Posts Tagged ‘research’

Wildfire Strategy: Let It Burn

July 14, 2017

Wildfire Strategy

Every year since the dawn of time, the Santa Ana winds lash Southern California’s dry autumn brushlands into explosive, blazing infernos. Every year since the dawn of the last century, Southern Californians express surprise as they are engulfed in a sea of flame. With climate change, things won’t get better.

“We will never be able to control wildfire,” explains Tania Schoennagel of the Institute for Alpine and Arctic Research, “We have to learn to live with it and adapt, just like we do with droughts and flooding. Our current wildfire policies can’t protect people and homes.”

More:

“The Future of Fighting Wildfires in the Era of Climate Change,” Bob Berwyn, Pacific Standard

“Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes,” Tania Schoennagela, Jennifer K. Balcha, Hannah Brenkert-Smith et al., PNAS

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Male & Female Brains Are Different

June 28, 2017
Male & Female Brains Are Different

              Above: The male brain.

Research at the University of Edinburgh indicates that that the brains of men and women are shaped differently. While men’s brains are bigger overall, brains of women tend to have thicker cortices, which are associated with intelligence. We’re going to ask some women to look into that for us and tell us what it all means.

More:

“Women have bigger brain regions associated with intelligence,” Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz

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Less-Gassy Grass Cuts Cow Burps, Eases Global Warming

October 17, 2016

Less-Gassy Grass Cuts Cow Burps, Eases Global Warming
Scientists at Denmark’s Aarhus University and the DLF seed corporation are using DNA technology to develop a type of grass that is easier for cows to digest, meaning less gas builds up in bossy’s belly. Bovine burps are a major source of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that promotes climate change.

The project, funded by Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food, uses genomic selection to determine promising grass strains for breeding. The project is expected to take about 5 or 6 years, so you’ll have to excuse bovine belching until then. Environmentally-anxious cowboys and cowgirls can follow the project here.

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UN Health Agency: Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bacon Are Carcinogenic

October 26, 2015

UN Health Agency: Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bacon Are Carcinogenic

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), has determined that consumption of processed meat is as bad for you as smoking. Eating 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of sausages, bacon, and ham daily makes it 18% more likely that you’ll get colorectal cancer. 50 grams is about 2 strips of bacon.

Processed meats include  bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami, corned beef, beef jerky, ham, canned meat, meat-based sauces, and other meat products that have extended shelf life due to smoking, curing, fermentation, or adding salt or other preservatives.

Further concerns for carnivores: IARC finds that even fresh red meat — beef, veal, pork*, lamb, mutton, horse, and goat — is “probably” carcinogenic, too. The risk of eating 50 grams of red meat daily is “mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.” American men eat twice that much, according to the North American Meat Institute.

*Note: Despite the National Pork Board’s ad campaign, nutritionally pork is not a “white meat.”

More:

“World Health Organization: Red and processed meats have a strong link to cancer,” Akshat Rathi, Deena Shanker, Quartz

“Bacon Declared a Carcinogen, World Mourns,” Natalie Shoemaker, Big Think

“Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says,” Allison Aubrey, NPR

“Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares,” Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post

“The WHO’s new warnings about bacon and cancer, explained,” Julia Belluz, Vox

“Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO,” BBC News

“IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat,” IARC press release

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Angus Deaton

October 13, 2015

Angus Deaton has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

“To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. More than anyone else, Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding. By linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and development economics.”

— Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

More:

“Princeton professor Angus Deaton wins Nobel Prize in economics,” Jeff Guo, Washington Post

“Why Angus Deaton Deserved the Nobel Prize in Economics,” Christopher Blattman, Foreign Policy

Video [21:02]: Angus Deaton addressing the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) on “Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality.” October 17, 2013. A complete audio recording of his remarks is here.

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A Growing America

June 23, 2015

A Growing America

“Adults who are obese now outnumber those who are merely overweight, according to a new report in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

A tally by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis estimated that 67.6 million Americans over the age of 25 were obese as of 2012, and an additional 65.2 million were overweight.”

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Perfect Pizza Through Science!

October 8, 2014

Perfect Pizza Through Science!

Researchers at the University of Auckland (in partnership with Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy products exporter) used a machine to measure the integral elements of possible pizza ingredients as precisely as possible, and then published a paper about it in the Journal of Food Science. … ‘Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.’”

“For cheese to brown, the paper explains, it needs to lose moisture first. For the moisture to evaporate, blisters need to form, because where they lift the surface of the cheese, free oil can run off and expose the surface to raw heat. And for a blister to form, steam needs to collect in a pocket and push up the cheese.”

“This is why mozzarella makes for good browning. First, it doesn’t have much free oil. Second, it is very elastic. Third, it contains a lot of moisture. So steam pockets form easily, which create healthy blisters, which quickly expose the surface to browning.”

— “Here is the recipe for perfectly browned pizza cheese as established by science,” Sonali Kohli, Quartz (links added)

More:

“Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese,” Maanvi Singh, NPR

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Facebook is Like a Disease, But Recovery is Near

April 3, 2014

Facebook is Like a Disease, But Recovery is Near

“A new study of Facebook has predicted that the social network’s rapid growth will prove unsustainable and that the site will lose 80 per cent of its users between 2015 and 2017.

A group of Princeton researchers has compared Facebook to a highly infectious disease, claiming that after it reaches a certain critical mass of ‘infected’ users, these individuals will ‘recover’ and quit the site.”

— “Facebook is an ‘infectious disease’ and will lose 80% of users by 2017, according to researchers,” James Vincent, The Independent

If you’s like to see how Princeton’s engineers apply an epidemiological model to social media, you can read study here:

“Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics,” John Cannarella and Joshua A. Spechler, arXiv

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Free College for the Rich

December 7, 2013

Free College for the Rich

“Most people taking free online courses worldwide are among the best-educated and wealthiest of the population, casting doubt on the idea that the classes will benefit the disenfranchised, a survey showed.

More than half of those taking massive open online courses, or MOOCs, were men and the majority were already employed, according to Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the correspondence piece in today’s journal Nature.”

— “Survey: Rich kids reap benefits of online courses,” Nicole Ostrow, Bloomberg via Salon [link added]

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Breeding Burpless Bovines

June 23, 2013

Breeding Burpless Bovines

Methane and other greenhouse gasses are heating up the world’s atmosphere, fueling global warming. 18% of those gases come from the burps and farts of the billions of cows in the vast herds feeding the world’s growing appetite for meat. Face it, Earth’s human population isn’t going to go Vegan, and cow-mounted catalytic converters just don’t cut it. What’s to be done?

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