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Advocating rationality since 1995.

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currentsinbiology:

Young Scientists Say They’re Sexually Abused In The Field (NPR)

In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.
Most of the people reporting harassment or assault were women, and the vast majority were still students or postdocs.
And for female victims, the perpetrator was more likely to be a superior, not a peer. “This is happening to them when they are trainees, when they are most vulnerable within the academic hierarchy,” says evolutionary biologist Katie Hinde , an author on the study in PLOS ONE. Hinde and her colleagues say this could be a factor in the large number of women who enter scientific fields but don’t continue.

Students work at an archaeological dig near Silchester, England.

currentsinbiology:

Young Scientists Say They’re Sexually Abused In The Field (NPR)

In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.

Most of the people reporting harassment or assault were women, and the vast majority were still students or postdocs.

And for female victims, the perpetrator was more likely to be a superior, not a peer. “This is happening to them when they are trainees, when they are most vulnerable within the academic hierarchy,” says evolutionary biologist Katie Hinde , an author on the study in PLOS ONE. Hinde and her colleagues say this could be a factor in the large number of women who enter scientific fields but don’t continue.

Students work at an archaeological dig near Silchester, England.

(via big-gadje-world)

— 1 month ago with 3642 notes
#science  #sexual harrasment 

mirkokosmos:

The First Seismoscope was invented in 132 AD by a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, engineer, and inventor called Zhang Heng.  The device was remarkably accurate in detecting earthquakes from afar, and did not rely on shaking or movement in the location where the device was situated.  Zhang’s seismoscope was a giant bronze vessel, resembling a samovar almost 6 feet in diameter. Eight dragons snaked face-down along the outside of the barrel, marking the primary compass directions. In each dragon’s mouth was a small bronze ball. Beneath the dragons sat eight bronze toads, with their broad mouths gaping to receive the balls. The sound of the ball striking one of the eight toads would alert observers to the earthquake and would give a rough indication of the earthquake’s direction of origin. 

In 2005, scientists in Zengzhou, China [which was also Zhang’s hometown] managed to replicate Zhang’s seismoscope and used it to detect simulated earthquakes based on waves from four different real-life earthquakes in China and Vietnam. The seismoscope detected all of them. As a matter of fact, the data gathered from the tests corresponded accurately with that gathered by modern-day seismometers!

(via scinerds)

— 1 month ago with 575 notes
#Science  #historical 
jtotheizzoe:

The oldest living thing in the world: These actinobacteria, recovered from the subterranean brrrrr-osphere that is Siberian permafrost, are estimated to be 500,000 years old. While many ancient microbes have been revived from ancient dormant states, these bacterial cells have been continuously living for half a million years. It’s known that the bacteria aren’t mobile in the frozen Earth, so by radioactively dating the layers of soil around the microbes, scientists were able to estimate their age.
Unable to divide and reproduce, these microbes were shown to be actively repairing their DNA despite the frigid temperatures, their enzymes uniquely adapted to an environment that would mean certain death for perhaps every other creature on Earth. While not growing, moving, or reproducing, this sort of cryostasis counts as living if you ask me (and the scientists who study them).
What do you think this means for the possibility of life on other planets?
(via Rachel Sussman and Brain Pickings. Check out the original 2007 research paper here)

jtotheizzoe:

The oldest living thing in the world: These actinobacteria, recovered from the subterranean brrrrr-osphere that is Siberian permafrost, are estimated to be 500,000 years old. While many ancient microbes have been revived from ancient dormant states, these bacterial cells have been continuously living for half a million years. It’s known that the bacteria aren’t mobile in the frozen Earth, so by radioactively dating the layers of soil around the microbes, scientists were able to estimate their age.

Unable to divide and reproduce, these microbes were shown to be actively repairing their DNA despite the frigid temperatures, their enzymes uniquely adapted to an environment that would mean certain death for perhaps every other creature on Earth. While not growing, moving, or reproducing, this sort of cryostasis counts as living if you ask me (and the scientists who study them).

What do you think this means for the possibility of life on other planets?

(via Rachel Sussman and Brain Pickings. Check out the original 2007 research paper here)

— 1 month ago with 2753 notes
#science 
Girl 'Cured' of HIV at Birth Now Has Virus →

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A girl believed to be “cured” of HIV at birth now has detectable levels of the virus, health officials said today.

The unnamed girl, dubbed the “Mississippi baby” after being born to an HIV-positive mother in 2010 and quickly treated with an intense dose of antiretroviral medication, showed no signs of the virus for roughly four years, according to the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease. But a recent round of tests revealed detectable levels of HIV in her blood as well as antibodies to the virus and a decreased T-cell count — all signs of the infection.

“Certainly, this is a disappointing turn of events for this young child, the medical staff involved in the child’s care, and the HIV/AIDS research community,” NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement. “Scientifically, this development reminds us that we still have much more to learn about the intricacies of HIV infection and where the virus hides in the body.”

The case of the Mississippi baby made headlines across the globe after being published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Hannah Gay, the University of Mississippi Medical Center pediatrician who treated the infant at birth, was listed as one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2013.

Gay’s decision to give the newborn antiretroviral medication in the days before it was confirmed that she was in fact HIV-positive was controversial, since there was only a 25 percent chance that the girl would contract the virus from her mother.

What You Haven’t Heard about the HIV Baby’s ‘Cure’

Experts Question So-Called HIV ‘Cure’

Read About the 14 HIV Positive Patients Who Went Into Remission

The girl continued treatment for 18 months before her mother stopped taking her to her clinic appointments. Five months later, when she went back for a check-up, she surprised doctors with undetectable levels of the virus.

At first, Gay and her colleagues said the baby had been “functionally cured” of the virus, but later revised their language to “remission” to better convey that there was a chance the virus could rebound, they said at the time.

Although the girl’s positive test results have been described as a disappointment, experts say her case still shows tremendous progress in treating the virus that causes AIDS.

“The fact that this child was able to remain off antiretroviral treatment for two years and maintain quiescent virus for that length of time is unprecedented,” Dr. Deborah Persaud, professor of infectious diseases at the John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, said in a statement released by NIAID. “Typically, when treatment is stopped, HIV levels rebound within weeks, not years.”

Persaud is one of the two pediatric HIV experts involved in the ongoing analysis of the case.

“This virus is amazingly recalcitrant,” said Fauci. “It’s in reservoirs, except we don’t know every place in the body where the reservoir is going to be.”

NIAID and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development announced today that they would provide funding to analyze the unique case and will take the new findings into account during a new clinical trial.

— 1 month ago with 18 notes
#science 

micdotcom:

Watch: Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic man, just moved his arm — with his mind

Burkhart had been unable to move his arms or legs since a diving accident four years ago damaged his spinal cord and left him paralyzed. But thanks to a new device that reroutes his brain signals, Burkhart was recently able to lift his hand using his thoughts.

The technology, called Neurobridge, takes electric signals from the brain and sends them directly to the muscles, bypassing the damaged spinal cord.

Read more | Follow micdotcom

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

— 2 months ago with 16155 notes
#science  #gif 
Bizarre Natural Disaster or Act of God?

historical-nonfiction:

Doctors and scientists were puzzled when in August of 1986 almost 1,800 people were found dead in Cameroon, as well as scores of cattle and wild animals, seemingly overnight. Their bodies showed no outward signs of trauma, disease, or poisons that could have caused such widespread and immediate loss of life. With help from scientists from all over the world, it was determined that a local lake was the most likely cause of the disaster and Lake Nyos, formed in the crater of an extinct volcano, was tested.

Results showed that the CO2 levels in the lake were off the charts as the volcanic chamber which had once released magma to the surface of the earth was still releasing potentially poisonous gases into the lake. The gases pooled due to the unusual stillness of Lake Nyos and when enough accumulated, the gas rose to the surface in bubbles releasing the sometimes deadly gas into the air. Heavier than the surrounding air, carbon dioxide easily suffocated those unlucky enough to be sleeping during the event. Lakes that behave in this way are incredibly rare which is why nobody thought to worry about it before 1,800 people died.

(Source: hurricaneinsurance.com)

— 2 months ago with 301 notes
#science 
Not An Onion Article of the Day: A Superbug Resistant to 'Last-Resort' Antibiotics Has Made Its Way into the Food Supply →

thepoliticalfreakshow:

A dangerous “superbug” has made its way into the North American food supply for the first time, Canadian researchers  announced Wednesday. Routine testing of raw squid, imported from South Korea, revealed a strain of bacteria resistant to carbapenems, a class of antibiotics used to treat life-threatening infections.

This is concerning because carbapenems are a “last resort” antibiotic, one doctors turn to when common antibiotics fail. Health officials have been watching them closely; in April, the World Health Organization  warned that antibiotic resistance had become a serious, global threat to public health, listing the spread of carbapanem resistance as a main reason for that.

Carbapanem-resistant bacteria have been detected in the environment and in animals used for food, but this is the first time they’ve been found in food itself. That raises the stakes considerably, Joseph Rubin, assistant professor of veterinary microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan and head of the research team,  explained, because it means “the risk of exposure in the public goes beyond people with travel histories and beyond people who have been previously hospitalized” — a select group — to the general public.

Maryn McKenna, who  first broke the news, has more on why this is such a big deal:

Beyond the obvious, that this is a first finding of a resistance factor where it has not previously been, here are some concerns: Because the carbapenem-resistant bacteria tend to be gut bacteria, anything that conducts them into your gut—like, for instance, swallowing them—is problematic. The issue isn’t that the bacterium is going to cause a foodborne illness immediately; the bacteria carrying this gene was not a disease-causing variety. Rather, the concern is that the DNA conferring this resistance passes from this bacterium into the vast colony of diverse bacteria that live in your gut for your entire life, becoming incorporated into your gut flora and posing a risk of drug-resistant illness at some future point when the balance of your immune system slips.

That this was found on seafood—a type of food that we tend to undercook and sometimes eat raw—just increases the risk of transmission. And that’s not even to mention the possibility that bacteria containing the gene spread to other seafood or other foods in that store, or in the kitchens of anyone unlucky enough to bring them home.

“Finding this organism in food is extremely disturbing,” Rubin  told the Washington Post. “This widens the possibilities for the spread of resistance.”

As a reminder, that would be  very, very bad.

Source: Lindsey Abrams for Salon on AlterNet

— 2 months ago with 38 notes
#science 
Earth may have underground ‘ocean’ three times that on surface

breakingnews:

image

After decades of searching scientists have discovered that a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over, may be trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, potentially transforming our understanding of how the planet was formed.

Read more here

— 2 months ago with 1832 notes
#science 
mothernaturenetwork:

Scientists achieve quantum teleportation of data with 100 percent accuracyThe breakthrough could prove that Einstein — who derided the idea of quantum teleportation as ‘spooky’ — was wrong.

mothernaturenetwork:

Scientists achieve quantum teleportation of data with 100 percent accuracy
The breakthrough could prove that Einstein — who derided the idea of quantum teleportation as ‘spooky’ — was wrong.

— 2 months ago with 267 notes
#science