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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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WWII veteran, 98, dons uniform for final salute



GLENVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — On Veterans Day, Justus Belfield donned his Army uniform one more time, even though he was too weak to leave his bed at an upstate New York nursing home.

The 98-year-old World War II veteran died the next day.

The Daily Gazette of Schenectady reports (http://bit.ly/1v95WZQ ) that Belfield had worn his uniform every Veterans Day since he and his wife moved into Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Glenville, outside Albany, several years ago. On Tuesday, the former master sergeant wasn't able to get out of bed to participate in the facility's Veterans Day festivities, so he had the staff dress him in his uniform.

A photograph accompanying the newspaper's story published Friday shows Belfield saluting while lying in bed. The nursing home staff said he died early Wednesday morning.

more

http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/WWII-veteran-98-dons-uniform-for-final-salute-5892657.php

RIP, Soldier.

Justice Dep't Admits It Lied To Appeals Court about Companies' Ability To Talk About National Sec.

Back in October, we wrote about the appeal on the legality of National Security Letters (NSLs), which are secretive filings from law enforcement demanding information with a perpetual gag order. In 2013, a district court had declared that NSLs were unconstitutional, but stayed that decision pending appeal. While the appeals court judges seemed skeptical, it still wasn't clear how they would rule. So it's interesting to see that the Justice Department has just admitted that it misled the court on some rather important points during the oral arguments.

In particular, with regards to the First Amendment question, the DOJ had insisted that companies could discuss the "quality" of the NSLs it had received, explaining it this way:
There is a category that the deputy attorney general provided that recipients can make disclosures and there is a category of 0-249 so recipients can disclose that. They’re allowed to disclose within these bands. And they can fully participate in the public debate, they can say as we have disclosed we’re in that band 0-249 and it can say the very things that said they can’t. They can say and we think the government is asking for too much in many of the NSLs we received and we want to talk to our fellow recipients and see if they too have felt that there’s too much and we think Congress ought to do something about that. They can do all of that. There’s nothing that says that they can’t comment, they’re allowed to make specific comments about quantity, there’s absolutely no ban on them commenting on the quality of those they’ve received.
Except that's not true, and it was clearly not true at the time. The EFF asked the DOJ to explain this statement in light of other statements that completely contradicted that claim, and suddenly the DOJ realized that it had been lying to the court on a rather important point. So it has now retracted those comments, claiming they were an "inadvertent misstatement."


more
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141113/17330429133/justice-department-admits-it-lied-to-appeals-court-concerning-companies-ability-to-talk-about-national-security-letters.shtml

How a $47 Shrimp Treadmill Became a $3-Million Political Plaything

by David Scholnick

Over the past few years numerous media stories have surfaced about how hard-earned taxpayer dollars are supporting scientists who run shrimp on treadmills: Forbes.com listed shrimp-treadmill research as wasting $3-million in taxpayer dollars, AARP produced a nationally distributed commercial of lab-coat-wearing scientists running shrimp on treadmills to equate the lack of federal support for retiree health-care services to money spent on shrimp-treadmill research, and Mike Huckabee linked the National Science Foundation’s funding of shrimp-treadmill studies to limited military spending.

A video clip of a shrimp running on a treadmill has somehow become the nation’s poster child for wasteful spending and grounds for the Republican-led House of Representatives science committee to recently investigate wasteful spending of NSF-funded research projects across the country.

My name is David, and I am the marine biologist who put a shrimp on a treadmill—a burden I will forever carry. To be clear, the treadmill did not cost millions of taxpayer dollars, the goal of the research was not to exercise shrimp, and the government did not pay me—or anyone else—to work out shrimp on treadmills.

Simply put, my colleagues and I were studying how recent changes in the oceans could potentially affect the ability of marine organisms to fight infections—an important question, given that the amount of bacteria a shrimp is able remove from its body is directly related to how much bacteria could potentially end up on seafood-filled plates. And since shrimp are active animals in nature, it was logical to study the immune response of shrimp during activity.

more

http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2014/11/13/how-a-47-shrimp-treadmill-became-a-3-million-political-plaything/

Rosetta Scientist Matt Taylor Is Really Sorry About That Shirt

Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor is really sorry about the shirt. The researcher apologized Friday for wearing a shirt that caused a firestorm of criticism earlier this week because it was patterned with a bunch of half-naked women.



Asked during Friday's livestream for an update on how the research coming from Philae—the lander that successfully touched down on Comet 67P earlier this week—would compare to the data collected from Rosetta, Matt immediately launched into an apology for his wardrobe choice.

“The shirt I wore this week," he said, and started to choke up. “I made a big mistake and I’ve offended many people and I’m very sorry about this.”

He then took a moment to collect himself before answering the question.

The shirt in question sparked a heated debate about sexism in STEM fields after Rose Eveleth, a journalist at The Atlantic, tweeted a screengrab from the Rosetta livestream showing Matt wearing the offending bowling shirt, and stating, "No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt."


more

http://api.digg.com/api/v3/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmotherboard.vice.com%2Fread%2Frosetta-scientist-matt-taylor-is-really-sorry-about-his-shirt&content_id=1sMxSfC

2014:Warmest oceans ever recorded



"This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year," says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying variability of the global climate system at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

From 2000-2013 the global ocean surface temperature rise paused, in spite of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. This period, referred to as the Global Warming Hiatus, raised a lot of public and scientific interest. However, as of April 2014 ocean warming has picked up speed again, according to Timmermann's analysis of ocean temperature datasets.

"The 2014 global ocean warming is mostly due to the North Pacific, which has warmed far beyond any recorded value (Figure 1a) and has shifted hurricane tracks, weakened trade winds, and produced coral bleaching in the Hawaiian Islands," explains Timmermann.

He describes the events leading up to this upswing as follows: Sea-surface temperatures started to rise unusually quickly in the
extratropical North Pacific already in January 2014. A few months later, in April and May, westerly winds pushed a huge amount of very warm water usually stored in the western Pacific along the equator to the eastern Pacific. This warm water has spread along the North American Pacific coast, releasing into the atmosphere enormous amounts of heat—heat that had been locked up in the Western tropical Pacific for nearly a decade.

more

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-warmest-oceans.html

Spiders disguise themselves as ants to hide and hunt their prey


All spiders are predators, but most of them are small and have rudimentary defences against larger animals that in turn prey on them. Spiders have thus evolved a range of predatory behaviours that, at the same time, allow them to evade the threat of predation. Some of the most effective strategies involve deceiving ants.

More than 300 species of spiders are known to mimic the outward appearance of ants, a phenomenon called myrmecomorphy.
Aggressively territorial, ants are typically avoided by several predators, thus making them the perfect creatures to impersonate. Most ant-mimicking spiders have a "false waist" and are covered with reflective hairs to simulate the shiny, three-segmented bodies of ants. They have coloured patches around their eyes to make their simple eyes look more like an ant's compound eyes.

The spiders also behave like ants by waving their front pair of legs near their heads like antennae, and adopting an erratic zig-zag pattern of movement that is more like ants than spiders.

There are two reasons why a spider would want to mimic an ant: to eat them, and to avoid being eaten by them.

more

http://phys.org/news/2014-11-spiders-disguise-ants-prey.html#nRlv

How cannabis was used to shrink one of the most aggressive brain cancers

Widely proscribed around the world for its recreational uses, cannabis is being used in a number of different therapeutic ways to bring relief for severe medical conditions. Products using cannabinoids, the active components of the cannabis plant, have been licensed for medical use. Sativex, for example, which contains an equal mixture of the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is already licenced as a mouth spray for multiple sclerosis and in the US, dronabinol and nabilone are commercially available for treating cancer-related side effects.

Now, in a study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, we’ve also shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults.

There are more than 85 cannabinoids, which are known to bind to unique receptors in cells and which receive outside chemical signals. These receptors feed into signalling pathways, telling cells what to do. Recent studies have shown that some cannabinoids have potent anti-cancer action. For example, both THC and CBD have been shown in a number of laboratory studies to effectively induce cell death in tumour cells by modifying the faulty signalling pathways inside these cells. Depending on the cell type this can disrupt tumour growth or start to kill it.

The psychoactivity associated with some cannabinoids, principally THC (which gives people a cannabis high), is also mediated via the same receptors. Because these receptors are found in the highest abundances in brain cells, it follows that brain tumours also rich in these receptors may respond best to cannabinoids.


more

https://theconversation.com/how-cannabis-was-used-to-shrink-one-of-the-most-aggressive-brain-cancers-34038

Big Pharma Plays Hide-the-Ball With Data



On the morning of March 2, 2005, a 14-year-old Japanese girl woke up scared. At first she thought someone was outside the house watching her, but then she decided the stranger must be inside. She wandered restlessly and, despite the cold weather, threw open all the windows. Later, over a meal, she declared, “The salad is poisoned.” Two days later, she said she wanted to kill herself.

This teenager with no history of mental illness was diagnosed with delirium. The night before the hallucinations started, she began taking an anti-influenza drug called Tamiflu (generic name: oseltamivir), which governments around the world have spent billions stockpiling for the next major flu outbreak.

But evidence released earlier this year by Cochrane Collaboration, a London-based nonprofit, shows that a significant amount of negative data from the drug’s clinical trials were hidden from the public. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knew about it, but the medical community did not; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which doesn’t have the same access to unpublished data as regulators, had recommended the drug without being able to see the full picture. When results from those unpublished trials finally did emerge, they cast doubt over whether Tamiflu is as effective as the manufacturer says.

The revelation of hidden data bolstered a growing movement against what’s referred to within the research community as “publication bias,” in which scientists squirrel away mostly negative or inconclusive findings and broadcast only their positive ones. Concealing trial data—for which patients accept the risks of untested treatments for the greater good—is routine. As many as half of all clinical trials are never published, PLOS Medicine reported last year.

more

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/21/medical-science-has-data-problem-284066.html?piano_t=1

Jose Canseco explains how Comets will save humanity



Inspired by the Philae spacecraft landing on a speeding comet, Jose Canseco, Cuban-American former Major League Baseball, decided to tweet heavy knowledge about science and what it means for human space travel.

He shared his thoughts about the landing of Philae lander on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday.

He tweeted some theories about how 'comet transport is the key to our survival', saying it would open up new industries like 'asteroid mining and interstellar trade.

Canseco explained that using comets isn't a new thing. Galactic Beings are a solid synth-rock band, and they've been using comets for a while now and they have used comets as star taxis for eons.

His tweets include that comets are faster than anything we could ever build and if Earth can control the comet transport system, humans will run the Milky Way. He imagined rich strip-mining and sightseeing economies opening up throughout the galaxy.

more

http://mainenewsonline.com/content/14111641-jose-canseco-explains-how-comets-will-save-humanity

Friday TOON Roundup 4 - The Rest



Politics







Ferguson






War




Food





Environment












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