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Peter Edenist
Science and SF enthusiast
Science and SF enthusiast


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We are now going to be held for review. All posts made will need to be approved by mods / owners. Posts with one liners or sparse information will not be approved. Please look at rules and guidelines on posting.

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Is the Science settled? : I often read or hear about people asking this. Is science sure about this? That is the wrong question. To find out more about what the real question should be, read on...

Science is a methodology : Science looks to find answers about us, the place we live in, the way things work. We find out incrementally new things about phenomena everyday. So what we know today to be 'true' is often something we find is not tomorrow.

Does that mean I can't trust science? : The answer is a big resounding NO. Scientific methods lead to better and better answers everyday. The very nature of the process questions the very basis of things we know and looks at alternatives and tests to disprove hypothesis.

Can I therefore say that Gravity should be questioned? : Surprisingly, the straight answer is yes. But it is much more nuanced that that. One needs higher and higher bars on the disproving of a theory which is established. It requires extraordinary proof and peer review by many reputed researchers to pull down an established theory.

Scientists often Hedge their claims : Because they know the pitfalls of being an absolutist. Check the video to see how Prof. Brian Cox. says "This is the best prediction we have. And we get better at it everyday."

Brain Cox explains the scientific method :

Related article :

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Help keep Arecibo Observatory funded

Arecibo Observatory has been facing funding problems for many years. Now the National Science Foundation are preparing an "Environmental Impact Statement", which is lawyer-speak for "how should we proceed ?". Options range from keeping everything as it is to full site closure. Although a decision is not likely until sometime next year, official public consultation lasts only until June 23rd this year. So this is your chance to have your say in Arecibo's future.

If you simply want to express your support for Arecibo and don't wish to commit to any specific option under consideration, please consider signing the poll linked below. If you want to be more vocal or prefer some specific funding model, you send the NSF an e-mail or even write them a letter, if anyone remembers what those funny "envelopes" thingys are. Instructions are here :

If you aren't sure if Arecibo should continue receiving funding or just want more information about the situation, you can read my personal experiences with the Observatory at the following link. A suggested generic show of support message is included for those who wish to write to the NSF; feel free to modify it as appropriate.

The short version of the above article is that Arecibo is very far from being outdated, nor is it likely to be surpassed in the next decade or two. Arecibo is an extremely mature facility - rather than being outdated, it's more capable now than it ever was before. It's had many upgrades since its construction in 1963; new discoveries are still resulting from the last one in 2004, and more upgrades could improve it still further. There is no other facility planned that could fully supersede Arecibo save perhaps the Square Kilometre Array, which is unlikely to be operational for the next 15 years (and if you're American and worry about these things, the US isn't playing much of a role in that). Even that will not necessarily reproduce, let alone exceed, all of Arecibo's capabilities. Arecibo requires a relatively modest amount of funding for a unique and diverse range of scientific outputs.

Some projects which depend on Arecibo :
ALFALFA - a large-area survey of neutral hydrogen that's catalogued over 15,000 galaxies to date
(see those galaxies here :

GALFA-HI - a project to map the hydrogen in the Milky Way with exquisite sensitivity and resolution :

PALFA - detection and measuring pulsars and the mysterious fast radio bursts :
Arecibo was essential in the 1993 Nobel Prize thanks to the discovery of the first binary pulsar, which provided the first good evidence that gravitational waves exist.

AGES - a deeper survey of hydrogen than ALFALFA over a smaller area, which has discovered starless hydrogen clouds and giant streams :

GALFACTS - measuring the magnetic field of the Milky Way :

NanoGrav - a multi-telescope project (of which Arecibo is an essential part) to use pulsars to directly measure gravitational waves that instruments like LIGO cannot :

Not a specific project but let's not forget the planetary radar (one of only two such systems in the world) that also measures small bodies in the Solar System (e.g. asteroids) which helps determine (among many other things) whether they're likely to hit us or not :

And it also looks for aliens :

What more can you ask of a radio telescope ?

Thanks to +Lacerant Plainer and +Peter Edenist for permission to post this here, I know this is at least as much about politics as science.

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+Dan Russell is running a search class which has been recommended by +Gary Ray R one of the owners here. It helps to use this to get references and links which are needed by our community.

Dan has mentioned:
"We're running our online class, starting on Feb 8th.  It's a short class (just two weeks) that will teach you new research skills and sharpen up the ones you already have.  It's free--it's online--and if you pass the midterm and final, you'll earn a PowerSearcher certificate!  Register now and start the class next week.  (And if you can't make it on Feb 2, don't worry, we'll be restarting a new class offering every two weeks from now until June, 2016.) " 

Short notice, but it's a good idea for our community.

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Calling for mods  : Some members have spoken about the increase in spam in the community. We recognize it is a problem, and the only way to manage it is that each of our members report such posts.

We also want to expand our mods community. Mods need to login in at least twice daily and remove spam and ban such members who post porn or irrelevant stuff. If you wish to help, please apply in the comments.

Ours is a very strictly run community, so all members have to follow the tight posting guidelines. It's easy to make a difference, so please help us keep this community clean and high quality.


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My colleague +Sophia Yang is featured by Boeing for her awesome work on +HRL Laboratories, LLC microlattices in my group. Nice job Sophia! 

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Been some time since someone has commented on our community. We work hard at it. Resharing helps us and the community. Have a great day all!
One of the Best Science Communities on G+

Actually, it's almost certainly the best, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is extremely well moderated by the owner +Lacerant Plainer  and his team.  Virtually no spam, discussions are reasonable and knowledgeable, trolls really aren't tolerated, and tons of great Categories for reference.  

Highly recommended!

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One of the Best Science Communities on G+

Actually, it's almost certainly the best, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is extremely well moderated by the owner +Lacerant Plainer  and his team.  Virtually no spam, discussions are reasonable and knowledgeable, trolls really aren't tolerated, and tons of great Categories for reference.  

Highly recommended!

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We are all related : Strange as this sounds, this is the outcome of a scientific search for the human migration using genetic markers. As genetic mutations were observed, the rarer of these were passed down from father to son (Y-chromosomal) and from mother to daughter (mtDNA). Tracing these back led to one tree for men and another for women. And the male line and female line do not converge. Though we are all descended from what is called Y-chromosomal Adam and mtDNA Eve, they did not live at the same time. I'm assuming the other lines just died out. The surprising conclusion? We are all related. We are genetically related.

Our common ancestors : Some 99% of the human genome is shuffled from one birth to the next. The Genographic Project traces the 1% of the genome which is not shuffled—mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) through the maternal line and the Y-chromosome through the paternal. These jokers in the pack allow geneticists to work back to our common ancestors. Our mtDNA appears to coalesce in a single woman, who lived on the African savannah 150,000 years ago. Our Y-chromosome survives from a single man, who lived in the Rift Valley of Kenya or Tanzania 59,000 years ago. So Adam and Eve did exist—90,000 years apart. The discrepancy is because, unlike the biblical Adam and Eve, this couple only represent the last common Ancestors we can trace genetically.

African Roots : Different populations carry distinct genetic markers. Following the markers through the generations reveals a genetic tree on which today’s many diverse branches can be followed backward to their common African root. The markers still present in our genes allow us to chart ancient human migrations from Africa across the continents. Through these markers, we can see living evidence of an ancient trek to populate the globe.

How Neanderthal are you? : Everyone living outside of Africa today has a small amount of Neanderthal in them, carried as a living relic of these ancient encounters. A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have between 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have no Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia.

Thomas Jefferson was descended from the Middle East : Strange as this sounds, this can actual be proved from the genetic mutation his gene shows. You can read more about it here -

References and Links

Youtube link to Spencer Well's video :

Pic courtesy : Natgeo

#science #genetics  
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