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Way back in the early days of Science 2.0, we carried an interview with journalist Gary Taubes in which he said the best way to weed out bad scientists was to let them chase something fashionable for attention.
Police know that when a mysterious death of a married woman or man occurs, look at the spouse first. That apparently applies to beekeepers too. 

A lot has been made of colony collapse disorder and despite science studies showing it can't be the modern neonicotinoids that were invented to replace pesticides the last time they were blamed for bee deaths, activist groups have made a lot of money and gotten a lot of press promoting that bees are dying due to chemical corporations. 

Big Data And The Internet Of Things are all the rage, to such an extent they have become anything people want them to mean - they are becoming Smurfs of the technology lexicon. 

Luke-Kristopher Davis. Credit: wales Online

College students in a porn film? Nothing special about that.

Actually, it is when the college student is a man. Adult films are all about hot young women but it's not easy breaking in if you are a guy. Usually it happens because you show up with a hot young woman.

Brainbox Swansea University physics student Luke-Kristopher Davis was on holiday in Barcelona when he was approached by director Erika Lust. Lust says she and her firm XConfessions are pioneers of so-called “feminist porn.”

Green Mountain College students care so much about the environment and freedom of choice they have forced a ban on bottled water on the Poultney campus.

"The more we buy and sell bottled water, the more we engage in a culture of treating water as a commodity, incentivizing businesses to extract it from the ground in one community and selling it elsewhere, with little benefit to the people or ecosystem in the community from which the water was extracted," says the College's sustainability coordinator Aaron Witham.

I was not on the Nate Silver fan train the way many people are, I thought it was wishy-washy to predict a presidential race with 68 percent confidence in October of 2012 when I called it 100 percent in July. His stats averaging led him to be no more accurate than a European betting service using nothing but money and every other statistical modeler was correct also, so technically he was nothing special. In this segment, he was latched onto by people who were just looking for new ways to affirm their political bias, a common plight among science media.

While the University of Texas at Austin spends a lot of money in court defending racism in its college admissions policies, Big Data may help solve the real problem in colleges: not who they exclude in their secret admissions sauce but the two-thirds of freshmen students that will not graduate because admission department methods are trapped in the past.

Impact factor, the relative authority of a journal based on article quality, is maligned by people who can't get into top-tier publications but though it was originally created to help libraries know which journals are worth paying for, articles in high impact factor journals are now considered a barometer of quality for government funding agencies, who can't be tasked with analyzing the merits and editorial policies of 25,000 different publications.

Yelp, a local business review site, has released an updated API which increases the number of data calls to 25,000 per day, a big switch from an earlier 100 cap. 

And it's free. Why the change of heart? They have been burned in the past, notably by Google, which used Yelp review content without attributing it. but they seem to no longer be afraid a competitor will scrape its data and grow larger. 
New York environmental activists, including those employed by the state of New York, said Indian Point nuclear power plant should close for 42 days this summer to protect fish.

Since New York is already concerned about brownouts and blackouts, closing a reliable source of clean energy is one of the stranger environmental plans this year. 

Nuclear plants recycle water, of course, and environmentalists are worried fish will die in warm water. Engineers proposed putting up screens to keep fish away but that made too much sense for the Department of Environmental Conservation, which thinks overpaying for fracking-derived energy from neighboring Pennsylvania at high spot market prices is better for its citizens when they run out of electricity.
Germany has said it will double power output from renewable electricity by 2035. It's a noble goal but for industry it has been a bit of a headache.

Because solar and wind are sporadic, there are a lot of drops and surges in electricity and to moderate that the German government has to pay power companies to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable. Businesses do not want their computers all shutting off while people are working.

55 million years ago when the Earth was in a near-runaway climate state, dangerously overheated by greenhouse gases, the Arctic Ocean was a large lake connected to the greater oceans by the Turgay Sea.

Then 50 million years ago, the channel was blocked and that body of water suffered from a lack of exchange with outside waters and became a hot lake. But its waters were also then loaded with excess nutrients and that became the perfect habitat for a small-leaved fern called Azolla

Vani Hari. The Food Babe hates science 
so you don't have to. Credit: Food Babe LLC

Vani Hari, the self-styled Food Babe and chief science expert at Food Babe LLC, has become a celebrity with mainstream media TV because she is thin and pretty and says things with a lot of earnest belief. Sometimes she is more kooky than others, like when she insisted she never uses a microwave oven because no one ever thought to test them and they 'create severe health issues'.

Millions of years ago, the rivers flowing westward across northern Brazil reversed course and began to flow toward the Atlantic. Thus the mighty Amazon was born.

Some have suggested that the about-face was triggered by gradual changes in the flow of hot, viscous rock deep beneath the South American continent. But new computer models hint that the U-turn resulted from more familiar geological processes taking place at Earth’s surface—in particular, the persistent erosion, movement, and deposition of sediment wearing away from the growing Andes.
Last week on the Scientific American blog network, Ashutosh Jogalekar wrote a piece called "Richard Feynman, sexism and changing perceptions of a scientific icon," in which he noted the great communicator could be kind of a jerk about women in his personal life. 

Jogalekarwas surprised at the casual sexism of someone who has basically been beatified in the world of science communication, where a whole cultural industry has been built up around quoting him and gushing over him.
AstraZeneca has probably the best antibiotic pipeline in the industry.  It's also a business they no longer want to be in.

Their departure would follow on the heels of Pfizer exiting that segment, leaving GlaxoSmithKline and Merck. 

Why? Well, pharmaceuticals in general in crisis. I have likened it to the US steel industry in the 1970s. Critics think if they are still making money, it must be okay and they can hammer on them indefinitely. But that isn't how business works. If government-controlled academia has to take over pharmaceutical development, we are doomed. 

Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the early heroes of the environmental movement and creator of the Ames Test, which showed how to use in vitro testing to determine if chemicals could cause DNA damage and thus cancer (sparing a lot of animals), went on to rank all kinds of chemicals in order of risk.

Thus, he was an early voice of sanity in the post-DDT world, where activists tried to convince people there is such a thing as chemical-free. His testing led to evidence-based decision-making about risks and the environment and The Scientist did a recent article on him. 
Nothing is stranger than watching environmental journalists rationalize why they are flying off to yet another conference on climate change. They have to weigh it carefully, they say, and agonize over it, but eventually they determine the 'relationships' are worth the emissions damage they cause.

Then they will munch on catered food and write articles insisting business people should not fly so much. It's 'Why it's right for Sting's wife Trudie Styler to take helicopters 80 miles to visit organic farms' rationalization that Big Green tends to do when it suits them. 
Being a gigantic political donor to Democrats can only take you so far when it comes to the FDA, even if Democrats control it at the moment. And being a darling of science media and having a Silicon Valley pedigree has its limits as well.

An FDA director recently hammered $100-million-in-venture-capital home DNA company 23andMe just a few weeks after co-founder Anne Wojcicki and "other billionaire Silicon Valley wives" - that is the verbage of Ariana Eunjung Cha at the Washington Post, not me - went on a charm offensive in Washington, D.C.