Get Started With Git and GitHub on Ubuntu

Github website

This guide will help you get started with version control using git and GitHub. It takes a no-nonsense approach and focuses on the minimal amount of stuff that you need to do to get started.

It will not cover complex topics like branches, workflows, pull requests and so on. It will just reach you the very basics so that you can go from knowing nothing to knowing just enough to be productive.

What is the point with version control? Why bother? Sometimes when you are coding, you start improving a script that works but after hours of work, you find that although your new feature works, it has broken the code. You try to fix it, but it is all a mess. If only you could get back to where you started…

Continue reading

Debunking the 9/11 Myths

Debunking 9/11 myths

Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as attempted to attack either the White House or the Capitol Building on September 11, 2001. Details of his attack have been compiled by thousands of scientists, engineers and journalists. However, anti-science activists and conspiracy theorists rejects these findings in favor of dozens of flawed myths about the events due to their political or religious ideology.

They quote experts out of context, misunderstand basic physics and engineering, demonize mainstream researchers and even fail to use map direction services correctly. Scientists and engineers as well as journalists and scientific skeptics have fought back by debunking these conspiracy theories with verifiable facts. They have produced articles, blog posts, videos, books and television documentaries.

Continue reading

The truth is out there

Is the truth out there?

We live in a time where access to reliable knowledge is easier than ever before. If you are curious about things like quantum mechanics, dark matter, the synthesis of insulin, the citric acid cycle or the language used in a particular law or political proposal, that information is just a few moments away.

However, this has also made false information more widespread than before. People can join intellectually isolated communities where they are not exposed to any contrary information and be led into believing the most absurd things about reality. Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Are there individual differences and and what are those caused by? How has the research conclusions about conspiracy theorists changed in the last few decades of psychological research?

Continue reading

Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality

Vaccines have saved millions of lives and contributed to the radical extension of human lifespan. They are among the safest and most effective medical products available. Scientists and medical researchers perform large-scale scientific studies on often millions of doses and people to find out if there are any harmful negative effects of vaccines. Yet there is a powerful group of anti-vaccine activists that ignore evidence and reason and prefer to promote ignorance and misinformation about vaccines.

The U. S. government and medical organizations regularly monitor and review the evidence of vaccine safety by reading hundreds of scientific papers and patient reports. They publish their findings in the scientific literature or in expert reports. They have consistently found that vaccines are generally safe and only have extremely rare risks for the most serious side effects.

Continue reading

Dengue Fever Textbook by Ingrid A. Lobo

Dengue fever book

What is dengue fever and how many people get it every year? How was the disease initially discovered? Where on earth are you most at risk from getting it? How is it spread? What are the genomic details of the virus? How does it reproduce in the human body? How is the vector that carries the virus controlled? Are there many different strategies that focus on different personal, chemical and biological possibilities?

What diagnostic methods are used to see if a person might have dengue fever? How can the disease currently be treated in humans? What future antiviral treatments and vaccines are on the research horizon to improve treatment of the disease and even to help prevent people from getting it in the first place?

Continue reading

Vaccines Unrelated to Allergies, MS, Type 1 Diabetes and Chronic Arthritis

Vaccines, allergies and autoimmune conditions

Vaccines are one of the greatest lifesaving inventions that humanity has ever achieved. It has decimated harmful infectious diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio and many more. Since the 1900s, millions of parents no longer have to suffer through the deaths of their children due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

There are still diseases such as malaria and HIV that have devastating impacts, but vaccine research and development are in progress. Anti-vaccine activists oppose vaccines and often medicine generally. They rely on flawed anecdotes, fearmongering about vaccine ingredients and general ignorance about basic chemistry. Despite mountains of scientific evidence showing that vaccines are safe and effective, anti-science forces threaten to undermine many public health achievements.

Continue reading

How To Install Python 3 On Windows (With Pictures)

Python 3 installation guide

So you have finally decided to start coding and you have selected Python as your first language to master? Great! It is powerful, portable, easy to read and learn and has a ton of resources available. It is an excellent language to start with.

Currently, there are two parallel versions of Python being supported: one for Python 2 and one for Python 3. So which should you choose? A few years ago, maybe the answer would have been Python 2 because it had more libraries. But Python 3 has been out since 2008 and crucial packages for science such as NumPy, SciPy, pandas and matplotlib support Python 3. Python 2 will also stop being supported in a few years.

Thus, unless you absolutely require a package that only works for Python 2 or joining a project that uses Python 3, new users should opt to use Python 3. This brief visual guide, will show you how to download and install the latest version of Python 3 (happens to be 3.6.0 at the time of this writing, but will of course change with future updates).

Continue reading

Best Practices for Scientific Computing

Best practices for coding

Science is becoming increasingly complex and involve larger and larger data sets. This has led to the need for large-scale computational analysis and forced scientists to learn some of the basics of coding. Many might feel that this distracts them from doing lab work. In reality, coding and data analysis is of paramount importance for translating research results into solid conclusions that can drive future research.

Today, it is possible to sequence the genomes of hundreds of individual organisms to closely monitor effects of long-term evolutionary experiments or get information about gene expression in organisms found in different environments. Scientific resolution has never been higher. This has meant that researchers are increasingly turning to computer programming to aid in their analysis and interpretation of their results.

Continue reading

A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001-2010)

EU-funded GMO research report

GMOs are for many a socially controversial subject. In reality, however, GMOs is just an arbitrary label we use for crops and foods (among other things) that were produced using a specific biotech method. Even if you make the exact same changes using this biotech method and some other method, the former is a GMO and the latter is not regardless of what changes have been done. Anti-science activists have created a culture of fear around biotechnology despite the fact that genetic modification of crops cause smaller, more precise and more well-known changes than crossing two plants on a field does. This is because the latter involve changes in thousands of genes, whereas genetic modification might just involve a single gene.

Scientists have researched GMOs extensively as each new GM crop requires around a decade of toxicological and environmental safety testing before release due to political regulations. The scientific consensus is that the biotech methods behind GMOs are safe and that prominent GM applications are also safe and effective. The real opposition to GMOs come from powerful anti-biotech lobby groups who are exceptionally ignorant of the underlying science.

Continue reading

Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering About Vaccines Ingredients

Vaccine ingredients

The Internet has enabled people from all over the world to have instant access to the most of combined knowledge of humanity. Facts about archaeology in Egypt, diving among coral reefs, how to cook the perfect steak are available just a few clicks away. For anyone who wants to get the real facts on an issue, the possibilities have never been greater.

However, the Internet has also allowed people to willfully stay misinformed by finding anti-science claims and isolate themselves in communities that filter out opposing information. One such issue that has been plagued by conspiracy theories and misinformation is vaccines. In reality, vaccines are incredibly effective and safe and have decimated many different diseases that infected millions of people every year and led to many hospitalizations and deaths. One issue that is being heavily attacked by anti-vaccine activists is vaccine ingredients. In response, scientists and doctors have researched many of these issues closely and found that anti-vaccine claims are very often outright false.

Continue reading