On-Line Encyclopedia on PSI

Parapsychology

Date: January 2019

Source: Open Science

The Psi Encyclopedia, edited by Robert McLuhan, is quick becoming the must-have alternative to the skewed and backwards notions so often encountered on Wikipedia. Created by the Society for Psychical Research in London, the site already covers many relevant subjects with articles crafted by top scientists in parapsychology, university professors, and professional authors.

Read more at : Psi Encyclopedia

Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science

Technology

Date: March 2019

Source: Quanta Magazine

AI is having an enormous impact in science. It started to be used in many disciplines to handle enormous quantity of data, like the study of the cosmos where the quantity of data collected are so huge and constantly increasing that their analysis is no more humanly feasible. Today, machine learning and access to cloud computing are the basic tools to handle such complexity. Visual recognition is also widely used, even if it remains a deterministic process, far from our human capabilities : “Human intuitions are often equally impenetrable. You look at a photograph and instantly recognize a cat — “but you don’t know how you know. Your own brain is in some sense a black box.”

Read more at : Quanta Magazine

Human impact on threatened terrestrial vertebrates

Biology

Date: March 2019

Source: PLOS | Biology

Endangered & Extinct Species

A global analysis of cumulative human impacts on threatened species on the distribution of 5,457 terrestrial vertebrates show that impacts to species are widespread, occurring across 84% of Earth’s surface. Almost one-quarter of assessed species are impacted across >90% of their distribution, and approximately 7% are impacted across their entire range.

Read more at : PLOS

Mme Blavatsky wrote (The Theosophist, Vol. VII, N° 76, January 1886) : ” Evolution starts to mold future humanities within the lower scales of being. Therefore, by killing an animal, or even an insect, we arrest the progress of an entity towards its final goal in nature – MAN ; and to this the student of occult knowledge may say that it not only retards the evolution of that entity, but arrests that of the next succeeding human and more perfect race to come.”

Dogs can smell your emotional state

Psychology

Date: October 2017

Source: Nature

Science had already shown that dogs can see and hear the signs of human emotions. A new study focused on the evidence that dogs are sensitive to the human’s attentional state when producing facial expressions, and concluded that : “Dogs’ production of facial expressions is subject to audience effects, and can be tailored to the human attentional state suggesting some communicative function and are not simple emotional displays based on the dogs arousal state.

Read more at : Nature

Heavy smoking can damage vision

Health & Medecine

Date: January 2019

Source: ScienceDirect

It has already been demonstrated that cigarette smoke contains numerous compounds that are harmful to health and has been linked to a reduction of cortical thickness, involving such areas as the medial and lateral frontal cortex and a decrease in activity of the occipital cortex. Some studies investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on cognitive function, but few have evaluated the effects of cigarette smoking on spatial and color vision. A new study tends to indicate that heavy long-term smokers (i.e. tobacco addiction users) have lower contrast sensitivity and poorer color discrimination abilities than their non-smoking peers.

Read more at : ScienceDirect

Sleep increases chromosome dynamics in neurons

Biology, Health & Medecine

Date: March 2019

Source: Nature

Sleep increases chromosome dynamics that clear out DNA damage accumulated during waking hours. A new study shows that sleep can heal DNA damage induced by many causes, including radiation, oxydative stress, . . . According to current state-of-the-art, sleep process is still far from being understood : “Nevertheless, the core cellular function of sleep is unknown, and there is no conserved molecular marker to define sleep across phylogeny“, “. . . however, why sleep has evolved and which fundamental ancestral functions it regulates, remain enigmatic.

Read more at Nature Communications

Meteorit Impact 12,800 years ago confirmed

Earth Science

Date: March 2019

Source: Phys.org

A major cosmic impact that occurred toward the end of the Pleistocene epoch (12,800 years ago), causing rapid climatic changes, megafaunal extinctions, sudden human population decrease and cultural shifts and widespread wildfires (biomass burning) got additional findings from a Chilean site. According to the on-going study called the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, traces of the multiple impacts have been found in the Americas, Europe, and up to Greenland where a major crater has been recently spotted.

Read more at: Phys.org

Neuroscience Readies for a Showdown Over Consciousness Ideas

Biology

Date: March 2019

Source: Quanta Magazine

Molecular Thoughts

Identifying consciousness in the physical realm is one of the strongest push from the scientific community, in order to validate the materialistic model. This article talks about a new initiative to narrow down the landscape of possibilities :

Now a new project currently under review hopes to close in on some answers. It proposes to draw up a suite of experiments that will expose theories of consciousness to a merciless spotlight, in the hope of ruling out at least some of them. If all is approved and goes according to plan, the experiments could start this autumn. The initial aim is for the advocates of two leading theories to agree on a protocol that would put predictions of their ideas to the test. Similar scrutiny of other theories will then follow.

Read more at: Quanta Magazine

The Physics Still Hiding in the Higgs Boson

Physics

Date: March 2019

Source: Quanta Magazine

No new particles have been found at the Large Hadron Collider since the Higgs boson in 2012. This article highlights the depth of the unknown for modern Science about the basic building blocks of the Universe : “But physicists understand little about the omnipresent Higgs field, or the fateful moment in the early universe when it suddenly shifted from having zero value everywhere (or in other words, not existing) into its current, uniformly valued state. That shift, or “symmetry-breaking” event, instantly rendered quarks, electrons and many other fundamental particles massive, which led them to form atoms and all the other structures seen in the cosmos. But why? Why should the universe decide to have this Higgs presence all over?”

Read more at: Quanta Magazine

A case of Karma : Revenge of the Incas

Anthropology, Archeology, History

Date: March 2019

Source: ScienceDirect

Inca Sun

55 million indigenous people died following the European conquest of the Americas beginning in 1492. A new study demonstrates that the Great Dying of the Indigenous
Peoples of the Americas led to the abandonment of enough cleared land in the Americas that the resulting terrestrial carbon uptake had a detectable impact on both atmospheric CO2 and global surface air temperatures in the two centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Read more at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379118307261

The Origin of the Elements

Physics

Date: February 2019

Source: Physics Today

What are the basic constituents of our universe, our world, our body, . . . From where came the building blocks of our “material” world, the elementary particles ? How Science classified them ? This paper recapitulates decades of interdisciplinary research in astronomy, chemistry, and nuclear physics to determinate from where came the elements.

Read more at: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.4134

What is Life ?

Biology

Date: January, 2019

Source: New Scientist

All the signs are you’re alive: you respond to stimuli, you’re using energy, your cells are reproducing. Yet plenty of things around you obviously aren’t alive, despite ultimately being made of the exact same atoms. Physics or biology alone can’t explain the difference, and in the first of a new occasional series of “Big Questions”, physicist-turned-biologist Paul Davies marries concepts from the cutting edge of both disciplines to come up with a big answer – one that takes us outside the bounds of the laws of nature as we know them.

Read more at: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24132150-100-lifes-secret-ingredient-a-radical-theory-of-what-makes-things-alive/

Meat Production affecting the eco-system

Earth Science, Health and Medicine

Date: November, 2018

Source: The Lancet

Meat production doesn’t just affect the ecosystem by production of gases, and study now question the system of production’s direct effect on global freshwater use, change in land use, and ocean acidification. A recent paper in Science claims that even the lowest-impact meat causes “much more” environmental impact than the least sustainable forms of plant and vegetable production.

Another study from the International Agency For Research On Cancer assessment has identified a “strong” link between red meat and the mechanistic evidence for carcinogenicity.

Read more at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32971-4/fulltext

Homo Sapiens Evolution

Anthropology

Date: January, 2019

Source: Trend in Ecology and Evolution

The view that Homo sapiens evolved from a single region/population within Africa has been given primacy in studies of human evolution. However, developments across multiple fields show that relevant data are no longer consistent with this view. A new study shows that Homo sapiens evolved within a set of interlinked groups living across Africa, whose connectivity changed through time.

Read more at: https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(18)30117-4

A manuscript of an essay from Mme Blavatsky was published in The Theosophist, Vol. LXXXIII, N° 11, August 1962 – also available in BCW XIII, p.326, where she described the early races of Africa