9 ways science has been totally sexist, and totally wrong

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It’s easy to assume that just because something is scientific it’s true. 

That doesn’t account for the glut of conflicting findings both in academia and industry over the past century and how social constructs have impacted scientific judgement.

It also doesn’t account for the fact that science has been — and in some cases continues to be — dominated by men and their often collective worldview. 

Just think about how that male dominance has impacted the way the scientific community has represented women — both in terms of female participation in and contribution to science. 

A new book is turning all that history on its head. Inferior by British science writer Angela Saini delves into the many ways that “science has got women wrong” using “new research that is rewriting the story.” The new book attempts to provide an alternative view of science where women are included, rather than excluded. 

“From intelligence to emotion, for centuries science has told us that men and women are fundamentally different. But this is not the whole story,” writes Saini. Inferior “sheds light on controversial research and investigates the ferocious gender wars in biology, psychology and anthropology.” 

The U.S. cover for the book

The U.S. cover for the book

The book is indeed a reminder of the ways in which science has been used to reinforce or break down sexist stereotypes. We dismantle nine of them below:

Women are intellectually inferior to men

Despite being the man behind the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin had some pretty un-evolved views about women. 

In the book, Saini tracks down a series of letters to and from Darwin shortly before his death in 1881. An American women’s rights activist named Caroline Kennard wrote to Darwin asking him to set the record straight about his most important works — On the Origin of the Species (1959) and The Descent of Man (1871) — which at the time were being used to support the argument that women were inferior to men “based upon scientific principles.”

“In the letter Kennard naturally assumes that a genius like Darwin couldn’t possibly believe that women are naturally inferior to men. Surely his work had been misinterpreted?” writes Saini. 

Darwin wrote back, and wow, did he deliver: “I certainly think that women though generally superior to men [in] moral qualities are inferior intellectually,” he told her. 

Original letters from Charles Darwin on display in 2009.

Original letters from Charles Darwin on display in 2009.

Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

“Darwin’s scientific ideas mirrored society’s beliefs at the time and they colored his judgement of what women were capable of doing. His attitude belonged to a train of scientific thinking that stretched back at least as far as the Enlightenment,” writes Saini.

Sure, Darwin’s was a product of his time. But is that an excuse? As the book outlines, there were plenty of forward-thinking individuals back in the day — like Albert Wolfe, Caroline Kennard, and Eliza Burt Gamble.

Women have not contributed much to science 

It’s a massive — but often used — generalization that men have contributed more to science than women have in the past century. 

The truth is men have dominated the scientific narrative of the past 100+ years and this is largely because women have not had the same access to the field. 

Keep in mind, it wasn’t until 1893 that women first got the right to vote in New Zealand and that right didn’t extend to the UK and U.S. until 1918 and 1920, respectively. Women were still fighting for their fundamental rights. “Taking on this male scientific establishment wasn’t easy. For nineteenth century women everything was at stake,” writes Saini. 

It took until well into the 20th century for women to be granted full degrees in many of the world’s universities. Where I studied engineering, in Oxford, they didn’t allow women to become full members until 1920, but many others were even slower than that,” says Saini. “Europe’s scientific academies were even worse. Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes, and was still rejected by the French Academy of Sciences in 1911. So we have to remember that women are only just catching up from a long legacy of deliberate exclusion. It’s only been a few generations since they’ve even had access to the same educational opportunities as men.”

The Victorian suffragist movement urged women to educate themselves to stand a chance of taking on the sexist debate about inferiority. 

One of the trailblazers of the time was the scientific suffragist Eliza Burt Gamble. Her book The Evolution of Woman (1894 and revised in 1916) lays out Darwin’s inconsistencies and double standards with regard to gender. 

Gamble says that inequity in women’s contributions to intellectual work were more a result of inequality than innate inferiority. Women weren’t allowed to develop their scientific talents, and making assumptions about their abilities based on how they happened to be treated by society was narrow-minded and dangerous. 

So there was a counter argument to Darwin’s proclamations about gender at the time, but they weren’t given equal recognition because they came from a woman. 

Gamble’s “army of readers and the support of fellow activists couldn’t win biologists around to her point of view,” writes Saini. “Her arguments were doomed never to fully enter the scientific mainstream, only to circulate outside it.”

In the face of adversity, women have been resourceful and strategic. “In the past, if women wanted to practice science, they sometimes became assistants to their scientist husbands or fathers, their contributions subsumed under their names,” says Saini. “These lost women of science are slowly being rediscovered, but it is tragic that their hard work and talent wasn’t recognised at the time.” 

Women are natural ’empathizers’ and men are ‘systemizers’

A 2002 study carried out on babies unveiled a controversial “empathizing-systemizing theory.” 

It basically said that the female brain is hardwired for empathy while the male brain is built for analyzing and building systems like cars and computers. 

This apparently explains the fundamental differences in the hobbies that men and women chose, according to psychologist and neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen. For example, men like to repair motorbikes and women prefer to attend coffee mornings in their spare time. 

This may come as a shock, but this study has been debunked time and time again. Most notably, a team of psychologists poured cold water on it in 2007, picking out a huge number of problems with the hypothesis. 

Men have heavier brains, meaning they’re more intelligent

Scientific study after scientific study has found that there is a 5 ounce difference between male and female brains. 

This difference in weight has been used by neuroscientists to reinforce the argument that male and female brains are fundamentally different. It has also been used to imply a difference in intelligence.

This was challenged in the late 1800s by the American teacher and writer Helen Hamilton Gardener, the pen name for Alice Chenoweth Day.

Working alongside Edward Spitzka (who became president of the American Neurological Association), Gardener observed that the weight of a person’s brain couldn’t be a measure of intelligence. It was the ratio of body weight, or body size to brain size, that was important. 

But as Saini writes: “The fight over those missing five ounces was a bitter one and it was never resolved in Helen Hamilton Gardener’s lifetime.” 

Angela Saini says scientists must accept that they're not always objective and they're not always fair.

Angela Saini says scientists must accept that they’re not always objective and they’re not always fair.

That hasn’t stopped the argument from rearing its head over and over again. 

In fact, only a few weeks ago a controversial study by scientists at Erasmus University in Rotterdam found that men have higher IQs than women because they have bigger brains. After using the latest scanning technology to measure the brain volumes of 896 people, Professor Dimitri van der Linden, who led the study, said: “We found that the average IQ of men was about four points above that of women. So if men had an average score of 100, women would score 96.”

The study has reignited the controversial debate. But Saini has been quick to stand her ground, telling The Sunday Times: “It is scientifically well established that there is no difference on average in general intelligence between women and men. It’s also well known that women have, on average, slightly smaller brains than men because they are, on average, slightly smaller in size. This paper does not disprove these facts.” 

Women are the weaker sex

On average men are 6 inches taller and have twice the upper body strength of women. But to classify women as the weaker sex, doesn’t tell the whole story. Women are actually stronger at birth and they live for longer. 

“Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men,” aging expert Steven Austad tells Saini in the book.  

Research shows that, from birth, girls are statistically more robust than boys. Joy Lawn, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that boys are around 10 percent at greater risk of dying than girls in the first month of their lives. 

Clinical trials predominantly focus on men 

Because of the complexity of the female body and the fluctuation of sex hormones, it has simply been cheaper and easier for the pharmaceutical industry to try out new medication on men during clinical trials. 

It’s been estimated that women are 1.5 times more likely to develop an adverse reaction to a drug than men. 

“Let’s face it, everyone in the biomedical community has spent their lives studying one sex or the other. And it’s usually males,” Steven Austad, Chair of Biology Department at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, said in an interview. 

Some medications have even been taken off the market after having an adverse effect on women. In 2000, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that eight out of 10 prescription drugs taken off the market since 1997 posed greater health risks to women than men. 

This is pretty egregious but thankfully things are improving. “There has been a huge movement in the United States to include women in clinical trials for new drugs and the imbalance is being gradually corrected,” says Saini. “The hope is that in the future, we won’t see the kind of mistakes that we’ve seen in the past because females will be better represented, not just in the drug development process, but in research as a whole.” 

Penises have been studied in far greater detail than female organs 

So much is known about the male body. But vaginas have more or less been ignored. 

Even when you think about the solutions provided for period pains — women are often given an overly simplistic solution. Take ibuprofen. 

Sexist stereotypes have been been cited as the root cause for why period pains are not afforded the same level of importance by doctors as other ailments, because women are somehow “exaggerating” or being “dramatic.”  “Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should,” John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, told Quartz. “I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.”

“In animal biology across all species there is more research on male sexual organs than there is on female ones … Medicine research has neglected problems that affect only women,” adds Saini.

Women are less promiscuous and less open to casual sex 

Women are naturally more monogamous and more selective about who they chose to shack up with, right? Not necessarily. Social context has a big role to play. 

A 1978 study at Florida State University found that women and men were as likely to go on a date with a stranger but none of the women would sleep with one. 

In 2015, scientists in Germany carried out a similar study with some interesting changes to the results. Women were found to be just as “up for it” as men, but fear of judgement, damage to reputation, or concerns about physical safety played a role in their decision. TL;DR: When society isn’t judging, women’s sex drive rivals mens

So cultural and societal norms play a big role in women’s behaviour. Saini’s book explains how it is as acceptable for women to have affairs as men in many indigenous populations, for example. 

There is also plenty of evidence from the animal kingdom to challenge that preconceived notion of coy, chaste, females. Forty years ago the primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy found that female Langur monkeys can benefit from mating with more than one male. 

Menopause happens because men don’t find older women attractive  

“In evolutionary psychology some male researchers insist that the female menopause evolved because no man of any age would find an older woman attractive,” Saini says in the above video. 

She’s referring to evolutionary biologist Rama Singh from the McMaster University of Canada, who along with Richard Morton and Jonathon Stone, made global news headlines in 2013 when a paper (published in PLOS Computational Biology) said older women become infertile because men don’t find them attractive. At the time, an article by Stone ran with the headline “Putting the Men in Menopause.”  

We’re calling B.S. on this one and we’re not alone.

The theory that women dry up because they’re no longer desirable to men was shut down from scientists of other research disciplines. 

“The reason men don’t prefer post-menopausal women is that they’re post-menopausal and they can’t get pregnant, not the other way round,” said Rebecca Sear, a scientist at the LSHTM. 

Not all ideas are good or decent. Not all science is objective or neutral. Not all “evidence” is what is presents itself to be. Thankfully there are authors like Angela Saini challenging what we *think* we know. 

Angela Saini is an award-winning British science journalist and broadcaster. Her book Inferior is available on paperback, kindle and audiobook by Fourth Estate and Beacon Press.

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Solar cell lenses give these shades a charge

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Over the years I’ve seen concepts of solar-powered sunglasses come and go, but the dream of for some reason wearing solar panels on my face has remained elusive — until today. Genius engineers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have successfully made a pair of shades with organic solar cell lenses — and you don’t even have to stare directly at the sun for them to work.

The lenses have been cut like ordinary glass or plastic to fit in a commercial frame, and are similarly light and transparent. Organic solar cells aren’t particularly efficient, but they are flexible and versatile, able to be put in situations where a rigid, opaque cell isn’t an option.

“The Solar Glasses we developed are an example of how organic solar cells may be employed in applications that would not be feasible with conventional photovoltaics,” said Domink Landerer, a PhD student at KIT who worked on the project, in a news release from the school.

Each arm of the sunglasses houses a custom PCB that converts the current and uses it to run, in this case, two small displays that show temperature and brightness. Not sure why you’d need a display to tell you how bright it is out there, but hey, it’s a research project.

After supplying the displays, the cells generate about 200 milliwatts of excess power. That’s not going to do much for your phone, but it will run or trickle charge a low-power device like a step counter, wireless transmitter, or small speaker. They work in dimmer light, too, like that of a home or office. In this case there isn’t even a battery in the assembly — it’s all accomplished with the energy collected in real time.

The researchers envision more interesting applications as the technology and manufacturing methods mature. They’ve published their methods in the journal Energy Technology.

Featured Image: KIT

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The Birth of BCH: The First Crazy Days of “Bitcoin Cash”

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BCH1-3.jpg

August 1 saw the birth of a brand-new cryptocurrency: “Bitcoin Cash,” sometimes referred to as “Bcash” and using the currency tickers “BCH” or “BCC.” Bitcoin Cash shares a history with Bitcoin, but yesterday it forked off to form its own blockchain and currency.

Here’s the story so far.

The Fork

Bitcoin Cash, initially defined by the Bitcoin ABC software implementation, was set to fork on August 1 at 12:20 p.m. UTC. Though, because of how Bitcoin nodes measure time, the actual fork happened a little bit later.

Starting right when Bitcoin block 478,558 was found around 12:35 p.m. UTC, Bitcoin miners and Bitcoin Cash miners started looking for a different kind of block, each following their own protocol. Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin has much more hash power attributed to its chain, a Bitcoin miner was the first to find one such block, marking the first block that was rejected by all Bitcoin Cash nodes. This effectively realized the “split,” even though no new Bitcoin Cash block had yet been found.

Since there weren’t very many Bitcoin Cash miners on a network that did maintain Bitcoin’s mining difficulty requirements, this first BCH block did not come fast. It took almost six hours, at about 6:15 p.m. UTC, until Chinese mining pool ViaBTC found the first Bitcoin Cash block. This, for many, made the “split” official.

At the time of writing, the fork seems to be more or less successful, depending on how “success” is defined in this context. While there were some concerns about the peer-to-peer network — Bitcoin ABC nodes initially appeared unable to reach one another — these problems have seemed to resolve over time. And safety precautions like replay protection and wipeout protection seem to be properly enforced as well.

That said, infrastructure support for BCH is still limited. Very few wallets and other Bitcoin services have adopted the new cryptocurrency so far — this could of course change in the (near) future.

Hash Power Issues

The bigger problem is probably that hash power on the Bitcoin Cash chain started out low and has remained low. As a result, confirmation times are extremely slow, often taking hours.

This should improve over time, especially because Bitcoin Cash implemented a new difficulty algorithm designed to faster adjust back to normal. However, even with this algorithm, it could take weeks before blocks are found at typical ten-minute block intervals.

Additionally, this difficulty adjustment algorithm could incentivize odd miner behavior. It has been speculated, for example, that miners intentionally mined no blocks for over 12 hours today, as that would help them get back to normal faster. And, notably, similar incentives would exist even once difficulty readjusts to normal on the Bitcoin Cash chain.

Market Behavior

As expected, price discovery has been very volatile during these first couple of Bitcoin Cash days. And perhaps more importantly, price discovery is still very limited, for three reasons in particular.

First, as mentioned above, many Bitcoin users are still having difficulties accessing their BCH because not many wallets support the new currency. And even if wallets do support it, accessing BCH requires users to give up some level of privacy, security, time and more. This stops users from selling.

Second, hardly any exchanges have enabled BCH deposits yet. With some exceptions, only users who held BTC on exchanges that credited users with BCH at the time of the fork were able to sell their BCH. All users who controlled their own private keys have had to wait or find someone to sell their BCH to themselves.

And third, because Bitcoin Cash blocks are slow and the chain insecure, even exchanges that do allow BCH deposits often take hours if not days to properly credit an account.

At time of writing, HitBTC is the only cryptocurrency exchange that allows BCH deposits within a reasonable timeframe. As such, it’s arguably the first “real” BTC/BCH exchange. However, since HitBTC is not a very established name, many may still be hesitant to send their funds to this exchange. (Nor does Bitcoin Magazine recommend that you do so.)

Despite all these factors, trading has started, and the market has seen some early price action. Since its launch, the BCH exchange rates on different trading platforms have bounced between some 0.05 BTC per BCH and 0.4 BTC per BCH.

Disclaimer: The author of this article received BCH and has not sold all of it yet.

The post The Birth of BCH: The First Crazy Days of “Bitcoin Cash” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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40 Facts About How the Psychology of Color Can Boost Your Website Conversions [Infographic]

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Up to 90% of a consumer’s initial judgment of a product is based on color, according to an infographic released by review site Skilled.

The infographic breaks down the rainbow and explains emotions associated with each hue, as well as in which industries each color is popular, and in which industries each color is not recommended.

For example, white and silver signify perfection, and you can see that in brands like Apple and Ralph Lauren, but many food brands—which prefer characteristics such as energy or excitement—opt for brighter colors.

Furthermore, certain colors speak to the psychology of certain types of buyers, according to the infographic. For example, navy blue and teal are often used to target budget shoppers, whereas pink, rose, and sky blue speak to traditional clothing buyers.

To see how the rainbow of colors affects buying habits, check out the infographic. Just tap or click to see a larger version.

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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Gibraltar Stock Exchange Plans Blockchain-Powered Trading System

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Gibraltar’s primary securities exchange has revealed a plan to “fully integrate” blockchain into its trading and settlement systems.

To help with the integration, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSE) also announced a strategic partnership with a firm called Cyberhub Fintech, which has become a shareholder in the exchange as part of the deal.

“The investment signals the Gibraltar Stock Exchange’s continued commitment to expand its capital markets network and influence in Asia as well as its ambition to become one of the world’s first regulated exchanges to fully integrate use of blockchain into its operational processes from ICO to IPO,” the GSE said in a statement.

Few details on the integration have yet to be released, however. A representative for the GSE did not immediately respond to CoinDesk’s questions about the announcement.

Past reports show that GSE has past experience with blockchain technology. Just over a year ago, the exchange announced the launch of an exchange-traded instrument (ETI) tied to the price of bitcoin.

The government of Gibraltar – a British Overseas Territory – has also moved to put in place guidelines for blockchain use. This May, the Ministry for Commerce released a draft proposal focused on blockchain regulations for public comment.

Rock of Gibraltar image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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A marijuana company has bought a California ghost town to turn it into a pot-tourism destination

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nipton californiaIn 1905, the covered wagons and cattle ranchers came through Nipton, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Then the California Gold Rush sent miners into the desert town.

And in 2017, the legal marijuana "green rush" arrived in Nipton.

American Green, a marijuana-focused technology company and consultancy, has purchased the small town for close to $5 million with plans to turn Nipton into a pot-tourism destination.

The company envisions Nipton (population: 6, according to the last count in 2016) as a ganja-paradise, where visitors might someday tour a marijuana farm, shop the dispensaries, take a dip in the natural spring baths, and enjoy a toke outside a pot-friendly bed-and-breafast.

Stephen Shearin, a consultant working with American Green on the Nipton development project, told Business Insider that the company aims to "create a community that is accepting and understanding" of the use of marijuana, which is an illegal substance under federal law.

"The [idea] here isn’t to create ‘Woodstock 2017,’" Shearin said. "It’s about creating an environment where people come to work and share in a community."

nipton california

The town’s broker told Gizmodo earlier this year that the buyer would need to pay all cash. After four months of negotiations, American Green secured more than 120 acres, all properties, and a working solar farm that will eventually allow the company to operate 100% off-the-grid.

Shearin said the company is committed to keeping the existing small local businesses, which include a general store and a five-room hotel. American Green may also offer the opportunity for locals to work for the company.

Founded in 2009, American Green was virtually unknown until now. It’s a publicly traded technology company that, according to its website, is involved in marijuana-dispensing vending machines, a dispensary-locator app, and seed-to-sale tracking solutions.

marijuana extraction

The company also manufactures and sells an oil derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis that lacks the psychoactive effects of marijuana. American Green adds the oil to balms, mints, and capsules, which it says provides "long lasting relief." One of the first products made in Nipton will be hemp water, made from infusing oil into water tapped from a local aquifer.

The medicinal value of hemp oil, however, is hotly contested. Huge amounts of hemp must be processed in order to draw a small amount of CBD, a chemical compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects, according to some advocacy groups.

Construction on infrastructure begins immediately, but the process of setting up the first legal marijuana cultivation site in Nipton may be years out. The town is unincorporated, and Shearin said it will need to incorporate before it can apply for a grower’s license.

Still, Shearin has a name for the town’s future dispensary already picked out: The Apothecary. It will have an Old West theme.

SEE ALSO: Tour the obscure California city that’s suddenly the hottest housing market in America

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: New startup app lets dispensaries legally deliver marijuana in 60 minutes or less

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NASA Will Chase the Upcoming Solar Eclipse Using Telescopes Mounted on Jets

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Observed from the ground, the total solar eclipse happening on August 21, when the Moon completely blocks your view of the Sun, will be visible for up to 160 seconds. It will be a fleeting glimpse of a rare phenomenon, which is why NASA plans to chase the Moon’s shadow using a pair of jets.

The planes NASA will be flying are modified versions of the WB-57F that first took to the skies way back in 1953 as bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Both planes have been heavily upgraded with modern avionics, however, as well as a pair of telescopes on the nosecone of each that’s capable of capturing photos, video, and thermal images of the eclipse, and of the planet Mercury, which will be more visible while the skies above the planes are considerably darker.

The total solar eclipse provides a rare opportunity for NASA to study the Sun’s atmosphere, particularly its faint corona, which is somehow heated to millions of degrees while the actual surface of the star measures in at just a few thousand. The eclipse might not instantly reveal what causes this weird temperature difference, but the footage and photos captured will give NASA a chance to better understand what is going on out there.

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Even with a top speed of well over 600 mph, the WB-57F jets won’t spend hours basking in the Moon’s shadow. Depending on where you are in the United States (and thanks to the curvature of the Earth) the Moon’s shadow will be racing across the surface of our planet at speeds of over 2,400 mph. So NASA has calculated that each of its jets, which will be taking off from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will spend roughly three and a half minutes capturing images and footage before the shadow leaves them in the dust.

[NASA via DPReview]

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The Largest ‘Dead Zone’ Ever Has Been Recorded off the Coast of Louisiana 

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Measuring 8,776 square miles, this year’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest ever recorded. (Image: N. Rabalais, LSU/LUMCON)

A recent expedition to the Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest “dead zone” ever recorded in the area. Measuring 8,776 square miles, this massive patch of oxygen depleted water is wreaking havoc on the Gulf’s marine life—a consequence of unchecked agricultural runoff pouring down from the Mississippi River.

Dead zones appear in the Gulf every summer, and the typical size is around 5,800 square miles. Back in 2002, scientists detected an unusually large dead zone stretching for 8,497 square miles, but this new one, detected just last week, is now the largest ever recorded. At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km), it’s 4.6 times larger than the target size set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. In the words of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this finding shows that “nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf.”

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Hypoxia is a fancy term for low oxygen, and it’s primarily a problem for estuaries and coastal waters. These dead zones have dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than two to three parts per million, and they’re triggered by a variety of factors. In the case of the Gulf of Mexico, excess nutrients stream down the Mississippi river, stimulating massive algal growths that eventually decompose—a process that depletes the oxygen required to support marine life. Sources of these nutrients include fertilizers from agriculture, golf courses, and suburban lawns, erosion of soil packed with nutrients, and sewage discharge from treatment plants.

Dead zones can cause a loss of fish habitat, or force fish to migrate to other areas to survive. They can also cause reproductive issues among marine animals. Studies suggest that dead zones in the Gulf are leading to fewer large shrimp, for instance. There are over 400 hypoxic zones in the world, but the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the largest in the US, and one of the largest globally.

Yep, that’s hypoxic water, alright. (Image: NOAA)

The latest measurements in the Gulf were made by a team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). Data was recorded aboard the RV Pelican from July 21 to 31. Sadly, the size of the dead zone didn’t come as a surprise.

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“We expected one of the largest zones ever recorded because the Mississippi River discharge levels, and the May data indicated a high delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the mid-summer dead zone,” said LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais in a statement.

These findings suggest that efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin aren’t working. The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, an initiative to help farmers apply fertilizers at optimum times, is either ineffective or being ignored. Dead zones obviously affect the fishing industry, but as for farmers, not so much.

It’s not immediately clear how voluntary measures to rectify the situation are actually going to shrink the Gulf Zone’s dead zone to an annual average of 1,900 square miles, a goal set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. Perhaps this year’s record-setting dead zone will finally get a serious conversation started.

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[NOAA, LUMCON]

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The Incredible Amount of Data Generated Online Every Minute [Infographic]

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Users of the Internet generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day, on average, according to recent research cites by Domo.

The report was based on publicly available data from a range of sources, including Web measurement services such as Internet Live Stats and news outlets such as BuzzFeed.

Among the key insights from the analysis: The Weather Channel receives 18 million forecast requests every minute, on average.

Also, every minute…

  • YouTube users watch 4.1 million videos.
  • Google delivers results for 3.6 million searches.
  • Wikipedia users publish 600 new edits.

Check out the infographic for more:

About the research: The report was based on publicly available data from a range of sources, including Web measurement services such as Internet Live Stats and news outlets such as BuzzFeed.

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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