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Posts

April 24, 2014

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9:22 PM | God Controls the Climate, So You Can Relax
I know, he’s just a Tea Party candidate with almost no chance of election, but Greg Brannon, primary candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kay Hagen, said... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:18 PM | Kosovo’s diaspora unmoved by ‘brain gain’ fund
One of the world’s youngest nations, Kosovo, has been trying in vain to lure top researchers in its diaspora back to the war-torn country of just over two million. Its €600,000 fund (about US$829,000) aims to rebuild research and teaching capacity by supporting the return of top professors, but it has failed to attract any eligible applications in the four years it has been running, says Murteza Osdautaj, director of science at Kosovo’s Ministry of Education, Science […]
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8:41 PM | Cosmic illusion revealed: Gravitational lens magnifies supernova
Astronomers have announced the discovery of a galaxy that magnified a background, Type Ia supernova thirty-fold through gravitational lensing. This first example of strong gravitational lensing of a supernova confirms the team’s previous explanation for the unusual properties of this supernova. The team has further shown how such discoveries of supernovae of Type Ia (SNIa) …
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8:38 PM | Genomic diversity and admixture differs for stone-age Scandinavian foragers and farmers
Scientists report a breakthrough on understanding the demographic history of Stone-Age humans. A genomic analysis of eleven Stone-Age human remains from Scandinavia revealed that expanding Stone-age farmers assimilated local hunter-gatherers, and that the hunter-gatherers were historically in lower numbers than the farmers. The transition between a hunting-gathering lifestyle and a farming lifestyle has been debated …
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8:34 PM | Oldest pterodactyloid species discovered: Primitive flying reptile took wing 163 million years ago
Scientists have discovered and named the earliest and most primitive pterodactyloid — a group of flying reptiles that would go on to become the largest known flying creatures to have ever existed — and established they flew above Earth some 163 million years ago, longer than previously known. Working from a fossil discovered in northwest …
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8:28 PM | On Extinction
Extinction Is the Rule; Survival Is the Exception (Carl Sagan) It is not a matter of “good or bad”, as “good and bad” are human perceptions. Extinction is a natural process that can have different causes giving rise to new species. It’s part of life that goes on. “In biology and ecology, extinction is the …
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7:42 PM | Eurosurveillance Journal: MERS- 2 Years Into The Epidemic
Credit Eurosurveillance     # 8524   From Eurosurveillance Journal this afternoon an editorial penned by the ECDC’s Director Marc Sprenger and  D Coulombier on the first two years of the MERS epidemic, with data current through April 23rd.   This editorial is actually just one of three articles on MERS in this weeks edition, the others focus on the recent imported case in Greece and additional findings of the MERS virus in camels.   A case of […]
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7:41 PM | Norway audits alt med industry. Guess what they find?
As happens everywhere, alternative treatment practitioners can’t help but promise things they really can’t deliver. During a big investigation of the alternative medicine industry in Norway, around 30 alt med practioners are getting a stern warning from the Norwegian Consumers Bureau for use of illegal claims in their advertising. All in all, 250 practioners and… Source: Doubtful News
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7:41 PM | Quantum Dots Open Way For Solar Windowpanes
Recently scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of M...

Meinardi, F., Colombo, A., Velizhanin, K., Simonutti, R., Lorenzon, M., Beverina, L., Viswanatha, R., Klimov, V. & Brovelli, S. (2014). Large-area luminescent solar concentrators based on ‘Stokes-shift-engineered’ nanocrystals in a mass-polymerized PMMA matrix, Nature Photonics, DOI:

Semonin, O., Luther, J., Choi, S., Chen, H., Gao, J., Nozik, A. & Beard, M. (2011). Peak External Photocurrent Quantum Efficiency Exceeding 100% via MEG in a Quantum Dot Solar Cell, Science, 334 1530-1533. DOI:

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7:37 PM | Another Update
Watch @UNCTV in May for an update on construction work happening @NCZoo polar bear exhibit #NCZoo #Patches pic.twitter.com/E4UKQn3Bys— North Carolina Zoo (@NCZoo) April 24, 2014Patches arrival has help all deal with delays.
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7:34 PM | Video game technology. Part 3 of 3: Immersion through sound.
Can audio really make movies and games more immersive and fun?What is the best video game you have ever played? Don’t answer yet. What the first thing that came to your mind when you read that question? Was it a specific level in a first person shooter? A character in a role playing game? In any case you first thought was probably associated with visual images. A gun fight from a first person perspective, a character jumping between platforms or a flash of light after an explosion. Every […]
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7:15 PM | C'mon media, you have to do better...
Here's a story from a few days ago about a possible "bath salts"-related death.Narcotics Officers Keep Eyes Open for Dangerous ‘Bath Salt’ Drug in WeHoWell, the headline says something about "bath salts" so obviously the case should be "bath salt" related, right?And then the article states, "there is no evidence as yet that bath salts were involved..."What?Also, "friends believed that cocaine with bath salts had been used by McDonald that day but couldn’t offer proof of […]
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7:14 PM | Scientists on Cycles
Andronik M. Petrosyants, chairman of the Soviet State Committee on the Utilization of Atomic Energy, heads a Soviet delegation on a bicycle tour of the newly completed main accelerator at the National Accelerator Laboratory outside of Chicago on April 16, 1971. The accelerator was made up of a 4-mile string of 1,014 magnets (each weighing 12.5 tons) entombed in an underground concrete ring. To the right of Petrosyants is physicist Norman Ramsey, who worked on the atom bombs dropped on Japan. […]
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7:03 PM | Living With Cancer: Practicing Loss
People with cancer experience varying types of loss -- of their health, of body parts, of freedom. Is there a way to practice for the losses that really matter? Susan Gubar asks in this week's Living With Cancer column.
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6:49 PM | Designing a Quantitative Western Blot Experiment to Avoid Common Pitfalls
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6:43 PM | Improbability / Ig Nobel Prizes at NIST Friday (am), NYC (pm)
No summary available for this post.
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6:41 PM | Cesar A. Berrios-Otero of F1000Research: lecture Tuesday April 29th, 2 pm.
Tuesday April 29th 2pm CNCB Large Conference Room   Cesar A. Berrios-Otero, Ph.D. F1000Research   Sharing data, reducing bias and enhancing research papers Unavailability of data and research results can have pernicious effects on scientific evidence. This bias is particularly harmful in medicine, where drugs may be prescribed based on misleading evidence. Sharing data increases […]
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6:40 PM | The War on Reason
Paul Bloom in The Atlantic: Aristotle’s definition of man as a rational animal has recently taken quite a beating. Part of the attack comes from neuroscience. Pretty, multicolored fMRI maps make clear that our mental lives can be observed in...
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6:36 PM | Apologies
Thhis blog was unavailable for days, apparently due to some denial of service attack. I am also disturbed by Typepad's poor handling of the situation. They completely botched their obligation of keeping me informed of what was happening, and I...
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6:27 PM | Hikers Use Smartphones to Capture Fire Recovery on Mt. Diablo
A citizen science group is asking hikers to use their smartphones help study how Mt. Diablo State Park is recovering from last year's Morgan Fire.
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6:14 PM | Curiosity update, sols 597-610: Picking a drill site at the Kimberley
After completing the initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley outcrop two weeks ago, Curiosity is, at last, moving toward a drill site. The science team selected the location last week: a spot near the base of Mount Remarkable, into what they have been calling the "middle unit" at the Kimberley.
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6:06 PM | A Silent, Hybrid Motorcycle For The U.S. Military
BRD RedshiftMX Electric Bike The silent hybrid will likely be built from this body. BRD Key to many a successful military assault is the element of surprise. If an attacking force can arrive undetected—through terrain thought to be impassible—the battle is half won. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the arm of the Pentagon most responsible for shiny, futuristic technology, recently gave a $100,000 grant to Logos Technologies, Fairfax, […]
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6:05 PM | Making in China: Maker Faire Shenzhen highlights the global politics of the maker movement
MakerFaire embodies grassroots DIY culture; Shenzhen is the world centre of mass manufacture. What happens when they meet?It is Sunday afternoon in the city of Shenzhen, China, and my friend Natasha and I are havering about whether to buy a Lidar robot. At 2600 yuan approximately £250 its rather dear but still cheaper than anything were likely to find back in the UK; and, as the stallholder tells us, its on special offer for the event. Is he based here in Shenzhen, we ask? No, in […]
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6:00 PM | Stone Age DNA shows hunter-gatherers shunned farming
Early hunter-gatherers didn't adopt farming practices as they spread through Europe, although some had sex with farmers and joined their groups
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6:00 PM | Supernova found aligned with galactic magnifying glass
For the first time, a particular type of exploding star has been found perfectly arranged so that a galaxy in front of it acts like a magnifying glass
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6:00 PM | Farewell to Ice Skating
In the 1840s, when Thoreau was living at Walden Pond, the idea of global warming did not yet exist, nor was there any reason for anyone to propose it. The farmers and townsfolk of nearby Concord, Massachusetts, were far more concerned with cold conditions. An early spring was a phenomenon people would have greeted with pleasure, as it meant relief from heavy snows and bone-chilling temperatures.   The mid-nineteenth century was a particularly cold period, deeply felt by a […]
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5:59 PM | Freakishly Large Iceberg Grabs NASA's Attention
NASA is monitoring a chunk of sea ice 10 times the size of Manhattan, which broke off from Antarctica. Continue reading →
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5:57 PM | Wind Turbines Can Produce Lightning Discharges
Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) have demonstrated the relationship between the movement of wind turbines and the generation of lightning. Read more »

Montanyà, J., van der Velde, O. & Williams, E. (2014). Lightning discharges produced by wind turbines, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119 (3) 1455-1462. DOI:

Montanyà, J., van der Velde, O., & Williams, E. (2014). Atmosphere: Turbines shoot upside-down lightning, Nature, 506 (7488) 268-268. DOI:

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5:55 PM | Volunteering at RCSEng Weeks 5 & 6
I’ve been really busy and extremely tired recently which meant I didn’t get round to writing up last weeks volunteering. As I’ve had the Easter weekend to catch up on sleep and and relax a bit I finally feel rested. As with the previous weeks Diana and I have been going to various boxes containing […]
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5:49 PM | Geo 730: April 24, Day 480: Depoe Sequence
Looking roughly north-northwest from the center of town, across Depoe Bay, we see the Basalt of Depoe Bay, a flow of Columbia River Basalt, in the foreground. Toward the end of the point is another basalt flow, that of Cape Fowlweather- another CRB flow. Between the two is the Sandstone of Whale Cove. It's a simple sequence, but gives rise to a spectacular land and seascape.Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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