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This Week in Science 2017–10–29


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/10/29

“To Kierra Camfield, 7, magic and science are one and the same.

“You can explode things and magic can explode things, too,” she said Saturday, at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Edmonton.

The University of Alberta has been hosting the Harry Potter-themed event every October for six years to encourage budding scientists.”


“Compared with other medical science, concussion studies are so relatively new that trends and tendencies are still up for debate.

That includes this premise referenced at an Ottawa concussion symposium: are girls more prone to concussions than boys? And why do girls tend to take longer to recover from concussion?

Dr. Roger Zemek was the lead researcher on a comprehensive study involving more than 3,000 children between ages 5 and 18. More than 8,000 children were screened for this study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2016 and gathered data from five centres, including Ottawa. Nearly half the concussion cases involved girls.”


“Cigarette smoking, one of the least healthy habits out there, is quickly disappearing in the United States.

The rate of American adults who smoke has declined from 42% in 1965 to 15% in 2015.

However, there are a number of risk factors taking its place, many of which stem from people’s growing preference for sedentary, isolated lifestyles.”


“For more than a decade, psychology has been contending with some of its research findings going up in smoke. Widely publicized attempts to replicate major findingshave shown that study results that scientists and the public took for granted might be no more than a statistical fluke. We should, for example, be primed for skepticism when studying priming. Power posing may be powerless.

A recent piece in the New York Times recalled the success of a popular study on powerful poses, and how efforts to replicate the research failed. The article detailed how the collapse of the research behind power poses took place in the increasingly common culture of public critique and infighting in social psychology. Some of that fighting comes from efforts not to tear down, but to build up the field with better scientific rigor and statistics.”


“Scientists are altering a powerful gene-editing technology in hopes of one day fighting diseases without making permanent changes to people’s DNA.

The trick: Edit RNA instead, the messenger that carries a gene’s instructions.

“If you edit RNA, you can have a reversible therapy,” important in case of side effects, said Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a gene-editing pioneer whose team reported the new twist Wednesday in the journal Science.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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