Life is a gamble, every day, all day, in a most greedy casino with unwritten rules and players rewriting the rules, re-interpreting them if you accidentally won too much without having the right friends, putting you back in your place. How do people of different smarts gamble?


This is awful. A science writer and video producer who decided Christmas Eve is just the right time to publish a video claiming FALSELY that a small nuclear exchange of 100 nuclear weapons would destroy all world agriculture for decades. This is based on an old paper from 1983 which was treated with skepticism at the time and now is known to be incorrect, combined with more recent research from 2014 that is disputed because of it preloads the model with high levels of soot in the stratosphere, levels which most modern studies do not support.

He claims that 2 months after the exchange, the average global surface temperature would be -25°C.

Scared by the void of Christmas vacations? Unable to put just a few more feet between your mouth and the candy tray? Suffocating in the trivialities of the chit-chat with relatives? I have a solution for you. How about trying to solve a few simple high-energy physics quizzes? 

I offer three questions below, and you are welcome to think any or all of them over today and tomorrow. In two days I will give my answer, explain the underlying physics a bit, and comment your own answers, if you have been capable of typing them despite your skyrocketing glycemic index.
Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney in the midwestern US for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - yes, they have so many attorneys they have titles like "Senior" and for geographical regions - says they are suing the federal government...again. This time over natural gas.

Their complaint is that the government rolled back the previous administration's increases, basically some expanded parking space, near national monuments and is allowing development again. And development may mean clean-burning natural gas, which NRDC now claims causes cancer.
If you have a lot of assets to split, and splitting is easy, it's also easy to create ultimatums. When America was a poor country, people stayed together longer, families lived near each other, conflicts were resolved. You never went to bed angry, it was said.
The U.S. National Aeronautics Space Administration NASA has selected two finalist concepts for a robotic mission tentatively set to launch in the mid-2020s.

The two finalists pared down from 12 are Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return (CAESAR), which seeks to bring back a sample from 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a comet that was successfully explored by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, to determine its origin and history. Led by Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, CAESAR would be managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 
In the previous post I discussed the generalities of "diboson production" at the LHC. Dibosons are pairs of elementary bosons - the photon (carrier of electromagnetic interactions), the W and Z bosons (carriers of the weak interaction, respectively charged and neutral), the gluon (carrier of the strong interaction, and coming in 8 undistinguishable varieties), and the Higgs particle. 
Cosmic rays from supernovae can influence Earth´s cloud cover and how that influences climate could be useful for making better models.

A new study shows how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere,help the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei – the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere. When the ionization in the atmosphere changes, the number of cloud condensation nuclei changes affecting the properties of clouds.

More cloud condensation nuclei mean more clouds and a colder climate, and vice-versa.
After one quite frantic November, I emerged victorious two weeks ago from the delivery of a 78-pages, 49-thousand-word review titled "Hadron Collider Searches for Diboson Resonances". The article, which will be published in the prestigious "Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics", an Elsevier journal with an impact factor above 11 (compare with Physics Letters B, IF=4.8, or Physical Review Letters, IF=8.5, to see why it's relevant), is currently in peer review, but that does not mean that I cannot make a short summary of its contents here.
Too much caffeine is bad for you. It's very risk to buy powdered caffeine for that reason. But it's addictive and people do it. Likewise, too much nicotine is bad for you and you can't shouldn't buy undiluted optically pure nicotine and start inhaling it. 

But young people will do risky things. Some may smoke marijuana or cigarettes, some may get addicted to alcohol or drugs. Young people who take up vaping rather than opioids today are a lot better off than a generation ago.