W.H.O Research Says Marijuana’s Essential Ingredient Neither Dangerous Nor Addictive

❝ The main ingredient, Cannabidiol, CBD found in Marijuana is neither harmful nor addictive, a new World Health Organization, WHO report has confirmed.

CBD is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis plants that has non-addictive relaxing properties and per WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, ECDD, there lies “no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” Also, the “current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol,” the report confirmed.

In fact, the natural component is known to help in treating epilepsy and several other medical conditions.

The Feds under Trump, Sessions and other science-illiterates aren’t expected to take any positive notice of this report. I hope you’re not surprised by that. Frankly, I’m not optimistic about sweeping medical reforms resulting from Trumpublicans and their Establishment allies crashing and burning in 2018 mid-term elections.

All I see from Establishment Dems, so far, is recycled campaign rhetoric from the Bill Clinton era.

The diaspora of modern humans across Eurasia — update and revision

Migration routes — Click to enlarge

❝ Most people are now familiar with the traditional “Out of Africa” model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia.

A review of recent research on dispersals by early modern humans from Africa to Asia by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa confirms that the traditional view of a single dispersal of anatomically modern humans out of Africa around 60,000 years ago can no longer be seen as the full story. The analysis, published in the journal Science, reviews the plethora of new discoveries being reported from Asia over the past decade, which were made possible by technological advances and interdisciplinary collaborations, and shows that Homo sapiens reached distant parts of the Asian continent, as well as Near Oceania, much earlier than previously thought. Additionally, evidence that modern humans interbred with other hominins already present in Asia, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, complicates the evolutionary history of our species.

The Max Planck Institute is the gold standard for research into the evolutionary biology of homo sapiens. When original discussions stretched around the world at the turn of the 21st Century, debate and discussion took over a great deal of public and non-institutional dialogue on the latest discussions of evolution. Scuence readers and writers as well as core researchers were all involved.

I spent about 2 years getting my head around the results of the first DNA analysis providing deeper genetic and chronological analysis previously impossible. While spirited debate was often the order of the day – well above the perpetual attempts to educate superstitious folk stuck into biblical fiction – I have rarely so enjoyed the weekly expansion of knowledge rolling out the doors of the Max Planck Institute like tides changing the face of the intellectual Earth after an Ice Age.

Oh, yeah. Between 3 and 4% of my overall DNA is Neanderthal. Never was one of those straight-up white guys. 🙂

Where’s the water going? Where will the water go?


❝ There’s still much that remains unknown about the Greenland ice sheet, which at roughly 650,000 square miles is more than twice the size of Texas. The sheet, up to two miles thick, contains enough ice that, if it all melted, would raise oceans around the world by 24 feet. Precisely how the ice melts — half or more by warming on the surface, the rest by ice sheet movement toward the sea, where it melts or calves off as icebergs — can greatly affect how much and how fast the seas rise.

Greenland is currently losing an average of about 260 billion tons of ice per year; at this rate, it would contribute about two inches to sea level rise by the end of the century. This ice loss is estimated through gravity measurements by satellites, but computer models that simulate physical processes are used to estimate the surface runoff. The field study was meant to improve those models by providing on-the-ground data on the flow of meltwater.

Science, of course, isn’t invoked just to give hope – or spread fear. Facts are facts. It takes corrupt politicians to turn them into fake news. RTFA.

A view of the cloud surface of Jupiter

Every 53 days NASA’s Juno probe completes a close flyby of Jupiter. On Tuesday October 24, Juno successfully completed its eighth science flyby out of a planned twelve before the scheduled mission end in July next year. After NASA uploaded the new data to its JunoCam website, citizen scientists have been optimizing the images to create some of the most mind-blowing and spectacular pictures of the giant planet seen to date.

Click on the photo and wander through the gallery. Stunning.

Brief history of extinctions on Earth

“Our planet Earth has extinguished large portions of its inhabitants several times since the dawn of animals. And if science tells us anything, it will surely try to kill us all again. Working in the 19th century, paleontology pioneer Georges Cuvier saw dramatic turnovers of life in the fossil record and likened them to the French Revolution, then still fresh in his memory.

Today, we refer to such events as “mass extinctions,” incidents in which many species of animals and plants died out in a geological instant. They are so profound and have such global reach that geological time itself is sliced up into periods—Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous—that are often defined by these mass extinctions.

RTFA and “enjoy” or at least reflect upon the mortality of this widespread but fragile species.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Free Science beats Fake News anytime

❝ While scientific conspiracy theorists used to seem like a small subset of the population—a population that stayed hidden in secluded closets surrounded by tinfoil and private chatrooms — we have seen dramatic shifts in the past few years. From people who fearmonger about vaccines to people who fearmonger about GMOs to professors at Columbia University who knowingly and intentionally promote pseudoscience for personal gains — we have seen just how prevalent and deeply rooted scientific misinformation is.

❝ Luckily, although the internet is replete with sensationalism and outright lies, it is also home to free, reliable, and (perhaps most importantly) interesting science information. Access to education remains a global issue, but if you have an internet connection, there is a wealth of books, courses, databases, infographics, videos, and interactive learning modules that are aimed at bringing knowledge directly to your home. And believe it or not, a lot of it comes from science communicators and educators that uphold the highest levels of both accuracy and quality.

❝ In August of 2016, NASA announced that they were opening up their research library to the public. In the release, NASA stated that “all NASA-funded authors and co-authors (both civil servant and non-civil servant) will be required to deposit copies of their peer-reviewed scientific publications and associated data into NASA’s publication repository called NASA PubSpace.” The database has been alive and well since that time, and it is host to a plethora of peer reviewed research articles from experts. You can access these articles and read the findings without any third party commentary or analysis.

❝ ScienceMatters is a science publishing company that aims to change people’s perspectives on science (and scientific research) by providing a more democratized platform — one that all individuals can access. You can head to that site to find content that contains verified observations made by scientists. Forget the story. Just get the data. Other peer review platforms that also aim to bring science to the world include both eLife and Frontiers.

So, the excuses for using something rolled out into the interwebitubes to validate someone’s dream-state analysis and mock vanilla-syrup high – become less justifiable than ever. Want to impress me with the newest shiny conspiracy theory about why Americans and our imitation democracy elected the Fake President? You’ll need to come up with sources that stand the test of peer review publication.

Maybe containing a bit more than the “stupid” and “ignorant” we already know about. Yes, I realize that may be sufficient.

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity — This is Your Second Notice!

❝ Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”…These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse…

❝ As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life…

Read it and weep, folks. But, I’d rather you get angry, get active. More than 15,000 scientists signed on, this time. There is no shortage of principled avenues of opposition to this crap.