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Monthly Archives: November 2015

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

One of the most pernicious conditions that arises as a consequence of cancer is a sort of wasting syndrome. More formally known as cachexia, it causes patients to lose body mass (including both muscle and fat) and to grow weak and fatigued. Whether or not a patient develops cachexia largely depends on the type of cancer he has. Those with pancreatic cancer, for instance, have an 80% chance of suffering from it, while those with breast cancer have a 40% chance. The syndrome takes such a physical toll on the patient that it is largely to blame for a fifth of all cancer deaths. Cachexia, therefore, remains one of the most heartbreaking and puzzling aspects of cancer. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

There are two varieties of flamingo in the world: The first is a majestic bird that makes its home in warm coastal waters all over the world. The second is a plastic ornament — and official city bird of Madison, Wisconsin — that deeply troubled and misguided souls believe will add a touch of class to their lawns. Fortunately, this article is about the former, not the latter. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

A few election cycles ago, a new feature was introduced to televised debates: The real-time reaction tracker. A small focus group of two dozen or so individuals use dials to indicate how much they agree or disagree with the statements being made by politicians during the debate. An aggregated average of these responses is then displayed in real-time for the viewing audience to see. Fascinatingly, this instant reaction poll appears to influence the opinions of the millions of people watching the debate at home. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The United States has the best higher education system in the world. That isn’t a statement of flag-waving patriotism; it’s simply a matter of fact. According to Times Higher Education, 39 of the top 100 schools in the world are located in the United States. There are many reasons for that. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

As long as the global economy relies on oil, oil spills are a constant hazard. Devising innovative and efficient ways to clean up the messes is, therefore, a top environmental priority. Now, a team of Korean researchers has designed a “nano-sponge” that absorbs and desorbs oil on demand. And, unlike many other materials used to clean up oil spills, their invention is reusable. The researchers published the details in the journal Scientific Reports. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Ahh, Portland: The city that shakes its fist in defiance at the 21st Century by stubbornly┬árefusing to fluoridate its water supply and believing that wi-fi is killing its children. Given that Portland’s citizens have a troubled relationship with reality, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that the city’s congressman does, too. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

There are few things that pot enthusiasts dread more than the unannounced drug test. A positive test for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can result in the loss of a job or child custody. But new research by a team of German scientists suggests that detecting THC in a hair sample doesn’t prove cannabis consumption. Read More »

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

A few years ago, I caused considerable weeping and gnashing of teeth among psychologists for a piece I wrote explaining why psychology isn’t science. It was predicated upon a lengthier argument, which I co-authored with physicist Tom Hartsfield, on the difference between science and non-science. RCS Editor Ross Pomeroy followed up with his own haymaker, explaining why Sigmund Freud’s ideas — from penis envy to psychoanalysis — were not just whacky but unscientific and wrong. Read More »