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Paul Carter (IdeaLust)
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So much to discover!
So much to discover!

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The double edged sword that is technology can cut us just as likely as what we intend. We must be trained like samurai and respect it's dangerous potential and reverie it usefulness. To train and study it for years. To keep it sheathed and only use it only when absolutely necessary. Not grab it, say, "look what I can do," and swing it wildly in every direction.

I think the biggest problem with "better living through chemistry" has been the shear amount of chemicals we've lovingly dumped in our environment and living spaces. Being unable to easily decouple one from another when out in the wild - where the sample size is finally large enough and duration long enough - has led to too many questions. Which one, or pairing, or grouping, is causing what detrimental outcome? Leading to bickering and fighting and placing blame on whichever devil we feel is right. And those devils, in the form of corporations, have more money than independent researchers so we battle public relation battalions for decades until finally the right questions are asked and data gathered so a higher resolution picture can be seen.

#culturalhindsight #betterlivingthroughchemistry #weknownotwhatwedo
Chemicals banned decades ago linked to increased autism risk today
Chemicals used in certain pesticides and as insulating material banned in the 1970s may still be haunting us, according to new research that suggests links between higher levels of exposure during pregnancy and significantly increased odds of autism spectrum disorder in children.

According to the research, children born after being exposed to the highest levels of certain compounds of the chemicals, called organochlorine chemicals, during their mother's pregnancy were roughly 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. That also includes those who were completely unexposed.

Although production of organochlorine chemicals was banned in the United States in 1977, these compounds can remain in the environment and become absorbed in the fat of animals that humans eat, leading to exposure.

With that in mind, Kristen Lyall, ScD, assistant professor in Drexel University's A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, and her collaborators, decided to look at organochlorine chemicals during pregnancy since they can cross through the placenta and affect the fetus' neurodevelopment.

"There's a fair amount of research examining exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy in association with other outcomes, like birth weight -- but little research on autism, specifically," Lyall said. "To examine the role of environmental exposures in risk of autism, it is important that samples are collected during time frames with evidence for susceptibility for autism -- termed 'critical windows' in neurodevelopment. Fetal development is one of those critical windows." 

The team looked at a population sample of 1,144 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. Data was accrued from mothers who had enrolled in California's Expanded Alphafetoprotein Prenatal Screening Program, which is dedicated to detecting birth defects during pregnancy.

Participants' children were separated into three groups: 545 who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, 181 with intellectual disabilities but no autism diagnosis, and 418 with a diagnosis of neither.

Blood tests taken during the second trimester were used to determine the levels of exposure. There are tons of chemicals detectable in our bodies from exposure—including two different organochlorine classified chemicals, PCBs and OCPs. Lyall and others were interested in the “levels” of this exposure.

It was determined that two compounds in particular -- PCB 138/158 and PCB 153 -- stood out as being significantly linked with autism risk. Children with the highest in utero levels (exposure during their mother's pregnancy) of these two forms of PCBs were between 79 and 82 percent more likely to have an autism diagnosis than those found to be exposed to the lowest levels.

High levels of two other compounds, PCB 170 and PCB 180, were also associated with children being approximately 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed -- again, this is relative to children with the lowest prenatal exposure to these PCBs. None of the OCPs appeared to show an association with higher autism diagnosis risk.

Source & further reading:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/du-cbd082216.php

Journal article:
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/EHP277/

#research   #autism   #health   #medicine  
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You know when someone makes something that you'd always wished existed... and then you see it and it's more amazing than you imagined. <mindgasm>

Thank you wonderful data scientists!

#datascience   #culturalhindsight   #datavisualization  
"Culture spreads through people, but how does that really happen? This data visualisation charts the movement of 120,000 prominent cultural figures – predominantly European and North American – between 600 BC and 2012 CE, by plotting lines between where each one was born and died."

https://aeon.co/videos/what-can-a-map-of-notable-births-and-deaths-reveal-about-the-spread-of-culture

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Much like people. We know of death by inference of others, but we behave dangerously at times because, "hey, I've survived worse." Or "I'm smarter than those that didn't survive." Or completely ignoring/not understanding the warning signs and dangers involved. I'd say cultures can behave this way to. Many empires have risen and fallen, but they never anticipate the fall because they've never experienced one before. Any thing we create will also suffer the same great and bad attributes we all suffer from. And if AI is truly able to detach itself from it's human upbringings, then maybe it'll experience a whole new world of traits yet to be seen from intelligent beings. But when it comes down to it; all the things possible are limited by the laws of physics.

#theapproachingsingularity   #artificialintelligence  
#Bayesian -based #AI will engage in risky behavior, believing it'll never die, since it hasn't died yet. weird to think that teenagers are actually Bayesian-rational
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Creating something useful while removing excess CO2 from our atmosphere... we need to get on this ASAP.

#carboncapture   #climatechange   #environment   #technology  
Researchers use solar power to make carbon fiber out of thin air
I read yesterday this article, which made me wonder if  will reverse climate change. Interesting ideas bouncing in my cranial vault ;)

Carbon capture is an idea that’s been around for a while, but it’s always seemed like a bit of an afterthought, a way to slightly slow the pace at which we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But what if we could do at a scale that would suck all the carbon we’ve emitted since the industrial revolution right out out of the atmosphere, and turn it into something incredibly useful?

This is the claim being made by Stuart Licht, a professor of chemistry at George Washington University, who earlier this month published a paper in Nano Letters demonstrating a method of turning atmospheric carbon dioxide into solid carbon using concentrated solar power, with only oxygen as the byproduct. The process, called Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) carbon capture, is highly efficient, as it uses both the visible light and heat of the concentrated solar radiation..

Source and further reading:
http://www.salon.com/2015/08/20/researchers_use_solar_power_to_make_carbon_fiber_out_of_thin_air/

Paper:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b02427

#research   #nanoworld   #Science   #climatechange   #STEP  
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This is one of the big fears I have for us who live in the civilized world. We are as inadequately prepared for it as asteroid or comet impact. Granted the fallout won't be as instantaneously catastrophic... the ripple effects will be harsh to a world that relies too heavily on electronics to function.

#solarflare   #Carringtonevent   #astronomy   #culturalhindsight  
Carrington Event
On this day in 1859 (and on the day before) one of the largest geomagnetic solar storms ever recorded struck Earth. The Aurora Borealis was seen as far south as the Caribbean. Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed. In the Pacific Northwest, the aurora was so bright that people could read a newspaper at night by its light.

According to calculations by insurers Lloyd's of London and risk assessor AER, if a storm of the same magnitude struck the US now, it would cause up to $2.6 trillion worth of damage. The storm is known as the Carrington event after the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, who recorded the storm's genesis as a sunspot on 28 August.

Full story:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/

Animation: Coronal mass ejection on February 27, 2011 via SDO

#nasa   #universe   #solarflare   #Carringtonevent   #SDO  
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What if we made it just as profitable to release healthy citizens back into society? What if instead of for profit prisons, we had for profit rehabilitation centers? The model could provide monetary rewards for not only releasing people, but getting them a job, getting them off government welfare, keeping them off drugs, etc. It's far more costly to society in dollars and culturally to reward investors (which tend to be those in power that make the laws) for repeat offenders. We need to be rewarding the care centers and the ex-convicts for achieving success. And if someone comes back in this new model? That's ok. We'll try again to get them on good footing. We're all in this together.

#prison #culturalhindsight #waroncrime #forprofitprisons 

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Fantastic solar cooker/grill! The team is even helping out rural communities get off their dependence of clearing forest for wood and burning fossil fuels for their daily cooking needs.

2 hours left of support them! Get on it! 

#solarpower   #environment   #kickstarter  

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Fantastic solar cooker/grill! The team is even helping out rural communities get off their dependence of clearing forest for wood and burning fossil fuels for their daily cooking needs.

2 hours left of support them! Get on it!

#solarenergy   #environment   #solarcooking  

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Why do we learn history? "To stop it from repeating?" WRONG.

We don't learn history to stop it from repeating. We learn it to know what's next. It's best to prepare for the waves in order to ride them out rather than to try and stop the ocean.

So we know what's happened and we know what's next... now what? Sometimes fear is a wave you have to ride out as well. Scary stuff hanging ten on the cusp of the next mass extinction wave.

#climatechange   #extinction   #culturalhindsight  

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Kick flipping convention on its head.

#reuse #recycle #environment #culturalhindsight 
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