DAILY DOSE: Spooky action heroes win Nobel Prize in Physics; CVS, Walmart on trial for peddling snake oil.

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SPOOKY ACTION HEROES.

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to a trio of researchers who tested what Albert Einstein famously referred to as “spooky action at a distance.” Per the Associated Press,

Three scientists jointly won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work on quantum information science that has significant applications, for example in the field of encryption.

Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for discovering the way that particles known as photons can be linked, or “entangled,” with each other even when they are separated by large distances.

“Quantum information science is a vibrant and rapidly developing field,” said Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel committee. “It has broad and potential implications in areas such as secure information transfer, quantum computing and sensing technology.

“Its origin can be traced to that of quantum mechanics,” she said. “Its predictions have opened doors to another world, and it has also shaken the very foundations of how we interpret measurements.””

Okay, so when do we get our teleportation device? https://bit.ly/3V3IMmf


ROGUE MEDICINE DEALERS.

A current case brought against CVS and Walmart by the nonprofit organization Center for Inquiry essentially accuses the two companies of being part-time snake oil dealers. According to Ars Technica,

Pharmacy giants CVS and Walmart will have to face trials over claims that placing ineffective homeopathic products alongside legitimate over-the-counter medicines on store shelves deceives consumers into thinking that the pseudoscientific products are akin to evidence-based, Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs.

The claims come from the nonprofit organization Center for Inquiry (CFI), which filed nearly identical lawsuits against CVS and Walmart in 2018 and 2019, respectively, to try to boot homeopathic products from pharmacy aisles for good. CFI claimed that deceptive placement of the water-based products violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA).

CFI may need more evidence to prevail during the trial, Senior Judge Phyllis Thompson wrote on behalf of the panel. "But, at this juncture, we cannot say that it is implausible that a reasonable consumer might understand [CVS and Walgreen's] placement of homeopathic products alongside science-based medicines as a representation that the homeopathic products are efficacious or are equivalent alternatives to the FDA-approved over-the-counter drugs alongside which they are displayed.

The amount of herbal pills sold in pharmacies is staggering. Now… About those vitamins… https://bit.ly/3SXgXKv


IMPORTANT ENTEROVIRUS INFORMATION.

Futurity did every concerned parent a favor and interviewed a doctor about enterovirus infections, currently the source of a lot of hand-wringing. According to the Q&A’s introduction,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory about a rise in children hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness who also test positive for the rhinovirus or enterovirus EV-D68.

That particular enterovirus has been associated with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)—a rare polio-like illness that affects the nerve cells in the gray matter of the spinal cord and could lead to permanent paralysis.

It’s a quick read. A little unsettling. But knowing is better than not knowing. https://bit.ly/3V2YCgI


THAT’S INCREDIBLE!

Every once in a while, modern technology does something truly mind-blowing. Recent research in Scotland has yielded the most amazing facial reconstructions of three people who lived almost a thousand years ago. The images are really striking. Per the Smithsonian Magazine,

It all began with an accident.

In 1957, workmen waterproofing the vault of a derelict medieval crypt in Whithorn, Scotland, stumbled onto three stone coffins. Over the next decade, excavations at the site unearthed dozens of graves containing ornate artifacts and human remains, including the bodies of clergy members and wealthy donors to the medieval priory. Now, a series of 3-D digital reconstructions is bringing the faces of three of these individuals to life.

Experts created the renderings as part of Cold Case Whithorn, a research venture centered on the Whithorn archaeological site. According to the Whithorn Trust, which oversees the site, Whithorn was home to the oldest known Christian community in Scotland and has been occupied continuously for some 1,600 years. The trust unveiled the reconstructions last week, at the Wigtown Book Festival, and will soon place them on display at the Whithorn visitor center.

“It’s always a challenge to imagine what life was really like in medieval times,” Julia Muir Watt, the trust’s development manager, tells BBC News. “These reconstructions are a brilliant way to engage with who these people from our past really were, of their everyday lives, their hopes and their beliefs.

These people look like someone who could be living down the block. Incredible. https://bit.ly/3C1s6TA

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: Ill. Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach.


ON SALE! Charles Darwin Signature T-shirt – “I think.” Two words that changed science and the world, scribbled tantalizingly in Darwin’s Transmutation Notebooks.

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