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The Crux

Emerging Editing Technologies Obscure the Line Between Real and Fake

By Nathaniel Scharping | May 17, 2017 3:15 pm

The image is modest, belying the historic import of the moment. A woman on a white sand beach gazes at a distant island as waves lap at her feet — the scene is titled simply “Jennifer in Paradise.”

This picture, snapped by an Industrial Light and Magic employee named John Knoll while on vacation in 1987, would become the first image to be scanned and digitally altered. When Photoshop was introduced by Adobe Systems three years later, the visual world would never be the same. Today, pre …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: computers


Paper About Plagiarism Contains Plagiarism

By Neuroskeptic | May 17, 2017 2:08 pm

Regular readers will know that I have an interest in plagiarism. Today I discovered an amusing case of plagiarism in a paper about plagiarism.

The paper is called The confounding factors leading to plagiarism in academic writing and some suggested remedies. It recently appeared in the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association (JPMA) and it’s written by two Saudi Arabia-based authors, Salman Yousuf Guraya and Shaista Salman Guraya.

Here’s an example of the plagiarism: a 2015 paper by  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, papers


The heat goes on: This past April was second warmest in records dating back to 1880 — as were February and March

By Tom Yulsman | May 17, 2017 1:41 pm

But with the monster El Niño of 2015/2016 far back in the rear-view mirror, temperatures in 2017 are running somewhat lower than last year

NASA has come out with its monthly analysis of global temperatures, and the results are notable, if not terribly surprising: Last month was the second warmest April in 137 years of modern record-keeping.

Last month beat out April of 2010 by just a small amount to achieve that distinction, according to the analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Sp …

The Crux

Are We Ready for Robot Judges?

By Christopher Markou, University of Cambridge | May 16, 2017 1:26 pm

Artificial intelligence is already helping determine your future – whether it’s your Netflix viewing preferences, your suitability for a mortgage or your compatibility with a prospective employer. But can we agree, at least for now, that having an AI determine your guilt or innocence in a court of law is a step too far?

Worryingly, it seems this may already be happening. When American Chief Justice John Roberts recently attended an event, he was asked whether he could forsee a day “ …



Is Antarctica Gaining or Losing Ice? Nature May Have Just Settled The Debate

By Eric Betz | May 16, 2017 12:57 pm

For years, scientists have debated whether heavy inland snowfall on the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — Earth’s largest — balances out the rapid melting in West Antarctica.

Given enough snowfall, the continent might not yet be contributing to sea level rise.

Most research shows the melt rate is so high that the continent is indeed losing ice. But in 2015, a group of NASA scientists published a controversial study that found Antarctica was instead gaining ice. The NASA team combin …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts

Science & Food

Asparagus Season and Banana Problems

By Ashton Yoon | May 16, 2017 12:38 pm

Nothing welcomes spring as deliciously as an asparagus dish. But are you a little lost which is the freshest bunch on the shelf? How to best store them? Other ways to cook them besides oven roasting? City Kitchen’s got you covered. Where asparagus is a springtime treat, bananas are a year-round breakfast luxury. Unfortunately, its perennial availability puts it at risk for extinction.

Asparagus is Sweetest in Spring – The New York Times: City Kitchen
Humans Made the Banana Perfect—B …


Citizen Science Salon

Global Mosquito Alert: UN Backed Citizen Science Platform to Fight Mosquito-Borne Diseases

By Guest | May 16, 2017 10:24 am

With the summer approaching, so are the mosquitoes. Now a UN-backed global platform will align citizen scientists from around the world to track and control these disease-carrying species.

By Yujia He

Mosquitoes are an annoying and unavoidable part of the warmer season. Their constant buzzing follows you whenever you step outside of your house, and the females feast on your blood to produce their offspring.

In many parts of the world, mosquitoes bring not just annoyance but also diseas …


3-D Printed Ovaries Yield New Life

By Nathaniel Scharping | May 16, 2017 10:00 am

Mice with artificial, 3-D printed ovaries have successfully given birth to healthy offspring.

It’s another success for members of the same Northwestern University team that in March reproduced an entire menstrual cycle using organs-on-a-chip. This time, they’ve created ovaries from a type of gelatin hydrogel and infused them with immature egg cells before implanting them in female mice. The ovaries behaved like the natural ones, picking out an egg cell to mature and pass along, allowing t …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts


Why you should take hyperventilating headlines about CO2 with a grain of salt — but still be quite concerned

By Tom Yulsman | May 15, 2017 12:11 pm

Back in late April, there was a spate of hyperventilating headlines and news reports about the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This one in particular, from Think Progress, should have made its author so light-headed that she passed out:

The Earth just reached a CO2 level not seen in 3 million years
Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide hit record concentrations.

That story and others were prompted by measurements at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory showing th …

Seriously, Science?

Drinking makes you feel less pain: proven fact or old wives' tale?

By Seriously Science | May 15, 2017 6:00 am

Before the advent of anesthesia, patients undergoing surgery were often given copious amounts of alcohol to help make them more comfortable. But is there any scientific proof that alcohol can actually dull pain, or is the person simply too drunk to care? Surprisingly, previous studies on this topic have been mixed, so these researchers performed a meta-analysis to get to the bottom of the matter. By systematically reviewing 18 studies on over 400 subjects, they found that yes, alcohol not on …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: ethanol, told you so

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