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Showing posts from July 22, 2016

Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand

By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.


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Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand

By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.


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Swimming-Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand

By Alan Baldwin LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.

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Alcohol Can Cause Certain Cancers, Study Says

Drinking alcohol may cause seven different types of cancer, a new meta-analysis finds. Previous studies have found an association between drinking alcohol and a higher risk of developing certain cancers, according to the study. In the new meta-analysis, published today (July 21) in the journal Addiction, researchers looked at the major review studies done over the last decade on alcohol and cancer, including reviews from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

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Human Gut Microbes Took Root Before We Were Human

The relationship between humans and the bacteria in our guts extends far back into the past — to the time before modern humans even existed, a new study finds. Microbes in two bacterial families — Bacteroidaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae, which are present in humans and African apes — likely colonized the guts of a shared ancestor of both groups around 15 million years ago, the researchers discovered. The researchers' genetic data also tell a story of parallel evolution — in the microbes, and in the primate hosts they inhabited.


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Food for Thought: Americans Just Can't Stop Throwing Out Food

Food waste is piling up in America, and although the vast majority of Americans feel bad about throwing out food, most of us also think it would be hard to reduce the amount of food we throw away, a new survey finds. The survey of 500 people in the U.S. found that 77 percent of respondents said they felt guilty about throwing away food. In addition to being a waste of resources, throwing away food has a negative impact on the environment, according to the study, published today (July 21) in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Why the 'Heat Dome' Will Scorch Nearly the Entire US This Weekend

A blast of sweltering heat will sweep across the United States over the next four days, and some places will see temperatures as much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 to 8.3 degrees Celsius) above average for this time of year, according to the National Weather Service. Hot weather in July is to be expected, of course — after all, it's the middle of summer — but a so-called heat dome is kicking these hot and humid temperatures up a notch. A heat dome happens when a "dome" of high pressure traps hot air underneath it, said Mike Musher, a meteorologist at the NWS' Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.


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Mighty Viking Ax Discovered in Tomb of Medieval 'Power Couple'

Archaeologists have discovered one of the largest Viking axes ever found, in the tomb of a 10th-century "power couple" in Denmark. Kirsten Nellemann Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Silkeborg Museum who is leading excavations at the site near the town of Haarup, said Danish axes like the one found in the tomb were the most feared weapons of the Viking Age. It would have had a very long handle, and it took both hands to use it," Nielsen told Live Science.


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Children's Doodles Found in Margins of Medieval Manuscript

The margins of a medieval manuscript from a convent in Naples, Italy, are decorated with doodles of what are apparently devils, a farm animal and a person that were likely drawn by children, a new study finds. Children probably scribbled these doodles on the 14th-century manuscript a few hundred years after the book was made, said the study’s author, Deborah Thorpe, a research fellow at the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders at the University of York in the United Kingdom. "I was looking through a database of medieval manuscripts online, and I found images of these beautiful doodles in the margins, and to me they looked like they were done by children," Thorpe said in a statement.


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Why Did NASA Send a DNA Sequencer to Space?

A DNA sequencer that was just delivered to the International Space Station can test not just known Earthly organisms. Turns out, the little device may also be able to analyze samples taken from alien life, NASA said. Among the goods delivered was the MinION — a palm-sized sequencer with a lot of promise that weighs just 120 grams (0.27 pounds).


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Parasite Evolution: Here's How Some Animals Became Moochers

Nobody likes a mooch, but new research finds that grifting off others is a sound evolutionary strategy. Parasitism — a survival strategy that involves hijacking a host's nutrients for one's own benefit — has emerged in the animal kingdom at least 223 times, according to a study published July 19 in the journal Biology Letters. The estimate of 223 independent origins of parasitism is nearly four times higher than the previous estimate of around 60.


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'Earthquake' in Florida Was Actually a Naval Explosion

A tremor reported on July 16 off the coast of Florida was not an earthquake, but a Naval test explosion. The U.S. Geological Survey now lists the event on its earthquake hazards page as an "experimental explosion by the U.S. Navy." According to DefenseNews.com, the 10,000-pound explosion was set off to test the resilience of a combat ship, the USS Jackson. USGS instruments measured the blast as a magnitude-3.7 earthquake, which would have been a rare seismic event in the tectonically quiet region.


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