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Showing posts from January 9, 2017

'Caterpillar' Robot Wriggles to Get Around

"I believe that this kind of robot is very suitable for our living environment, since the softness of the body can guarantee our safety when we are interacting with the robots," said lead study author Takuya Umedachi, now a project lecturer in the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo. However, soft materials easily deform into complex shapes that make them difficult to control when conventional robotics techniques are used, according to Umedachi and his colleagues.


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Climate Change Could Trigger Collapse of Major Ocean Current

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a deep-sea system that circulates warm water and helps to regulate Earth's climate, is far less stable than scientists once thought, according to a new study. Under climate-change pressures such as dramatic increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the AMOC could even collapse entirely, resulting in a much colder Northern Hemisphere and a wetter tropical Atlantic region.


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Forget About Global Warming Pause — It Doesn't Exist

Forget about the so-called climate change hiatus — a period beginning in 1998 when the increase in the planet's temperature reportedly slowed — it doesn't exist, according to a new study that found the planet's ocean temperatures are warming faster than previously thought. "Our results mean that essentially NOAA got it right, that they were not cooking the books," study lead author Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group.


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Huge Lava Collapse Rings in Hawaii's New Year

A lava delta — an expanse of unstable rocky terrain formed by cooled lava — in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park collapsed suddenly into the ocean on New Year's Eve, creating a spectacle of volcanic ash, steam and gas to mark the end of 2016. The 26-acre (11 hectares) delta was created by a recent and massive lava flow from the Kilauea volcano pouring into the sea. The feature's collapse produced towering plumes of ash and sent large waves washing over and eroding the nearby sea cliff, according to the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).


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Cat–astrophe! Feral Cats Have Invaded Nearly 100% of Australia

A new study finds that feral cats inhabit 99.8 percent of the continent's landmass, including 80 percent of the land that makes up its islands. Feral cats have long been recognized as a grave and widespread threat to vulnerable native wildlife — particularly in Australia, where species found nowhere else in the world are ill-equipped to deal with these invasive and deadly predators. European explorers first introduced cats to Australia in the 18th century.


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How Well Are You Aging? This Blood Test May Tell You

Indeed, a new study finds that certain "biomarker signatures" in the blood can signal people's risk of later developing some age-related health conditions. "These signatures depict differences in how people age, and they show promise in predicting healthy aging, changes in cognitive and physical function, survival and age-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer," the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Jan. 6) in the journal Aging Cell. In the study, the researchers measured the levels of 19 biomarkers in the blood samples of more than 4,700 people who were enrolled in an ongoing international research project called the Long Life Family Study.


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How 1 Family Discovered Their New Home Was a Former Meth Lab

A family in Australia who developed health problems found out their sickness had an unusual cause: They had unknowingly moved into a home that was a former meth laboratory, according to a new report of the case. Just months before the family moved in, the home was the site of a clandestine drug laboratory, where the owner made methamphetamine. Police discovered the laboratory in May 2013, arrested the owner and notified other authorities that the home needed to be decontaminated because it contained harmful chemicals.


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Wild Tarantula Eats a Foot-Long Snake in a First

When scientists in southern Brazil turned over a rock looking for tarantulas, they came across something they'd never expected: a spider eating a snake. The tarantula, called Grammostola quirogai, was chowing down on the body of an Almaden ground snake (Erythrolamprus almadensis). It's the first time a tarantula has ever been seen preying on a snake in the wild.


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