Moonshine Link Discovered for Pariah Symmetries

In 1892, the mathematician Otto Hölder posed a question that would occupy the field for more than a century: Is it possible to make a periodic table of all finite symmetry? The answer, to which hundreds of mathematicians have contributed, is yes. But the taxonomy that emerged from this monumental effort has prompted both enlightenment and head scratching. For in addition to the well-understood elements of the symmetry chart, a handful of outliers made themselves known — elements mathematicians could prove must exist but couldn’t connect to any natural shapes.

In particular, mathematicians discovered six maverick forms of symmetry that sit so far out on the fringe of the symmetry world that they became known as “pariahs.” When the first pariahs were discovered in the mid-1960s, … Read the rest

Oil companies sued to pay for cost of rising sea levels, climate change

(credit: David Yu)

At least five California municipalities are suing five major oil companies, claiming in public nuisance lawsuits that the firms should pay for the infrastructure costs associated with rising sea levels due to climate change.

The latest suits announced Wednesday by Oakland and San Francisco name BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. The cities claim the oil companies knew of the dangers of fossil-fuel-driven climate change but kept mum. The cities claim that global warming, which they say has melted ice sheets and heated sea water, has contributed to rising seas by about eight inches in California over the past decade. They say it could rise 10 feet by the year 2100.

“The bill has come due,” San Francisco City Attorney

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There cannot be two kinds of medicine: EU scientists shred homeopathy, alt med

Enlarge (credit: Getty | FRED TANNEAU)

An organization representing scientific academies throughout Europe released a statement Wednesday that squarely bashed homeopathy as nonsense and warned that the “promotion and use of homeopathic products risks significant harms.”

The statement by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)—an umbrella organization representing 29 national and international scientific academies in Europe, including the Royal Society (UK) and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences—is intended to influence policy and regulations across the European Union. The EASAC emphasized the need to “reinforce criticisms” by scientists as the markets for homeopathy in the EU and US continue to grow.

The council did not mince words about the “alternative medicines,” which rely on the erroneous ideas that ‘like cures like’ and that water can

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