Getting the math of the Universe to cancel out - http://dia.so/uv
> The vacuum of space isn’t actually “empty”; it teems with particles that pop in and out of existence, giving the vacuum an energy of its own. But here’s an embarrassing fact about that energy: it predicts that the cosmological constant (which provides a measure of the rate of the expansion of the Universe) should be 10120 times larger than we think it actually is.
> Most scientists prefer things to be a bit more accurate than this. Still, the main question on cosmologists’ minds is not why the predicted and real values appear to be so different, but how it is that the vacuum energy does so little. An answer of sorts has recently appeared in Physical Review Letters. But before we get to the paper, let’s delve into the nature of the problem it’s trying to solve.
Viruses Reconsidered - http://dia.so/tl
The discovery of more and more viruses of record-breaking size calls for a reclassification of life on Earth.
> Now, with the advent of whole-genome sequencing, researchers are beginning to realize that most organisms are in fact chimeras containing genes from many different sources—eukaryotic, prokaryotic, and viral alike—leading us to rethink evolution, especially the extent of gene flow between the visible and microscopic worlds. Genomic analysis has, for example, suggested that eukaryotes are the result of ancient interactions between bacteria and archaea. In this context, viruses are becoming more widely recognized as shuttles of genetic material, with metagenomic studies suggesting that the billions of viruses on Earth harbor more genetic information than the rest of the living world combined. (See “Going Viral,” The Scientist, September 2013.) These studies point to viruses being at least as critical in the evolution of life as all the other organisms on Earth.
How Immigrants Make American Science Great - http://dia.so/sE
While the rest of the world is catching up, the United States is still the leader in quality science research—thanks to people from other countries.
> The U.S. is the world’s preeminent producer of scientific research: it funds the most research in academia and business, it publishes more science than any other nation, and its scientific papers are disproportionately among the world’s best. So who is responsible for producing all of this science?. To a large degree, the answer is: immigrants.
// Ok, ok, #EU es el líder mundial en #IDI, pero se lo debe a los científicos que llegan de otros paises, no sería mejor para esos países proporcionar apoyo a la investigación para quedarse con su justa cuota de cerebros?, qué hay de los que no logran emigrar, no poder moverse hacia #EU está correlacionado con no poder hacer buena #ciencia?
Modern conflicts have destroyed the old protections around health care—and we’re only just beginning to assess the damage.
> BEIRUT — The medical students disappeared on a run to the Aleppo suburbs. It was 2011, the first year of the Syrian uprising, and they were taking bandages and medicine to communities that had rebelled against the brutal Assad regime. A few days later, the students’ bodies, bruised and broken, were dumped on their parents’ doorsteps.
> Dr. Fouad M. Fouad, a surgeon and prominent figure in Syrian public health, knew some of the students who had been killed. And he knew what their deaths meant. The laws of war—in which medical personnel are allowed to treat everybody equally, combatants and civilians from any side—no longer applied in Syria.
> “The message was clear: Even taking medicine to civilians in opposition areas was a crime,” he recalled.