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Showing posts from June 3, 2016

Luxembourg sets aside 200 million euros to fund space mining ventures

Luxembourg on Friday upped its bid to be a leader in the nascent space mining industry by setting aside 200 million euros ($223 million) to fund initiatives aimed at bringing back rare minerals from space. Luxembourg in February announced plans for a law that would make it the first state in Europe to give legal clarity to the commercial exploitation of asteroids. "We have a first budget to get started but if we need more money, we will be able to provide it," Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's economy minister told a news conference.

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New FDA Salt Targets: Which Foods Would Change Most?

If these target sodium levels are reached over the next 10 years, some of the biggest sodium drops in packaged foods could be in certain sauces and frozen breakfast foods, according to Live Science's calculations. The sodium targets, from the Food and Drug Administration, could help reduce sodium intake for the average American by more than 1,000 milligrams per day — from 3,400 mg per day to 2,300 mg per day, the FDA said. The guidelines are voluntary, but many food companies have already taken steps to lower the amounts of sodium in their products, the FDA noted.

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Teen Birthrates Reach Another Record Low, CDC Says

The teen birth rate has declined almost continuously over the past two decades, according to the federal statistics. The 2015 birthrate was a 64 percent decrease from the rate's peak in 1991, at 62 births per 1,000 teens, according to the report, published today (June 2) by researchers at the CDC's Center for National Health Statistics. In the report, the researchers broke down the rate further, by smaller age groups: Among 15- to 17-year-olds, the birthrate decreased from 11 births per 1,000 teens in 2014 to 10 births per 1,000 in 2015.

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Black-Death Survey Reveals Incredible Devastation Wrought by Plague

The devastation wrought by the Black Death plague pandemic in medieval England has been revealed in a uniquely detailed archaeological study carried out for more than a decade with the help of thousands of village volunteers. Although some historians have played down the impact of the bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the 1300s, new research shows that the Black Death was as deadly as described in writings that have survived from the time, with some villages suffering an almost 80 percent drop in population after the plague. The study gathered and analyzed data about broken pieces of domestic pottery found in more than 2,000 test pits measuring 11 square feet (1 square meter) at the surface and up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) deep that were dug in 55 villages in eastern England.


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19th-Century White House Garden Aligns with Solstice Sun

A 19th-century garden just north of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, D.C., was designed so that its statues align with the rising and setting sun on the summer and winter solstices, a physics professor has found. Using satellite imagery and astronomical software, Amelia Sparavigna, of Politecnico di Torino in Italy, discovered the phenomenon. The solstice sun aligns with the center of the garden, which contains a statue of President Andrew Jackson, and the endings of four walkways that now contain four statues of generals from the American Revolutionary War, the physicist found.


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Schrodinger's Cat Arrives? Quantum Weirdness Gets Life Size

The quantum absurdity that leads to the notion of Schrodinger's cat — in which a cat can exist in two states simultaneously — could finally be tested in an object visible to the naked eye, a new study demonstrates. Scientists have created a pendulum-like membrane that is so perfectly isolated from friction and heat "that it would just keep going for 10 years with a single push," said study co-author Simon Gröblacher, a physicist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. This tiny, flea-size swing could allow scientists to finally test whether the quantum effects behind the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment do indeed exist at large scales.


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Mexican 'Spiderman' weaves web of knowledge for science students

By Edgard Garrido MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican science teacher has come up with a novel way to get his students' attention - giving lessons dressed as Spiderman. Moises Vazquez, 26, said he was inspired to pull on the tight blue and red suit of the superhero after reading in comics that the Marvel character behind the mask, Peter Parker, worked as a science teacher after his time as a freelance photographer. When giving class at the National Autonomous University of Mexico as the superhero, Vazquez leaves home in eastern Mexico City with his mother's blessing, and rides in public transport to the prestigious seat of learning dressed as the Avenger.


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Mexican 'Spiderman' weaves web of knowledge for science students

By Edgard Garrido MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican science teacher has come up with a novel way to get his students' attention - giving lessons dressed as Spiderman. Moises Vazquez, 26, said he was inspired to pull on the tight blue and red suit of the superhero after reading in comics that the Marvel character behind the mask, Peter Parker, worked as a science teacher after his time as a freelance photographer. When giving class at the National Autonomous University of Mexico as the superhero, Vazquez leaves home in eastern Mexico City with his mother's blessing, and rides in public transport to the prestigious seat of learning dressed as the Avenger.


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Clean fuel from 'bionic leaf' could ease pressure on farmland - scientists

By Chris Arsenault RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new clean technology to turn sunlight into liquid fuel could drastically shrink the need for large plantations to grow crops for biofuels, while combating climate change, Harvard University researchers said on Thursday. Dubbed "bionic leaf 2.0", the technology uses solar panels to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, the scientists said in a study published in the journal Science. Once separated, hydrogen is moved into a chamber where it is consumed by bacteria, and with help from a special metal catalyst and carbon dioxide, the process generates liquid fuel.


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