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Puzzle Of Ice Age's Rapid Climate Change Solved?

August 19, 2014 - 11:30pm

During the last ice age, a large part of North America was covered with a massive ice sheet up to 3 kilometers thick and that is a key reason why the sea level was then about 120 meters lower than it is today. 

During the cold stadial periods of the last ice age, massive ice sheets covered northern parts of North America and Europe. Strong westerly winds drove the Arctic sea ice southward, even as far as the French coast. Since the extended ice cover over the North Atlantic prevented the exchange of heat between the atmosphere and the ocean, the strong driving forces for the ocean currents that prevail today were lacking.


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Speak Well Of The Bourgeois, And Prosper

August 19, 2014 - 11:00pm
By Jason Potts, RMIT University

Do the words we use to speak of economic matters, matter? I believe they do, but not by the propagation of textbookish jargon. Rather, the main way they matter is in shaping public ethics.

Economics has been a technical field of studies for a few centuries now and is replete with textbooks full of ideas expressed in precise and often mathematical language, passed down through a priestly class of scholars.

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Photonic Circuits? Nano-Optical Cables 10X Smaller Than Copper Wiring On Chips

August 19, 2014 - 10:00pm

The invention of fiber optics revolutionized the way we share information, allowing us to transmit data at volumes and speeds we'd only previously dreamed of, and now are breaking another barrier, designing nano-optical cables small enough to replace the copper wiring on computer chips.

This could result in radical increases in computing speeds and reduced energy use by electronic devices.

"We're already transmitting data from continent to continent using fiber optics, but the killer application is using this inside chips for interconnects—that is the Holy Grail," says Zubin Jacob, an electrical engineering professor leading the research. "What we've done is come up with a fundamentally new way of confining light to the nano scale." 


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With Solar Panels In Peril, Asians Look To Lead In Energy Storage

August 19, 2014 - 9:30pm

The downside to solar and wind is not just low efficiency and high cost, it is also that they are intermittent. But that impacts cost also. Relying on them has meant contracting with traditional energy companies to be 'on demand' at far higher cost than they otherwise would be, to be on call to shut off or add electricity as needed. 

Wind will never be a serious alternative but solar is the future. Yet no matter how good solar becomes, there will still be a problem of storage and riding out its fluctuations - and existing storage capacities are far from adequate for the purpose.


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Global Warming Didn't Divorce Us, It's Just On A Break

August 19, 2014 - 9:00pm

Global warming is currently taking a break. Global temperatures seemed to have risen drastically into the late 1990s but the global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 – surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore said by 2016 it would be too late if we did not stop CO2 immediately.

Climate skeptics use this contradiction to question climate change as well as the validity of climate models. Meanwhile, the majority of climate researchers continued to emphasize that a short-term 'warming hiatus' can largely be explained on the basis of current scientific understanding and did not contradict longer term warming.


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Engineering New Bone Growth With Implantable Tissue Scaffold

August 19, 2014 - 8:14pm

A new implantable tissue scaffold coated has been created, with bone growth factors that are released slowly over a few weeks. When applied to bone injuries or defects, this coated scaffold induces the body to rapidly form new bone that looks and behaves just like the original tissue.


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For E. Coli Outbreaks, Cinnamon Spice Makes Everything Nice

August 19, 2014 - 7:33pm

(Inside Science) - For centuries, cinnamon has been used to enhance the flavor of foods, but new research shows that the spice could also help make foods safer.

According to a study by Meijun Zhu and Lina Sheng, food safety scientists at Washington State University in Pullman, the ancient cooking spice could help prevent some of the most serious foodborne illnesses caused by pathogenic bacteria.

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Love, Commitment Make Sex Better For Most Women

August 19, 2014 - 5:00pm

Love and commitment make sex physically more satisfying for many women, according to Penn State Abington sociologist Beth Montemurro.

In interviews of 95 heterosexual women between the ages of 20 and 68 and from a range of backgrounds, most believed love was necessary for maximum satisfaction in both sexual relationships and marriage. The benefits of being in love with a sexual partner were more than just emotional, most of the women in the study said that love made sex physically more pleasurable. From September 2008 to July 2011, Montemurro conducted in-depth interviews with 95 women who lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, lasting about 90 minutes each. 


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Forget Politics, Obamacare Contraceptive Coverage Makes Financial Sense

August 19, 2014 - 4:38pm

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled against the Obama administration requirement that all employers must provide birth control insurance for women. Administration lawyers knew they were on shaky ground going in, because there were no provisions for male sex lives, such as Viagra, and that meant the policy was discriminatory, and the Supreme Court might rule that all corporations have the same rights, regardless of size, which further weakens the long-term viability of the ACA.


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Happiness Is Being Schizophrenic?

August 19, 2014 - 4:00pm

Schizophrenia is among the most severe forms of mental illness yet some people are as happy as those in good mental health and happier than many, according to a paper in Schizophrenia Research.

In a survey of people with the disease, researchers found that 37 percent of patients reported being happy all or most of the time.


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In China, These Men Face A Wage Gap Women Don't

August 19, 2014 - 4:00pm

In China, there is no wage disparity for one classification of women but there is pay inequality among similarly classed men, according to a sociology presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association which analyzed economic disparity among obese Chinese adults.

What is the classification? Obese people. When men gain weight, they are penalized in wages compared to thinner men. With women, there is no difference.


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Hypatia Catalog - Solar Neighborhood Is Not A Mixed Salad, It's A Layered One

August 19, 2014 - 3:15pm

The Hypatia Catalog is the largest catalog ever produced for stellar compositions and seeks to help in understanding the properties of stars, how they form, and possible connections with orbiting planets.

Named after one of the first female astronomers, who lived ~350 A.D. in Alexandria, the digital catalog is a compilation of spectroscopic abundance data from 84 literature sources for 50 elements across 3,058 stars in the solar neighborhood, within 500 light years of the Sun. It essentially lists the compositions of stars, but only stars that are like the Sun – or F-, G-, or K-type (the Sun is a G-type star) – that are relatively near to the Sun. 


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Enzyme Brake Pads Block Plant Hormone

August 19, 2014 - 3:00pm

Researchers trying to get new information about the metabolism of plants can switch off individual genes and study the resulting changes but researchers in a new study adopted a different approach.

 Erich Kombrink from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and Markus Kaiser from the University of Duisburg-Essen have identified small molecules that block specific components of the metabolic process like brake pads and prevent the downstream reactions. In their search for these molecules, they used a biological selection process involving intact plants, a technique borrowed from corporate drug research.


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Have Strange Baryons Been Found?

August 19, 2014 - 2:59pm

Can math be evidence? Not ordinarily, but recent calculations are compelling because they show that particles predicted by the theory of quark-gluon interactions but never observed are being produced in heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), located at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

They just need to be detected. These heavy strange baryons, containing at least one strange quark, still cannot be observed directly, but instead are making their presence known by lowering the temperature at which other strange baryons "freeze out" from the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) discovered and created at the RHIC.


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US Coal Emissions Could Drop 21 Percent While Helping American Industry

August 19, 2014 - 2:29pm

American CO2 emissions have plummeted thanks to natural gas and energy emissions from coal have not been this low since the early 1980s, but a decades long war against energy science meant nuclear power - a truly viable emissions-free source - was scuttled and that meant more coal plants starting in the early 1990s, which meant more CO2.


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3 New Ways To Separate Clostridium Difficile From Good Microbes

August 19, 2014 - 2:12pm

The bacterium Clostridium difficile causes antibiotic-related diarrhea and is a growing problem in the hospital environment and elsewhere in the community. Understanding how the microbe colonizes the human gut when other "healthy" microbes have been destroyed during a course of antibiotics might lead to new ways to control infection.


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MRI For A Quantum Simulation

August 19, 2014 - 2:48am
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the medical application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and a powerful diagnostic tool.

It works by resonantly exciting hydrogen atoms and measuring the relaxation time -- different materials return to equilibrium at different rates; this is how contrast develops (i.e. between soft and hard tissue). By comparing the measurements to a known spectrum of relaxation times, medical professionals can determine whether the imaged tissue is muscle, bone, or even a cancerous growth.
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From 4 To 14: Drawings Indicate Later Child Intelligence

August 19, 2014 - 1:00am

In Psychological Science, results from 7,752 pairs of identical and non-identical twins (a total of 15,504 children) from the Medical Research Council (MRC) funded Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) showed that how 4-year old children draw pictures of a child was an indicator of intelligence at age 14 - and the link between drawing and later intelligence was influenced by genes.


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Two Vaccines Cut Spread Of Meningitis Up To 40 Percent

August 19, 2014 - 12:30am

Two new vaccines can prevent the transmission of meningitis from person to person by reducing 'carriage' of the responsible bacteria in the nose and throats of the population.

Meningitis can be a devastating condition. The most common causes of meningitis are viral infections that usually get better without treatment but bacterial meningitis infections are extremely serious and may result in death or brain damage, even if treated.


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There Is No Magic Bullet For Climate Change

August 18, 2014 - 11:30pm

Climate change has happened throughout history, there are abandoned cities in places we would consider inhospitable, but they weren't at the times. As the climate changed, it has altered habitats not just for birds and bees and everything in between, but humans as well.

1990 is not some special time in world history, despite some claims that fixing one greenhouse gas would prevent climate change. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Aarhus University in Denmark say that by looking at estimates of climate and land-use change speeds they can determine the potential combined impacts of both climate and land-use change on plants, animals and ecosystems across the country. 


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