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Science News

Science News

News and discussion about interesting topics from the world of science.
Big Joe Silence
The Big Picture: NASA gets ready to build the 'next great rocket' - http://www.engadget.com/2014...
The Big Picture: NASA gets ready to build the 'next great rocket'
"See the gargantuan structure above that dwarfs that line of puny humans at the bottom (bet you didn't even notice them at first glance, huh)? It's a welding tool -- the biggest one built for spacecraft, in fact, that's slated to help Boeing build the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System at the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The structure's officially called the Vertical Assembly Center, and it stands 170 feet tall with a width that measures 78 feet: not exactly surprising, considering the SLS is a 200-foot-tall behemoth. It's but one of the many tools Boeing intends to use to build the core stage of NASA's "most powerful rocket ever" after the two organizations finalized their $2.8 billion deal in July. The core stage will house cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen used to power the rocket's four engines, and building it brings the SLS much closer to the launch pad for deep space exploration." - Big Joe Silence from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Popular Sedative Benzodiazepines 'Linked To Increased Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease' - http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014...
Popular Sedative Benzodiazepines 'Linked To Increased Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease'
"As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease affects almost 500,000 people in the UK. Although the cause is currently unknown, there are many factors believed to increase the risk of developing the condition. Most recently, popular sedative Benzodiazepines, which are widely prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, have been associated with a heightened risk of developing the condition, particularly for long-term users." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Do farts carry germs? Depends... (Science Alert) - http://www.sciencealert.com.au/feature...
Do farts carry germs? Depends... (Science Alert)
"Do farts carry germs? It’s probably something you’ve never thought about, but now that you’ve heard the question, we bet you’re sort of curious. But be warned, this isn’t going to be pretty. “It all started with an enquiry from a nurse,” said Dr Karl Kruszelnicki during his science show on the Triple J radio station in Brisbane, Australia. “She wanted to know whether she was contaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietly farting in the sterile environment during operations, and I realised that I didn’t know. But I was determined to find out.” According to the Seriously, Science blog at Discover Magazine, Kruszelnicki investigated the question by getting in contact with Canberra-based microbiologist, Luke Tennent, who helped him design and carry out an experiment. The aim was to discover whether or not the wind emitted from a human was filled with germs or just simply smelt bad. Kruszelnicki explained what happened next: “[Tennent] asked a colleague to break wind... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Halil
Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown - http://news.brown.edu/article...
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It’s hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse. - Halil from Bookmarklet
The new study next examined evidence from the evolutionary family trees — phylogenies — of numerous plant and animal species. Phylogenies, constructed by studying DNA, trace how groups of species have changed over time, adding new genetic lineages and losing unsuccessful ones. They provide rich details of how species have diversified over time. - Halil
Bluesun 2600
Did The Giant Sloth Die Out Less Than 150 Years Ago? - http://io9.com/did-the...
Did The Giant Sloth Die Out Less Than 150 Years Ago?
Did The Giant Sloth Die Out Less Than 150 Years Ago?
Spidra Webster
AP: The Buzz on Caffeine in Coffee: A Genetic Quirk - http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic...
AP: The Buzz on Caffeine in Coffee: A Genetic Quirk
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists have woken up and smelled the coffee - and analyzed its DNA. They found that what we love about coffee - the caffeine - is a genetic quirk, not related to the caffeine in chocolate or tea. "It's an accident that has been frozen in place very likely by the influence of natural selection," says University of Buffalo evolutionary biologist Victor Albert. He and more than 60 other researchers from around the world mapped out the genetic instruction book of java. Their results were published Thursday in the journal Science. Albert says researchers discovered that caffeine developed separately in the coffee, tea and chocolate because it is in different genes in different areas of plants' genomes. But once coffee mutated to have caffeine - not just in the bean, there's even more in the leaves - it turned out to be a good thing for the plant, Albert says. Bugs don't chew on the coffee plant leaves because they don't like the caffeine, but pollinators like bees... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Why no one should freak out about the giant crack that opened in the Mexico desert - The Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...
Why no one should freak out about the giant crack that opened in the Mexico desert - The Washington Post
"On the issue of the huge gaping chasm that opened in the Mexican desert earlier this month, scientists have assured us this does not herald the end of days. The chair of the geology department at the University of Sonora, in the northern Mexican state where this “topographic accident” emerged, said that the fissure was likely caused by sucking out groundwater for irrigation to the point the surface collapsed." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
nothing to see here, carry on; o' you cant, the roads broke, :/ - chaz2b
Aw, crap. That's where I buried Yog-Sothoth. I knew I should have used a better lock. - Steven Perez from Android
'no one should should freak out about the salt in your drinking water or fields. this is just the normal manifestation of lowered aquifer water pressure' ... 'no one should should freak out about the huge gaping chasm. these are normal manifestations of the destabilization of the ground.” ...'no one should should freak out about the collapse of the agricultural industry. this is just... more... - exador23
Spidra Webster
BBC News - Deep sea 'mushroom' may be new branch of life - http://www.bbc.com/news...
BBC News - Deep sea 'mushroom' may be new branch of life
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"A mushroom-shaped sea animal discovered off the Australian coast has defied classification in the tree of life. A team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen says the tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal kingdom. Such a situation has occurred only a handful of times in the last 100 years. The organisms, which were originally collected in 1986, are described in the academic journal Plos One. The authors of the article note several similarities with the bizarre and enigmatic soft-bodied life forms that lived between 635 and 540 million years ago - the span of Earth history known as the Ediacaran Period. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote We think it belongs in the animal kingdom somewhere, the question is where” Jorgen Olesen University of Copenhagen These organisms, too, have proven difficult to categorise and some researchers have even suggested they were failed experiments in multi-cellular life. The authors of the paper... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
OK, that's cool. - Jennifer Dittrich
It'll eventually find it's spot, just like this one did! - Misunderstood Worm-Like Fossil Finds Its Place In The Tree Of Life Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news... - Halil
imabonehead
Sit Less, Protect Your DNA and Live Longer? - Health News and Views - Health.com - http://news.health.com/2014...
Sit Less, Protect Your DNA and Live Longer? - Health News and Views - Health.com
"Spending less time sitting might increase your lifespan by keeping your DNA young, Swedish researchers say. More time spent on your feet appears to lengthen bits of DNA called telomeres. Telomeres, which protect the end of chromosomes (like the tips that keep shoelaces from fraying), tend to get shorter and shorter until they can’t shorten any more, causing cells to die." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
So we should all have standing desks? - Cristo
...or work less, play more :) - imabonehead
Or should we lay around in bed more? - Cristo
Work is play for me. :) - Cristo
imabonehead
Poor Quality Sleep May Be Linked to Shrinking Brain - Health News and Views - Health.com - http://news.health.com/2014...
Poor Quality Sleep May Be Linked to Shrinking Brain - Health News and Views - Health.com
"Not getting a good night’s sleep might be linked to shrinkage of the brain’s gray matter over time, new research suggests." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Halil
Superabsorbing rings could lead to better cameras and solar cells - http://physicsworld.com/cws...
Superabsorbing rings could lead to better cameras and solar cells
Rings of excited atoms that harness a quantum effect to absorb light at an enhanced rate could be used in future technologies such as highly sensitive cameras, solar cells and systems for optical power transmission. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Mark H
Global warming denial: Claims of Arctic ice recovering are exaggerated. - http://www.slate.com/blogs...
Global warming denial: Claims of Arctic ice recovering are exaggerated.
Global warming denial: Claims of Arctic ice recovering are exaggerated.
"Briefly: Arctic sea ice reaches a minimum in late September every year. The overall trend for the amount of ice at that time is decreasing; in other words, there is less ice all the time. Some years there is more than others, some less. But the trend is down, down, down." - Mark H from Bookmarklet
"The black line is the average for 1981 – 2010. The gray region shows the ±2 standard deviation temperatures for that average; statistically speaking it’s an expected range of temperatures (it’s actually more subtle than that, but that’s enough to understand what’s going on here). The dashed line shows the 2012 ice extent, and is clearly very low, well outside the expected range. The... more... - Mark H
This post is partially true and partially untrue. Why do they have to make their own misleading charts here is the hard data. Are we incapable of interpreting it? http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic... - Eric Logan
Actually it's not their own chart it's the one that best fits the narrative. I have been watching DMI for years. the mean near average is 2001, but we are also very near 2005 numbers and multi year ice another important metric is increasing not decreasing. If you listened to what the alarmists said there was not supposed to be any as in none by now. - Eric Logan
Halil
Asteroid Smashup Observed By Spitzer Could Result In Planet Formation - http://www.redorbit.com/news...
Asteroid Smashup Observed By Spitzer Could Result In Planet Formation
Meng and experts from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Tokyo and several other institutions explained that this type of behavior was “consistent with the occurrence of a violent impact that produced vapor out of which a thick cloud of silicate spherules condensed that were then ground into dust by collisions,” and suggest that their observations offer a sneak-peak into the process of forming rocky planets such as Earth. - Halil from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
Ebola Drug Saves Infected Monkeys - Scientific American - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article...
Ebola Drug Saves Infected Monkeys - Scientific American
"ZMapp, the drug that has been used to treat seven patients during the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa, can completely protect monkeys against the virus, research has found." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
"The study authors say that ZMapp works in an “advanced” stage of the disease. The drug was able to save one monkey that had bleeding under the skin affecting more than 70% of its body, and other monkeys that had enough virus in their blood to cause severe symptoms in people, says study co-author Gary Kobinger, an infectious-disease researcher at the Public Health Agency of Canada in... more... - imabonehead
Halil
China pursues 52 km collider project - http://physicsworld.com/cws...
China pursues 52 km collider project
Particle physicists in China have unveiled plans to build a huge 52 km particle collider that would smash electrons and positrons together to study the Higgs boson in unprecedented detail. The so-called “Higgs factory”, if given government approval, would be built by 2028 and put the country at the forefront of international particle physics. - Halil from Bookmarklet
“They maintain that this will be a Chinese project, although they also admit they don’t have the people to build it themselves, so assistance from the international community would be required,” says Foster. - Halil
It'll be huge... - Halil
Halil
After almost 80 years, a woman has won the Fields Medal. - http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment...
After almost 80 years, a woman has won the Fields Medal.
At a ceremony in Seoul last week, Maryam Mirzakhani, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, became the first woman in history to be awarded mathematics’ highest honour, the Fields Medal. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Pesticide linked to three generations of disease: Methoxychlor causes epigenetic changes -- ScienceDaily - http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
Pesticide linked to three generations of disease: Methoxychlor causes epigenetic changes -- ScienceDaily
"Washington State University researchers say ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor may lead to adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations. "What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures," says Michael Skinner, WSU professor and founder of its Center for Reproductive Biology. He and his colleagues document their findings in a paper published online in PLOS ONE." - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Halil
Raising extinct species may bring balance to wildlife - http://www.natureasia.com/en...
I've said this before, lets save what we have instead of pumping untold millions in trying to resurrect what's been lost. If it's a recent extinction that has huge ecological benefit, then by all means bring it back, but we must save/preserve what we have or we're doomed to repeat the same mistakes, especially if governments think that all we need to do is mix a few test-tubes to bring back lost wildlife as a result of negligent conservation polices. We must never let governments become complacent and think science can save the day when all we need is to be more caring/protective about the environment. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Halil
A new assessment from Europe's CryoSat spacecraft shows Greenland to be losing about 375 cu km of ice each year. Added to the discharges coming from Antarctica, it means Earth's two big ice sheets are now dumping roughly 500 cu km of ice in the oceans annually. "The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009," said Angelika Humbert from Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute. "To us, that's an incredible number," she told BBC News. - Halil from Bookmarklet
Mark H
Natural News Blogs Treating Ebola with Homeopathy... and it's not satire. - http://blogs.naturalnews.com/treatin...
"How to Make Your Own Ebola Remedy. What you need: 1. A face mask and gloves 2. Two bottles (50 ml up to 500 ml glass or plastic bottles) with caps 3. Clean water (mineral or tap water) 4. An Ebola sample: some spit or other disease product, such as blood, from a person infected with Ebola, or who is suspected sick with it. Any small quantity will do, even a pinhead. 5. An alcoholic liquid, such as whisky, brandy, rum, etc. 6. Half an hour of your time." - Mark H from Bookmarklet
Up to 30,000 in need of Ebola drugs by now, analysis shows - No approved drugs exist though several are under development and the World Health Organisation last week gave the green light for experimental medicines to be used to fight the deadly disease. http://medicalxpress.com/news... - Halil
imabonehead
Running Could Add 3 Years to Your Lifespan – WebMD - http://www.webmd.com/fitness...
"Runners may live an average three years longer than people who don't run, according to new research. But, the best news from this study is that it appears that you can reap this benefit even if you run at slow speeds for mere minutes every day, the 15-year study suggests." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Mark H
"ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft has climbed to a new orbit following its daring aerobraking experiment, and will now resume observations of this fascinating planet for at least a few more months. The orbit-raising followed a month of aerobraking that saw the spacecraft surf in and out of the atmosphere at altitudes typically between 131 km and 135 km for a couple of minutes on each of its closest approaches to the planet. Before, normal operations involved an elliptical orbit every 24 hours that took Venus Express from 66 000 km over the south pole down to around 250 km at the north pole, just above the top of the atmosphere. But, after eight years and with propellant running low, the Venus Express team began a daring aerobraking campaign, dipping the craft progressively lower into the atmosphere on its closest approaches." - Mark H from Bookmarklet
"This orbit will slowly decay again under gravity, but with only a few kilograms of fuel at most now remaining further altitude-raising manoeuvres may not be possible. If no further corrections are made, Venus Express will probably reenter the atmosphere again in December, but this time for good, ending the mission.In the meantime, having survived not only the aerobraking experiment but... more... - Mark H
imabonehead
All 8 Pangolin Species Being Eaten into Extinction | Extinction Countdown, Scientific American Blog Network - http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinct...
All 8 Pangolin Species Being Eaten into Extinction | Extinction Countdown, Scientific American Blog Network
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"A few days ago customs officials in Vietnam raided a cargo ship from Sierra Leone and seized an astonishing 1.4 tons of dried pangolin scales. The grisly discovery came from the bodies of as many as 10,000 dead pangolins, the scaly anteaters of Africa and Asia that are being hunted into extinction for their meat and the supposed medicinal qualities of their scales. Experts estimate that more than one million wild pangolins have been caught, killed and traded in the past decade, making them the most heavily trafficked group of species in the world." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
:( - rönin
imabonehead
Lack of Sleep May Lead To False Memories - Dumb Out | Dumb Out - http://www.dumb-out.net/lack-sl...
Lack of Sleep May Lead To False Memories - Dumb Out | Dumb Out
"According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, a journal of Association for Psychological Science, regular lack of sleep may lead to increase false memories." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
"If you are unable to sleep for sufficient period of time, you may have your mood affected. Lack of sleep leads to irritability as well as anxiousness during daytime. To add to this, the study conducted by Steven J. Frenda of Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at UCI states that those who go do not get sufficient sleep are likely to remember untrue details." - imabonehead
Paging Louis Gray... - Spidra Webster
I can attest to this. 5 weeks of crappy sleep because my MIL and I find that daily household things I thought I asked for or did didn't happen. - Anika
I remember this. - Louis Gray
Halil
New study confirms water vapor as global warming amplifier - http://phys.org/news...
New study confirms water vapor as global warming amplifier
we're are apparently running out of fresh drinking water and this may well be the explanation - Halil from Bookmarklet
imabonehead
New stem cell operation could revolutionise treatment of knee injuries | Science | theguardian.com - http://www.theguardian.com/science...
New stem cell operation could revolutionise treatment of knee injuries | Science | theguardian.com
"Surgeons have pioneered a new knee operation that could prevent the development of arthritis and extend sporting careers. The procedure, which is being trialled at Southampton general hospital, involves coating damaged cartilage with stem cells, taken from a patient's own hip, and surgical glue. Known as Abicus (autologous bone marrow implantation of cells University Hospital Southampton), the technique, if successful, will regenerate the remaining tissue and create a permanent "like-for-like" replacement for the first time." - imabonehead from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted | Retraction Watch - http://retractionwatch.com/2014...
SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted | Retraction Watch
"This one deserves a “wow.” SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a “peer review and citation ring” involving a professor in Taiwan. Here’s the beginning of a statement from SAGE: London, UK (08 July 2014) – SAGE announces the retraction of 60 articles implicated in a peer review and citation ring at the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC). The full extent of the peer review ring has been uncovered following a 14 month SAGE-led investigation, and centres on the strongly suspected misconduct of Peter Chen, formerly of National Pingtung University of Education, Taiwan (NPUE) and possibly other authors at this institution. In 2013 the then Editor-in-Chief of JVC, Professor Ali H. Nayfeh,and SAGE became aware of a potential peer review ring involving assumed and fabricated identities used to manipulate the online submission system SAGE Track powered by ScholarOne Manuscripts™. Immediate action was taken to... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
Clothing increases the risk of indirect ballistic fractures [J Orthop Surg Res. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed...
Clothing increases the risk of indirect ballistic fractures [J Orthop Surg Res. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI
"BACKGROUND: Current literature has shown the mechanism of how indirect fractures occur but has not determined what factors increase the risks of such fractures. The objective of this study is thus to determine the effect of clothing and soft tissue thickness on the risk of indirect fracture formation. METHODS: Twenty-five fresh red deer femora embedded in ballistic gelatine were shot with varying distances off their medial cortex with a 5.56 × 45 mm North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bullet while being filmed with a slow-motion video. We compared the effect of two different gelatine depths and the effect of denim cloth laid onto the impact surface of the moulds. RESULTS: Bullet passage in thinner moulds failed to cause fracture because the bullet exited the mould before a large expanding temporary cavity was produced. Clothing dramatically altered the size and depth of the expanding cavity, as well as increased lateral pressures, resulting in more severe fractures with greater... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Spidra Webster
USC Researchers Create Natural Battery - http://cleantechnica.com/2014...
USC Researchers Create Natural Battery
"Scientists at the University of Southern California created a battery using quinones, organic compounds that can be found in nature. Plants, fungi, bacteria and some animals contain them. “These are the types of molecules that nature uses for energy transfer,” explained USC professor Sri Narayan. The researchers derived their quinones from naturally-occurring hydrocarbons. The point of using them is their much lower cost. Currently, it is more common for flow batteries to use metals, such as Vanadium, but the cost is higher for metals. Redox flow design The new battery is based on a familiar design: the redox flow battery. This type of battery can use water as an electrolyte that also contains some dissolved electroactive chemicals. Narayan and Surya Prakash at USC wanted to use an organic compound to dissolve in water for their electrolyte. A large redox flow battery has been operating successfully at a California almond farm to store energy generated by a solar array. The Enervault... more... - Spidra Webster from Bookmarklet
Eivind
Study finds people would rather electrocute themselves than spend 15 minutes alone with their thoughts. - Seriously, Science? | DiscoverMagazine.com - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/serious...
Study finds people would rather electrocute themselves than spend 15 minutes alone with their thoughts. - Seriously, Science? | DiscoverMagazine.com
"This study–published in the tip top journal Science, no less–found that when participants were asked to spend 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with no distractions, most had a very difficult time doing it. In fact, the authors found that “simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 min was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.” (Unsurprisingly, more men than women chose to shock themselves.)" - Eivind from Bookmarklet
Zap. - Stephen Mack from iPhone
weird sample group. i don't mind being alone with my thoughts, it's what we did before electronic toys were everywhere (and i'm including television and recorded music here). WTF is wrong with ppl who can't bear to examine the contents of their own minds? and i say this as someone with major depression and panic disorder. really, what's sitting in their heads that's this awful, or are they just THAT easily bored? - Big Joe Silence
I was wondering why this sounded familiar - is this a meta study? I don't find it particularly surprising - most people who aren't guests of the penal system are rarely without some sort of stimuli to occupy their minds. Something to look at, smell, touch, eat - a room full of colors, pictures, textures. Ambient noise from your home and environment. There's a reason why solitary confinement is so punishing. - Jennifer Dittrich
They also studied college students not people of various ages. It was 100 people and they excluded one guy who shocked himself a ridiculous amount of times because it was "weird." - Zulema ❧ spicy cocoa tart from Android
so basically the study was a load of crap. - Big Joe Silence
"To see whether the difficulty with “just thinking” is distinctive to college students, in study 9 we recruited community participants at a farmer’s market and a local church. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 77 (median age=48.0 years)." And it's not necessarily "wrong" to remove outliers. - Eivind from Android
I've spent hours staring at the ceiling and just thinking. It's a nice break from doing stuff all the freaking time. No comment on study, just throwing that out here. :) - Jenny H. from Android
I can spend 15 minutes alone thinking about electrocution. - Mistaken Identity
If I have to be realistic and honest, yep, I'd be among those who opted for electricity. - griza cenaze hizmetleri from Android
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