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Why Cosmology Is In Crisis

January 10, 2016 - 2:00pm

Science is advancing rapidly. We are eradicating diseases, venturing further into space and discovering a growing zoo of subatomic particles. But cosmology – which is trying to understand the evolution of the entire universe using theories that work well to describe other systems – is struggling to answer many of its most fundamental questions.

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Electric 'Batmobile' Shows Chinese Want To Be In The Supercar Market

January 10, 2016 - 1:30pm
Despite not actually having a car in production, the firm Faraday Future has headline-writers gushing about its “Tesla-killing supercar” – an all-electric car that looks like the Batmobile.

There is no doubting that the FFZero1 concept car just unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is eye-catching, but it’s one of a number of new and transformed car brands.

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NASA Looks At Storms Hitting California

January 10, 2016 - 1:10pm

Extreme rain events fueled by the current strong El Nino have started to affect California. NASA estimated rainfall over a period of 7 days while NASA/NOAA's GOES Project created a satellite animation showing the storms affecting the region over the past three days.

An animation NOAA's GOES-West satellite imagery from Jan. 5 through Jan 7 shows the progression of storm systems in the Eastern Pacific Ocean that hit southern California and generated flooding and mudslides. The animation was created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.


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Can More Higgs Particles Be Found Studying Superfluid Helium?

January 10, 2016 - 1:00pm
The mass of the Higgs boson reported at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012, 125 GeV, looked lighter than the expected energy scale, about 1 TeV, say researchers at Aalto University in Finland, who now propose that there is more than one Higgs boson, and they are much heavier than the consensus.

New CERN experiments at 0.75 TeV suggested evidence of a second Higgs in that region and some scrambled to embrace it. Dr. Tommaso Dorigo of Science 2.0 dismissed it as a spurious 750 GeV signal observed by ATLAS and CMS in their mass spectra of photon pairs, no different than other spurious signals that ATLAS and CMS have seen in the past.
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Study: Bacteria, Electrons Spin In Similar Patterns

January 9, 2016 - 11:54pm

There are certain universal patterns in nature that hold true, regardless of objects' size, species, or surroundings. Take, for instance, the branching fractals seen in both tree limbs and blood vessels, or the surprisingly similar spirals in mollusks and cabbage.

Now scientists at MIT and Cambridge University have identified an unexpected shared pattern in the collective movement of bacteria and electrons: As billions of bacteria stream through a microfluidic lattice, they synchronize and swim in patterns similar to those of electrons orbiting around atomic nuclei in a magnetic material.


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Mental Synthesis Experiment Could Teach Us More About Our Imagination

January 9, 2016 - 11:54pm

While there is general consensus that the ability to imagine a never-before-seen object or concept is a unique and distinctive human trait, there is little that we know about the neurological mechanism behind it. Neuroscientist Dr. Andrey Vyshedskiy proposes a straightforward experiment that could test whether the ability to imagine a novel object involves the synchronization of groups of neurons, known as neuronal ensembles. Since the process involves mentally combining familiar images, scenes or concepts, Dr. Vyshedskiy proposes calling this process 'mental synthesis.' His research idea is published in the open-access Research Idea and Outcomes (RIO) Journal.


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US Emergency Departments Face Serious Drug Shortages

January 9, 2016 - 10:07pm

A new study reveals that drug shortages affecting emergency care have skyrocketed in the United States in recent years. While the prevalence of such shortages fell from 2002 to 2007; the number of shortages sharply increased by 373% (from 26 to 123) from 2008 to 2014.

These medications are approved, but for various reasons manufacturers cannot meet demands or have stopped making the drugs.

"Many of those medications are for life-threatening conditions, and for some drugs no substitute is available," said Dr. Jess Pines, senior author of the Academic Emergency Medicine study. "This means that in some cases, emergency department physicians may not have the medications they need to help people who are in serious need of them."


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Critical Clues On Cartilage

January 9, 2016 - 10:07pm

Injury and degeneration of fibro-cartilaginous tissues, such as the knee meniscus and the intervertebral disc, have significant socioeconomic and quality-of-life costs. But the development of effective treatment strategies to address pathologies in these load-bearing tissues has been hindered by a lack of understanding of the relationships between their structure and their function.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania has shed new light on this issue, laying the foundation for better treatment of injuries such as meniscus tears as well as new therapies for osteoarthritis and age-related degeneration.


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Enough Oxygen Long Before Animals Rose

January 9, 2016 - 10:07pm

Oxygen is crucial for the existence of animals on Earth. But, an increase in oxygen did not apparently lead to the rise of the first animals. New research shows that 1.4 billion years ago there was enough oxygen for animals - and yet over 800 million years went by before the first animals appeared on Earth.

Animals evolved by about 600 million years ago, which was late in Earth's history. The late evolution of animals, and the fact that oxygen is central for animal respiration, has led to the widely promoted idea that animal evolution corresponded with a late a rise in atmospheric oxygen concentrations.


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Organic Paranoia Is Not New: Ancient Communities Resisted New Farming Practices Too

January 9, 2016 - 3:09pm

It may seem strange to have a segment of the population, once confined to wealthy elites on the coasts but now growing nationwide, which believe that a particular process for food is not only healthier, but materially, culturally and ethically important. Yet the ultra-conservatives who make up the organic food customers, corporations, trade groups and lobbyists are not a modern invention. The engine was going to ruin agriculture too, and resistance to modern science and technology goes back at least 7,000 years.

Then, as now, the difference was that staying in the past would be 'better' for health. 


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How To Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival In Three Easy Steps

January 9, 2016 - 2:06pm

WASHINGTON --Although survival rates for people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital are extremely low in most places, emergency physicians propose three interventions to improve survival rates and functional outcomes in any community and urge additional federal funding for cardiac resuscitation research in an editorial published online last Wednesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine ("IOM Says Times to Act to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival ... Here's How").


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Study Finds 'frictional Heat' As A New Trigger For Explosive Volcanic Eruptions

January 9, 2016 - 2:06pm

A new study into magma ascent by geoscientists at the University of Liverpool has found that temperature may be more important than pressure in generating gas bubbles which trigger explosive volcanic eruptions.

In a paper published in Nature, researchers at the University's School of Environmental Sciences showed that as magma ascends in volcanic conduits, it heats up which can melt its crystal cargo and force the formation of bubbles. Importantly, they also showed that more bubbles are formed by heating than through decompression, which had been previously thought.


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A Far From Perfect Host

January 9, 2016 - 2:06pm

Biologists at the universities of York and Exeter have published new research which shows that an ancient symbiosis is founded entirely on exploitation, not mutual benefit.

The researchers concluded that a single-celled protozoa called Paramecium bursaria benefits from exploiting a green algae which lives inside it, providing its host with sugar and oxygen from photosynthesis.

Scientists have been debating for decades whether symbioses, like the Paramecium-Chlorella association, are based on mutual benefit or exploitation.

The common belief among academics was that both the protozoa and algae benefit.


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Lift A Car With Two Phone Books

January 9, 2016 - 1:30pm
No matter how much force is applied (within reason, no hammer of Thor stuff) you can't separate two interleaved phone books by pulling on their spines.

A new experiment shows it is even possible to suspend a car from them.

Using a model that reproduces the traction and friction forces involved, researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), Laboratoire Gulliver (CNRS/ESPCI ParisTech), Laboratoire de Génie des Procédés Papetiers (CNRS/Grenoble INP) and McMaster University in Canada have shown that when the spines of the interleaved phonebooks are pulled on vertically, part of the vertical force is converted into a horizontal force that presses on the sheets. The pages then remain stuck together due to friction. 
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Internet Health Advice May Not Be As Dangerous As Believed

January 9, 2016 - 1:00pm
Wikipedia may be wildly inaccurate but at least it isn't dangerous. For really dangerous advice, the assumption has been to go on Internet health forums. 

Faint praise, but a new analysis suggests that medical advice given on Internet health forums may be of better quality than people tend to assume. They focused on three popular online discussion forum websites - reddit, mumsnet and Patient.
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The Brodsky Gulag

January 9, 2016 - 12:56pm
As a follow-up of yesterday's post on the very opportune Pomeranchuk prize given to Stan Brodsky, I would like to report here on a funny anecdote Stan related to me today. The anecdote is interesting to all of us who believe the world of physics research is fully trans-national - well, it is, but there is apparently some more work to do to improve the situation further. -->

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Stan Brodsky Wins Pomeranchuk Prize

January 8, 2016 - 10:36pm
I was quite happy to hear today that Stan Brodsky, a professor of particle physics and astrophysics at Stanford University, has received together with Victor Fadin the 2015 Pomeranchuk Prize from the Russian Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) of Moscow. Stan is a great guy and his contributions to QCD  are of wide range. 

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Stance That Tourism Harms Wildlife Refuted

January 8, 2016 - 9:37pm

COLLEGE STATION - Two Texas A&M University scientists highlighted the conservation benefits of ecotourism worldwide and said a recent research review citing the dangers of ecotourism to wildlife is premature and problematic.

Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, a conservation biologist, and Dr. Amanda Stronza, an anthropologist, published a critique of a recent review in the scientific journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution that proposed tourism may increase the vulnerability of wildlife to predators.

"There have been some claims that have drawn media attention, saying that nature tourism and ecotourism can hurt wildlife and can even make wildlife more vulnerable to predators and poaching," Fitzgerald said.


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Tarmac Rules Mean More Airline Passenger Delays And Cancellations

January 8, 2016 - 7:27pm

In the rush to solve mainstream media stories about airline passengers sitting on the place on the tarmac for hours and hours, the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2010 Tarmac Delay Rule glossed over concerns that it would lead to more delays and cancellations - exactly what has happened.

As a result, it takes most air passengers far more time to reach their destination for all pasangers than ever occurred for a few during lengthy tarmac delays, according to a study in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.


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Using Skin To Save The Heart

January 8, 2016 - 4:20pm

Following a heart attack or other heart trauma, the heart is unable to replace its dead cells. Patients are often left with little option other than heart transplants, which are rarely available, or more recently cell therapies that transplant heart cells into the patient's heart. In far too many cases, however, the transplanted heart cells do not engraft well, resulting in poor recovery.


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