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How Much Should We Fix Science?

6 May 2017 - 12:12am
Daniel Engber, Slate
Richard Harris has an elephant's memory for busted scientific claims. In his new book on the replication crisis, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions, the veteran NPR reporter serves as a tour guide to a crushing series of dead ends. It's not that science isn't self-correcting, Harris shows. It's that it isn't self-correcting fast enough.
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Liver Grows During Day and Shrinks at Night

5 May 2017 - 9:57pm
Nathaniel Scharping, Discover
Among all the organs in the human body, the liver is something of a superhero. Not only does it defend our bodies against the liquid toxins we regularly ingest, it has the ability to regenerate itself, and, as new research shows, it increases its size by nearly half over the course of a day.Working in mice, researchers in Switzerland documented this process of regular stretching and shrinking, watching as liver cells swelled in size and contracted up to 40 percent along with the mice's daily activities. There's a catch though, a kind of hepatological kryptonite. Their livers only exhibited...
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GMO Algae Offers Unlimited Potential

5 May 2017 - 9:56pm
John Dyer, Seeker
From a humble green alga, California researchers envision a new world of vegetarian steak, green oil, and non-petroleum-based plastic. We want to make synthetic meat substances using algae protein, said Stephen Mayfield, a biology professor and algae geneticist at the University of California San Diego. If we could do that and make stuff that actually tasted good, now you've got a game-changer for the planet. Then we could stop cutting down all the rainforests and stop overfishing.
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How and When Did Saturn Get Its Rings?

5 May 2017 - 9:56pm
Nola Redd, Smithsonian Mag

Cassini, the little spacecraft that could, is going out in a blaze. For the next four months, the most sophisticated probe ever made will dance precariously between the Saturn and her icy rings, capturing spectacular images of this never-explored region. In this grand finale to its 20-year journey, Cassini will draw new attention to the origins of what are already the most glamorousand mystifyingset of rings in the solar system.
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Lab-Grown Brains Offer Multitude of Benefits

5 May 2017 - 9:56pm
Roheeni Saxena, Ars Tech=
Small cultures of human neuronal cells developing in a dish are not quite brains in a petri dish as they are sometimes described. But these cerebral organoids give scientists unprecedented options for studying and understanding the early embryonic stages of human brain development. Two recent papers published in Nature show just how powerful these neuroscience research tools are. The first paper characterizes these neural developments more fully, while the second uses organoids as a tool to show how a neurodevelopmental disorder known as Timothy Syndrome develops.
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Paris Climate Deal Debate Down to a Single Phrase

5 May 2017 - 9:56pm
John Schwartz, NYT

The debate within the Trump administration over what to do about the Paris climate agreement has reached a critical phase, according to people familiar with the internal negotiations. The decision could hinge on the interpretation of a single phrase in a single provision of a document that took years to write.The question is whether to walk away from the agreement sealed by the Obama administration and nearly 200 other nations at the end of 2015 as Donald J. Trump promised as a presidential candidate to do or to weaken the nation's commitment under the deal to reducing greenhouse...
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Japanese Space Mission to Explore Moons of Mars

5 May 2017 - 9:56pm
Matt Williams, UT
In the coming decades, the world's largest space agencies hope to mount some exciting missions to the Moon and to Mars. Between NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), there is simply no shortage of proposals for Lunar bases, crewed missions to Mars, and robotic explorers to both.However, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has a different mission in mind when it comes to the coming decades. Instead of exploring the Moon or Mars, they propose exploring the moons of Mars! Known as...
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Are Microbiologists Climate-Deniers?

5 May 2017 - 12:58am
Alex Berezow, ACSH
Recently, I gave a seminar on "fake news" to professors and grad students at a large public university. Early in my talk, I polled the audience: "How many of you believe climate change is the world's #1 threat?"Silence. Not a single person raised his or her hand.Was I speaking in front of a group of science deniers? The College Republicans? Some fringe libertarian club? No, it was a room full of microbiologists.
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