Saturday Citations: Volcano vs. asteroid; NASA's supernova time lapse; immortal chemicals

This week, we're focusing on a research that deals with hazardous chemical pollutants and, just for kicks, another study that deals with additional hazardous chemical contaminants. However, NASA created a fascinating time-lapse movie with the trusty Hubble space telescope, and a team of Italian demographers has a lot to say on the effects of lying on the populace.

Unbiased conclusion

Did enormous volcanic explosions cause the extinction of the dinosaurs? or the force of a massive asteroid strike? After decades of scientific dispute, a group of Dartmouth academics tired of the back-and-forth chose to let an impartial panel of computers make an objective, Spock-like determination about which of these cataclysmic scenarios was more plausible.

Using a massive corpus of geological and climatic data studied in reverse chronological order, the researchers used a Bayesian inversion modeling technique to determine the most likely cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. The system's processors independently compared and recalculated results using Markov Chain Monte Carlo machine learning to produce a scenario that matched the fossil record.

The outcome? The model concluded that an eruption of gases from the massive Deccan Traps shield volcano over a period of 300,000 years was sufficient to initiate the extinction catastrophe, even in the absence of the skewing impact of human bias.

Unexpected consequences

The chemical substance bisphenol A, which is linked to perfectly crystalline plastic water bottles and various endocrine disruption effects, is utilized in the production of polycarbonates, epoxy resins, thermal paper, and PVC. My only other recall from that year is that I was surrounded by a lot of folks wearing boot-cut jeans without boots. That was in 2007, when I first learned about BPA.

A new study has found that children with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to have a reduced ability to clear BPA from their systems; there has been an increase in diagnoses for both conditions over the decades, though it is unlikely to be attributable to a single cause. Since then, there has been a lot of BPA-contaminated water under the bridge.

Noisy decontamination

Speaking of harmful "forever chemicals," Ohio State University researchers have developed a novel method that may be used to remove PFAS poisons from polluted groundwater. These strong, long-lasting substances gave rise to industrial foams, stain-resistant carpet, nonstick cookware, and decreased vaccination responses in the 20th century, among other things. They also increased the risk of testicular, bladder, and kidney cancer, as well as birth abnormalities.

And the Paul Rudds of chemical pollution linger in the environment without ever really decomposing. In order to weaken the chemical bonds in chemicals known as fluortelomer sulfonates, which are frequently used in firefighting foams, the researchers employed ultrasonic degradation over the course of three hours. They point out that the same method may potentially break down medications in wastewater and municipal taps.

Explosion persisting

NASA last week unveiled time-lapse video showing the explosion of a star 20,000 years ago sending its debris flying into space. The Hubble Space Telescope was utilized by astronomers to see a piece of the leading edge of the supernova bubble's expansion by focusing on a small section of the Cygnus Loop nebula.

They created a time lapse of the ongoing explosion by taking consecutive photos of this little location over a 19-year period, from 2001 to 2020. This revealed that the star's remnants are rushing into space at a speed of half a million miles per hour.

corrupt in Liartown

An emerging phenomena known as "honesty drain," which occurs when honest individuals choose to move away from places where dishonesty is common, has been documented by social science experts. As a result, there is a sort of duplicity doom loop whereby regions that are severely affected by honesty drain also have worse-quality political classes, lower rates of income growth, and lower labor productivity.

False birth registrations are used by demographers as an indicator of regional honesty; for example, in Italy, a large number of parents of December-born infants fabricate birth certificates, which leads to a rise in January birth registrations. The likelihood of having a fake birth certificate is significantly lower for those who move from a high-cheating region to a low-cheating area.