IQ Scores Are Falling Due to Environmental Factors, Study Finds – Mahita Gajanan

IQ scores are on a decline, reversing a trend that saw scores rising at a steady rate during the 20th century, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway studied the IQ scores of about 730,000 Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1991. They found that scores grew by nearly three percentage points every decade for people born between 1962 and 1975. But among those born after 1975, scores fell.

The cause of the IQ decline is due to environmental factors, and not genetics, said Ole Rogeburg, a senior research fellow at Ragnar Frisch Centre and co-author of the study on IQ scores, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

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Delhi’s air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart – Michael Safi

olluted cities, has the highest rate of respiratory diseases of any country. A leading lung specialist, Arvind Kumar, says the cancer patients he sees Delhi are younger, more often female and more likely to be non smokers than those outside the city.

Children are the most vulnerable: a 2015 study concluded about half Delhi’s 4.4m schoolchildren had stunted lung development and would never completely recover.

But pressure on local and central governments to act usually clears along with the air in February when warmer temperatures help to thin the smog.

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A case of the plague has emerged in Idaho — here’s why the disturbing disease continues to re-appear – Kevin Loria

  • A child in Idaho came down with the plague recently, according to a statement by Idaho’s Central District Health.
  • People still catch the plague every year, usually after coming into contact with fleas that carry plague bacteria.
  • There are a few cases every year in the US and more in other parts of the world.

A child in Elmore County, Idaho, has been diagnosed with the plague, according to a statement by Central District Health in Idaho.

This plague case, like others that appear rarely but with some regularity, is the same disease that was responsible for the medieval “Black Death.” Plague continues to be a serious and potentially fatal bacterial illness. But fortunately, if it’s caught early enough, it can be treated with antibiotics.

The Idaho child is recovering after receiving treatment, according to the health department. Officials aren’t sure whether the child was exposed to the disease in Idaho or on a recent trip to Oregon.

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There is now a blockchain-based religion. No, this is not a joke. – Zoë Bernard

  • Former Augur CEO Matt Liston has founded a blockchain religion called “0xΩ.” Liston pronounces this as “Zero Ex Omega.”
  • He describes the project as a way to “incentivize mindshare.”
  • Despite founding a blockchain-based religion, Liston maintains that he is not a”Cryptprophet.”

Matt Liston would like to publicly refute the claim that he is a “Cryptprophet.” He’d also like to clarify that he is not the “Cryptsiah” or the “CryptChrist.” (“I grew up Jewish,” he points out.)

Despite being the originator of what may be the first blockchain-based religion, Liston is but a humble developer, and doesn’t suggest to possess divine knowledge.

“It makes me uncomfortable to think about that,” says Liston. “It seems inappropriate. If I’m claiming to start a religion, it’s probably disingenuous if I claimed not to be a figure within the religion. But I don’t like the sound of that.”

Liston, who left his position as CEO of the blockchain project Augur amid a cloud of controversy, has spent the afternoon in Bodega Bay developing what he describes as “mechanisms for worship” for his new religious order, called 0xΩ (Liston pronounces this as “Zero Ex Omega”). The religion, which he unveiled along with artist Avery Singer at New York’s New Museum last month, will present both a blockchain system for pre-established religions, and a new faith-based order of its own.

Continue reading “There is now a blockchain-based religion. No, this is not a joke. – Zoë Bernard”

A new form of male birth control is being tested around the world — and men only have to rub it on their shoulders once a day – Hilary Brueck

  • Scientists are moving forward with a year-long trial of male birth control gel.
  • Men will rub a nickel-sized amount of the alcohol-based gel on themselves, one pump per day.
  • The drug works by suppressing a man’s sperm levels, and usually takes about eight to 12 weeks to become fully effective.
  • Side effects in shorter, smaller trials have been minimal.

Women have several options when it comes to birth control: pop a pill once a day, get a shot, implant hardware like a copper or hormonal IUD, or slap on a skin patch.

For men, the only do-it-at-home option around is the condom, which is about 85% effective at preventing pregnancies. But starting this summer, men may be headed towards their very first widely-available birth control rub. This one won’t come with the castration-like side effects of a recent male birth control pill trial that lowered men’s testosterone levels (to at or below boyhood concentrations), either.

Doctors in six countries around the world are readying a year-long birth control trial the alcohol-based shoulder rub that participants can administer themselves, once a day. The researchers are hoping to enroll their first couples in US trials starting in July.

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A troubling link has been found between a cutting-edge gene-editing technology and cancer — and it’s sending biotech stocks tumbling – Charlotte Hu

  • Two independent studies by Novartis and Karolinska Institute showed that CRISPR-Cas9 may increase the risk for cancer by disrupting function of the essential p53 DNA repair protein.
  • CRISPR Therapeutics‘ stock was down 15.3% Monday morning, while Editasand Intellia, two other companies developing CRISPR-related therapies dropped 7% and 8% respectively.
  • This finding only affects some of CRISPR’s therapies.

There could be a big issue with a revolutionary gene-editing tool.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a gene-editing tool made up of a group of molecules that can find a specific gene in a cell and alter it. In theory, it’s supposed to be able to tackle genetic-based diseases like cystic fibrosis and cancer.

However, two independent articles published by Novartis and Karolinksa Institute in the journal Nature now report the application of the CRISPR-Cas9 may inadvertently increase the risk of cancer by hijacking proper functioning of the p53 protein. Mutation of the DNA-repairing p53 accounts for a large proportion of cancers.

The CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics said in a comment to STAT News that while the results are plausible, it may apply to the DNA replacement function of CRISPR more than the DNA excising function of the gene-editing tool. However, he said there will be increased scrutiny as CRISPR develops and is tested to make sure it doesn’t turn cells cancerous.

In response to the new data, CRISPR Therapeutics’s stock was down 15.3% Monday afternoon, while Editas and Intellia, two other companies developing CRISPR-related therapies dropped 7% and 8% respectively.

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Inside the New Technology That Could Transform the Solar Power Industry – Justin Worland

The future of solar power has looked increasingly bright in recent years thanks to the plummeting cost of silicon solar panels and a global push for clean energy sources to address climate change. In the most optimistic scenarios for the power source, solar generation will increase 16-fold between 2016 and 2040, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

But now new research into a class of materials known as perovskites underway in U.S. government labs and other facilities around the world promises to accelerate rapidly even the most optimistic projections for solar deployment. If they make it from the lab to commercial use perovskites could dramatically change the market for the renewable energy source offering potential for panels to capture energy virtually any surface facing the sun.

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