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IC 5063 Supermassive Black Hole Ejecting Hydrogen At 600,000 MPH

July 8, 2014 - 2:12pm

Supermassive black holes in the cores of some galaxies drive massive outflows of molecular hydrogen gas. As a result, most of the cold gas is expelled from the galaxies.

Since cold gas is required to form new stars, this directly affects the galaxies' evolution and those outflows are a key ingredient in theoretical models of the evolution of galaxies, but it is a mystery how they are accelerated. A new study provides the first direct evidence that the molecular outflows are accelerated by energetic jets of electrons that are moving at close to the speed of light. Such jets are propelled by the central supermassive black holes.


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Fungus In Chobani Greek Yogurt Outbreak A Threat To Consumers

July 8, 2014 - 1:51pm

In September of 2013, customers of Chobani brand Greek yogurt complained of gastrointestinal problems after consuming products manufactured in the company's Idaho plant. The company issued a recall and claimed that the fungal contaminant Murcor circinelloides was only a potential danger to immunocompromised individuals.

Yet complaints of severe GI discomfort continued from otherwise healthy customers and researchers began to question the fungus and its ability to cause harm in healthy humans.  Resulting research has found that this fungus is not harmless after all, but a strain with the ability to cause disease. 


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Lithium-Ion Batteries Last 30 Percent Longer With A Silicon Sponge

July 8, 2014 - 1:35pm

Batteries are common in the devices we use - everything from electric cars to laptops. Unfortunately the last real breakthrough in battery technology was lithium-ion and it's been 25 years of not much since. We're no longer using a 386 PC but our devices are using that equivalent in battery power.

There are efforts to try and get the most performance out of this legacy technology and one effort is replacing the graphite traditionally used in one of the battery's electrodes  with a sponge-like silicon material. Silicon has more than 10 times the energy storage capacity of graphite. 


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Bioerosion In Mesophotic Coral Reef Geology

July 8, 2014 - 9:00am

A new study on biological erosion of mesophotic tropical coral reefs - low energy reef environments between 30-150 meters deep - provides new insights into processes that affect the overall structure of these important ecosystems.

The purpose of the study was to better understand how bioerosion rates and distribution of bioeroding organisms, such as fish, mollusks and sponges, differ between mesophotic reefs and their shallow-water counterparts and the implications of those variations on the sustainability of the reef structure.


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Found: A Hotspot Of Ultrahigh-Energy Cosmic Rays In The Northern Sky

July 8, 2014 - 5:48am

Astronomers have found a "hotspot" beneath the Big Dipper emitting a disproportionate number of the highest-energy cosmic rays, a discovery which may move physics toward identifying the mysterious sources of the most energetic particles in the universe.

Many astrophysicists suspect ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays are generated by active galactic nuclei, or AGNs, in which material is sucked into a supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy, while other material is spewed away in a beam-like jet known as a blazar. Another popular possibility is that the highest-energy cosmic rays come from some supernovas (exploding stars) that emit gamma rays bursts.


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Blood Test For Alzheimer's Gets Closer

July 8, 2014 - 5:04am

There are 10 proteins in the blood which can predict the onset of Alzheimer's and that means there may be a blood test for the disease on the horizon.

Proteomics company Proteome Sciences plc and King's College London examined over individuals from three international studies. Blood samples from a total of 1,148 individuals (476 with Alzheimer's disease; 220 with 'Mild Cognitive Impairment' (MCI) and 452 elderly controls without dementia) were analyzed for 26 proteins previously shown to be associated with Alzheimer's disease. A sub-group of 476 individuals across all three groups also had an MRI brain scan. 


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How Do We Keep So Many Preterm Babies Alive? Volume, Volume, Volume

July 8, 2014 - 4:00am

In modern times, an otherwise healthy pre-term baby has a very strong chance of survival. And that survival chance goes way up in high-volume neonatal units; a counter-intuitive finding for people who think that slower dedicated health care is the way to go. Doctors and nurses in high-volume neonatal units have likely seen it all and have far more experience.


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Marathon Pacing And Gender Differences

July 7, 2014 - 11:32pm

An analysis based on 14 marathons that occurred in the U.S. in 2011, which included almost 92,000 competitors, led scholars to conclude that, when it comes to running marathons, men are more likely than women to slow their pace.


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Political Correctness: US Government Doesn't Fund Studies On Innate Variation In Athletic Performance

July 7, 2014 - 10:33pm

The United States leads the world in science output, with 5 percent of the population producing 30 percent of the world's research. And yet compared to scientists in other countries, U.S.-based scientists are underrepresented as authors of articles on the potential role of innate variation in athletic performance. 

Grand Valley State University researchers searched journals and NIH and NSF databases for grant proposals solicited or funded from 2000-2012 to determine if the proportion of authors that listed U.S. addresses was associated with funding patterns. NIH did not solicit grant proposals designed to examine these factors in the context of athletic performance and neither NIH nor NSF funded grants designed to study these topics.


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Biology's Labyrinth: Ancient Chinese Human Had Inner-ear Formation Of Neanderthals

July 7, 2014 - 10:20pm

Recent re-examination of a 100,000 year old early human skull using micro-CT scans has revealed the interior configuration of a temporal bone thought to occur only in Neanderthals.

The fossilized human skull was found during 1970s excavations at the Xujiayao site in China's Nihewan Basin.  Since Western Europe and Eastern Asia are a long way apart, "The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils," said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. 


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Neuroeconomists Retrospectively Confirm Warren Buffett's Wisdom

July 7, 2014 - 8:30pm

Warren Buffett, billionaire invested, says that investors should try to "be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful." 


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All Summer Jobs Are Good For Kids

July 7, 2014 - 8:06pm

In the US, there is constant discussion about minimum wage and little recognition that those jobs are just that - a minimum wage and not a career. They are for young people and people starting out, it isn't expected that minimum wage is the goal.

Instead, minimum wage should be the reason to do better. The ocean does not rise to wherever you want to put your boat. Young people who recognize what a minimum wage summer job is tend to do have more fulfillment later. 


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Sleep Deprived? That's What Psychosis Is Like

July 7, 2014 - 7:55pm

24 hours of sleep deprivation can lead healthy people to a condition similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, which could serve as a model system for the development of drugs to treat psychosis.

In psychosis, there is a loss of contact with reality and this is associated with hallucinations and delusions. The chronic form is referred to as schizophrenia, which likewise involves thought disorders and misperceptions. Affected persons report that they hear voices, for example.


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Science Blog Readership Linked To Worse Understanding Of Science Among Poor People

July 7, 2014 - 5:50pm

When it comes to public understanding of science, science blog readership doesn't help poor people, it actually hurts.

Similar levels of attention to science in newspapers and on blogs can lead to vastly different levels of factual and perceived knowledge. Notably, frequent science blog readership among low socioeconomic-status groups actually lowered their scores on factual tests of scientific knowledge, while high levels of attention to science in newspapers caused them to feel they were less knowledgeable compared to those who read less or those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.


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Teen Dating Violence: Girls More Likely To Be Aggressors And Victims

July 7, 2014 - 5:36pm

When did teen dating get so violent? It used to be the kind of thing that was a plot linchpin for movies but now estimates are that 1 in 6 young people report acts like punching, pulling hair, shoving, and throwing things. 


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Changing Antarctic Winds Could Accelerate Sea Level Rise

July 7, 2014 - 4:00pm

Changes to Antarctic winds have been implicated in southern Australia's drying climate but a new estimate says they may also have a profound impact on warming ocean temperatures under the ice shelves along the coastline of West and East Antarctic.


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Virtual Water Highlights China's Hidden Environmental Footprint

July 7, 2014 - 3:16pm

China's richest provinces are having a huge environmental impact on the country's water-scarce regions, according to a new estimate by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Maryland.


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Wildfire Emissions Contain New Type Of Superaggregate Soot Particle

July 7, 2014 - 3:00pm

Soot and methane were little-considered factors in climate change models a decade ago but with the drop of CO2 in Western nations, activists have begun to worry about those. 

It would have been smart to factor them in all along. Every year, wildfires clear millions of hectares of land and emit around 34 percent of global soot mass into the atmosphere. In remote parts of Southeast Asia and Russia, these fires can contribute as much as 63 percent of regional soot mass. 


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PandaX Dark Matter Experiment Has Nothing To Report

July 7, 2014 - 3:00pm

The PandaX experiment of China is located in a deep underground laboratory, shielded by 2,400 meters of low radioactive rocks to provide protection for PandaX against cosmic muons. It began operation in March but has no results yet, so they published a technical design report to show the Chinese government they are doing something.


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Platonic Solids Generate 4-Dimensional Analogs

July 7, 2014 - 2:44pm

Platonic solids are regular bodies in three dimensions, such as the cube and icosahedron, and have been known for millennia. They feature prominently in the natural world wherever geometry and symmetry are important, for instance in lattices and quasi-crystals, as well as fullerenes and viruses  

Platonic solids have counterparts in four dimensions. Swiss mathematician Ludwig Schlaefli and Alicia Boole Stott showed that there are six of them, five of which have very strange symmetries. Stott, the third daughter of mathematician George Boole, is best known for establishing the term "polytope" for a convex solid in four dimensions, had a unique intuition into the geometry of four dimensions, which she visualised via three-dimensional cross-sections.


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