Coffee Party Science
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Coffee Party Science
News, information, and actions in defense of science as a method for predicting outcomes and making policy.
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Can We Create A Digital Brain?

Can We Create A Digital Brain? | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Probably not: The mind is best understood, not as software, but rather as an emergent property of the physical brain. So building an artificial intelligence with the same level of complexity as that of a human intelligence isn’t a matter...
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Is the Federation of State Medical Boards Behind the Brutal Attacks on Integrative Medicine Practitioners? | The Alliance for Natural Health USA

Is the Federation of State Medical Boards Behind the Brutal Attacks on Integrative Medicine Practitioners? | The Alliance for Natural Health USA | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
The FSMB is an elite, highly influential, secretive private organization. Recent reports suggest it may also be corrupt. Action Alert!
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Study: ‘Virtually’ Certain Impact of Manmade ‘Climate Change is Observable in Arctic Sea Ice Already Today’

Study: ‘Virtually’ Certain Impact of Manmade ‘Climate Change is Observable in Arctic Sea Ice Already Today’ | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
The ongoing rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice is often interpreted as the canary in the mine for anthropogenic climate change.
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The Science Of The Near Death Experience

The Science Of The Near Death Experience | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Explored: The scientific [Near Death Experiences (NDE)] studies performed over the past decades indicate that heightened mental functions can be experienced independently of the body at a time when brain activity is greatly impaired or seemingly...
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Natural gas producers are being forced to scale back as prices fall, storage caverns fill up

Natural gas producers are being forced to scale back as prices fall, storage caverns fill up | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

by Associated Press


The U.S. natural gas market is bursting at the seams.So much natural gas is being produced that soon there may be nowhere left to put the country’s swelling surplus. After years of explosive growth, natural gas producers are retrenching.


The underground salt caverns, depleted oil fields and aquifers that store natural gas are rapidly filling up after a balmy winter depressed demand for home heating.


The glut has benefited businesses and homeowners that use natural gas. But with natural gas prices at a 10-year low — and falling — companies that produce the fuel are becoming victims of their drilling successes. Their stock prices are falling in anticipation of declining profits and scaled-back growth plans. [MORE]

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NASA scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery

NASA scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

by SEVERIN CARRELL, The Guardian, via The Raw Story


Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasa climate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.


He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an “injustice of one generation to others”.


“The situation we’re creating for young people and future generations is that we’re handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control,” he said. “We’re in an emergency: you can see what’s on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction.”



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Pesticides hit queen bee numbers

Pesticides hit queen bee numbers | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

 

Some of the world's most commonly used pesticides are killing bees by damaging their ability to navigate and reducing numbers of queens, research suggests.

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Easy, reversible, 100 percent effective birth control is for men only

Easy, reversible, 100 percent effective birth control is for men only | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
One of the best things we can do for the planet is stop putting new humans on it, which means promoting safe and effective birth control for people who want to keep their offspring levels between z...
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A Drumbeat on Profit Takers

A Drumbeat on Profit Takers | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

Dr. Arnold S.Relman and Dr. Marcia Angell, both former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine, continue to advocate against the “commercial exploitation of medicine."


Excerpt from article by ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D., New York Times


Their joint crusade, stated repeatedly in editorials for the journal and since expanded in books and dozens of articles in the lay press, is against for-profit medicine, especially its ancillary profit centers of commercial insurance and drug manufacture — in Dr. Relman’s words, “the people who are making a zillion bucks out of the commercial exploitation of medicine.”


Some have dismissed the pair as medical Don Quixotes, comically deluded figures tilting at benign features of the landscape. Others consider them first responders in what has become a battle for the soul of American medicine.


They met almost 50 years ago. He was a star of the academic medical scene in Boston, a Brooklyn boy who wanted to be a philosopher but had to make a living. She was born in Tennessee and raised in Virginia, worked in microbiology labs through college and after, then landed in medical school at Boston University, an older student and one of 8 women in a class of 80. [MORE]

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Fossil-Fueled Heat Wave Spurs Record Allergy Season

Fossil-Fueled Heat Wave Spurs Record Allergy Season | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
The warm winter followed by the freakish March heat wave that turned the start of spring into summer has started a record allergy season with a “blast of tree pollen” across the United States: The surreal heat that’s baking much of the central and...

By Brad Johnson on Mar 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

The warm winter followed by the freakish March heat wave that turned the start of spring into summer has started a record allergy season with a “blast of tree pollen” across the United States:

The surreal heat that’s baking much of the central and eastern USA has unleashed an unusually early and intense blast of tree pollen, making life miserable for tens of millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Forecasters and allergists blame the unseasonably warm weather, and few cold snaps, for causing plants to bloom weeks earlier. Atlanta, for example, smashed an all-time record with 9,369 particles of pollen per cubic meter on Tuesday, coating the city with a thin, yellow layer of pollen. [more...]

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Fight may cost Big Tobacco a packet

Fight may cost Big Tobacco a packet | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

March 24, 2012 - Amy Corderoy, The Sidney Morning Herald

Australia's plain-pack laws are pivotal in the global battle to cut smoking, writes Amy Corderoy.

The troops are rallying. And as their tiny general takes the stage, the feeling of victory in the air is palpable.

Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organisation, will fight this battle to the death.

She addresses her enemy: ''You run a killing and intimidating industry, but not in a crush-proof box. The number and fortitude of your public health enemies will damage your health - tobacco industry.''

Advertisement: Story continues below

Her army, equipped with research papers and funding grants, gathered this week for the World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

And all their eyes are on Australia.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/fight-may-cost-big-tobacco-a-packet-20120323-1vp5d.html#ixzz1pzUFvNJ9


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Inhofe’s Stunning Admission To Maddow on Global Warming: ‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost”

Inhofe’s Stunning Admission To Maddow on Global Warming: ‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost” | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Senate’s top denier pushes myth enviros far outspent industry in climate fight Did you see the big smack down last night between MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)?
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Astronomers Confirm 'Earth Twin'

Astronomers Confirm 'Earth Twin' | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a nearly Earth-sized planet in the "habitable zone" around a star not unlike our own.

 

The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and models suggest it has a temperature of about 22C.

 

It is the closest confirmed planet yet to one like ours - an "Earth 2.0".  However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.

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Arctic Oil Drilling to Pump Pollution into Pristine Skies

Arctic Oil Drilling to Pump Pollution into Pristine Skies | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

A day after more than 1 million people urged President Barack Obama to reject plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer, a coalition of groups today filed a lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution discharge permit for Shell’s Kulluk offshore drilling unit and associated fleet of vessels for use in the Beaufort Sea.

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EPA Carbon Standard Takes a Bite out of Pollution

EPA Carbon Standard Takes a Bite out of Pollution | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Download full data on proposed coal fired power plants (.xls)
On April 13 the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever rules to limit carbon dioxide pollution from new power plants.
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Japan closes last nuclear reactor: BBC

Japan closes last nuclear reactor: BBC | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Japan is switching off its last working nuclear reactor, as part of the safety drive since the March 2011 tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

 

The third reactor at the Tomari plant, in Hokkaido prefecture, is shutting down for routine maintenance.

 

It leaves Japan without energy from atomic power for the first time for more than 40 years.

Until last year, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy.

 

Hundreds of people marched through Tokyo, waving banners to celebrate what they hope will be the end of nuclear power in Japan.

 

MORE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17967202

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Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)

Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State, ClimAID...
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FedEx Betting On Hybrid, Electric Vehicles

by John Ydstie, NPR


Betting On Hybrid, Electric Vehicles


For delivery vans, says Smith, FedEx is betting on electric or hybrid vehicles.


"An all-electric pickup and delivery van will operate at a 75 percent less per-mile cost than an internal combustion engine variant," he says. "Now, I didn't say 7 1/2 percent — [I said] 75 percent. These are big numbers."


Smith points out that the vehicles would be charged in off-peak hours, minimizing the need for additional power plants. Battery life and cost remain a challenge, but Smith is optimistic.

...


Adding Biofuels, Natural Gas To The Mix


For FedEx's fleet of nearly 700 planes, Smith says biofuel, probably produced with algae, will replace much petroleum-based jet fuel. The technology has already been proven, but breakthroughs are needed to produce the fuel on the scale that's necessary.


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Climate Change and Heat Waves

Climate Change and Heat Waves | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

by Kate at ClimateSight

 

One of the most dangerous effects of climate change is its impact on extreme events. The extra energy that’s present on a warmer world doesn’t distribute itself uniformly – it can come out in large bursts, manifesting itself as heat waves, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes, to name a few. Consequently, warming the world by an average of 2 degrees is a lot more complicated than adding 2 to every weather station reading around the world.

 

Scientists have a difficult time studying the impacts of climate change on extreme events, because all these events could happen anyway – how can you tell if Hurricane Something is a direct result of warming, or just a fluke? Indeed, for events involving precipitation, like hurricanes or droughts, it’s not possible to answer this question. However, research is advancing to the point where we can begin to attribute individual heat waves to climate change with fairly high levels of confidence. For example, the recent extended heat wave in Texas, which was particularly devastating for farmers, probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for global warming.

http://climatesight.org/2012/04/03/climate-change-and-heat-waves/

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Scientists warn of climate-change onslaught

by Seth Borenstein, Chicago Sun-Times

 

WASHINGTON — Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters, an international panel of climate scientists said in a new report issued Wednesday.

 

The greatest threat from extreme weather is to highly populated, poor regions of the world, the report warns, but no corner of the globe — from Mumbai to Miami — is immune. The document by a Nobel Prize-winning panel of climate scientists forecasts stronger tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges and droughts.

The 594-page report blames the scale of recent and future disasters on a combination of man-made climate change, population shifts and poverty.

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UN climate panel ties some weather extremes to global warming

UN climate panel ties some weather extremes to global warming | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Warming has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation since 1950, the U.N. climate panel warned in a report Wednesday.

 

by msnbc.com staff and news services


Warming has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation since 1950, the U.N. climate panel warned in a report Wednesday.


"It is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the number of cold days and nights, and an overall increase in the number of warm days and nights, at the global scale," the scientists wrote.

 

Some populations are already living on the edge of disaster, given the projected increases in the magnitude or frequency of some extreme events in many regions, the report stated.

 

"Small increases in climate extremes above thresholds or regional infrastructure 'tipping points' have the potential to result in large increases in damages to all forms of existing infrastructure," the experts said.

 

In the past, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has focused on the gradual rise of temperatures and oceans. This report is the first to look at less common but far more noticeable extreme weather changes, which lately have been costing on average about $80 billion a year in damage.


The study forecasts that some tropical cyclones -- which include hurricanes in the United States -- will be stronger, while the frequency might diminish.
"Average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase, although increases may not occur in all ocean basins," the experts stated. "It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged."

 

Some other specific changes in severe weather that the scientists said they had the most confidence in predicting include more heat waves and record hot temperatures worldwide and increased downpours in Alaska, Canada, northern and central Europe, East Africa and north Asia.

 

"We mostly experience weather and climate through the extreme," said one of the report's top editors, Chris Field, an ecologist with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "That's where we have the losses. That's where we have the insurance payments. That's where things have the potential to fall apart.

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Why Is the GOP Ignoring Its Own Climate Scientists About Climate Change?

Why Is the GOP Ignoring Its Own Climate Scientists About Climate Change? | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Before we get conservative politicians to change their minds regarding climate change we must get them to listen, a rather Herculean task in itself. (Why Is the GOP Ignoring Its Own Climate Scientists About Climate Change?


by Marvin Meadors, 3/22/2012


According to a fascinating article by Katherine Bagley prosaically titled "GOP Not Listening to its Own Climate Scientists on Climate Change," a group of prominent conservative scientists, many of them evangelicals, approached conservative politicians to educate them on climate change and predictably the pols have not "warmed," shall we say, to their efforts.


Although usually loath to announce their political leanings, these Republican-affiliated scientists thought conservatives may be receptive to scientists with conservative credentials. Who are these concerned scientists and how do they get conservative politicians to embrace climate change when many of them see the use of alternative energies as a step toward anarchy? more...

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How ALEC is Destroying the Teaching of Climate Change Science, One State at a Time

How ALEC is Destroying the Teaching of Climate Change Science, One State at a Time | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it
Tennessee just became the fourth state in the nation to include climate change denial in their science education curriculum. Who's behind this crafty legislation? You guessed it.


March 22, 2012 | Steve Horn, Alternet

Photo Credit: Helder Almeida via Shutterstock.com


The month of March has seen unprecedented heat and temperatures. A rational thinking, scientifically-grounded individual could only posit, "Well, hmm, I bet climate change has something to do with the fact that in Madison, WI, it is 80 degrees in mid-March. Sometimes it's 60 or 70 degrees colder than this!"


While that individual would be positing something that is the well-accepted scientific consensus, in some states, under law, that is only a "controversial theory among other theories."


Welcome to Tennessee, which on March 19th became the fourth state with a legal mandate to incorporate climate change denial as part of the science education curriculum when discussing climate change.


First it was Louisiana, back in 2009, then Texas in 2009, South Dakota in 2010 and now Tennessee has joined the club, bringing the total to four U.S. states that have mandated climate change denial in K-12 "science" education.


Many other states could follow in their footsteps as well, given that, as DeSmogBlog exposed in late-January, this is an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill, a near miror image of its Orwellian-titled "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act." [more...]

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Geology educators oppose TN's "monkey bills"

Geology educators oppose TN's "monkey bills" | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

March 17, 2012, National Center for Science Education

Adding to the chorus of disapproval of Tennessee's "monkey bills" — House Bill 368 and Senate Bill 893 — are the two leading associations of K-12 geology educators: the National Association of Geoscience Teachers and the National Earth Science Teachers Association. The bills, if enacted, would encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of "controversial" topics such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

The NAGT's statement (PDF), signed by its president Elizabeth Wright, emphasized that "the scientific theory of evolution should be taught to students of all grade levels as a unifying concept without distraction of non-scientific or anti-scientific influence" and reiterated the organization's acceptance of the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its commitment to "intensive public education, increased awareness, and action" on the issue of climate change.

The statement concludes, "We agree that critical thinking is an essential skill for all students, one which is already embedded in the teaching of science. But the content of science consists of peer-reviewed, tested and confirmed results, not debates based on political or religious convictions. We are convinced that rigorous science education in Tennessee is badly served by SB 893 or HB 368, and we urge Tennessee’s representatives, state senators and governor to reject this legislation."

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Climate Change Sends Beetles Into Overdrive

Climate Change Sends Beetles Into Overdrive | Coffee Party Science | Scoop.it

Call it the beetle baby boom. Climate change could be throwing common tree killers called mountain pine beetles into a reproductive frenzy. A new study suggests that some beetles living in Colorado, which normally reproduce just once annually, now churn out an extra generation of new bugs each year. And that could further devastate the region's forests.

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