In recent years the citrus industry has suffered a dramatic decrease in production. The iconic Florida citrus industry is in a disease-induced decline, ravaged by a pathogen that has cut the production to half of what it was only a decade or so ago.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General recently did an audit of the National Organic Program, which is part of its Agricultural Marketing Services group.
A new paper claims that guns are only involved in 5 percent of suicide attempts but are 50 percent of suicide deaths. Despite everyone claiming to want to be data-driven about gun deaths, few are and this is no exception.  
In 1952 my uncle Antonio, then 18 years old, left his family home in Venice, Italy to never return, running away from the humiliation of a failure at school. With a friend he reached the border with France and crossed it during the night, chased by border patrols and wolves. Caught by the French police Toni - that was the abbreviated name with which was known by everybody - was offered a choice: be sent back to Italy, facing three months of jail, or enrol in the French legion. Afraid of the humiliation and the consequences, he tragically chose the latter.

Although 29 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana use for medical purposes, there is no evidence it is medicine. Obviously some of the reason for that is because it's illegal and therefore hard to study, but regardless of the past it seems odd that scholars at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis surveyed medical school deans, residents and fellows, and examined a curriculum database maintained by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and lament that medical marijuana is not being addressed in medical education.

I thought I should do another debunking article, as there are lots of people who are getting really scared by this BS. The Daily Express particularly is promoting David Meade's book heavily with more than two articles a day on this totally non notable author for the last week. The other "red top tabloids" are joining in. These journalists seem to forget that vulnerable people, including young children read these stories. Parents report children as young as 12 or younger who are scared by this. 


 

For the last several weeks I’ve been getting messages from scared people nearly every day. They are worried that the world is going to end on 23rd September. We have had numerous such dates, about a dozen a year at present. The chap who has been promoting that date all summer has now changed it to October in an interview with a US conspiracy radio chat show. These people are trying to drag you back to a pre-scientific dark age where you go to prophets to learn about the future, and the prophets look into the stars for omens.

Another chapter in the saga of the search for the elusive, but dominant, decay mode of the Higgs boson has been reported by the CMS collaboration last month. This is one of those specific sub-fields of research where a hard competition arises on the answer to a relatively minor scientific question. That the Higgs boson couples to b-quarks is indirectly already well demonstrated by a number of other measurements - its coupling to (third generation) quarks being demonstrated by its production rate, for example. Yet, being the first ones to "observe" the H->bb decay is a coveted goal.
In determining the gender of offspring, fathers may be getting shortchanged.

Because mothers can influence their offspring in a number of ways, from copulation to birth, while fathers have control over sperm only, it has long been assumed mothers are more important. In mammals, it is also believed that offspring sex ratios can only be determined by the mother, since fathers have always been thought to inseminate an equal proportion of X and Y sperm, having a random effect on offspring sex that they could not shift from equality, or 50:50.

Brain-computer interfaces can replace bodily functions to a certain degree and now they can even compose music. At least in a sense.

Derived from an established brain-computer interface method which mainly serves to spell - more accurately - write, a team writing in PLOS One has shown how they developed a new application by which music can be composed just through the power of thought. All that is needed is a special cap which measures brain waves, composition software. Before you start to think you'll be the next Haydn, keep in mind it can't create musical knowledge.