A general trigger warning I will link to in some future articles:

The following text is quite likely disturbing. Relax and be assured about that this is so because you are evolved and shaped to perceive as required to function in certain social structures. I know, you are afraid, about that evil people take over and threaten your existence, those others that you cannot understand how it could be that they are like they are. I understand why you are the way you are:

This is a speech Stephen Hawking gave at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon on Monday. It’s actually an upbeat and optimistic speech, but one particular phrase from the speech is scaring many people. Stephen Hawking has a love of the dramatic, and he often way overstates things - it's what they call hyperbole, overstating things for emotional effect. I'm also surprised that amongst all the news articles running stories about it, I haven't found a single one that is skeptical of his beliefs or even suggests there could be other views on the matter. 

As he stated it, 

There is additional evidence a mantle plume, basically a geothermal heat source such as a volcano, is below Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land and it explains a substantial amount of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet. 

Mantle plumes are thought to be narrow streams of hot rock rising through Earth's mantle and spreading out like a mushroom cap under the crust. The buoyancy of the material, some of it molten, causes the crust to bulge upward. The theory of mantle plumes was proposed in the 1970s to explain geothermal activity that occurs far from the boundary of a tectonic plate, such as Hawaii and Yellowstone. 

Life in the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) is not exactly paradise. Children are indoctrinated, women are severely oppressed, and infidels are beheaded. Ancient cultural artifacts and historical treasures are destroyed. Liberating people conquered by ISIS, therefore, is good not only for humanitarian reasons but for archaeological ones, as well.

Now, it appears there is yet another reason to defeat ISIS: It might be good for the planet.

A new study published by Princeton University and the World Bank shows that oil production in ISIS-controlled areas has fallen by over 70%, from 56,000 barrels per day in December 2014 to 16,000 barrels per day in 2016.

Writing a serious review of research in particle physics is a refreshing job - all the things that you already knew on that specific topic once sat on a fuzzy cloud somewhere in your brain, and now find their place in a tidily organized space, with clear interdependence among them. That's what I am experiencing as I progress with a 60-pageish thing on hadron collider searches for diboson resonances, which will appear sometime next year in a very high impact factor journal.

To see the problem try a google news search for Planet X - and see if you find anything there about the genuine astronomical search for planets beyond Neptune. It's filled with stories saying that the nonsense planet Nibiru is about to fly past Earth or hit us (what professor Brian Cox once called the imaginary bullshit planet Nibiru).

Physics Today says the culture of physics itself is to blame for the gender pay gap.  
Today, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors issued a an urgent public alert regarding the dangers posed by drugs currently circulating America’s streets and neighborhoods as a result of the current opioid crisis.   This alert is intended to help the public recognize and avoid suspicious materials when they are nearby.

“The threat is unprecedented,” warns ASCLD President Ray Wickenheiser. “Some of the clandestine substances being sold or made accessible have formulations that are so toxic that it’s better to consider them poison.”
The world’s second densest metal can be used to kill cancer cells by filling them with a deadly version of oxygen, without harming healthy tissue, according to a new paper.

The metal, iridium, was in the asteroid with the strongest link to the extinction of dinosaurs. When combined with organic material, the researchers showed it can be directly targeted towards cancerous cells, transferring energy to the cells to turn the oxygen (O2) inside them into singlet oxygen, which is poisonous and kills the cell - without harming any healthy tissue.
Starting Science 2.0 in 2006, I was as wide-eyed as anyone new to media could be.  My first month I was sure we were about to discover life on other planets, cancer was going to be cured, chocolate was healthy, resveratrol was the one polyphenol to rule them all. Oh, and academic scientists were going to rush to write for the public because I loved science. (1)