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Thanksgiving Science 2014

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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes. Probably no one ever said the WWW or Science... Read More »

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Last week I did an update on the anti-vaccine situation in America compared to 2012, when my book, Science Left Behind, was published. I noted that things have gotten better, primarily because people on the left have turned on those people on the left who make up the bulk of the anti-vaccine movement; primarily wealthy, progressive elites.
An interesting experiment published in Science placed baker's yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in separate identical bioworlds. Then, at the same time, historical contingency events would happen, just like they have on earth - and only the fittest survived.

Evolution tells us that there are things besides natural selection going on - there are mutations and genetic drift. If we boiled up some primordial soup today, a few billion years from now the planet would be a lot different due to that randomness.

Or not.
Science Left Behind, a book I co-authored in 2012 with Dr. Alex Berezow, covered the ways that anti-science beliefs had become mainstream among political progressives in the United States. 

It addressed dozens of topics but the three biggest ones denied by progressives (along with a few fellow liberals and Democrats) were the findings that anti-vaccine, anti-biology and anti-energy science positions were overwhelmingly left.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, has a $29 billion per year budget, which dwarfs the National Science Foundation and NASA - combined.

You'd think for all that money they could have done a lot to create an Ebola vaccine before the crisis was all over the pages of The New York Times. But it seems they need just a little more. Dr. Collins says they have been working on a vaccine since 2001 but haven't been able to complete it because of a "10-year slide" in funding.
A recent genome-wide meta-analysis has identified a biological commonality among 120,000 regular coffee drinkers - 6 new genetic variants related to caffeine metabolism, lipid and glucose metabolism, and its psychoactive effects, found among about 2.5 million variants in the genome.
Some people are so obsessed with their food it smacks of zealotry. They might eat only a certain kind of fish cooked on a certain piece of wood. 

They might even believe that they can taste the difference between a strawberry processed at an organic farm and one processed at a conventional one. 

When it becomes truly bizarre, it affects family and friends. Writing at Genetic Literacy Project I discuss people who are on an obsessive quest for health perfection, to an extent that they fetishize their food process.