Scientists turn wood into a material that reflects heat, is as strong as steel


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A team of scientists from across the United States has figured out a way to process wood into a material that’s light and strong, and that has remarkable properties when it comes to reflecting heat. The experiment offers the potential of creating buildings that do such a good job of passive cooling that energy costs will be cut in half. With buildings already consuming 70% of electricity in the United States, and the climate crisis only increasing the demand for air conditioning, the potential impact of a better way to keep buildings cool is tremendous.

In a paper published by Science, the team writes that the best way to save energy on a building is not to expend it in the first place, and that one way to do that is simply to reflect away heat. That way buildings, especially those in hot and dry areas, don’t have to expend even more energy on

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Failure to launch: Despite billions of investment, Stratolaunch shutting down without ever going up


This post is by Mark Sumner from Daily Kos


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Out of all the space startups in the last decade, few had a better foundation than Seattle-based Stratolaunch. Backed by the billions of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and incorporating the engineering  genius of X-Prize winner Burt Rutan, the company seemed to be in the top tier of an industry that’s been growing almost as fast as its main product takes to the skies. But on Friday, Reuters reported that the company which in the process of getting to space built the largest plane ever to fly … isn’t going to space. And that plane may never fly again.

To reach space, Stratolaunch developed an ambitious program that took advantage of Rutan’s skills at designing aircraft. Just as with the prize-winning SpaceShipOne, the company would carry its orbital craft aloft using a plane, giving its rockets an altitude and speed boost and supposedly reducing costs in the process. At first Stratolaunch tried to

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This week in science: fires from space


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Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo had a nice summary this week touching on the science of human behavior. There are two themes therein, the first on how a guilty person behaves, and a more subtle point on how most of us usual, normal people harbor resistance of a sort from coming to the obvious conclusion when that conclusion is unsettling and/or lies far outside the usual norms:

[T]he President has used every power at his disposal to stop investigations into what happened. He tried to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. He demanded loyalty and protection from the head of the FBI. He fired the head of the FBI because of the Russia probe. He tried to fire Robert Mueller. He tried to bully Jeff Sessions into resigning … He has been at more or less constant war with the FBI and the Intelligence Community. He openly dangles pardons to thwart

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Abbreviated Science Round-up: But her pocketses, the inside scoop on wheat, robot peer pressure


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Since I was late this morning in finishing my science reading (I got caught up fuming over things like freedom of speech and the culture of cruelty, because I haven’t learned to keep my head down on Saturday morning), I’m munging together popular articles, mostly from secondary sources, and peer-reviewed research this afternoon. Though hopefully not in a way that makes it impossible to tell which is which.

With that in mind, here is clearly the most important science news of the week: Women’s pockets are too small. As reported with admirable completeness (and keen diagrams) at the site pudding.cool, science has confirmed something that every woman has been aware of since … ever. That being that you can’t fit a decent phablet into any pocket on any piece of clothing owned by anyone sporting a double-X set of chromosomes.

There are few things more frustrating than collecting your belongings

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Fracking use of water has increased 770% over the last 5 years—and that’s just the beginning


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A new study out of Duke University shows that fracking operations in the United States have boomed in their use of water over the past five years. The researchers found that between 2011 and 2016, the amount of water being used, per well, increased 770 percent. On top of that—during the same time—the amount of “brine-laden” wastewater generated by those wells increased 1,440 percent.

Climate change is already costing billions—and it’s getting worse


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Being a climate change denier can be extremely profitable for energy companies and the politicians who love them. That’s why several energy companies have invested in spreading doubt. But climate change is becoming extremely expensive for everyone else.

Campaign Action

Climate change is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in disaster relief and the tab will only increase as extreme weather events become more common, according to a new government study.

The federal government has spent an estimated $350 billion over the past decade responding to extreme weather and fire events, which are exacerbated by climate change, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. It comes as Congress moves to approve billions of dollars in extra funding for hurricane relief.

With the recent series of disasters, including both hurricanes and fires, there’s been a tendency among scientists questioned to hedge around the relationship between causation and climate change with statements about

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Trump administration bars government scientists from speaking at climate change conference


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Under Donald Blowhard Trump, Republican thought leaders continue implementing their lifelong dream of kicking objective reality in the shins because reasons.

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the speaking appearance of three agency scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on Monday in Rhode Island, according to the agency and several people involved.
John Konkus, an E.P.A. spokesman and a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that agency scientists would not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.

The “former Trump campaign operative” is of course sufficient explanation on its own. As for what the scientists are being barred from discussing:

Scientists there will unveil the report on the state of [Narragansett Bay], which E.P.A. scientists helped research and write. Among the findings will be that climate change is affecting air

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Trump regime protects corporate cronies by censoring science paid for by the American public


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More than two months ago, Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke raised his very special flag to show that a study already underway on the health effects of mountaintop removal mining was being put into the freezer. The justification was that it was a money saving effort, though the $1 million cost of the study hardly seemed enough to make halting it a priority. And here’s the funny thing 

At the time, Interior officials downplayed the move as simply part of a broader review of all funded projects that cost more than $100,000. But the academies later revealed that the mountaintop removal study was the only one of the Interior-funded academies projects that had been blocked for a financial review.

But then, Donald Trump did use one of his very first executive orders expressly to make mountaintop removal mining easier by removing barriers to dumping coal waste into streams and rivers. Producing

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This week in science: Jurassic garden


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Natural history specials are full of scaly monsters thundering over land or splashing through ancient seas. But one of the most important evolutionary developments was the rise of angiosperms in the Jurassic. That’s flowering plants for you civilians. A recent project—the original abstract is here— provides one plausible scenario of what those first flowers may have looked like:

Scientists combined models of flower evolution with the largest data set of features from living flowers ever assembled. From this the team was able to infer the appearance of the ancestral flower. Hervé Sauquet, from Université Paris-Sud, France, one of the authors of the paper published this week in Nature Communications said: “There is no living flower that looks exactly like the ancestral one – and why should there be? This is a flower that existed at least 140 million years ago and has had considerable time to evolve into

Continue reading “This week in science: Jurassic garden”

This week in science: Jurassic garden


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Natural history specials are full of scaly monsters thundering over land or splashing through ancient seas. But one of the most important evolutionary developments was the rise of angiosperms in the Jurassic. That’s flowering plants for you civilians. A recent project—the original abstract is here— provides one plausible scenario of what those first flowers may have looked like:

Scientists combined models of flower evolution with the largest data set of features from living flowers ever assembled. From this the team was able to infer the appearance of the ancestral flower. Hervé Sauquet, from Université Paris-Sud, France, one of the authors of the paper published this week in Nature Communications said: “There is no living flower that looks exactly like the ancestral one – and why should there be? This is a flower that existed at least 140 million years ago and has had considerable time to evolve into

Continue reading “This week in science: Jurassic garden”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


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Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of

Continue reading “New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates”

This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust


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Carl Sagan popularized the notion that we are made of star dust. And some of that dust, like the iron in our blood, even comes from supernova explosions. When massive, short-lived stars blow their fiery guts in a funeral pyre that can be detected across the universe. So it’s too surprising that some of the atoms liberated by those distant eruptions ends up in the Milky Way galaxy:

They got a big surprise instead. The simulations showed that supernovae, the explosions of dying stars, can produce winds of gas that can escape their parent galaxy, travel for billions of years across intergalactic space, and become absorbed into a different galaxy, where the newly arrived atoms may form new stars. The simulations demonstrated that gas flows from smaller galaxies to larger galaxies, like the Milky Way. The researchers dubbed the phenomenon, which Anglés-Alcázar said hasn’t been studied before, intergalactic transfer.

Continue reading “This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust”

This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Carl Sagan popularized the notion that we are made of star dust. And some of that dust, like the iron in our blood, even comes from supernova explosions. When massive, short-lived stars blow their fiery guts in a funeral pyre that can be detected across the universe. So it’s too surprising that some of the atoms liberated by those distant eruptions ends up in the Milky Way galaxy:

They got a big surprise instead. The simulations showed that supernovae, the explosions of dying stars, can produce winds of gas that can escape their parent galaxy, travel for billions of years across intergalactic space, and become absorbed into a different galaxy, where the newly arrived atoms may form new stars. The simulations demonstrated that gas flows from smaller galaxies to larger galaxies, like the Milky Way. The researchers dubbed the phenomenon, which Anglés-Alcázar said hasn’t been studied before, intergalactic transfer.

Continue reading “This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust”

This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust


This post is by from Daily Kos


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Carl Sagan popularized the notion that we are made of star dust. And some of that dust, like the iron in our blood, even comes from supernova explosions. When massive, short-lived stars blow their fiery guts in a funeral pyre that can be detected across the universe. So it’s too surprising that some of the atoms liberated by those distant eruptions ends up in the Milky Way galaxy:

They got a big surprise instead. The simulations showed that supernovae, the explosions of dying stars, can produce winds of gas that can escape their parent galaxy, travel for billions of years across intergalactic space, and become absorbed into a different galaxy, where the newly arrived atoms may form new stars. The simulations demonstrated that gas flows from smaller galaxies to larger galaxies, like the Milky Way. The researchers dubbed the phenomenon, which Anglés-Alcázar said hasn’t been studied before, intergalactic transfer.

Continue reading “This week in science: We are all intergalactic stardust”

New information suggests that scientists have underestimated global warming—but don’t panic


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A new study indicates that climate scientists may have underestimated the amount of global warming that has already occurred by as much as 20 percent. But that doesn’t mean that it’s any hotter outside. It’s a matter of hotter relative to what?

Preventing global warming from becoming “dangerous” may have just got significantly harder after new research suggested climate scientists have been using the wrong baseline temperature.

Scientists haven’t been making some kind of mistake in measuring the temperature. The issue is time. Most climate change models start somewhere in the 19th century, with the best data set beginning around 1880. But this new study indicates that this date may actually be too late if the intent is to really capture all the impact burning of fossil fuels has had on the climate. By the late 1800s, people had already been burning fossil fuels in rapidly-increasing amounts to stoke the

Continue reading “New information suggests that scientists have underestimated global warming—but don’t panic”