Antisocial Networking Kills, Again

The latest mass shooting in the USA emphasises that this form of violence is not just a gun issue or a mental health problem but is tightly linked to radicalisation by the extreme right-wing and conspiracy movements. In this piece we highlight the disconcerting ubiquity of conspiracy movements. The two current authors are unfortunate enough to have extended first hand experience with this underbelly of the internet.

 

The Oregon college shootings

When we first hear there has been another college shooting in Oregon, we make the assumption, perhaps unjustly, that the gunman will be a young, male conspiracy

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Interview with Andrea Rossi, LENR energy pioneer

Andrea Rossi, Sven-Kullander and Hanno-Essen

Background

As we explained in earlier Math Drudge blogs (MD#1 and MD#2) and Huffington Post articles (HP#1) and HP#2), a revolution of sorts is brewing in the clean energy field, with the emergence of fusion and “low energy nuclear reaction” (LENR) energy. These processes, unlike fission reactions used in conventional nuclear reactors, need not emit dangerous radiation, nor do they produce radioactive byproducts. The fuel is plentiful and free — they key ingredient, hydrogen, is the most abundant element in the universe.

Scientists at universities and large government laboratories have been feverishly working for

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A prime puzzle in honor of Richard Crandall

From David Broadhurst, October 5, 2015.

In honour of the memory of Richard Crandall (1947-2012), I have devised a puzzle on prime numbers obtained from moments of Bessel functions:

Richard Crandall

 

I commend this puzzle to Richard’s many colleagues, noting that “hand-to-hand combat with thousand-digit integrals” may be insufficient to solve it, without using brain as well as brawn. I have prepared a solution, together with a heuristic analysis that I think Richard would have liked. This will be released at the end of the year. Until then, happy puzzling.

Here is the mathematical description of the puzzle:

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Cold fusion heats up: Fusion energy and LENR update

Introduction

As we noted in previous Math Drudge blogs (#1 and #2), and in Huffington Post articles (#1 and #2), the world faces a grim future if we do not immediately rein in consumption of fossil fuels. Risks include rising sea levels, more frequent extreme temperatures, flooding, drought and conflicts among human societies. An eventual sea level rise of 6 meters now seems pretty much assured. Additionally, July 2015 is now officially the hottest single month in recorded history.

In spite of these truly sobering developments, some are seeing rays of hope. Prices of solar photovoltaic panels have dropped considerably.

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Is US crime soaring? Do gun controls encourage crime? The science of crime statistics

Introduction

It is widely believed that modern society is in sharp decline. Crime, especially, is widely considered to be steadily soaring out of control. American politicians frequently join the fray, using the crime issue to assert various political points. For example,

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is an advocate of the death penalty, but hopes to address an “unacceptable” increase in incarceration. In 2007, Republican Jeb Bush declared, “The simple fact is we are not safe. Not in our homes. Not anywhere.” More recently, according to the New York Times, he supports reforming the criminal justice system, fearing that incarceration can

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New York Times features mathematician Terence Tao

The New York Times has published a feature article on mathematician Terence Tao of UCLA, regarded by some as the most brilliant mathematician alive.

Terence Tao was born in Adelaide, Australia, the son of Chinese immigrants. His intelligence and mathematical precocity were evident at a very young age. He taught himself to read at age 2. At the age of 7, the local newspaper showed a photo of him in an 11th grade mathematics class, kneeling on his chair should that he could reach his desk. A few months later, he was promoted to 12th grade. At the age of

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Moore’s Law is 50 years old: Will it continue?

Introduction

If extraterrestrial astronomers or space travelers were to zoom a telescope to view present-day planet Earth, he/she/they might wonder at the strange appendages that many humans seems to have attached to their hands and ears… Yes, iPhones, Androids and now even smart watches have taken society by storm, for better or worse. Ditto for driverless cars, smart homes, Facebook, Snapchat, online banking, streaming movies, international video calling and a host of other modern conveniences and tools.

All of these wonders are made possible by “Moore’s Law,” that unwritten “law” that semiconductor technology advances roughly by a factor of

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How certain are scientists that the earth is many millions of years old?

Introduction

In a 2012 interview, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a U.S. presidential candidate for 2016, was asked “How old do you think the Earth is?” He responded, somewhat coyly: “Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that.” Keep in mind that Rubio sits on the Science and Space Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees by far the largest scientific research budget in the world.

Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.), who serves on the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee,

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Are there “missing links” in the human family tree?

Introduction

Creationist and and intelligent design writers frequently emphasize “gaps” in the fossil record, and, in particular, claim that there are “missing links” in the human family tree between “apes” and humans. So what are the facts here? Is there indeed an unbridgeable “gap” between apes and humans?

Hardly. To appreciate how far the study of prehuman fossils has come, even in the 1990s it was generally thought that the first hominins (the group that includes modern humans and their extinct predecessors) appeared about four million years ago, and then descended in a fairly “linear” fashion to Homo ancestors

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Desperately seeking ET: Fermi’s paradox turns 65 (Part II)

Introduction

Why is it so hard to find ET? After 50 years of searching, the SETI project has so far found nothing. In the latest development, on April 14, 2015 Penn State researchers announced that after searching through satellite data on 100,000 galaxies, they saw no evidence, such as infrared signatures, indicative of advanced technological civilizations. Such civilizations might exist, but there was certainly no clear-cut evidence in their data.

In our Part I article, we mentioned how numerous scientists over the past 65 years, since Fermi first raised the question “Where is everybody?,” have examined Fermi’s paradox and have

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