Tag Archives: field

Physics – Scientific American Editors

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Physics
New Frontiers
Scientific American Editors

Genre: Physics

Price: $4.99

Publish Date: May 22, 2017

Publisher: Scientific American

Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC


In the world of physics, very little in the universe is what it first appears to be. And science fiction has imagined some pretty wild ideas about how the universe could work – from hidden extra dimensions in Interstellar to life as a mental projection in The Matrix. But these imaginings seem downright tame compared with the mind-bending science now coming out of physics and astronomy, and in this eBook, Physics: New Frontiers, we look at the strange and fascinating discoveries shaping (and reshaping) the field today. In the world of astrophysics, the weirdness begins at the moment of creation. In “The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time,” the authors discuss theories of what might have come before the big bang. Could our 3-D universe have sprung from the formation of a black hole in a 4-D cosmos? The math says: maybe. Later, in “The Giant Bubbles of the Milky Way,” the authors describe massive structures dubbed “Fermi bubbles” at its center – structures that no one noticed until recently. Technological innovations make much of this new science possible, as we see again in “Neutrinos at the Ends of the Earth,” where 5,000-odd sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of ice in Antarctica aim to catch neutrinos in order to study distant cosmic phenomena. Scientists are also dissecting molecules with the most powerful x-ray laser in the world, as explored in “The Ultimate X-ray Machine.” Even our most fundamental notions of what reality is are up for debate, as examined in “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” and the aptly named “What Is Real?” in which the authors question whether particles are indeed material things at all. While all of this abstraction might seem like a fun exercise in mental gymnastics, living things must also abide by the laws of physics, which, according to “The Limits of Intelligence,” may prevent our brains from evolving further. Then again, as we’ve learned, things could be different than they appear…

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Physics – Scientific American Editors

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data – Charles Wheelan

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Charles Wheelan

Genre: Mathematics

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: January 7, 2013

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


“Brilliant, funny . . . the best math teacher you never had.”—San Francisco Chronicle Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.

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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data – Charles Wheelan

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Raw Data: Field Worker Wages Since the Great Recession

Mother Jones

Apropos of nothing in particular, I got curious this morning about illegal immigration and field workers. About half of all field workers are undocumented, so if there’s been a surge of illegal immigration lately, as some have speculated, you’d expect to see the wages of field workers decline. But how would you measure that?

I’m not sure what the best approach is, but I decided to compare the wages of field workers to the wages of all nonsupervisory workers. Here’s what I got:

Relative wages for field workers were flat all through the aughts, as illegal immigration was climbing, and declined a bit during the Great Recession. However, since 2012 they’ve risen three percentage points. In 2016, field workers earned nearly 57 percent of the average nonsupervisory wage.

Based on this, I’m willing to bet that that illegal immigration hasn’t surged over the past couple of years. Just the opposite, maybe, which would be consistent with the rise in field worker wages since 2012.

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Raw Data: Field Worker Wages Since the Great Recession

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One city is making a good start at tackling its homelessness problems — thanks to a lawsuit.

What could go wrong?

The Stones field, 200 miles south of New Orleans and 1.8 miles beneath the water surface, is far deeper than the field tapped by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The new project, the Guardian reports, could be a boon to Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, whose annual bonus is linked to completing major new projects. But some Shell shareholders will be less than pleased. At the company’s annual meeting last year, many shareholders pushed to end CEO bonuses for actions that harm the climate and to require investments in renewables.

Last year, van Beurden admitted that we cannot burn all the fossil fuel reserves on the planet and expect global temperature rise to stay below 2 degrees Celsius. Above 2C, climate scientists warn that the consequences will be severe and, in some cases, irreversible. So far, we’re halfway there.

But Shell is just continuing on with business as usual: The company forecasts that its deep-water production capacity will grow dramatically by the early 2020s.

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One city is making a good start at tackling its homelessness problems — thanks to a lawsuit.

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Shell has started pumping from the world’s deepest underwater oil field.

What could go wrong?

The Stones field, 200 miles south of New Orleans and 1.8 miles beneath the water surface, is far deeper than the field tapped by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The new project, the Guardian reports, could be a boon to Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, whose annual bonus is linked to completing major new projects. But some Shell shareholders will be less than pleased. At the company’s annual meeting last year, many shareholders pushed to end CEO bonuses for actions that harm the climate and to require investments in renewables.

Last year, van Beurden admitted that we cannot burn all the fossil fuel reserves on the planet and expect global temperature rise to stay below 2 degrees Celsius. Above 2C, climate scientists warn that the consequences will be severe and, in some cases, irreversible. So far, we’re halfway there.

But Shell is just continuing on with business as usual: The company forecasts that its deep-water production capacity will grow dramatically by the early 2020s.

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Shell has started pumping from the world’s deepest underwater oil field.

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Deepwater Horizon is being made into a movie, and it looks disastrously good.

What could go wrong?

The Stones field, 200 miles south of New Orleans and 1.8 miles beneath the water surface, is far deeper than the field tapped by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling about 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The new project, the Guardian reports, could be a boon to Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, whose annual bonus is linked to completing major new projects. But some Shell shareholders will be less than pleased. At the company’s annual meeting last year, many shareholders pushed to end CEO bonuses for actions that harm the climate and to require investments in renewables.

Last year, van Beurden admitted that we cannot burn all the fossil fuel reserves on the planet and expect global temperature rise to stay below 2 degrees Celsius. Above 2C, climate scientists warn that the consequences will be severe and, in some cases, irreversible. So far, we’re halfway there.

But Shell is just continuing on with business as usual: The company forecasts that its deep-water production capacity will grow dramatically by the early 2020s.

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Deepwater Horizon is being made into a movie, and it looks disastrously good.

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Donald Trump Is Doing Pretty Well Considering That He Isn’t Advertising At All

Mother Jones

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the fact that Donald Trump has so far spent $0 on TV advertising. Here is Jeet Heer:

Hillary Clinton has entered the field with $13 million in Olympics ad spending, but her competitor is nowhere to be seen. Astonishingly, Donald Trump’s campaign is spending zero dollars on Olympics advertising. And it’s not just in Olympics ads that Clinton is winning by default. To date, the Trump campaign has been unwilling to spend one thin penny on television advertising.

….In recent weeks, he’s upped his fundraising game, bringing in more than $91 million. So Trump has the money, he’s just not choosing to spend it. This is further evidence that Trump’s not running a real campaign, but something closer to a scampaign.

Maybe. But does it occur to anyone that this might be a danger sign for Hillary? She’s about 6-7 points ahead of Trump at the moment, which sounds great until you think about the fact that she’s spent $90 million on ads to Trump’s zero. Perhaps the Trump campaign is gambling that ads this far ahead of Election Day don’t have much effect, so he might as well wait until September and then unleash a gigantic blitz. They might even be right. In any case, once he does start advertising, surely that will cut Hillary’s lead.

How much will it cut her lead? That’s a good question, isn’t it?

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Donald Trump Is Doing Pretty Well Considering That He Isn’t Advertising At All

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How to Harvest and Cook Fiddlehead Ferns

Fiddlehead ferns are a telltale sign that spring is coming to a close. Always appearing around the month of May, these delicious yet fleeting vegetables are the apples of many a forager’s eye. Even if youre not a forager yourself, you might want to buy these delicious, asparagus-like ferns from the store if you spot them. Theyre delicious, with a bright, lively taste and a versatile texture. Heres what you need to know about these tricky little delicacies.

What are Fiddlehead Ferns?

Most of the fiddleheads we associate with eating are ostrich ferns. This is important to note, because there are other varieties that may look similar, but are actually known to be toxic. They are the fronds of a young fern that has just begun to sprout. We pick them in the spring before theyve had the chance to mature and unfurl into what we usually recognize as a fern. As a result, they look, well, kind of like a curled-up green bean.

Where and When Do They Grow?

Fiddlehead ferns grow best on the Eastern side of the country, usually running from New England all the way up through Eastern Canada. They tend to sprout up in wet, marshy areas, so theyre kind of off the beaten path (this is one of the reasons theyre so expensive to buy in stores). They grow in clumps of two to three all the way up to the hundreds, and only hang around for a couple of weeks in mid-Spring.

Forage or Buy?

If you live in an area where fiddlehead ferns grow and youre an experienced forager, these little guys would be fun items to look for. However, its important to be careful about this. Similar plant species may look very similar to the fiddlehead, but are in fact toxic. Fearless eating recommends the book A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants if youre interested in foraging for fiddleheads. You could also go out on the hunt with a credible guide who could show you the ropes.

If you decide to pick these up at the grocery store, time is of the essence! Blink and you might miss them. Be prepared that theyre also expensive roughly $14-19 per pound.

How to Cook Fiddlehead Ferns

The Kitchn advises that you shouldnt eat these ferns raw. Theyve been known to cause illness when eaten raw in large quantities. However, that shouldnt be a problem, because cooking these guys is easy! You can cook them any way youd cook asparagus: sauteed, steamed, boiled, etc.

My personal favorite idea is to blanch and then saute them. Bring your water to a roaring boil, add your fiddleheads, and allow the water to return to a boil. Then let the boil continue for about four minutes before placing the fiddleheads in a bowl of ice water. After theyve cooled a bit, sautee them with some butter, coconut oil or olive oil. Delish!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How to Harvest and Cook Fiddlehead Ferns

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9 Things You’ll Miss Without Wetlands

You probably don’t give wetlands a second thought, but you should. They’re one of the most valuable parts of our ecosystemand they’re disappearing almost faster than we can keep track.

Twenty-two states have lost at least 50 percent of their original wetlands, with the most being lost in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that between 2004 and 2009, coastal wetlands declined by 80,160 acres per year.

“It’s as if we have a best friend who is seriously ill with a treatable disease, and we refuse to help him, though we watch closely, each day, as he shakes with fever, begs for water, becomes unable to walk or stand,” lamented Field and Stream.

The U.S. EPA calls wetlands the “kidneys” of the landscape. That’s because they’re so effective at removing pollution and sediment from the water that flows through them, improving water quality, attracting wildlife and creating a beautiful place to relax and enjoy nature.

But those attributes seem to be no match for the logging, draining, filling and development going on to convert wetlands to plantations, suburbs, shopping malls and factories.

During American Wetlands Month, which is celebrated in May, I wanted to highlight nine valuable benefitswe will all lose if we continue to let wetlands be destroyed.

1) Seafood – “Wetlands are essential to fish and shellfish…and the health of the nation’s multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational fishing industries,” said March Schaefer, NOAA Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management. What’s at stake: crab, shrimp and lobster, making up nearly 80 percent of our fish and shellfish overall reports NOAA.

2) Ducks, Geese and Many Other Birds– Though wetlands comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area, they support 75 percent of our migratory birds. If you enjoy watching geese migrate in spring and fall, along with other birds, you need to support wetlands.

3) Water Purification – Wetlands can absorb pollutants from surface water. They help trap sediment, too. As long as they’re not overwhelmed, wetlands act as a buffer between rivers and streams and the larger bodies of water they empty into.

4) Flood Protection – Wetlands protect coastlines after a storm by holding excess runoff after a storm, then releasing it slowly. Wetlands cannot prevent flooding, but they can lower the size of a flood surge, and by slowing its velocity. Think of a wetland as a giant sponge. It can hold much more water than other soil types, and for a longer period of time.

5)Groundwater Recharge – Underground aquifers that help provide our drinking water and nourish plants are refilled when water seeps into them through wetlands. During that process, the wetlands help filter the water, as well.

6) Frogs and Yes, Alligators – Many species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians rely on wetlands to breed, forage and nest. Wetland animals often cannot survive anywhere else. The high rate of wetlands loss has contributed to listing many animals species as threatened or endangered.

7) Photography and Art – Many beautiful photographs have been taken of wetlands and the animals and plants they support. Wetlands have inspired artists all over the world.

8) Canoeing and Kayaking – Because wetlands are usually so placid, they’re an ideal place to kayak, canoe and get uniquely close to nature. It takes very little skill to paddle a kayak in a wetland, making the sport available to everyone.

9) Places to Hunt and Birdwatch – Ironically, wetlands are ideal for birdwatching and hunting alike, though not at the same time. In fact, hunters are some of the most avid proponents of protecting wetlands because they have seen firsthand how destroying these ecosystems can threaten wildlife.

During the month of May, get out and explore wetlands near you. If you don’t know where any are, contact your state department of natural resources, or check the U.S. Fish & Wildlife website here.

Related:
Michigan Has Lost 40 Percent of Wetlands
Habitat Loss Threatens More than 90 Percent of Migratory Birds

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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9 Things You’ll Miss Without Wetlands

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The NFL Just Released Its Concussion Count, And It’s Not Pretty

Mother Jones

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With a little more than a week and a half before the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers face off in Super Bowl 50, the National Football League has released its latest injury data, and it isn’t pretty. Its players have suffered 271 reported concussions this season, a steep uptick from 2014-15, when there were 206, and the highest number in the last four years. The NFL also reports that there were 182 concussions during the most recent regular season; there were 115 in 2014.

Jeff Miller, the league’s senior vice president of health and safety policy, gave a number of possible explanations for the rise in concussion reports, such as increased screening for possible head injuries, an “unprecedented” level of players reporting signs of injury, and a rise in participation from spotters and independent neurologists on the sidelines. It’s also worth noting that, the number of helmet-to-helmet incidents on the field rose 58 percent between 2014 and 2015 after a two-year drop.

The league’s figures for the 2015 season differ slightly from PBS Frontline‘s Concussion Watch project, which bases its data on the NFL’s weekly injury reports. Frontline found that there were 199 concussions sustained this year, compared to the NFL’s 182. (Frontline‘s data does not include the preseason.) Cornerbacks suffered the most this year, with 41 reported concussions, while wide receivers and linebackers bore the next highest number of injuries, according to Frontline.

This latest injury report comes just as doctors discovered posthumously that Tyler Sash, a 27-year-old former safety for the New York Giants who died of an accidental drug overdose in September, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a debilitating brain disease. Cases so severe are rarely seen in a person his age. The New York Times reported on Tuesday Sash sustained at least five concussions throughout his playing career.

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The NFL Just Released Its Concussion Count, And It’s Not Pretty

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