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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I founded Science 2.0® in 2006 and since then it has become the world's largest independent science communications site, with over 300,000,000 direct readers and reach approaching one billion. Read More »

A new report says that the alternative meat industry, plant-based products designed to look and taste like meat, raised $8 billion even during the pandemic. That's a big success.

They want more but oddly lament that most of their money comes from the private sector. They want the trillions of dollars in subsidies that solar and wind have gotten, claiming it will fight climate change. That's a big problem.
A new study says that drying a load of laundry in a machine releases "microfibers" into the air but chemicals made by a $76 billion company will save us.

Microfibers? Is that a thing? Sure, we have defined healthy down to such an extent that no one is without a disease of some kind. With endocrine disrupting chemicals, small micron particulate matter, and supermarket food it is amazing any of us live more than a day. 

But is it really meaningful? As with Micronauts, it sounds like something that might be the science equivalent of an MCU show but on closer examination is really more like Hasbro latching onto a fad.
Japan has a high suicide rate, so it was news when there were reports from the National Police Agency that October 2020 had more suicide deaths in just that month than they had deaths due to COVID-19 for the year.(1) 
Though nearly everyone recognizes that smoking cigarettes is a known carcinogen, many marijuana users think marijuana smoke is safe. They may not realize it is inhaling the smoke, not that the smoke is from one plant or another, that is the worry. Nicotine or THC is as harmless as caffeine, but when combusted in a leaf with paper and inhaled, everything becomes harmful. Including marijuana plants.
Nothing is more ridiculous than annual logjammed airports because celebrities use private jets to go to climate conferences and tell attendees eating four-course meals they need to do more to convince poor people using dung and wood for fuel that they should want solar panels. Environmental journalists insist they must also attend in person because it "builds relationships" and they promise to give money to some company that says it will plant a tree to assuage their guilt.

It's all nonsense, of course, the kind of rich white elitism that has a different name than in the 19th century but is still warmed over colonialism. 
Fermilab, now a tourist attraction, found the Higgs Boson before the Large Hadron Collider did, but the lack of comparative luminosity made it a struggle to know that as quickly as the LHC did. 

That's why the discovery of a star by Hubble 28 billion lightyears away, a new record, may not last long if everything goes as planned with its long-delayed successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. It's so far away that Hubble can't tell astronomers if it is even one star or two, because statistical blips in the data need more clarity that a deeper space telescope will provide.