Bad Science – Caused by Bad Scientist?

We read and hear about scientific studies on a daily basis. News outlets and editorials always seem to be reporting on some sort of new finding, and most people don’t question them. Why should we? A scientist wouldn’t lie, right? Unfortunately, new studies have revealed that a shocking number of researchers and scientists aren’t always being 100% honest.

The graphic below reveals that 1 out of 3 scientists admit to using questionable research practices, and 1 in 50 outright admit to fabricating data. Furthermore, 81% stated that they would have no problems fabricating results in order to win a grant and/or get published. Check out the full graphic below to learn more about this disturbing trend.

Bad Science
Created by: Clinical Psychology

Scientists Say We Need to Search the Moon for Alien Traces

Remember when the Moon was kind of a big deal? Since the whole “we need to be the first country on the moon” phase died out, we’ve been locked up our planet.

The video above from Carl Sagan talks about what the space missions were all about. According to him, we really lost “the passion” to go back and search for new things. We didn’t find anything that was of real monetary value, and while we did learn about space, we didn’t find much on the moon – and thus, we never went back.

Professor Paul Davis from Arizona State University and Robert Wagner from Research Technician at the School of Earth & Exploration think the moon has more secrets than we think it does. They published a scientific paper calling for the Search of Alien Artifacts on the Moon.

In their paper they state that while the search for ET has a very low probably of being successful, the mere fact of finding evidence or proof that they exist may re-spark our current search for intelligent life. They argue that while we are doing great advancements on radio technology, we need to be doing more than just looking for radio messages and signals.

Here is what they think happened in the past:

• Alien civilizations may have sent probes to our region of the galaxy.
• Any mission to the solar system would probably have occurred a very long time ago. The lunar environment could preserve artifacts for millions of years.
• Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter provides a photographic database to search for artifacts.
• Searching the LRO database would make an excellent educational project.

They want to start by using photographs from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to search for alien structures – machinery, buildings, and artifacts. The paper states that the cost is very low since the LRO has over 300,000 pictures, and even if they don’t find any signs of alien life, they would learn about the moon in the process.

The researchers believe that if there is something on the moon, it would be in perfect condition since the lunar surface has very little activity now days. They believe that if aliens were on the moon, at one time or another, they probably left signs of – we were here. Davis and Wagner believe that we need to look into the lava caves because it is a possibility that the alien explorers may have installed their bases in these caves millions or thousands of years ago.

In my opinion this would be great, and they are right, we just barely realized that there are small moons circling the Earth, I highly doubt we could detect a probe in our solar system.  While we are making great advancements in our radio signal technology, our scientist should focus on other ways to detect or at least find signs of  life in other planets, or in this case our Moon. Via: The Guardian

Are You Inhaling Secondhand Cocaine?

We’ve seen the advertisements around the highways that say “second hand smoke is just as bad to your child” but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “second hand cocaine causes you to commit crimes and puts you at risk of cancer.” Researchers have found that there are regions with high levels of cocaine and marijuana floating around the air that trigger these two things.

Studies were conducted since the early 1990’s to test how much cocaine was making it into our atmosphere. In 2007, Angelo Cecinato, a chemist working at the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research in Rome, detected cocaine in the air of Rome and in the city of Taranto near the coast of southern Italy.  At the time, this was nothing more than a curious find, but further studies revealed that the concentrations of whatever drug was higher wherever drug use was most prevalent.

Why is this good?

Well, right now law enforcement has to rely on word of mouth, and police arrest to determine which areas of the city use more drugs than the others. This is usually time consuming and by the time the police finds a “hot zone” it’s already to late. This new technique can help officers find drug areas faster and cheaper.

How accurate is this?

Surprisingly it’s very good, Cecinato and colleagues analyzed the air in 20 spots in eight regions of Italy in winter and 39 sites in 14 regions in summer. The investigators collected air samples, extracted the contaminants, and analyzed the results, checking for cocaine and cannabinoids (the active ingredients in marijuana). To rule out false positives caused by other compounds, the team also tested for common pollutants including hydrocarbons, ozone, and nitric oxide.

Interesting Finds with this new study:

After they found the areas of the city that used the most drugs, they began to cross reference several things. They found that the more cocaine that was found in the air, the higher the crime rate was for that specific area. The data showed associations between air levels of cocaine and crime, such as robbery.

They also found that there is a small relationship between cocaine levels and some cancers, and between cannabinoid levels and mental disorders, also turned up. But Cecinato cautions that it’s not clear what—if anything—those correlations mean. The study could be a starting point for future research, he says.

But, even though he found these connections, if you don’t use cocaine, you don’t really have to worry about anything. There is more cocaine found in your money than in the air. Compton said “I wouldn’t sound any alarm bells based on this one study. But the researchers did find this link, and it’s worth further exploration. Second-hand cigarette smoke wasn’t considered a health threat either, until comparatively recently.” This could be a problem in the future, but as right now, we have nothing to worry about. Via: Science Mag

Brain-Eating Amoeba In Tap Water Kills Two In Lousiana

If you’re easily paranoid, don’t read this article. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a warning that looked like it came straight out of a science fiction book: If you’re going to irrigate your sinuses [shoving water down your nose like the picture to the bottom right], don’t use tap water. Why? Because your brain may get infected with Naegleria Fowleri – better known as The Brain Eating Amoeba – the weird looking thing on the picture to the left. This amoeba actually kills you, its responsible for two deaths in the state already. They were infected after they irrigated their sinuses with tap water.

The amoeba is a micro-organism that is usually found in lakes, hot springs, ponds, an any other place that has warm water. The strange thing about this amoeba is that you can drink as much of it as you want, as long as it doesn’t come out of your nose or intake the water through your nose.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, when you put water up your nose, the amoeba will attack your nervous system until you’re dead. The bad thing is that your chances of survival are… 2 percent. Basically, if you’re infected you better start making calls to the make a wish foundation.

Immediately after getting infected you will start to get the symptoms, your taste and smell will be out of whack, you will have fever, nausea, and headaches. Then it will work its way down to your neck area, you’ll start to have a stiff neck, you’ll start vomiting, and start to suffer from seizures. Eventually you’ll start to experience confusion and hallucinations, and two weeks after exposure you’re dead.  – I’m not even exaggerating.

If you’re from Louisiana, or other parts of the world and perform this Nasal Irrigation Procedure – try to be careful with where you get your water from. Even if you think it’s safe, try to boil it first just in case. If you irrigate your nasal cavities, and start to feel any of the symptoms, don’t panic. Unless you’re from LA, then I may suggest you call the nearest hospital – Yahoo

Researchers Used an MRI Machine to Teach You Anything You Want to Know!

You remember that part in the Matrix where Neo is hooked up to the “Matrix” and he instantly learns Kung Fu? That’s a bunch of science fiction, or, it was science fiction… until some researchers found a way to actually do that same thing using an MRI – if you’re thinking about going into the Teaching field, your job may became obsolete in the next couple of decades. Soon, we’ll all know everything Wikipedia has to offer in a matter of hours.

A while back I had a story talking about UC Berkeley researchers using an MRI to make videos out of your dreams and thoughts. Well, a couple of American and Japanese researchers joined forces to experiment with that same technology and they actually discovered that the technology works both ways. They found a way to use the functional MRI to generate patterns inside of your brain, these patterns are then used to teach you new things – like Kung Fu

So how exactly does this machine work? Well, you basically go out and find a person that is very good at doing something that requires high performance from your visual nerve endings (eyes)  – something like dodging a ball or catching a baseball. You place them inside an fMRI machine and then record their brain waves when they visualize catching the ball, or dodging the punch. Once the MRI pops out the graph and information about what’s going on inside their brains, the scientist create a program and store it into a computer.

Then you, the inexperience baseball catching or punch dodging person, comes into the picture. They place you inside of the MRI and rig the machine to induce the punch dodging or ball catching image that was recorded from the professional using something that’s called “Neurofeedback.” Your brain basically learns how to do the same actions by becoming familiar with the same pattern – and that’s the same pattern that happens when you are learning something new…. You basically speed up the process form a few years (the time it takes to becoming a pro) down to a few hours.

So, there you have it, next time you want to become a professional kung fu fighter, as long as you have the athletic body, you can learn the moves in a couple of hours! While this technology is more for learning physical movements, eventually the technology may advance to a stage where we could learn intellectual knowledge like Wikipedia or even another language.

Science and NSF, via io9

New World Record For Lightest Material Can Rest on Top of Dandelion

How cool would it be if I could give you absolute, undeniable evidence that aliens exist and even live among us?  Well, I can’t, but what I can tell you is that there is a new record for the world’s lightest material.  Supposedly it is called a micro-latice structure, based on its chemical composition.  The guys from The California Institute of Technology and HRL Laboratories developed this cool concept and turned it into a reality.

One really cool part of this structure is that it is unusually strong, able to recover from a force that puts about 50% strain onto the material, something that would usually just crush such a light material.  Also it is almost 100 times lighter than Stryofoam, try to imagine that!  It is able to be this light and yet strong because of its super low density, 0.9 mg/cc, basically it is super airy.  They create this material using tons of mini-tubes in a system, so they can create it in different cube or rectangular prism shapes, and then mold it however they want.  To me it almost looks like a perfect game of Jenga.

Interestingly enough, the previous owner of the title “lightest material in the world” was referred to as liquid smoke, or the boring scientific name multi-walled carbon nanotube aerogel, and had a density of 4 mg/cc.  That means the new material is less than 1/4th the density of the previous one.  Get this, the currently un-named material is 99.99 percent open volume, those tube-like items in the picture are actually hollow and the wall of them consists of just 100 nanometers of material.  That’s around 1,000 times as thin as a human hair, which is why this substance is being classified around the world as a scientific anomaly, even the rocket scientists in our world can’t figure out how this thing works!  In the end, this material is going to be used by DARPA, one of our government’s technological task forces, and possibly in other consumer items.  Possibly being used in battery electrodes, or even in acoustics as a preventative measure towards vibration, this material is going to see a lot of use, as it is so handy.

It seems they actually got the idea from fairly old, and modern, architecture:

Dr. Bill Carter, manager of the Architected Materials Group at HRL, lays out the vision for these micro-lattice materials by drawing parallels to large structures: “Modern buildings, exemplified by the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, are incredibly light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architectures.  We are revolutionizing lightweight materials by bringing this concept to the materials level and designing their architectures at the nano and micro scales.”

Via: HRL Laboratories

Why Sir Isaac Newton is The Greatest Physicist in History

The video above is from Neil deGrasse Tyson, a very smart man… just in case you’re wondering, he was recently on BigThink where they were asking him a series of questions about physicist of the past etc. They asked him who he though the greatest Physicist in History was, and he said Newton. From his writings alone, you can clearly see that he was connected to something else in the universe. Anyone that reads his writings instantly get the sensation that their hairs in their necks stand up.

According to Neil, before Newton turned 26 he discovered the laws of Optics, he discovered that all colors merged together actually creates white, and not black as most people had theorized at the time. He then discovered the laws of motion, and the universal law of gravitation.

He was than asked why the orbits of the planets were in the shape of an ellipse, rather than a circle or any other shape. A few months later he came back with an answer, when asked how he figured it out he said he created a new form of math. We call that ,Calculus. Something that we all have problems learning in college, he basically created it on a dare. Then he became 26, and that’s why Neil think he’s the greatest Physicist in History… what do you think?

University of Texas Scientists Create a 100% Effective Flu Vaccine

The Draco is supposed to be a vaccine that can kill all viruses, including the flu virus. But Draco only works after you have been infected by the flu, so while you may be instantly cured – you’re still going to feel like crap. Preventing a flu infection is what it’s all about, but it’s nearly impossible. Every year, thousands of new flu mutations and strains infect our population. So much in fact, that scientists don’t have the resources to create a vaccine for every type of strain. But luckily for us, scientist at the University of Texas South Western division, have created a new type of flu vaccine that can protect you against any kind of flu virus, by creating a natural shield for our cells.

Currently, Scientist and researchers spend their entire year trying to study the flu virus strains and mutations to determine which virus is going to be the dominant strain. Before the flu season strikes, the scientists give out the vaccine for that specific mutation. Usually after the flu season goes by, there are thousands of new mutations; the vaccines you received last year, no longer serve a good purpose. That’s why people still get the flu even after receiving the shot. This new vaccine however, can protect you against all mutations of the flu.

The team led by Dr. Beatrice Fontoura took a completely different approach at creating the new vaccine:

What we are doing is something different. We are actually stimulating our own response which is already there – boost it – to fight an infection.

The way Dr. Fontoura wants to defeat the virus strains is by giving us a boost that targets our bodies to create a protein called REDD-1. According to Fontoura, her team discovered that when REDD-1 is low in our cells, the flu virus has no problem infecting a cell. Increasing REDD-1 on our body, actually creates a shield around your cells that makes it impossible for the virus to penetrate.

The team found that the shield is so effective that not even the Spanish Flu, the H1Ni influenza, the H1N1 Swine Flu, can penetrate the shield. Unfortunately, like the Draco, the new flu killer vaccine is not going to be ready for a few more years. The doctors have to pass the FDA approval before they can introduce it to the market. Via: CBS