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Showing posts from April 15, 2016

Why Do So Many Earthquakes Strike Japan?

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck southern Japan today, less than two days after a 6.2-magnitude temblor rocked the same region, triggering tsunami advisories in the area. The most recent earthquake struck the Kumamoto region on Japan's Kyushu Island early Saturday (April 16) at 1:25 a.m. local time (12:25 p.m. ET on April 15), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). With residents of the Kumamoto region reeling from two sizable earthquakes in as many days, and with memories of the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated Tohoku, Japan, in 2011 not far from people's minds, what is it about this part of the world that makes it so seismically active?


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Impaled polar bear sculpture highlights global warming threat

A sculpture of an impaled polar bear went on display on Friday in front of the Danish parliament to highlight the impact of global warming. The seven-meter high metal sculpture named "Unbearable" depicts a graph of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere sky-rocketing into the belly of a polar bear, gutting its abdomen and almost penetrating the back of the beast. Polar bears are among the animal species most threatened by the increase in global temperatures.


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'Love Handles' Transformed into Insulin-Producing Cells

A body part that many would wish away — their love handles — can be turned it into life-saving transplant: Researchers reprogramed fat cells from a person's waistline into pancreatic cells capable of producing the crucial hormone insulin. If further testing shows that the cells are safe to implant into a person's body, and effectively produce insulin once they are there, they could one day be used to treat people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, experts say. In a petri dish, researchers coaxed these reprogrammed pancreatic cells, called beta cells, to produce ample amounts of the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn food into fuel for muscles and organs such as the brain.

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Skin Condition Linked to Risk of Aneurysm

The effects of psoriasis go far deeper than the skin: The condition may raise a person's risk of a potentially deadly aneurysm, a new study from Denmark finds. People in the study who had psoriasis — an inflammatory skin condition that causes red, scaly patches of skin — also had a greater risk of having an abdominal aortic aneurysm, according to the study, published today (April 14) in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a relatively rare condition that occurs when the aorta, the large blood vessel that carries blood to the abdomen, becomes enlarged.


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Here's the Best Way to Apologize, According to Science

We've all been there — after you've given what seems to you like a heartfelt apology, the other person just doesn't buy it. Well, science is here to help: An effective apology has six key elements, according to a new study. "Apologies really do work, but you should make sure you hit as many of the six key elements as possible," Roy Lewicki, the lead author of the study and a professor emeritus of management and human resources at The Ohio State University, said in a statement.

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Guys Give Each Other a Break on Weight (But Not Women)

When judged on attractiveness, men get a pass from other men about their weight, a new study finds.


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Road Rage Science: Former NFL Player's Death Reveals Why We Lose It

Road rage may have played a role in the shooting death of former NFL player Will Smith in New Orleans over the weekend, police have said. Whether or not road rage is implicated, the incident highlights the real threat of what seem to be driver tantrums. And, according to scientists, freak-outs on the road can be considered a mental disorder, or at the very least, may stem from brain abnormalities.


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Ancient Human Sacrifice Had Gruesome Role in Creating Hierarchies

A new study shows that in societies where social hierarchies were taking shape, ritual human sacrifices targeted poor people, helping the powerful control the lower classes and keep them in their place. "By using human sacrifice to punish taboo violations, demoralize the underclass and instill fear of social elites, power elites were able to maintain and build social control," study lead author Joseph Watts said in a statement. Evidence also hints that the practice was widespread, Watts told Live Science in an email.


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Silvery Hairs Turn Ants into Walking Mirrors

One ant species in the Sahara Desert is covered by a silvery sheen of body hair that acts as a wearable sun shield for the creatures, a new study finds. The silvery hairs completely reflect the light like mirrors, preventing the ants from absorbing too much heat. "The ability to reflect solar radiation by means of total internal reflection is a novel adaptive mechanism in desert animals, which gives an efficient thermal protection against the intense solar radiation," study co-author Serge Aron, an evolutionary biologist at the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, said in a statement.


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