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Immune system simulation shows need for multi-target treatments for sepsis

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:18am
Using a computational model of the human immune system, scientists have shown that efforts to combat sepsis might be more effective if they targeted multiple steps in the molecular processes that drive the illness.
Categories: Science

CRISPR-based diagnostic tool advanced, miniature paper test developed

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
The team that first unveiled the rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic tool called SHERLOCK has greatly enhanced the tool's power to work with a miniature paper test, similar to a pregnancy test, allowing rapid and simple detection in any setting. Additional features greatly expand both the breadth and sensitivity of the diagnostic information, including the ability to detect multiple targets at once and quantify the amount of target in a sample.
Categories: Science

Chemists harness artificial intelligence to predict the future (of chemical reactions)

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
A team of researchers have developed state-of-the-art software to predict reaction yields while varying up to four components. Their software can work for any reaction on any substrate, using Spartan data. The researchers hope it will prove to be a valuable tool in expediting the synthesis of new medicines.
Categories: Science

CRISPR scissors, Cas12a, enables cutting-edge diagnostics

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
Utilizing an unsuspected activity of the CRISPR-Cas12a protein, researchers created a simple diagnostic system called DETECTR to analyze cells, blood, saliva, urine and stool to detect genetic mutations, cancer and antibiotic resistance and also diagnose bacterial and viral infections. The scientists discovered that when Cas12a binds its double-stranded DNA target, it indiscriminately chews up all single-stranded DNA. They then created reporter molecules attached to single-stranded DNA to signal when Cas12a finds its target.
Categories: Science

New CRISPR-Cas9 tool edits both RNA and DNA precisely, U-M team reports

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
A tool that has already revolutionized disease research may soon get even better, thanks to an accidental discovery in the bacteria that cause many of the worst cases of meningitis.
Categories: Science

Physicists create new form of light

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
Physicists have created a new form of light that could enable quantum computing with photons.
Categories: Science

Physicists create new form of light

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:17am
Physicists have created a new form of light that could enable quantum computing with photons.
Categories: Science

Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

Science News Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:00am
A study of smog in the Los Angeles valley finds that paints, fragrances and other everyday items are a growing component of the problem.
Categories: Science

Three photons stick together to create a new form of light

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:00am
Photons don’t normally make friends, but now three have been bound together into a brand-new form of light by tricking them into acting like atoms
Categories: Science

Shampoo is causing air pollution, but let’s not lose our heads

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:00am
In Western cities, household products like deodorants and paints are a bigger source of air pollution than vehicle exhausts – so here’s what we need to do
Categories: Science

My profile in the Chicago Maroon

Why Evolution is True Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:45am

Well, I’m informed by the writer, Lee Harris, that the Chicago Maroon has just posted her profile of me, and you can see it by clicking on the screenshot below.

I suspect it will be controversial since I repeat my support of euthanasia for terminally afflicted newborns, call out the Identitarian Left for its shenanigans, and promote the idea of determinism and lack of free will. But it also has cool stuff about my lab wall (something I haven’t written about here) and about my beloved squirrels. Photos were mostly taken by Lee; the one below is for an upcoming book and was actually taken by photographer Mike Myers (I’ll ask them to correct it).

If you read it, remember that this is a transcript from a conversation, not written prose. But I’m pleased with it; it’s fair and balanced and—I hope—interesting.

And some photos with the Maroon’s caption:

Categories: Science

Fossil footprints may put lizards on two feet 110 million years ago

Science News Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:19am
Fossilized footprints found in South Korea could be the earliest evidence of two-legged running in lizards.
Categories: Science

New hole-punched crystal clears a path for quantum light

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:11am
Optical highways for light are at the heart of modern communications. But when it comes to guiding individual blips of light called photons, reliable transit is far less common. Now, researchers have created a photonic chip that both generates single photons, and steers them around.
Categories: Science

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

Space and time from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:11am
Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm -- once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal -- is shrinking out of existence as seen in pictures of Neptune taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Categories: Science

System draws power from daily temperature swings

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:48am
A new device can draw power out of the daily cycle of temperature swings to power remote sensors or communications systems.
Categories: Science

Bari Weiss slammed by censorious NYT colleagues for an innocuous tweet

Why Evolution is True Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:45am

I’ve long maintained that liberal media like the New York Times and the New Yorker are increasingly tilting toward the Regressive Left. The strongest proof of this is what just happened to New York Times columnist Bari Weiss. Weiss is a Left-wing progressive who’s repeatedly criticized the Authoritarian Left. She’s committed the ideological sins of criticizing cultural appropriation, of arguing that Aziz Ansari was sexually clueless but not a criminal, of calling out the Chicago Dyke March for banning the Jewish Pride flag, and of going after the entitled students of The Evergreen State College. (See my posts about her work here.)  Weiss is a Leftist but refuses to kowtow to the increasingly rigorous standards of purity demanded by the Intersectionalist Left.

And for that she just got excoriated. Apparently Weiss’s sins have been rankling her colleagues for some time, but they had no good reason to go after her. Then Weiss committed a really unpardonable sin. She tweeted this after American figure skater Mirai Nagasu landed a triple axel in the Olympics: the first American woman (and third woman in the world) to do so. Weiss immediately issued a tweet celebrating this achievement, paraphrasing a quote from the play Hamilton:

Well, Nagasu was born in America; it was her parents who were immigrants, and they’re not U.S citizens. Weiss was immediately corrected on this point, and agreed:

But that wasn’t good enough! She had engaged in sin of “othering”: of seeming to imply that Nagasu was herself an immigrant, and therefore somehow inferior. Weiss, of course, meant nothing of the sort. You really have to be poisoned by authoritarianism to read any malicious or bigoted intent into Weiss’s tweet.

Nevertheless, the Twitter Storm began, for social media likes nothing more than publicly shaming people who are make “errors” like this. To me, this was an innocuous tweet, meant to praise Nagasu and not to “other her.”

Indeed, the Women’s March tweeted something similar, but said that Nagasu was the “daughter of immigrants” instead of implying she was an immigrant. Huge difference, right? And look at their tweet. It says, “Immigrants make America great!” But Nagasu was NOT an immigrant! How is this materially different from what Weiss said? It goes without saying that nobody went after the Women’s March.

Congratulations to @mirai_nagasu, a daughter of immigrants, and now the first American woman to land a triple axel at the #Olympics.

Immigrants make America great!

— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 12, 2018

Since most New York Times writers aren’t allowed to use Twitter to express dissatisfaction with their colleagues, they took to a forum called “Slack”, a group chat site used by in-house media organizations. Then, of course, a NYT employee leaked the conversation to HuffPo (I’m just guessing here, but it’s pretty obvious). HuffPo would, of course, put the right spin on it: that Weiss had screwed up. The conversation calling out Weiss on Slack can be seen in the article below (click on screenshot), and it’s scary how authoritarian and censorious the Times writers were. Weiss’s failure to issue an immediate and abject apology made things worse. (Of course I don’t think she should have.) At least 13 NYT employees were involved in the conversation.

I’ve also archived the article here in case HuffPo takes it down out of the NYT’s concerns.

Just a few excerpts:

Person B: i guess it’s too much to even expect a “we’re sorry you’re offended” apology since asians don’t matter

Person C: (and she’s being untruthful about having misquoted the song)

Person B: i guess you get full twitter privileges at the nyt when you are consistently factually wrong

. . . Person B: here at the times, some people are allowed to make mistakes and offend. others are not ever afforded one chance.

i will no longer remain silent about our hostile work environment just so that it will be pleasant for others

if “interesting” could be used to describe flashbacks of internment of japanese americans

sorry, but I felt that tweet denied Mirai her full citizenship just as the internment did. and nothing will be done because no one was offended! (since we don’t count)

. . . Person J: thank you for bringing up this issue here! I had thought about posting about it yesterday but opted instead to vent privately to other AAPI/Asian-American colleagues because I didn’t know if I had the energy to address micro aggressions and /or defend my right to feel frustrated at something other people might look at as not a big deal. I’m glad you had the courage to mention this!

on a related note, given the heightened political discourse around “free speech” where many people on the receiving end of criticism complain about being silenced, I don’t think there’s enough thought given to the way institutions/organizations/communities

It goes on like this, and the impression it gives is that NYT writers and employees are like a bunch of spoiled and whiny—yet vicious!—Evergreen State brats, bent on forcing Weiss to apologize, on humiliating her, and perhaps even on getting her fired. All over an innocuous tweet! They were clearly spoiling for a fight,waiting to chew up someone who had violated their standards of “right thought”.

HuffPo asked the NYT for a response, and it gave this boilerplate, which is okay, I guess:

The Times is deeply committed to a workplace that is reflective of the audience we serve. We view diversity – of gender, ethnicity, origin, thought and opinion, as critical to our work. And, we want The Times to be a safe and comfortable place to work for all. For that reason, we’ve prioritized training programs and forums to facilitate a constructive conversation around this very important issue.

Here’s Grania’s take, quoted with permission:

My thought is that Bari has set herself up as a major enemy because of her appearance on Bill Maher’s show the other night, as that elevated her voice above what a newspaper journalist typically is able to reach.

Her ideological opponents now must silence her or be forced to address her points; and as we all know, they don’t like to argue their points. They prefer to declare their opponents are toxic/evil/wrong/bad so that people will stop listening to them.

Grania on Weiss’s Offensive Tweet:

Anyone who isn’t seriously mentally incapacitated should understand that Bari’s tweet was one that endorsed immigration in a positive way as well as praised the skater. The attempt to pretend that it is in fact anti-immigrant and racist is blatantly dishonest, and anyone dogpiling on in agreement is basicially acknowledging that they are prepared to lie openly to achieve their goal: slurring Bari so badly that she becomes persona non grata both at her place of employment and as a talking head at large.

Basically, this is the liberal equivalent of lying for Jesus.

I hope Weiss doesn’t get into trouble. There were plenty of people defending her, and of course some were from the Right, as much of the Left simply wants to ruin Weiss’s reputation. That’s what you do these days when someone offends you.

Here are some supportive tweets:

Journalists usually receive leaks. But for the colleagues of @bariweiss, they slime her anonymously and leak it to a rival publication. Over what? A tweet that quotes Hamilton in praise of the daughter of immigrants. Pathetic is too kind a word.

— Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 14, 2018

Catching up on the @bariweiss stuff and someone please help me understand: I don’t see where she said or even implied that being an immigrant (and yes, I know Nagasu isn’t one) makes someone less than a full citizen. If anything, it was the opposite. I don’t get the outrage.

— (((Michael Koplow))) (@mkoplow) February 14, 2018

please continue to express outrage at something entirely anodyne. It's clearly what you do.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) February 13, 2018

Do you need another sign of civilization's end? Here's one: I tweeted "Immigrants: we get the job done" with a video of Mirai Nagasu's triple axel. The line is a Hamilton reference. I know she was born in Cali. Her parents are immigrants. I was celebrating her and them. (1/2)

— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) February 12, 2018

Michael, You have mansplained to a female-identified person. That’s as much or more of an intersectional lapse as “othering” a US citizen. Just a friendly reminder.

— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) February 13, 2018

It’s this kind of Left-Wing Sturm und Drang about nothing that both amuses and motivates the Right, and I’m starting to think that this Outrage Culture really does drive people into the arms of Trump. If this keeps up, the Official Moron could be re-elected in three years. And nobody with brains wants that.

h/t: Eli, Grania

Categories: Science

In Borneo, hunting emerges as a key threat to endangered orangutans

Science News Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:00am
Only small numbers of Bornean orangutans will survive coming decades, researchers say.
Categories: Science

People are slaughtering orangutans and wiping them out

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:00am
The population of Bornean orangutans fell by almost half in just 16 years, and it was not a sad by-product of deforestation: many apes were killed deliberately
Categories: Science

CRISPR has fixed the genetic cause of a learning disability

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:00am
CRISPR gene editing has been used to alleviate the genetic disorder fragile X syndrome, but the technique has only been tried in cells in a dish so far
Categories: Science

Stem cells zapped with radiation can protect mice from cancer

New Scientist Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 9:00am
Injections of killed stem cells, designed to help the immune system recognise cancers, have been found to protect mice from developing tumours
Categories: Science


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