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Showing posts from August 26, 2016

Venus and Jupiter Imagined: From Galileo to Science Fiction

Venus and Jupiter will appear so close together in the sky this Saturday (Aug. 27) that, from some locations, the two planets will appear to almost touch. Venus and Jupiter were the first two planets to be systematically observed with telescopes. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, told Space.com.


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Buried Tectonic Plate Reveals Hidden Dinosaur-Era Sea

Using images constructed from earthquake data, geoscientists have developed a method for resurrecting a "slab graveyard" of tectonic plate segments buried deep within the Earth, unfolding the deformed rock into what it may have looked like up to 52 million years ago. This helped the researchers identify the previously unknown East Asian Sea Plate, where an ancient sea once existed in the region shortly after dinosaurs went extinct. The Pacific, Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates frame several smaller plates, including the Philippine Sea Plate, which researchers say has been migrating northwest since its formation roughly 55 million years ago.


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Deaths from Fentanyl, Drug That Killed Prince, Rise Sharply

Overdose deaths from the opioid painkiller fentanyl — the same drug that killed singer-songwriter Prince in April — have increased sharply in a number of U.S. states, according to a new report. From 2013 to 2014, eight U.S. states — Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland and North Carolina — had large increases in overdose deaths tied to synthetic opioids. During that same time, the number of drug products that tested positive for fentanyl after being seized by law enforcement officers increased by more than 10 times in the eight states, rising from 293 to 3,340.

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Why Areas with More Men Have Higher Marriage Rates

The research showed that counties in the U.S. with more men than women generally had higher rates of marriage, fewer births outside marriage and fewer single female heads of household — all of which are generally signs of greater family stability, according to the researchers. "There's this numerical expectation that, as men increase in numbers, that means that there are fewer women available, so men are less likely to get married," said Ryan Schacht, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology at the University of Utah. In the study, the researchers looked at U.S. Census data from 2,800 counties in all 50 states, focusing on the relationship between each county's gender ratio (the number of men relative to women) and certain markers of family stability that researchers commonly use in research like this, such as marriage rates and the percentage of households with children who were headed by single women.

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Who's Really Happier: Young People or Older People?

Older adults may not be as physically healthy or mentally sharp as younger and middle-age adults, but they have higher psychological well-being than these other age groups, according to a new survey of people living in San Diego County, California. In the study, the researchers evaluated three key factors in adults across their life spans: their physical health, cognitive health and mental health. The researchers also found that young adults in their 20s and 30s had the lowest scores on measures of psychological well-being of all of the age groups in the study, which included people ages 21 to 99, according to the findings, published in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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Science-Proven Way to Reduce Teen Drinking

"Family rules may be a useful complement to community rules and policies" in the effort to prevent underage drinking, said Mark Wolfson, the study's lead researcher and a professor of social sciences and health policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. The researchers found that the teenagers whose parents had clear rules against underage drinking were 35 percent less likely to have attended a party where there was alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with teens whose parents did not have crystal-clear rules. Future research should examine whether parents can be coached in developing effective and appropriate rules for their children, Wolfson said.

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Riskiest Hurricane Day Approaches

Hurricane season may have officially started on June 1, but the riskiest part of the season is only just beginning, said scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Tropical cyclones typically spike during an eight-week period that lasts from mid-August through the middle of October, NOAA scientists said in a statement on Aug. 22. This "peak season" includes 78 percent of tropical storm days, 87 percent of days with Category 1 and 2 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and a dizzying 96 percent of the major hurricane days (Category 3, 4 and 5), the NOAA said.


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Trousers, Heal Thyself: Squids Make Self-Fixing Clothes Possible

It's generally not a good idea to smear squid parts all over your outfit, but one day, clothes could fix their own rips with the help of coatings made of squid proteins, according to a new study. This research might lead to more than just everyday self-healing clothes. Rips and tears in shirts or jeans are usually no big deal — you can either repair the clothes or simply throw them away — but damage to items such as hazmat suits or biomedical implants can be a matter of life or death.


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Lost WWII Ships Explored in Underwater Expedition

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working with several nonprofit and private partners to explore the twin wrecks of the freighter SS Bluefieldsand the German U-boat U-576. The German submarine attacked and sank the Bluefields on July 15, 1942, and was then itself sunk by bombs from U.S. Navy air cover and the deck gun of another merchant ship in the convoy, the Unicoi. All hands were evacuated from the Bluefields and survived.


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'Stranger Things': How Realistic Are Parallel Worlds?

The hit new series "Stranger Things" is more than just the 1980s throwback we've all been waiting for. In fact, the kids soon realize that the spooky occurrences may actually be stemming from interactions with an alternate world. While a sinister parallel universe like the one on the show "Stranger Things" may not be hovering over our own, the basic idea of an alternate world echoes concepts of multiverses that theoretical physicists have proposed for decades, experts say.

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SpaceX Dragon heads back to Earth with station science, gear

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A SpaceX Dragon capsule headed back to Earth on Friday with a load of science experiments and gear from the International Space Station.


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