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Showing posts from November 22, 2016

WWII Shipwrecks 'Vanish' After Plundering by Illegal Scavengers

Illegal salvagers have plundered at least six World War II shipwrecks near Indonesia for scrap metal, including the wreck of an American submarine that has now "completely vanished," according to investigators. The damaged wrecks include three Dutch and two British warships sunk by Japanese forces after the Battle of the Java Sea in February 1942, and the American submarine USS Perch, which sank in the Java Sea in March 1942 after being damaged in an attack on Japanese destroyers. The scale of damage to the historic shipwrecks was discovered early this month by an international team of divers and underwater survey specialists, sponsored by a Dutch naval memorial society, the Karel Doorman Fund.


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Does Lying on Your Back During Pregnancy Increase Stillbirth Risk?

For women in the third trimester of their pregnancy, lying down on their back may place stress on the fetus, which could increase the risk of stillbirth in certain cases, a small new study from New Zealand suggests. However, experts say that it's too early to make recommendations based on the findings, and that pregnant women do not need to change the way they lie down as a result of the study. "It is not possible to draw a firm link between maternal position and stillbirth risk from this study and further robust research is needed," Hannah Knight, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.


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Marijuana Use May Impair Your Coordination

Smoking pot may impair your coordination and other motor skills, even when you're not high, a new review of studies finds. In the review, researchers found that people who used marijuana had differences in brain areas called the corticostriatal networks compared with people who didn't use the drug. The researchers' review of literature included 14 studies published between 1992 and 2015 that looked specifically at motor function in cannabis users, along with numerous other studies that examined cannabis use in connection to cognitive function.


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Women Have Always Lived Longer, Study Finds

The investigators found that, "in spite of the huge gains in human longevity over the past century, the male-female difference has not shrunk," said Susan Alberts, a professor of biology at Duke University and a co-author of the new study. The researchers did find that the the amount by which women outlived men varied across populations. For instance, the largest male-female difference in life span among the populations studied was in modern-day Russia, where the gap is approximately 10 years.


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Yo-Yo Dieting May Pose Heart Risks in Women

Women whose weight fluctuates by more than 10 lbs. (4.5 kilograms) over the course of a decade, but who are not overweight, may have an increased risk of heart problems, a new study finds. In the study, researchers looked at data from nearly 160,000 postmenopausal women who took part in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a large study that began in 1991 and is aimed at looking at the major health problems women face after menopause. The scientists found that among the women whose weight was within the normal range, weight fluctuations of more than 10 lbs. were associated with a 66 percent increase in the risk of dying from coronary heart disease over an 11-year period, compared with the women who had weight fluctuations of less than 10 lbs. Coronary heart disease is a condition in which substances such as fat block the blood vessels to the heart, decreasing blood flow to the organ.


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Rate of Dementia Declines Among US Seniors

The American population is getting older, but the percentage of U.S. seniors with dementia is actually declining, a new study found. In the study, the researchers analyzed information from a nationally representative sample of about 21,000 U.S. adults ages 65 and older who were tested for dementia from 2000 to 2012. In 2000, 11.6 percent of older adults had dementia, but that number dropped to 8.8 percent by 2012, the researchers found.


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Foldable Cardboard 'EcoHelmet' Wins James Dyson Award's Top Prize

The James Dyson Foundation announced today (Nov. 17) that Isis Shiffer is the 2016 International Winner of the James Dyson Award for her EcoHelmet design — a collapsible, biodegradable bike helmet that can be dispensed through vending machines at urban bike-share stations. Sir James Dyson, inventor and founder of the award, praised the EcoHelmet for presenting a simple and "elegant" solution to the problem of providing cheap, accessible helmets to users of urban bike-share programs.


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Supermoon's High Tides Strand Octopus in Flooded Parking Garage

Climate change's impact on sea levels has made tidal flooding in Miami more severe, according to scientists. After the "supermoon" earlier this month triggered high tides, parts of Miami flooded and at least one sea creature was left far from home: an octopus that became stranded in a flooded parking garage, reported the Miami Herald. Miami resident Richard Conlin discovered the octopus, and shared images of the displaced sea creature on Facebook.


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How to Avoid Stephen Hawking's Dark Prediction for Humanity

Stephen Hawking thinks humanity has only 1,000 years left of survival on Earth and that our species needs to colonize other planets. The famed physicist made the statement in a speech at Oxford University Union, in which he promoted the goal of searching for and colonizing Earth-like exoplanets. The dangers Hawking cited — from climate change, to nuclear weapons, to genetically engineered viruses — could indeed pose existential threats to our species, experts say, but predicting a millennium into the future is a murky business.


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Bird Poop Cools the Arctic. No, It Won't Offset Climate Warming

In short, chemical reactions that are set in motion by the bird droppings, or guano, change the properties of the clouds above, and make them more reflective, the researchers said. "Clouds can actually reflect energy that's coming from the sun back to space, which is a cooling effect," said study co-lead researcher Betty Croft, a research associate in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Baffin Island is part of the vast Arctic landscape where seabirds summer...and poop.


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Chernobyl Bubble: How a Giant Arch Will Seal Nuclear Site

To safely entomb the radioactive wreckage of Chernobyl, the site of the infamous 1986 nuclear accident, a mobile metal arch is now on the move that is taller than the Statue of Liberty. When nuclear reactor No. 4 exploded at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 due to errors in both operation and design, it sent plumes of radioactive dust as far away as the United States and Japan, previous research found. To contain the fallout, the Soviet Union enclosed the ruins in a structure that is technically known as the Shelter Object but more commonly called the sarcophagus.


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Physicists Twist Light, Send 'Hello World' Message Between Islands

When you make a phone call or browse the internet, chances are a lot of the communication happens over fiber-optic links transmitting billions of bits every second. Light waves are used in communications all the time. Radio is a form of light, as are lasers that are common in  fiber optics.


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