This Week in Science (Nov. 8 – 15)

Nov 15, 2015

This is a collection of the 10 best and most popular stories from science and technology over the past 7 days. Click the individual images below to read the stories and follow the This Week in Science on wakelet (here) to get these weekly updates straight to your inbox every Sunday.

5 comments on “This Week in Science (Nov. 8 – 15)

  • Ministers are considering whether homeopathy should be put on a blacklist of treatments GPs in England are banned from prescribing, the BBC has learned.

    They need to get on with this. it is long overdue!

    Especially when the NHS desperately needs funds for important work.

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  • Astronomers spot most distant object in the solar system, could point to other rogue planets

    This headline is very misleading!
    It should have said it is the most distant positively identified so far.

    The dwarf planet could eventually join one of two clubs. If its orbit one day takes it closer to our sun, it would become part of a more common population of icy worlds whose orbits can be explained by gravitational interactions with Neptune. But if its orbit never brings it close to the sun, it could join a rare club with two other worlds, Sedna and 2012 VP113.

    These two dwarf planets never come within 50 AU of the sun, and their orbits swing as far out as 1000 AU. Sheppard calls them “inner Oort cloud objects” to distinguish them from icy Kuiper Belt objects, which reside between 30 and 50 AU. The Oort cloud is a hypothetical, thinly populated sphere of icy bodies, thousands of AU away, that marks the edge of the solar system and the end of the sun’s gravitational influence.

    They are clearly not further out than “Outer Oort Cloud Objects”!

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  • Homeopathy only got into the NHS because the King, George V1 believed in it. There was a homeopathic hospital in Bristol when I was young and beautiful, which was part of the NHS, but I don’t think that they still practised it, my mother had an ulcer cut out there, which I doubt was a procedure that true believers would have supported.

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  • eejit
    Nov 16, 2015 at 5:09 am

    Homeopathy only got into the NHS because the King, George V1 believed in it.

    Unfortunately there are idiot MPs who also believe in it, and others stupid enough to propose them for places on influential committees.

    MP who believes astrology and homeopathy can save the NHS in line to chair influential health committee

    Tory MP and Capricorn David Tredinnick is in line for the chairmanship of the Commons Health Select Committee – and he thinks Astrology is a ‘useful diagnostic tool’

    Candidates for the chairmanship must be nominated by 15 MPs from their own party. So far Tredinnick has gained 18 Tory nominations, plus one each from Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Ulster Unionist Party.

    Tredinnick added: “Astrology offers self-understanding to people. People who oppose what I say are usually bullies who have never studied astrology.

    “They never look at it. They are absolutely dismissive. Astrology may not be capable of passing double-blind tests but it is based on thousands of years of observation.

    “Astrology was until modern times part of the tradition of medicine. I think it is a great pity that so many scientists today are dismissive of right-side brain energy, such as intuition.

    “People such as Professor Brian Cox [a Pisces], who called astrology ‘rubbish’ have simply not studied the subject.”

    And his unusual views don’t stop there. His support for homeopathy led to respected scientist and Cancer Lord Winston saying in December: “I think his views are lunatic.”

    So – to our friends in the USA –
    Your politicians have not cornered the market in crass stupidity! There is still strong competition elsewhere!

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  • Senate Votes To Legalize Space Mining

    One step closer to owning pieces of asteroids?

    This bill appears to be trying to sell off, or give away, space resources to American corporations!

    However, this points to one of the problems with the bill, according to Michael Listner, lawyer and founder of the consulting firm Space Law and Policy Solutions. Because the U.S. can’t own property in space, it can’t really dole out rights to pieces of that property. “It would be like you asking me for a piece of pie, and me saying, go over to my neighbor’s house and take a piece of their pie, and then come back and thank me for it,” says Listner. He thinks there should have been more international discussions about space mining before a U.S. law was proposed.

    It also appears to be trying to give those corporations immunity from regulation by US or foreign governments, and to protect them from competitors!

    Thirdly, the Senate also took out a lot of language that would protect space miners from “harmful interference,” or things that might disrupt a company’s normal operations, such as, potentially, the U.S. government, other nations, and other space mining companies.

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