Russia notes progress with fast reactor technology

Written by World Nuclear News

Russia has reached two more milestones in its endeavour to close the nuclear fuel cycle. Mashinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) – part of Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL – has completed acceptance tests of components for its ETVS-14 and ETVS-15 experimental fuel assemblies with mixed nitride fuel for the BREST and BN fast neutron reactors. reactor MSZ has also announced the start of research and development work on the technical design of the “absorbent element” of the core of the BREST-OD-300 reactor.

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Did PC Science Cause Shuttle Disaster?

Written by Steven Milloy

NASA is reconsidering whether tank foam debris caused the Columbia disaster. That’s quite a shift from days earlier when the foam was the “leading candidate” — an explanation that quickly became embarrassing. shuttle

We may never know precisely what happened to Columbia, but one thing should be clear — NASA should not be in charge of investigating itself.

A chunk of foam insulation broke off the external fuel tank during launch, perhaps damaging Columbia’s heat-protecting tiles. “We’re making the assumption that the external tank was the root cause of the accident,” said shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore in the immediate aftermath.

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Experts of Convenience

Written by Professor Roger A. Pielke, Jr.

Modern science rests upon “a bald-faced but beautiful lie” from which it draws its “political and cultural power.” That is how Dan Sarewitz describes the myth that underpins modern science.

That lie holds that scientists following their curiosity, motivated by little else and certainly not political considerations, advance understandings and thus our ability to make wise decisions. THB is also an effort to critique this “beautiful lie.” trust me

A key element in that lie is that scientists are neutral arbiters of truth, who sit above the rough and tumble of political debates. Like philosopher kings, their neutrality should be used to arbitrate our difficult debates. Sounds great. Most myths do.

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Many People Think What Few Dare To Say

Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser

From climate doomsters to media politicos, the world is being bombarded with mis-constructs, unfounded claims and outright lies. Some listeners and readers may fall for such deceits but many others are thinking to themselves and quietly walking away. unhappy

Time and again, I have experienced that phenomenon after giving a talk to (mostly) retired professionals from a variety of disciplines. They approach me in private with statements like “fully agree with you but am afraid to speak out.” Too few speak up in public – though they may voice their views indirectly at the ballot box.

However, times are slowly changing. Many people have become dissatisfied with main stream media reports and become more willing to stand up against misleading advertising, destructive policies and rapidly rising costs. In my perception, the recent Brexit vote is a harbinger of more of such “rebellions” to come, some likely to be equally surprising.

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In new book, scholar peels back layers of deception on global warming

Written by Michael O’Brien

Michael Hart is a former official in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and now emeritus professor of international affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he has taught courses on the laws and institutions of international trade, Canadian foreign policy, and the politics of climate change. He held the Fulbright-Woodrow Wilson Center Visiting Research Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations and was Scholar-in-Residence in the School of International Service, Senior Fellow at American University in Washington, and is the founder and director emeritus of Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law. In addition, he has taught courses in several other countries. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than a dozen books and several hundred articles.

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A Light Overhead that Scientists say “Shouldn’t be there”

Written by PSI staff

NASA scientist Peter Schultz in the “Science” program titled “Stellar Gold Rush” (March 30, 2016) showed why science is never settled and why observed phenomena still baffles us. Schultz and other NASA scientists have long been at a loss to explain an odd electrical glow over earth’s moon.

This mystery was first reported in 1978 television program about the Surveyor 7 space mission. Shultz had become fascinated about a report of “Moon Glow” that could not be explained. At the time of the event Dr. Bill Barnes, author of “Space Wars” had said: “There’s a light that’s overhead that shouldn’t be there.”

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Five Modes of Science Engagement

Written by Professor Roger Pielke, Jr.

In my book, The Honest Broker, I describe four modes of engagement by scientists and other experts. They are ideal types and shown in the figure above. The different modes are a function of how we think about democracy and how we think about the proper role of science in society. The book gets into some more detail, of course, on the theoretical background. Here I respond to a few recent requests to provide a high level overview of the different roles, motivated by a workshop I attended last week at the National Academy of Sciences organized by their roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences — on Twitter #NASinterface. I also list some thoughts based on my experiences engaging experts on these roles over the past several years.

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Upcoming: Showdown at the National Academy of Sciences Corral

Written by Steve Milloy

Steve Milloy, Dr. John Dunn & and Dr. Stan Young versus EPA before the National Academy of Sciences over EPA’s illegal human experiments. August 24 at 1pm ET via webinar. You can listen in. Instructions below.

Summary of Event

EPA secretly hired the National of Sciences (NAS) to whitewash its program of illegal human experimentation. When Milloy learned of the EPA’s plans, Milloy exposed them and compelled the NAS to re-open the virtually concluded process and have apublic meeting, which will take place on Aug. 24 at 1pm ET. A more detailed explanation is in Milloy’s July 24 commentary in the Washington Times (also reprinted below).

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Climate Alarmism: Probably the Greatest Hoax/Scam in World History

Written by Alan Carlin

Climate alarmism is probably the greatest hoax/scam in world history. The main evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), the principal alleged adverse effect of human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), is climate models built by CAGW supporters in a field where models with real predictive power do not exist and cannot be built with any demonstrable accuracy beyond a week or two because climate and weather are coupled non-linear chaotic systems. hoaxWithout the models, the whole hoax/scam collapses.

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Saving Science

Written by Daniel Sarewitz

Science, pride of modernity, our one source of objective knowledge, is in deep trouble. Stoked by fifty years of growing public investments, scientists are more productive than ever, pouring out millions of articles in thousands of journals covering an ever-expanding array of fields and phenomena. But much of this supposed knowledge is turning out to be contestable, unreliable, unusable, or flat-out wrong. From metastatic cancer to climate change to growth economics to dietary standards, science that is supposed to yield clarity and solutions is in many instances leading instead to contradiction, controversy, and confusion. Along the way it is also undermining the four-hundred-year-old idea that wise human action can be built on a foundation of independently verifiable truths. Science is trapped in a self-destructive vortex; to escape, it will have to abdicate its protected political status and embrace both its limits and its accountability to the rest of society.

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Science editor-in-chief sounds alarm over falling public trust

Written by David Matthews

Snake oil salesman
Source: Getty
Jeremy Berg is taking on one of the most influential jobs in science just as the scientific endeavour is facing a challenge of historic proportions.

As the new editor-in-chief of Science, a highly selective journal that still has the controversial power to make scientific careers, the biochemist and former University of Pittsburgh senior manager is worried about an apparent rejection of science by some parts of the public – and thinks that academics should look closely at how their own behaviour may have contributed.

“One of the things that drew me to this position…is there’s a crisis in public trust in science,” he tells Times Higher Education after starting in the Science post on 1 July. “I don’t pretend to have answers to that question but it is something that I care deeply about.”

Berg, who started his career in chemistry but then moved on to span a host of other disciplines including biochemistry and personalised medicine, acknowledges that society’s confidence in science does “wax and wane” over time but thinks that, this time, things are different.

In the US, “scientists have been labelled as another special interest group”, he says.

Part of this is down to the polarisation of American politics and the rise of an anti-intellectual spirit, Berg thinks. His fears echo Atul Gawande, an American health writer, who earlier this year told graduating students at the California Institute of Technology that “we are experiencing a significant decline in trust in scientific authorities”.

In his address, Gawande cited a study that showed a significant decline in trust in science among American conservatives. In 1974, conservatives had the most trust in science, but by 2010, they had the least, and substantially less than liberals in particular.

Donald Trump, who has erroneously linked vaccines to autism, blamed China for creating the concept of global warming to undermine US manufacturing and claimed that environmentally friendly light bulbs can cause cancer, can be seen as one manifestation of this long-term collapse in conservative trust in science in the US.

But researchers are not entirely blameless for this rising hostility, thinks Berg. “Scientists are guilty of behaving in some ways of making this stick more than it needs to,” he says.

Too often they have gone beyond explaining the scientific situation and ventured into policy prescriptions, notably in the case of climate change, he thinks. “The policy issues should be informed by science, but they are separate questions,” he says. “Scientists to some degree, intentionally or otherwise, have been mashing the two together,” he adds, and urges scientists to be more “transparent” about “where the firmness of your conclusions end”.

Another area where scientists have overstepped the reach of their evidence is in drug development, where there “has been a tendency maybe to overhype early results”, Berg suggests.

“Scientists…say ‘we have this really important discovery and it will lead to new drugs for treating cancer in the next few years’, when the reality is that they have swum the first lap of a sixteen-lap race,” he warns.

Berg’s interest in the communication of science comes in part from his time leading the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the basic research arm of the US’ National Institute of Health (NIH), where he was director from 2003 to 2011.

There he found that the NIH’s policies towards researchers, although well thought through, were “pretty close” to being “opaque” and in need of better elucidation, he says.

But some in the scientific community argue that high-profile journals such as Science are partly to blame for the very overhyping of results that Berg decries.

A paper published in 2011 made waves after it found that there was a correlation between journal impact factors (JIFs) – which measure average paper citation rates over the past two years and are highest for prestigious journals such as Science, Nature and Cell – and the rate of retractions. Science had the second highest rate of retractions among the journals studied, below only the New England Journal of Medicine.

This could be because these journals are more highly scrutinised, the authors said. But it could also be because of demands from such journals for “clear and definitive” results, they suggested, which incentivise researchers to cut corners to come up with a neat scientific story.

Berg acknowledges that there is a “delicate balance” to strike between sharing the exciting fruits of research with the public and being sure not to exaggerate findings.

He argues that Science has “by and large” got this balance right, although he admits that “there have been things that garner lots of publicity that turn out to be overblown or just plain wrong”.

Although only six weeks into his job, Berg has already taken aim at JIFs, an oft-criticised way to rank journals and gauge the quality of scientists’ work. In a Science editorial and blog, Berg calculated that because papers have such a big spread of citations within any one journal, it makes little sense to use the JIF to predict how many citations any one article will have.

JIFs have been “abused by the scientific community and the scientific administrative community”, he tells THE, and have taken on “a life of their own”. Some journals specify their impact factors to three decimal places – this level of specious detail should be “like fingernails on a chalkboard” to a scientist, he says.

Berg stops short of saying that Science will no longer release its JIF, as “transparency is good”. But actively publicising an impact factor is “a much harder case to make”, he says.

Science and others have also been under fire for their high rejection rates: the Nobel prizewinning cell biologist Randy Schekman accused prestigious journals of behaving “like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags or suits” because “they know scarcity stokes demand, so they artificially restrict the number of papers they accept”.

Science Advances, an online only, open access journal launched in 2014, is a way to ease this problem, Berg argues, as it can accommodate articles too long to fit into Science itself.

It is “certainly the goal” for Science Advances to be as prestigious as Science itself, he says. “I don’t see it as the consolation prize if you don’t get in to Science.”

But even if the clout of Science Advances grows, Berg acknowledges that there may always be a “prestige edge” for physical journals – such as Science – where space is inevitably scarce.


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Rock star-scientist Brian Cox confused on more than global temperatures

Written by Dr Jennifer Marohasy

Celebrity physicist Brian Cox misled the ABC TV Q&A audience on at least 3 points-of-fact on Monday night. This is typical of the direction that much of science is taking. cox Richard Horton, the current editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, recently stated that, “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.”

Firstly, Cox displayed an out-of-date NASA chart of remodelled global temperatures as proof that we have catastrophic climate change caused by industrial pollution. Another panellist on the program, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.

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Britain should lead 21st Century nuclear revolution

Written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

It is hard to imagine now, but Britain once led the nuclear revolution. Ernest Rutherford first broke the nuclei of atoms at Manchester University in 1917. Our Queen opened the world’s first nuclear power plant in 1956 at Calder Hall.

Such were the halcyon days of British atomic confidence, before defeatism took hold and free market ideology was pushed to pedantic extremes.

Most of Britain’s ageing reactors will be phased out over the next decade, leaving a gaping hole in electricity supply. By historic irony the country has drifted into a position where it now depends on anailing state-owned French company to build its two reactors at Hinkley Point, with help from the Chinese Communist Party.

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Thin tropical clouds cool the climate

Written by Stockholm University

Thin clouds at about 5 km altitude are more ubiquitous in the tropics than previously thought and they have a substantial cooling effect on climate. thin clouds This is shown in a recent study by researchers from Stockholm University and the University of Miami published in Nature Communications. The cooling effect of mid-level clouds is currently missing in global climate models.

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