GMOs, 2D materials zoo, machina economicus, the European project, eco-friendly meat and giant clouds of alcohol

But the deeper you dig, the more fraud you find in the case against GMOs. It’s full of errors, fallacies, misconceptions, misrepresentations, and lies. The people who tell you that Monsanto is hiding the truth are themselves hiding evidence that their own allegations about GMOs are false. They’re counting on you to feel overwhelmed by the science and to accept, as a gut presumption, their message of distrust.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/07/are_gmos_safe_yes_the_case_against_them_is_full_of_fraud_lies_and_errors.html


The realization that materials can be thinned down to the absolute limit of a single atom is spreading, both throughout the world and across the periodic table. Researchers are learning that 2-D isn’t just for the carbon atoms of graphene. Different elemental combinations can lead to fascinating new science and applications.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2015/07/17/beyond-graphene/#.Vay-LPl_NBc


In a paper out today in the journal Science, Parkes and co-author Michael Wellman, of the University of Michigan, argue that rational models of economics can be applied to artificial intelligence (AI) and discuss the future of machina economicus.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-artificial-intelligence-economic-theory.html#jCp


Once a widely held aspiration, the “ever closer union” promised by successive European treaties has degenerated from a slogan into an embarrassment, which even Europe’s leaders are now hesitant to embrace. As that promise’s unravelling fuels a poisonous populist reaction, the prospects for the European Union, whose share of world gross domestic product has fallen from 30 per cent in 1980 to 17 per cent today, seem fraught with risks.

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2015/07/18/the_european_project_from_riches_to_rags_111327.html


This idea, that meat is environmentally unfriendly, has been the conventional wisdom since 2006, when the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization published a report called Livestock’s Long Shadow. Which is why I was surprised when Frank Mitloehner, a UC-Davis animal science professor who is leading an update of the FAO’s livestock assessment, told me that the idea of eliminating animals from our food system was ridiculous and, actually, unsustainable.

“Agriculture cannot be sustainable without animal agriculture,” he said. “That is something I’m sure of.”

There are two key points to consider, Mitloehner said. First, most of the feed that livestock eat is not edible by humans. Globally, just 18 percent of animal feed is made up of grains or other crops that people might otherwise eat. The rest is crop residues, grass, and waste from milling grain and other food processing. And so, despite the inefficiency of converting calories to meat, animals are able to give humans access to energy that they wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise.

http://grist.org/food/can-meat-actually-be-eco-friendly/


Pentaquarks are an exotic form of matter first predicted back in 1979. Everything around us is made of atoms, which are mode of a cloud of electrons orbiting a heavy nucleus made of protons and neutrons. But since the 1960s, we’ve also known that protons and neutrons are made up of even smaller particles named “quarks”, held together by something called the “strong force”, the strongest known force in nature in fact.

Experiments in 1968 provided the evidence for the quark model. If protons are hit hard enough, the strong force can be overcome and the proton smashed apart. The quark model actually explains the existence of more than 100 particles, all known as “hadrons” (as in Large Hadron Collider) and made up of different combinations of quarks. For example the proton is made of three quarks.

All hadrons seem to be made up of combinations of either two or three quarks, but there is no obvious reason more quarks could not stick together to form other types of hadron. Enter the pentaquark: five quarks bound together to form a new type of particle. But until now, nobody knew for sure if pentaquarks actually existed – and, although there have been several discoveries claimed in the last 20 years, none has stood the test of time.

https://theconversation.com/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-large-hadron-colliders-latest-discovery-pentaquarks-44721


Discovered in 1995 near the constellation Aquila, the cloud is 1000 times larger than the diameter of our solar system. It contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. To down that much alcohol, every person on earth would have to drink 300,000 pints each day—for one billion years.

Sadly, for those of you planning an interstellar pub crawl, the cloud is 58 quadrillion miles away. It’s also a cocktail of 32 compounds, some of them as nasty as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51271/there-are-giant-clouds-alcohol-floating-space

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