says that she did not join the science faculty because of this “racism.” She’s wrong about that. The real reason she did not join the science faculty is because she’s an idiot.

At the very end of the video, she proceeds to use her smartphone. For someone who claims to be in favor of abandoning science, that’s stunningly hypocritical.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9SiRNibD14

October 27, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , . Education, Racism, Science, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

The world needs more black women studying STEM subjects like Jasmine Burton!

With so many college students, and especially so many blacks and women, majoring in fake, useless, worthless subjects that will leave them with nothing but huge amounts of debt that they will never be able to pay back from the low wages they will get from working at coffee shops and fast food restaurants after they graduate from college, here’s a wonderful story about someone who chose to study something that is actually useful in the real world. More people should follow Jasmine Burton’s lead and study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/22/smallbusiness/safichoo-toilet-jasmine-burton/

This plastic toilet could save lives

Jasmine Burton


Jasmine Burton helped design an inexpensive, portable plastic toilet to address the lack of basic sanitation around the world.

January 22, 2016

Everybody poops. But not everyone has access to a toilet.

“It’s shocking that this basic necessity is unavailable to nearly half of the world,” said Jasmine Burton, founder and president of Atlanta-based Wish for WASH.

Burton, 23, was a freshman at Georgia Institute of Technology when she learned that as many as 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.

It bothered her even more that this sanitation problem disproportionately affects women and young girls.

“Young girls in the developing world frequently drop out of school because there isn’t a toilet,” she said. “It angered me as a woman in higher education and as a product designer.”

Just 18 at the time, Burton channeled her feelings into a mission: She would design a toilet.

While at Georgia Tech, she collaborated with three other students to invent an inexpensive, eco-friendly mobile toilet that could convert waste into renewable energy. They called their sanitation system SafiChoo Toilet.

Made of plastic, the toilet is designed for sitting or squatting, which is a common practice in some countries. It can be placed directly on the ground, or it can be elevated by adding an attachable base. It can also function with or without water.

The system features a waste collection unit (that can go above or below ground), which separates the waste into liquids and solids. There’s also a manually-operated bidet that can be attached.

Burton said these features are intended to help curb contamination and the spread of diseases.

The SafiChoo toilet costs about $50. “That’s the highest price point we want it to be,” she said.

In 2014, Burton and her team won first place and $25,000 at the Georgia Tech InVention competition, the nation’s largest undergraduate invention competition.

“We didn’t think we’d win because products at the contest were always high-tech with super sexy designs,” she said. “Ours was a simple toilet.”

The win enabled Burton to pilot SafiChoo (which means clean toilet in Kiswahili) at a Kenyan refugee camp. She also launched Wish for WASH, the parent company of SafiChoo.

John Zegers, director at Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing, contacted Burton after her InVention competition win. “We thought it was a great product that needed a little bit more development,” he said.

The Center gave a grant to Georgia Tech to develop a SafiChoo prototype and helped Burton’s team find an Atlanta-based manufacturer.

Zegers said he hopes that Wish for WASH is able to keep the toilet a Made in America product.

Burton is currently living in Lusaka, Zambia, as she tests the toilet there. The company is also running an Indiegogo campaign to support the Zambia pilot.

She hopes to begin selling the toilet to U.S.-based customers and to NGOs in 2017.

“It’s amazing when you see how many people have never used a toilet before and what [the SafiChoo Toilet] could mean for them,” she said.

May 16, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Education, Environmentalism, Health care, Science, Technology. 2 comments.

Plastic-munching bacteria can make trash biodegradable

If this is true and it can be used on a large scale, it’s fantastic news.

 

http://www.livescience.com/54016-plastic-eating-bacteria-could-reduce-trash.html

Plastic-Munching Bacteria Can Make Trash Biodegradable

March 10, 2016

A durable plastic called PET is considered a major environmental hazard because it’s highly resistant to breakdown. But researchers have found a potential new match for this hardy plastic: a newly discovered microbe that is astonishingly good at eating it.

An estimated 342 million tons (311 metric tons) of plastic are produced annually worldwide, and currently, only about 14 percent is collected for recycling, according to the World Economic Forum.

Most plastic degrades extraordinarily slowly, but PET — short for poly(ethylene terephthalate) — is especially durable, and about 61 million tons (56 metric tons) of the colorless plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 alone, according to the researchers.

Previously, the only species found to break down PET were rare fungi. Now, scientists in Japan have discovered bacteria that can biodegrade this hardy plastic.

“The bacterium is the first strain having a potential to degrade PET completely into carbon dioxide and water,” said study co-author Kohei Oda, an applied microbiologist at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan.

The researchers collected 250 samples of PET debris from soil and wastewater from a plastic-bottle-recycling site. They scanned these samples for bacteria that could eat PET.

The scientists identified a new species of bacteria, which they named Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, that could almost completely break down a thin film of PET after six weeks at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). Appendages from the cells might have secreted compounds that helped to dissolve the plastic, the researchers said.

Genetic and biochemical analyses identified two key enzymes involved in the breakdown of PET. One enzyme worked with water to break down the plastic into an intermediate substance, which the other enzyme broke down into PET’s basic building blocks, the scientists said.

These findings could have a wide range of real-world applications, because bacteria should be easier to incorporate into devices to break down PET than fungi is. “We hope that we can develop a technology to handle such a lot of wasted PET,” Oda said.

In the future, the researchers would like to “improve the ability of the microorganisms to degrade,” Oda said.

It’s not known how these enzymes evolved, Oda said, and both enzymes bear little resemblance to the enzymes most closely related to them.

The scientists detailed their findings online today (March 10) in the journal Science.

 

March 11, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

Gravitational Waves Detected from 1.3 Billion Light Years Away

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZfbEV-QtZo

 

February 12, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Science. 1 comment.

Pro-science YouTuber Rebecca Watson makes fun of psychics (six minute video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRXghwx28D8

 

 

January 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , . Humor, Science. Leave a comment.

Radical doomsayer environmentalists refuse to express joy at new NASA report which says Antarctic ice sheet has been gaining ice for decades

Uh oh. The radical doomsayer environmentalists who have been predicting melting ice caps for the past few decades are not going to like this at all – not one bit.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, look for yourself. Read the news. Use whatever search engines you want.

You will not find a single example of celebration from any of the radical environmental doomsayer organizations that have been predicting the melting of the polar ice caps for the past few decades.

On the other hand, to those of us who like to look at things from a logical and rational perspective, this is great news – great news indeed.

NASA reports:

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses

October 30, 2015

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

 

November 8, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Science. 25 comments.

Washington Post: The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure

Scientists say the possibility is very remote, but they may have found evidence of an artificial structure surrounding a star 1,481 light-years away from Earth. The Washington Post reports:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/15/the-strange-star-that-has-serious-scientists-talking-about-an-alien-megastructure/

The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure

October 15, 2015

“It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data,” said Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian. “We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it.”

She was talking to the New Scientist about KIC 8462852, a distant star with a very unusual flickering habit. Something was making the star dim drastically every few years, and she wasn’t sure what….

… “When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright said. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

To be sure, both Boyajian and Wright believe the possibility of alien megastructures around KIC 8462852 is very, very remote. It’s worthy of hypothesis, Wright told Slate, “but we should also approach it skeptically.”

Yet compared to the vast majority of supposed sightings of signs of extraterrestrial life, this one has some credibility….

… Volunteers marked it out as unusual in 2011, right after the program started: a star whose light curves seemed to dip tremendously at irregular intervals. At one point, about 800 days into the survey, the star’s brightness dropped by 15 percent. Later, around day 1,500, it dropped by a shocking 22 percent. Whatever was causing the dips, it could not have been a planet — even a Jupiter-sized planet, the biggest in our solar system, would only dim this star by 1 percent as it transited across…

… Scientists — at least, the ones who like to theorize about these things — have long said that an advanced alien civilization would be marked by its ability to harness the energy from its sun (rather than scrabbling over its planet’s resources like us puny earthlings). They envision something like a Dyson Sphere, a hypothetical megastructure first proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson that would orbit or even encompass a star, capturing its power and putting it to use.

Obviously, a Dyson sphere has never been spotted in real life, though they’re all over science fiction. But if one were to exist, it wouldn’t look like a metal ball around the sun — it would probably comprise a chain of smaller satellites or space habitats, something that would block its star’s light as weirdly and irregularly as the light of KIC 8462852 has been blocked. That’s why researchers who are interested in finding alien life are so excited about the finding.

Boyajian, Wright and Andrew Siemion, the director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, are now working on getting access to the massive radio dishes they can point at the star in search of the kinds of radio waves usually emitted by technology.

If they find them — well, that would be very big and very, very unlikely news.

Of course, the star in question is about 1,481 light-years away from Earth…

 

October 15, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , . Astronomy, Science, Technology. 1 comment.

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