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'Jon Snow's negative experience on skunk is very understandable'

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-02-23 11:33

The scientist whose research led to Channel 4’s The Cannabis Trial explains the point of the experiment

“Skunk stole Snow’s soul”, “Just say no, Snow” – these were just some of the headlines this week in response to Jon Snow’s blogpost and video recounting his experience of smoking ‘skunk’-type cannabis as part of a scientific study at University College London (UCL) which will be shown in a live TV programme – Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial – on Channel 4 on March 3.

We wanted to answer some of the questions raised by people about the trial as well as providing some of the wider context about this study, plus its aims and rationale.

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Categories: Science news

Campaigners split on ban of sex-based abortions

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-02-23 08:00
Should it be illegal to abort a fetus because of its sex? UK lawmakers will weigh up the idea, which critics say is unenforceable and erodes women's rights






Categories: Science news

There's no evidence e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-02-23 06:00

A recent article claimed there’s no evidence that vaping is less harmful than smoking. Tobacco expert Linda Bauld argues otherwise

In his recent ‘Comment is free’ piece Nash Riggins claims that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, and expresses robust support for NHS Boards in Scotland who intend to ban the use of electronic cigarettes when their grounds go tobacco free in April.

The reader might be left with impression that the use of nicotine is simply not compatible with public health aims, and that e-cigarettes should be subject to the same restrictions as tobacco products. However, to reach such a conclusion Riggins overlooks an extraordinary body of evidence pointing to the contrary. Disregarding this evidence could mean missing out on the potential of e-cigarettes to save lives. Let’s look at his assertions.

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Categories: Science news

The Imitation Game director defends film's lack of gay sex scenes

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-02-22 23:03

Oscar-nominated director Morten Tyldum says none were necessary as Alan Turing’s life and relationships were ‘all about secrecy’

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Categories: Science news

Family of Alan Turing to demand government pardon 49,000 other men

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-02-22 18:30

Campaigners to bring petition to Downing Street, demanding all men convicted under gross indecency law for their homosexuality are pardoned

The family of the codebreaker Alan Turing will visit Downing Street on Monday to demand the government pardons 49,000 other men persecuted like him for their homosexuality.

Turing, whose work cracking the German military codes was vital to the British war effort against Nazi Germany, was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a 19-year-old man, was chemically castrated, and two years later died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide.

Related: Oscars 2015 - live! Red carpet, arrivals, ceremony... and winners

Related: The Imitation Game director defends film's lack of gay sex scenes

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Stunning fossils: Big Mama brooding

New Scientist - news - Sun, 2015-02-22 18:00
She was sitting on her nest keeping her eggs warm, just like modern birds do, when disaster struck (full text available to subscribers)






Categories: Science news

Stunning fossils: Sauropod flees for its life

New Scientist - news - Sun, 2015-02-22 12:00
The trail of footprints left by a huge sauropod and a T. rex.-like dinosaur may record a predatory chase (full text available to subscribers)






Categories: Science news

A rounded education of science and arts should be for all

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-02-22 00:05
Politicians need to back a curriculum that allows pupils to study a broad range of subjects Continue reading...






Categories: Science news

To Explain the World review – a dry study of history’s greatest scientists

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-02-22 00:05
Nobel prize-winner Steven Weinberg’s history of knowledge covers well trodden ground, barely straying from physics and astronomy

“I confess that I find Aristotle frequently tedious, in a way that Plato is not,” writes Steven Weinberg, “but although often wrong Aristotle is not silly, in the way that Plato sometimes is.”

It’s a school report to make the philosophers blush, but with his latest book, To Explain the World, Weinberg makes it clear he isn’t out to polish anyone’s pedestal. No, he has turned to the notes and theories from classical Greece to reveal how far our understanding, and investigative techniques, progressed between antiquity and the age of enlightenment. For, as Weinberg argues, while Aristotle prized theories based on mental rumination alone, it was the emergence of the scientific method, rooted in physical experimentation, that has allowed us to discover, explain and harness the laws of nature.

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Piltdown Man, Beringer’s lying stones, dinosaurs… are they all hoaxes?

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-02-22 00:05
Palaeontologists of the past have fallen for some barely believable fakes. So what to think about ultra-sceptics who still question the existence of dinosaurs?

The history of palaeontology is littered with examples of famous frauds and fakes, often with eminent researchers in the field being thoroughly hoodwinked by some fairly shoddy fabrications.

One of the most famous is Piltdown Man. Discovered in a gravel pit in Sussex in 1912, a few ancient-looking fragments of a skull and jawbone quickly became hailed as evidence of a very early type of human, perhaps half a million years old. The specimens were named Eoanthropus dawsoni (“Dawson’s dawn man”), after their discoverer, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson.

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Urgent call for new drugs to treat causes of Parkinson’s

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 22:00
Doctors and scientists believe urgent action is needed to discover new medicines to tackle degenerative nerve ailment Continue reading...






Categories: Science news

Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 21:32
  • Willie Soon is researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Documents: Koch brothers foundation among groups that gave total of $1.25m
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Stunning fossils: Mother giving birth

New Scientist - news - Sat, 2015-02-21 16:30
A unique fossil captures this ancient ichthyosaur as she was in the middle of delivering her three offspring (full text available to subscribers)






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Nasa astronauts begin spacewalk to prepare docking port for shuttles

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 16:08

Station commander Barry Wilmore and flight engineer Terry Virts set out on six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, the first of three outings over the next eight days

A pair of US astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Saturday to begin rigging parking spots for two commercial space taxis.

Station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, 52, and flight engineer Terry Virts, 47, left the station’s Quest airlock shortly before 8am ET to begin a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, the first of three outings over the next eight days.

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Categories: Science news

What goes on inside a proton?

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 14:50

Quarks and gluons make weird slopes and shapes inside the proton. Understanding them precisely was important for the first results from Cern’s Large Hadron Collider, and continues to be so as we approach the restart over the next few weeks

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'Superbug' outbreak that killed two unlikely to spread beyond LA hospital

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 13:00

Expert cautions that antibiotic-resistant bacteria needs to come under control but says ordinary Americans do not need to worry

A “superbug” outbreak made national headlines this week, as up to 179 patients at the UCLA Ronald Reagan medical center in Los Angeles were potentially exposed to “nightmare” bacteria through a pair of specialized gastrointestinal tools. The germs may have been a contributing factor in the deaths of two people, doctors said.

Related: Superbug at LA hospital linked to two deaths and 179 potential infections

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Categories: Science news

Stunning fossils: Turtles caught in the act

New Scientist - news - Sat, 2015-02-21 11:00
You don't need to be a fossil expert to work out what these two turtles were up to just before they died (full text available to subscribers)






Categories: Science news

It’s easy to sneer at the wannabe Martians, but I can’t help but admire their pioneering spirit

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-02-21 08:00
Whether or not they actually get there, the dreamers and entrepreneurs of Mars One represent a collaborative, hopeful, outward-looking ethos that seems well worth celebrating Continue reading...
Categories: Science news

Arctic biologist: I can't keep up with climate change

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-02-20 20:30
Antje Boetius is watching Arctic ecosystems transform at an alarming rate, using every tool at her disposal in a bid to keep track of it all (full text available to subscribers)






Categories: Science news

Stunning fossils: Dinosaur death match

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-02-20 18:00
The Velociraptor and Protoceratops were engaged in a desperate struggle when they were abruptly buried by a landslide (full text available to subscribers)
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