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Showing posts from September 25, 2015

Rare 'supermoon' eclipse to unfold Sunday night

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Sky-watchers around the world are in for a treat Sunday night and Monday when the shadow of Earth casts a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total "supermoon" lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. It just appears slightly bigger in the sky," planetary geologist Noah Petro, with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said.


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Space Race on Earth: Astronauts Compete in 2,000-Mile Road Rally

A new international space race is set to launch between astronauts from the United States, Brazil, France and India. But instead of blasting off for the moon or Mars, the space explorers have traded in their rockets for minivans and are racing from Connecticut's capital to Florida's Space Coast. Dubbed the "Space Race," this year's rally is an 8-day, 2,000-mile (3,200 km) trivia game, where the United States serves as the game board.


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Art Project to Beam Neil Armstrong's Heartbeat, Footprint Back to the Moon

Clar's two-part event will bounce some very special radio waves off of the moon from a radio dish in Italy and retrieve them at Dwingeloo Radio Observatory in the Netherlands. For the project, Clar took a copy of Armstrong's electrocardiogram (EKG) — a record of his heart's electrical activity — captured as the astronaut stepped onto the surface of the moon for the first time. Clar turned the EKG into sound with the help of data scientist Ryan Compton.


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Can You Exercise Too Much? (Op-Ed)

Dr. John Swartzberg is an internist and specialist in infectious disease, and chairman of the editorial board of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter and berkeleywellness.com. After all, fewer than half of us get the recommended amount of physical activity, and we know it. Exercise provides many health benefits, but at some point working out too hard or too long increases the risk of injury and other adverse effects.

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Tech Art at the Heart of Silicon Valley

San Jose, California, can boast of having produced more patents than any other U.S. city, according to U.S. census figures — not surprising given its stature as the unofficial capital of Silicon Valley. With a diverse population of more than one million, many of whom are foreign-born technology workers, San Jose is home to the headquarters of tech giants such as Adobe and eBay. Alongside several theaters, a performing arts center and a diverse array of museums, the city is also the base for organizations like ZERO1, whose work takes place in the fertile space where tech and art overlap.


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How Plastics-to-Fuel Can Become the Next Green Machine (Op-Ed)

Doug Woodring is director and co-founder of the Ocean Recovery Alliance, a nonprofit that brings together innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy to benefit ocean health. Steve Russell is vice president of the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division, which leads efforts to "reduce, reuse, recycle and recover" more plastics through outreach, education and access to advances in technology. But new technologies that can harness the fuel content in non-recycled plastics could help remedy this.

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Will We Ever Achieve the Vision of '2001: A Space Odyssey'? (Op-Ed)

In 1968, filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and his screenwriting colleague, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, presented "2001: A Space Odyssey," an almost documentary vision of how engineers and scientists of the time envisioned the future of spaceflight, the prospects for artificial intelligence and the likelihood of contact with extraterrestrial life.

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Why Being Tall and Slim Sometimes Go Hand in Hand

The findings could help explain why people from Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway have a reputation for being both tall and slender, the researchers said. "Our research suggests that tall nations are more genetically likely to be slim," said study author Matthew Robinson of the University of Queensland in Australia. The populations of countries differ in many ways, including their average height and the rate at which they catch some diseases, Robinson said.

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10% of Pregnant Women Drink Alcohol, Study Finds

More than 10 percent of pregnant women in the United States, and 18 percent of pregnant women age 35 and older, say they drank alcohol in the past month, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, among all pregnant women who reported drinking alcohol, about a third reported binge drinking, meaning they consumed at least four alcoholic beverages on one occasion, the study found. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a health concern because it can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies, and increase the risk of complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, the CDC said.

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Medical Research Subjects Who Lie Can Mess Up Study Results

People who lie about their health in order to get into medical research studies can mess up study results, and potentially make drugs appear more safe or effective than they really are — or less so, researchers say. "Fabrication or falsification of information by research participants can undermine the integrity of a study," the researchers — David Resnik, a bioethicist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and David McCann, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse — wrote in the new paper. "As a result, pharmaceutical companies may inappropriately discontinue the development of effective medications, preventing patients from receiving valuable new treatment options," the authors said.

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'Doomsday' Seed Vault: The Science Behind World's Arctic Storage Cube

The ongoing civil war in Syria has led to the first-ever withdrawal from the Svalbard "doomsday" Global Seed Vault, a giant storage unit for plant seeds that's tucked into the side of a frigid mountain in Norway. While it may sound like bad news that seeds have been removed from the so-called doomsday vault, the withdrawal actually serves as proof that such a vault is necessary, Brian Lainoff, a spokesman for the Crop Trust, told The WorldPost.


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No Boys Allowed: Snake Mom Has 'Virgin Birth'

A female water snake in Missouri can do something that no human woman can (no matter how badly she might want to): She can have babies without any help from a male. Earlier this month, a yellow-bellied water snake at the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center gave birth to a litter of baby snakes even though she hasn't had "relations" with a male snake in at least eight years. Yellow-bellied water snakes are one of many species of reptile that can reproduce through a process known as parthenogenesis, MDC herpetologist Jeff Briggler said in a statement.


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Volkswagen Scandal: Why Is It So Hard to Make Clean Diesel Cars?

The company is recalling 500,000 diesel cars in the United States and 11 million vehicles worldwide because they may emit up to 40 times the allowable levels of air pollutants that are called nitrogen oxides (NOx), The New York Times reported. The company is now embroiled in a scandal after it was revealed that Volkswagen deliberately turned off the filter designed to trap NOx from the exhaust. "They just wrote a piece of code that said, 'only turn it on when you're being tested,'" said Jorn Herner, chief of the Research Planning, Administration, and Emission Mitigation Branch of the California Air Resources Board's research division.

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Pope's Climate Call Misses Population Problem, Scientists Say

As Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress today (Sept. 24), scientists are praising his encyclical on climate change — with a few caveats about population control. A series of editorials published today in the journal Nature Climate Change applaud the pope's in-depth missive for his calls for collective action on warming temperatures, which are driven by fossil-fuel combustion. The encyclical was a "decisive democratic act," wrote Anabela Carvalho, a communication sciences professor at the University of Minho in Portugal.


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Giraffes Caught Humming in the Midnight Hour

It's unclear why giraffes hum, "however, the acoustic structure is interesting, and might indicate that it is a communicative signal," said senior author Angela Stoeger, the head of the mammal communication lab at the University of Vienna. Researchers know surprisingly little about giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) auditory communication, she said. "There have been suggestions that the giraffe's iconic long neck makes vocalization physically impossible, due to the difficulty of sustaining the required airflow from lungs to mouth over such a distance," Stoeger told Live Science in an email.


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Amazing Snapshot: Jet Zooms Over Bahamas in Astronaut Photo

The turquoise waters snaking through Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas are almost unbelievably vivid in a new photograph taken from space. An astronaut with a long lens and a steady hand captured not only the natural tidal channels cutting through the small islands of the Bahamas, but also a jet and its two contrails cutting across one of the channels. The image was acquired July 15, 2015, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.


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Buzz Aldrin's 'Welcome to Mars' Charts Path to Red Planet for Kids

Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, and his new book encourages kids to take the first steps onto Mars. In "Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet" (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015), astronaut Buzz Aldrin invites kids to set a course for Mars as he delves into its history and environment as well as plans for a manned mission. Along with co-author Marianne Dyson, an author, physicist and NASA flight engineer, Aldrin guides the reader through the steps of getting to, exploring and colonizing the planet.


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Mystery Solved? How Universe's Brightest-Ever Galaxies Formed

The most luminous galaxies in the universe, known as submillimeter galaxies, were first discovered more than a decade ago. Most of the vast amounts of light they emit gets absorbed by interstellar dust and re-emitted at far-infrared submillimeter wavelengths outside the visible range. "They have luminosities maybe hundreds to thousands of times that of the Milky Way," study lead author Desika Narayanan, an astrophysicist at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, told Space.com.


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Simulation suits teach medical students empathy

Medical student Ludwika Wodyk fumbles her way slowly down the stairs, her movements encumbered by heavy strapping around her limbs and body, her vision distorted by special goggles. The students at the University of Lublin don special suits to place strain on their limb and hand muscles and the bones of their spine, restricting mobility, along with goggles which reduce vision to 20 per cent. The equipment is imported from Japan, where the technique is more commonly used to give students an insight into how it might feel to be decades older, but in Europe it remains a rarity. By making it easier to empathize, the simulation of old age helps doctors put patients' needs first, sixth-year medical student Sylwia Korzeniowska said.  "We must remember that the most important thing in the treatment of the patient is contact with him and whether he will cooperate with us and trust us.

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Simulation suits teach medical students empathy

Medical student Ludwika Wodyk fumbles her way slowly down the stairs, her movements encumbered by heavy strapping around her limbs and body, her vision distorted by special goggles. She is one of a group of medical students in Poland being given the chance to experience first-hand how it can feel to be an aging patient.     The students at the University of Lublin don special suits to place strain on their limb and hand muscles and the bones of their spine, restricting mobility, along with goggles which reduce vision to 20 per cent. ...

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Glider backers report successful test in quest for stratosphere

By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - An experimental glider that could eventually reach the edge of space without the power of an engine had a successful first test flight over Oregon this week, winning applause on Thursday from Airbus, a major backer of the project. The manned glider, dubbed Perlan 2, reached an altitude of 5,000 feet, in a proof-of-concept test ahead of next year’s planned record-breaking journey to the stratosphere. "This first flight is a milestone and we’re very impressed," Allen McArtor, chairman of Airbus North America, told Reuters on Thursday after he traveled to Oregon to watch the test.

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