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Updated: 43 min 11 sec ago

Paper Links Poor Physical Health And Saving For Retirement

July 1, 2014 - 9:00pm

There can't be many rich fat people because poor physical health and financial health are driven by the same underlying psychological factors, according to Lamar Pierce, PhD, associate professor of strategy at Washington University in St. Louis, and PhD-candidate Timothy Gubler.

Of course, the argument is academic. Galileo once declared that, despite what sailors and the natural world knows, tides only happened once per day and the moon had no effect. He clearly needed to get out of the library. We know that the moon impacts the tides and we know that plenty of poor people are in fine physical health, so how did they come to such an odd bit of causalation?


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Hubble Does Reconnaissance As New Horizons Prepares To Cross The Kuiper Belt

July 1, 2014 - 8:03pm
As you read this, NASA's New Horizons is heading to Pluto. After the marathon probe zooms past Pluto in July of next year, it will travel across the Kuiper Belt, that vast rim of primitive ice bodies left over from the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.  

What next? It is anticipated that NASA will redirect the to a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) and photograph it up close.

That's where Hubble comes in. Before New Horizons arrives, Hubble is looking for the perfect target to be our first up-close look at something inside the Kuiper Belt. It's already found two, proof of concept that Hubble can go forward with a deeper KBO search, covering an area of sky roughly the angular size of the full Moon.
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Unnecessary Blood Tests: Cut Defensive Medicine And You Cut Health Care Spending

July 1, 2014 - 5:49pm

The United States of America has the best medical treatment in the world, but like most things with quality it is not cheap. Advocacy groups like the Commonwealth Fund focus on high average cost in their cultural efforts to nationalize the health care system, but they rarely cover the real reason health care coverage is high - too much is included and hospitals and doctors have a defensive medicine culture due to a hyperactive malpractice system.

If you don't cover every possible test, and something goes wrong, you will get sued. And now, with greater government involvement, even more doctors will be trained in a 'teach to the protocol' environment and run down a checklist of things they know are not relevant.


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Duvalius Abyssimus: A New Species Of Beetle In The World's Deepest Cave

July 1, 2014 - 5:00pm

Cave beetles are one of the most iconic species found in subterranean habitats. They were historically the first living organisms described by science that are adapted to the conditions of hypogean - subterranean - life.

Now, the unusual habitat of the Krubera cave, 2,140 meters deep. in the Western Caucasus has revealed a new species of beetle, named Duvalius abyssimus. Ana Sofía Reboleira, researcher from the Universities of Aveiro and La Laguna, and Vicente M. Ortuño, from the University of Alcalá, named it in Zootaxa


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Walking Bio-Bots Powered By Muscle Cells

July 1, 2014 - 4:40pm

Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a class of walking "bio-bots" powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function. 

The new bio-bots are powered by a strip of skeletal muscle cells that can be triggered by an electric pulse. This gives the researchers a simple way to control the bio-bots and opens the possibilities for other forward design principles, so engineers can customize bio-bots for specific applications.


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2009 Swine Flu Pandemic Wasn't Due To International Air Travel - Study

July 1, 2014 - 4:30pm

The H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as 'swine flu', has remained a hot topic in science and culture. The science and medical community, including former FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, criticized the Obama admiinistration for not allowing multi-dose vials of vaccines because they contained thimerosal, which had been one of the reasons during the 2008 campaign season that Senator Obama hinted he believed vaccines caused autism. The anti-immigration contingent blamed international air travel.


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At Risk For Addiction? You Share A Neurobiological Profile With People Who Already Are

July 1, 2014 - 4:09pm

Can addiction be predicted? That's always been the goal and conjecture has focused on everything from family to environment. But there are just as many fails as wins. A child who grew up in a house with smokers is only correlated to smoking if they felt like their parents were positive role models, for example, so inheritance claims are spotty.


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Reduce Global Warming By Understanding How Fire Works

July 1, 2014 - 3:45pm

We all know how fire works, the same way we know how gravity works. But, like gravity, there is a lot we don't know about combustion. 

There are many reasons to delve into its secrets. For modern culture, combustion insight could lead to more efficient fuel use and that means less pollution. Today, gasoline has amazing energy density and that makes it difficult to replace so while we research something better, more efficient combustion would mean less waste.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and the University of Hawaii have uncovered the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles like soot and other carbon-based compounds.


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Tiny Switch Could Be Just Three Atoms Thick

July 1, 2014 - 3:04pm

Stanford researchers envision a crystal that can form a monolayer three atoms thick. Their computer simulations show that this crystal, molybdenum ditelluride, can act like a switch: its crystal lattice can be mechanically pulled and pushed, back and forth, between two different atomic structures -- one that conducts electricity well, the other that does not. 

The switchable material is formed when one atomic layer of molybdenum atoms gets sandwiched between two atomic layers of tellurium atoms. Molybdenum and tellurium are elements that are currently used as additives for making alloys, such as steel. Tellurium is also a component of many modern solar cells.


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Solar Energy: How Do Plastic Solar Panels Work?

July 1, 2014 - 2:34pm

We all have some idea how solar panels work by now; a photovoltaic cell gets bombarded by photons from the sun, which knocks loose electrons that flow as electricity, hopefully while wasting as little energy in the form of heat as possible.

Beyond that, it's a topic of research in order to try and create panels that are less damaging to the environment while hoping to protect the environment.

Oddly, that might mean plastic. 


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Why Northern Europeans Evolved Lighter Skin - Protection From The Elements?

July 1, 2014 - 8:01am

The dominant hypothesis for the reason that northern Europeans developed light skin is that they needed to absorb more ultraviolet (UV) light to make more vitamin D, which is vital for healthy bones and immune function.

Not so, says a U.C. San Francisco dermatologist.  Peter Elias, MD, and colleagues write in Evolutionary Biology that changes in the skin's function as a barrier to the elements made a greater contribution than alterations in skin pigment in the ability of northern Europeans to make vitamin D. They write that genetic mutations compromising the skin's ability to serve as a barrier allowed fair-skinned Northern Europeans to populate latitudes where too little ultraviolet B (UVB) light for vitamin D production penetrates the atmosphere.


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Drilling Is Good For Organic Farming

July 1, 2014 - 7:01am

Though the central coast of California is some of the best farmland in the world, organic farmers who don't want to use modern science have a difficult time producing crops for their $35 billion and growing in corporate customers.

Yet science can help there also. Cover crops can provide weed and erosion control so scientifically determining the best method for establishing a uniform and dense cover crop stand as soon as possible after planting is a critical first step.


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4 Habits Prepare Nurses For Discussions With Parents Of Pediatric Patients

July 1, 2014 - 5:51am

A child's illness and hospitalization is stressful for children and their parents and also clinicians. 

20 years ago, the Four Habits Model of Highly Effective Clinicians, a core set of communication skills developed to help physicians communicate with patients, was co-created by Regenstrief Institute sociologist Richard Frankel, Ph.D. A new study reports that the Four Habits Model can successfully prepare inexperienced nurses for emotionally difficult conversations with parents of pediatric patients. 


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Lithium-Sulfur Batteries May Make Electric Cars Viable

July 1, 2014 - 2:34am
If you own an electric car, you spend a lot of time thinking about where you will recharge it - and how long it will take. In Silicon Valley, where electric cars are the newest fad, charge rage is leading to lost productivity due to hostile emails about someone being hooked up to a parking lot charger for too long. Being stuck on 880 is bad enough without being stranded too.

Chemists say they have synthesized a new material that could show the way forward to lithium-sulfur batteries and that could mean actually driving somewhere meaningful.
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Better Engineering Through Urine - You're Welcome, Isaac Newton

July 1, 2014 - 1:24am

When it comes to urine, it's all relative. We can't prove Sir Isaac Newton was thinking about how animals urinate when he was developing his laws of gravity but he can't prove he wasn't either. What we can prove is that they are connected – by the urethra, to be specific.

A new study investigated how quickly 32 animals urinate. It turns out that it's all about the same. Even though an elephant's bladder is 3,600 times larger than a cat's (18 liters vs. 5 milliliters), both animals relieve themselves in about 20 seconds. In fact, all animals that weigh more than 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) urinate in that same time span.


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That Jerk Doesn't Know He's A Jerk

June 30, 2014 - 7:38pm

Jill Abramson was recently ousted from her position as the executive editor of The New York Times. Her defenders said it was because of her gender (yet she got the job) and her demand for more compensation (she was paid more than her predecessor and the New York Times is hemorrhaging money) while critics called her polarizing and brusque. Some used the term 'pushy' which was codespeak for sexism, it was said.

She was not the first difficult person to end up running a newsroom and the response her firing got from subordinates and other media leaders likely surprised her - difficult people never know they are difficult, according to a new paper from the Columbia Business School .


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K’nex Kinetic Interactive Sculpture

June 30, 2014 - 7:28pm
In previous articles I’ve demonstrated how to use littleBits and erector set parts to build a magnetic stirrer and a sample rotator. Since I was able to drive Erector set machines with the littleBits motor I decided to try to use it to drive K’nex contraptions. -->

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Childhood Cancer Changes Could Lead To Huge Savings For Health Care

June 30, 2014 - 7:24pm

Recently findings could help to reduce health care charges while also protecting childhood cancer survivors from heart ailments caused by drug therapy. 

The paper reviewed data from patient histories to show that current standard medical guidelines for protecting childhood cancer survivors from drug treatment-related heart disease and heart failure later in life through periodic heart scans (echocardiographs) are overly cautious.

According to the data, the frequency of such post-cancer screenings can be safely reduced for low-risk patients – with large cost-savings and little reduction in overall quality of patient care.


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Jacobi Iterative Method: 19th Century Math Gets A 21st Century Makeover

June 30, 2014 - 7:11pm

The Jacobi iterative method, a 169-year-old math strategy, may soon get a new lease on life.


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How Hygienic Is Your Anesthesiologist?

June 30, 2014 - 5:05pm

In a recent study, researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center used video observation to assess 
anesthesia provider
hand hygiene compliance.

They observed an average of 149 hand hygiene opportunities per hour of anesthesia time. Hand hygiene compliance was lowest during the first and last 20-minute time periods. The low hand hygiene compliance rates at case start and case end corresponded with sharp peaks in bacterial contamination of the 20 most frequently touched objects during these same time periods. 


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