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Discussion in 'In The News... Funny or Serious...' started by bobsyeruncle, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. bobsyeruncle

    bobsyeruncle Still a blip ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    A modest Plutonian proposal

    Themes proposed for names of soon-to-be-discovered craters and crevices on Pluto and its moons


    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mod ... n-proposal

    The proposal, as a PDF: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1503.07947v1.pdf (arXiv.org)
  2. glassgrl

    glassgrl Blippertigibbit

    I love the mythology angle. I voted. :)
  3. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    Could the 'Game of Thrones' Dragons Fly and Breathe Fire?
    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/weird-sc ... es-n336686

    The dragons on "Game of Thrones" aren't so cute anymore. In season one, they looked like pet lizards with wings. During the fifth season, which starts Sunday on HBO, they grow into much larger, dangerous creatures.

    Obviously, these are mythical animals. George R.R. Martin, the author of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books that "Game of Thrones" is based on, has already attributed their abilities to magic. But what if some mad scientist tried to create a dragon? And where did this idea of fire-breathing dragons come from in the first place?

    Dragons 101

    In "Game of Thrones," there are currently three dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. To avoid any spoilers, let's just say at this point in the books, they are kind of like growing, rambunctious teenagers. The largest dragon in "Game of Thrones" mythology was Balerion, the Black Dread, which could swallow an entire mammoth.

    One estimate put Balerion at 61 meters (200 feet), which is longer than most jetliners. Overall, the dragons in "Game of Thrones" are not that different from the dragons in the "The Hobbit" and other fantasy novels, except they are often bigger and ridden like giant, terrifying horses by members of the royal family.

    Why dragons wouldn't be able to fly

    In "Game of Thrones," dragons swoop down from the sky, reigning terror on people below. In real life, they would have trouble walking, let alone flying.

    "These dragons look like a scaled-up version of a modern reptile, like a lizard or crocodile," Michael Habib, a paleontologist at the University of Southern California and an expert on the flight mechanics of pterosaurs, told NBC News.

    Legs that are close to the ground can only support so much weight, which is why giant dinosaurs like Brontosaurus had long, straight legs.

    "With crouched lizard limbs, you have to have proportionally thicker bone because you are bending and twisting them a lot," he said. All that stress would crack the bone in a creature as large as a dragon. To walk around Westeros, beasts like Balerion would need to stand more upright, like an elephant.

    Flying would be out of the question. Quetzalcoatlus, the largest pterosaur, was 14-feet tall and had a 35-foot wingspan. That's big, but not the size of a jetliner. If something that gigantic tried to fly, its wings would probably break, Habib said.

    Fantasy authors did get one thing right: dragons would probably have bat-like wings instead of the wings of a bird, because they can support more weight. But the bones needed to support the flexible membrane of a dragon wing would need to be truly massive.

    "In 'Game of Thrones,' the dragons would have so much bone supporting their wings that there wouldn't be enough membrane left over to allow them to work as wings," he said.

    Also, thick scales might protect from arrows, but they also add weight without providing any extra muscle, a big no-no when it comes to flying.

    "It's not a coincidence that we don't have heavily armored animals flying around," he said.


    Except for circus performers, there aren't any living beings that blow fire. There is, however, a creature that sprays a boiling, toxic chemical brew from its body.

    There are more than 1,000 species of the bombardier beetle worldwide. This feisty bug stores hydrogen peroxide and chemicals called hydroquinones in a reservoir located in its abdomen. When it feels threatened, it empties that mix into a reaction chamber, where enzymes trigger a chemical reaction.

    In some beetles, according to University of Arizona entomologist Wendy Moore, that mix can reach 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) before the hot, smelly, toxic substance is ejected onto potential predators.

    "That reaction chamber is very hard and very small," Moore told NBC News. "It's kind of like the chamber is armored, and it protects the rest of the body from the reaction."

    Bombardier beetles are expert marksmen with the ability to aim in nearly every direction. Might an angry dragon be able to utilize something similar to shoot a fireball at its enemy?

    "I've never really thought about it in relation to a dragon," she said, laughing.

    Sure, 212 degrees isn't hot enough to melt steel and bring down the walls of Harrenhal. It's more appropriate for cooking a nice stew in a crock pot. Still, if a mad scientist were creating a dragon, a thick reaction chamber where chemicals could be heated would not be a bad choice.

    Where did dragons come from?

    Unlike the White Walkers, dragons existed in human myths thousand of years before "Game of Thrones." Early on, they were often depicted as serpents, like the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece from Jason and the Argonauts.

    It's not entirely clear where that image of a dragon came from. One theory is that boa constrictors — now an exotic pet — were once a deadly threat to human beings.

    "We don't think of them as dangerous today, because we don't sleep in beds of reeds with doors that don't close," Matt Kaplan, author of "The Science of Monsters" and the upcoming "Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers," told NBC News.

    Back when men wandered the wild without machetes or guns, they were a lot more vulnerable to snake attacks. (Even now serpents will occasionally kill people). It's not hard to imagine that these snakes inspired early dragon tales, although the stories might also have been stoked by crocodiles or fossilized dinosaur eggs, or possibly a combination of all of those factors.

    But what about the classic Western dragons that breath fire and fly and look more like lizards than snakes? They first appeared in Northern Europe. Between 500 to 600 A.D., a tale emerged about a king named Vortigern who hid in his castle in Wales from angry Saxons. Unfortunately for him, the castle walls kept falling.

    In the story, a young boy tells the king that the cause of his falling walls are dragons, who are fighting each other with fire in underground caverns. That boy was Merlin, the famed wizard of Arthurian legend. The reality was more likely connected to coal deposits rich in gas near the castle site in Wales, according to Kaplan.

    "If you go digging underground, especially with metal instruments, you are going to start sparks and you stand a good chance of starting a fire," he said.

    Later, around 700 to 800 A.D., a fire-breathing creature also appeared in the legend of Beowulf. In Scandinavia at that time, important people were buried with their servants and prized animals. Those bodies would have created a build-up of flammable methane gas.

    When grave-robbers opened the tomb, metal tools and torches in-hand, they could have sparked the flames that inspired dragons in Scandinavian poetry. That would have also reinforced the idea that dragons guarded treasure.

    A professor named J.R.R. Tolkien fell in love with the tale of Beowulf, wrote his own translation, and then created the flying dragon Smaug for his 1937 novel "The Hobbit."

    "It's a classic Western vision of a dragon," Kaplan said. "Tolkien really solidified the idea of what a dragon should be, and 'Game of Thrones' uses that Tolkien-esque vision of a dragon."

    So there you go, "Game of Thrones" fans -- the mighty Balerion was inspired by by Scandinavian grave-robbers who were scared by exploding methane gas.
  4. glassgrl

    glassgrl Blippertigibbit

    Moe might like this one :lol:
  5. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    They've updated this one :p :p :p
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  6. Ld3441

    Ld3441 Blessed blip!

  7. glassgrl

    glassgrl Blippertigibbit

    :lol: HD with music and everything!
  8. bobsyeruncle

    bobsyeruncle Still a blip ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    The Brontosaurus is back


    So, Apatosaurus rather than Brontosaurus. However,

  9. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    A sniff of happiness: Chemicals in sweat may convey positive emotion
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 084348.htm

    Humans may be able to communicate positive emotions like happiness through the smell of our sweat, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research indicates that we produce chemical compounds, or chemosignals, when we experience happiness that are detectable by others who smell our sweat.

    While previous research has shown that negative emotions related to fear and disgust are communicated via detectable regularities in the chemical composition of sweat, few studies have examined whether the same communicative function holds for positive emotions.

    "Our study shows that being exposed to sweat produced under happiness induces a simulacrum of happiness in receivers, and induces a contagion of the emotional state," explains psychological scientist Gün Semin of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, senior researcher on the study. "This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness. In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling -- it is infectious."

    To determine whether this emotional chemosignaling extends to positive emotions, Semin and colleagues examined whether sweat taken from people in a happy state would influence the behavior, perception, and emotional state of people exposed to the sweat.

    The researchers recruited 12 Caucasian males to provide the sweat samples for the study. The participants did not smoke or take any medications, and had no diagnosed psychological disorders. They were prohibited from engaging in alcohol use, sexual activity, consumption of smelly food, or excessive exercise during the study.

    The sweat donors came to the lab, rinsed and dried their armpits, and had absorbent pads attached to each armpit. They donned a prewashed T-shirt and sat down to complete the study tasks. They watched a video clip intended to induce a particular emotional state (fear, happiness, neutral) and they also completed a measure of implicit emotion, in which they were asked to view Chinese symbols and rate how pleasant or unpleasant each one was. The sweat pads were then removed and stored in vials.

    For the second part of the study, the researchers recruited 36 Caucasian females, with no psychological disorder, respiratory disease, or other illness. The researchers note that only females were included in this part of the study as women generally have both a better sense of smell and a greater sensitivity to emotional signals than men do. The study was double-blind, such that neither the researcher nor the participant knew which sweat sample the participant would be exposed to at the time of the experiment.

    The women were seated in a chair and placed their chins on a chin rest. The vial containing the sweat sample was placed in a holder attached to the chin rest and was opened immediately prior to the target task. The women were exposed to a sweat sample of each type (fear, happiness, neutral), with a 5-minute break in between samples.

    Initial data analyses confirmed that the videos did influence the emotional states of the male participants -- men who watched the fear video showed predominantly negative emotion afterward and men who watched the happiness video showed predominantly positive emotion.

    But were these emotions conveyed to the female participants? Some behavioral results suggest the answer is "yes."

    Facial expression data revealed that women who were exposed to "fear sweat" showed greater activity in the medial frontalis muscle, a common feature of fear expressions. And women who were exposed to "happy sweat" showed more facial muscle activity indicative of a Duchenne smile, a common component of happiness expressions. There was no observable association, however, between the women's facial responses and their explicit ratings of how pleasant and intense the sweat was.

    These findings, the researchers say, suggest a "behavioral synchronization" between the sender (the sweat donor) and receiver (the sweat smeller).
    Additional data indicated that women exposed to happy sweat showed a more global focus in perceptual processing tasks, in line with previous research showing that participants induced to experience positive mood tended to show more global processing styles.

    But the sweat samples did not seem to impact the women's ratings on the Chinese symbols task, suggesting that the sweat-based chemosignals did not bias their implicit emotional states.

    These findings, while preliminary, suggest that we communicate our positive and negative emotional states via distinct chemosignals, such that the receiver produces a simulacrum of the sender's emotional state. The researchers note that the fact that some measures indicated emotional contagion, while others did not, may highlight the difference between measures of emotion that draw on language versus those that don't.

    The findings have broad relevance -- emotion and sweat are two core features of the human experience, after all. But the fact that happiness may be communicated chemically could be of particular interest to the "odor industry," says Semin, due to its potential commercial applications.

    "This is another step in our general model on the communicative function of human sweat, and we are continuing to refine it to understand the neurological effects that human sweat has on recipients of these chemical compounds," Semin concludes.

    Study co-authors include Jasper H.B. de Groot of Utrecht University; Monique A.M. Smeets of Utrecht University and Unilever Research and Development; and Matt J. Rowson, Patricia Bulsin, Cor G. Blonk, and Joy E. Wilkinson of Unilever Research and Development.
  10. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    Wearable device turns user's thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 155326.htm

    A new wearable device, NailO, turns the user's thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad. Here, it works as a X-Y coordinate touch pad for a smartphone.

    Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are developing a new wearable device that turns the user's thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad.

    They envision that the technology could let users control wireless devices when their hands are full -- answering the phone while cooking, for instance. It could also augment other interfaces, allowing someone texting on a cellphone, say, to toggle between symbol sets without interrupting his or her typing. Finally, it could enable subtle communication in circumstances that require it, such as sending a quick text to a child while attending an important meeting.

    The researchers describe a prototype of the device, called NailO, in a paper they're presenting next week at the Association for Computing Machinery's Computer-Human Interaction conference in Seoul, South Korea.

    According to Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, an MIT graduate student in media arts and sciences and one of the new paper's lead authors, the device was inspired by the colorful stickers that some women apply to their nails. "It's a cosmetic product, popular in Asian countries," says Kao, who is Taiwanese. "When I came here, I was looking for them, but I couldn't find them, so I'd have my family mail them to me."

    Indeed, the researchers envision that a commercial version of their device would have a detachable membrane on its surface, so that users could coordinate surface patterns with their outfits. To that end, they used capacitive sensing -- the same kind of sensing the iPhone's touch screen relies on -- to register touch, since it can tolerate a thin, nonactive layer between the user's finger and the underlying sensors.

    Instant access
    As the site for a wearable input device, however, the thumbnail has other advantages: It's a hard surface with no nerve endings, so a device affixed to it wouldn't impair movement or cause discomfort. And it's easily accessed by the other fingers -- even when the user is holding something in his or her hand.

    "It's very unobtrusive," Kao explains. "When I put this on, it becomes part of my body. I have the power to take it off, so it still gives you control over it. But it allows this very close connection to your body."

    To build their prototype, the researchers needed to find a way to pack capacitive sensors, a battery, and three separate chips -- a microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio chip, and a capacitive-sensing chip -- into a space no larger than a thumbnail. "The hardest part was probably the antenna design," says Artem Dementyev, a graduate student in media arts and sciences and the paper's other lead author. "You have to put the antenna far enough away from the chips so that it doesn't interfere with them."

    Kao and Dementyev are joined on the paper by their advisors, principal research scientist Chris Schmandt and Joe Paradiso, an associate professor of media arts and sciences. Dementyev and Paradiso focused on the circuit design, while Kao and Schmandt concentrated on the software that interprets the signal from the capacitive sensors, filters out the noise, and translates it into movements on screen.

    For their initial prototype, the researchers built their sensors by printing copper electrodes on sheets of flexible polyester, which allowed them to experiment with a range of different electrode layouts. But in ongoing experiments, they're using off-the-shelf sheets of electrodes like those found in some track pads.

    Slimming down
    They've also been in discussion with battery manufacturers -- traveling to China to meet with several of them -- and have identified a technology that they think could yield a battery that fits in the space of a thumbnail, but is only half a millimeter thick. A special-purpose chip that combines the functions of the microcontroller, radio, and capacitive sensor would further save space.

    At such small scales, however, energy efficiency is at a premium, so the device would have to be deactivated when not actually in use. In the new paper, the researchers also report the results of a usability study that compared different techniques for turning it off and on. They found that requiring surface contact with the operator's finger for just two or three seconds was enough to guard against inadvertent activation and deactivation.

    "Keyboards and mice -- still -- are not going away anytime soon," says Steve Hodges, who leads the Sensors and Devices group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England. "But more and more that's being complemented by use of our devices and access to our data while we're on the move. I've got desktop, I've got a mobile phone, but that's still not enough. Different ways of displaying and controlling devices while we're on the go are, I believe, going to be increasingly important."

    "Is it the case that we'll all be walking around with digital fingernails in five years' time?" Hodges asks. "Maybe it is. Most likely, we'll have a little ecosystem of these input devices. Some will be audio based, which is completely hands free. But there are a lot of cases where that's not going to be appropriate. NailO is interesting because it's thinking about much more subtle interactions, where gestures or speech input are socially awkward."

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  11. Adrienne

    Adrienne totally reblipulous

    This animated detailed explanation of our pooches' superlative sense of smell starts out with bob and kelli admiring tulips :) -

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2015
  12. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    No association found between MMR vaccine and autism, even among children at higher risk
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 111240.htm

    In a study that included approximately 95,000 children with older siblings, receipt of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), regardless of whether older siblings had ASD, findings that indicate no harmful association between receipt of MMR vaccine and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

    Although a substantial body of research over the last 15 years has found no link between the MMR vaccine and ASD, parents and others continue to associate the vaccine with ASD. Surveys of parents who have children with ASD suggest that many believe the MMR vaccine was a contributing cause. This belief, combined with knowing that younger siblings of children with ASD are already at higher genetic risk for ASD compared with the general population, might prompt these parents to avoid vaccinating their younger children, according to background information in the article.

    Anjali Jain, M.D., of the Lewin Group, Falls Church, Va., and colleagues examined ASD occurrence by MMR vaccine status in a large sample of U.S. children who have older siblings with and without ASD. The researchers used an administrative claims database associated with a large commercial health plan. Participants included children continuously enrolled in the health plan from birth to at least 5 years of age during 2001-2012 who also had an older sibling continuously enrolled for at least 6 months between 1997 and 2012.

    Of the 95,727 children included in the study, 1,929 (2.01 percent) had an older sibling with ASD. Overall, 994 (1.04 percent) children in the cohort had ASD diagnosed during follow-up. Among those who had an older sibling with ASD, 134 (6.9 percent) were diagnosed with ASD, compared with 860 (0.9 percent) diagnosed with ASD among those with siblings without ASD. The MMR vaccination rate (l dose or more) for the children with unaffected siblings (siblings without ASD) was 84 percent (n = 78,564) at 2 years and 92 percent (n = 86,063) at age 5 years. In contrast, the MMR vaccination rates for children with older siblings with ASD were lower (73 percent at age 2 years and 86 percent at age 5 years). Analysis of the data indicated that MMR vaccine receipt was not associated with an increased risk of ASD at any age.

    "Consistent with studies in other populations, we observed no association between MMR vaccination and increased ASD risk among privately insured children. We also found no evidence that receipt of either 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccination was associated with an increased risk of ASD among children who had older siblings with ASD. As the prevalence of diagnosed ASD increases, so does the number of children who have siblings diagnosed with ASD, a group of children who are particularly important as they were undervaccinated in our observations as well as in previous reports," the authors write.

    Editorial: Promising Forecast for Autism Spectrum Disorders
    In an accompanying editorial, Bryan H. King, M.D., M.B.A., of the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, comments on the findings of this study.

    "Some parents of children with ASD may have chosen to delay immunization in subsequent children until they were certain any risk had passed. Such behavior, which arguably could enrich the immunization rate in the nonautism subgroup relative to the group that may have been showing early atypical development, might create the impression that MMR vaccine is actually reducing risk for ASD. Indeed, Jain et al report relative risks of less than 1.0. Even so, short of arguing that MMR vaccine actually reduces the risk of ASD in those who were immunized by age 2 years, the only conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that there is no signal to suggest a relationship between MMR and the development of autism in children with or without a sibling who has autism."

    "Taken together, some dozen studies have now shown that the age of onset of ASD does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, the severity or course of ASD does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and now the risk of ASD recurrence in families does not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated children."
  13. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    Brain activity tested to identify cybersecurity threats
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 104236.htm

    The old adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link certainly applies to the risk organizations face in defending against cybersecurity threats. Employees pose a danger that can be just as damaging as a hacker.

    Iowa State University researchers are working to better understand these internal threats by getting inside the minds of employees who put their company at risk. To do that, they measured brain activity to identify what might motivate an employee to violate company policy and sell or trade sensitive information. The study found that self-control is a significant factor.

    Researchers defined a security violation as any unauthorized access to confidential data, which could include copying, transferring or selling that information to a third party for personal gains. In the study, published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Qing Hu, Union Pacific Professor in Information Systems, and his colleagues found that people with low self-control spent less time considering the consequences of major security violations.

    "What we can tell from this current study is that there are differences. The low self-control people and the high self-control people have different brain reactions when they are looking at security scenarios," Hu said. "If employees have low self-control to start with, they might be more tempted to commit a security violation, if the situation presents itself."

    The study, a first of its kind, used EEG to measure brain activity and examines how people would react in a series of security scenarios. Researchers found people with high self-control took longer to contemplate high-risk situations.

    Instead of seeing opportunity, or instant reward, it's possible they thought about how their actions might damage their career or lead to possible criminal charges, Hu said.

    For the study, researchers surveyed 350 undergraduate students to identify those with high and low self-control. A total of 40 students -- from both the high and low ends of the spectrum -- were then asked to do further testing in the Neuroscience Research Lab at ISU's College of Business. They were given a series of security scenarios, ranging from minor to major violations, and had to decide how to respond while researchers measured their brain activity. Robert West, a professor of psychology, analyzed the results.

    "When people are deliberating these decisions, we see activity in the prefrontal cortex that is related to risky decision making, working memory and evaluation of reward versus punishment," West said. "People with low self-control were faster to make decisions for the major violation scenarios. It really seems like they were not thinking about it as much."

    The findings reflect characteristics of self-control in criminology, in which individuals with low self-control act impulsively and make riskier decisions. However, with traditional research methods and techniques, researchers could not determine if the low self-control group was more likely to act based on immediate gain, without considering the long-term loss, as compared to the high self-control group.

    It's possible that social desirability bias, or the tendency to act in way that is viewed as desirable, masked the true intentions of participants. With neuroscience methods and techniques, the results are more reliable and provide a better understanding of human decision making in various circumstances, researchers said.

    What does this mean for business?

    The number of security violations grew to nearly 43 million last year, up from almost 29 million in 2013, according to The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2015. The survey found employees, current and former, were the top-cited offender. Not all employee security breaches were malicious or intentional, but those that were created significant risk to organizations around the world. This highlights the need for organizations to focus internally to protect sensitive information.

    Laura Smarandescu, an assistant professor of marketing, has used psychological methods in prior studies to gain a better understanding of an individual's thought process. She says this study could help businesses determine which employees should have access to sensitive information.

    "A questionnaire measuring impulsivity for individuals in critical positions may be one of the screening mechanisms businesses could use," Smarandescu said.

    Other studies on human behavior recommend implementing comprehensive policies and procedures, training for employees and clear, swift sanctions against security misconduct to deter future violations. However, in regard to low self-control, traditional training may not cut it, Hu said.

    "Training is good, but it may not be as effective as believed. If self-control is part of the brain structure, that means once you've developed certain characteristics, it's very difficult to change," Hu said.
  14. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    Sugary drinks boost risk factors for heart disease, study suggests
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 142515.htm

    Beverages sweetened with low, medium and high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup significantly increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease, even when consumed for just two weeks by young, healthy men and women, reports a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.

    The study is the first to demonstrate a direct, dose-dependent relationship between the amount of added sugar consumed in sweetened beverages and increases in specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    The data reinforce evidence from an earlier epidemiological study showing that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease -- the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world -- increases as the amount of added sugar consumed increases.

    The results will be published in the June print edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    "These findings clearly indicate that humans are acutely sensitive to the harmful effects of excess dietary sugar over a broad range of consumption levels," said Kimber Stanhope, the study's lead author and a research scientist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Participants drank varying levels of added sugar

    The 85 participants, including men and women ranging in age from 18 to 40 years, were placed in four different groups. During 15 days of the study, they consumed beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup equivalent to 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements.

    The 0-percent control group was given a sugar-free beverage sweetened with aspartame, an artificial sweetener.

    At the beginning and end of the study, researchers used hourly blood draws to monitor the changes in the levels of lipoproteins, triglycerides and uric acid -- all known to be indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.

    These risk factors increased as the dose of high-fructose corn syrup increased. Even the participants who consumed the 10-percent dose exhibited increased circulating concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride compared with their concentrations at the beginning of the study.
    Increased risk greater in men than women

    The researchers also found that most of the increases in lipid/lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease were greater in men than in women and were independent of body weight gain.
    Stanhope noted that the study findings underscore the need to extend the research using carefully controlled dietary intervention studies, aimed at determining what would be prudent levels for added sugar consumption.
  15. Midniteoyl

    Midniteoyl Seriously Committed

    Sugar or High-Fructose Corn Syrup? I wish hey wouldnt interchange them in a story like this.. I know they same 'its all fructose' but I'm firmly in the camp of those that say 'Bullshit! HFCS is sooo much worse..'
  16. moecat

    moecat No sodding blips to give

    World Happiness Report 2015 ranks happiest countries
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 130327.htm

    Since it was first published in 2012, the World Happiness Report demonstrated that well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation's economic and social development, and should be a key aim of policy. This year's report looks at the changes in happiness levels in 158 countries, and examines the reasons behind the statistics. The World Happiness Report 2015 also comes in advance of three high-level negotiations that will give world leaders the opportunity to reshape the global agenda and move the world towards a sustainable development agenda that includes well-being as an essential element.

    "The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members," said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University. "This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It's not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health. The evidence here will be useful to all countries as they pursue the new Sustainable Development Goals."

    The report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), contains analysis from leading experts in the fields of economics, neuroscience, national statistics, and describes how measurements of subjective well-being can be used effectively to assess national progress. The report is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell, of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Professor Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE's Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute and SDSN.

    The first World Happiness Report, released in 2012 ahead of the UN high-level meeting on Happiness and Well-being, drew international attention as a landmark first survey of the state of global happiness. This latest report digs even deeper into the data looking at country trends since the first report, regional indicators, factors in gender and age, and the importance of investing in social capital.

    The report identifies the countries with the highest levels of happiness:

    "As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens," said Helliwell. "We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises."

    As previous reports have done, The World Happiness Report 2015 reveals trends in the data judging just how happy countries really are. On a scale running from 0 to 10, people in over 150 countries, surveyed by Gallup over the period 2012-15, reveal an average score of 5.1 (out of 10). Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity (Table 2.1). This year for the first time ever, the Report breaks down the data by gender, age, and region. It finds striking differences, some much larger than have previously been found.

    "A positive outlook during the early stages of life is inherently desirable, but it also lays the foundation for greater happiness during adulthood," said Layard. "As we consider the value of happiness in today's report, we must invest early on in the lives of our children so that they grow to become independent, productive and happy adults, contributing both socially and economically."

    The World Happiness Report 2015 shows that at both the individual and national levels, all measures of well-being, including emotions and life evaluations, are strongly influenced by the quality of the surrounding social norms and institutions. These include family and friendships at the individual level, the presence of trust and empathy at the neighborhood and community levels, and power and quality of the over-arching social norms that determine the quality of life within and among nations and generations. When these social factors are well-rooted and readily available, communities and nations are more resilient.

    The report also demonstrates that a key national challenge is to ensure that policies are designed and delivered in ways that enrich the social fabric, and teach the power of empathy to current and future generations. Under the pressures of putting right what is obviously wrong, there is often too little attention paid to building the vital social fabric. According to the report, paying greater attention to the levels and sources of subjective well-being has helped us to reach these conclusions, and to recommend making and keeping happiness as a central focus for research, policy and practice.
  17. moecat

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    New insight on ground shaking from human-made earthquakes



    Research has identified 17 areas in the central and eastern United States with increased rates of induced seismicity. Since 2000, several of these areas have experienced high levels of seismicity, with substantial increases since 2009 that continue today.
    Credit: Image courtesy of USGS

    Significant strides in science have been made to better understand potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes, which are earthquakes triggered by human practices.

    Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells.

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report today that outlines a preliminary set of models to forecast how hazardous ground shaking could be in the areas where sharp increases in seismicity have been recorded. The models ultimately aim to calculate how often earthquakes are expected to occur in the next year and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result. This report looked at the central and eastern United States; future research will incorporate data from the western states as well.

    This report also identifies issues that must be resolved to develop a final hazard model, which is scheduled for release at the end of the year after the preliminary models are further examined. These preliminary models should be considered experimental in nature and should not be used for decision-making.

    USGS scientists identified 17 areas within eight states with increased rates of induced seismicity. Since 2000, several of these areas have experienced high levels of seismicity, with substantial increases since 2009 that continue today. This is the first comprehensive assessment of the hazard levels associated with induced earthquakes in these areas. A detailed list of these areas is provided in the accompanying map, including the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.

    Scientists developed the models by analyzing earthquakes in these zones and considering their rates, locations, maximum magnitude, and ground motions.

    "This new report describes for the first time how injection-induced earthquakes can be incorporated into U.S. seismic hazard maps," said Mark Petersen, Chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Modeling Project. "These earthquakes are occurring at a higher rate than ever before and pose a much greater risk to people living nearby. The USGS is developing methods that overcome the challenges in assessing seismic hazards in these regions in order to support decisions that help keep communities safe from ground shaking."

    In 2014, the USGS released updated National Seismic Hazard Maps, which describe hazard levels for natural earthquakes. Those maps are used in building codes, insurance rates, emergency preparedness plans, and other applications. The maps forecast the likelihood of earthquake shaking within a 50-year period, which is the average lifetime of a building. However, these new induced seismicity products display intensity of potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes in a one-year period. This shorter timeframe is appropriate because the induced activity can vary rapidly with time and is subject to commercial and policy decisions that could change at any point.

    These new methods and products result in part from a workshop hosted by the USGS and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. The workshop, described in the new report, brought together a broad group of experts from government, industry and academic communities to discuss the hazards from induced earthquakes.

    Wastewater that is salty or polluted by chemicals needs to be disposed of in a manner that prevents contaminating freshwater sources. Large volumes of wastewater can result from a variety of processes, such as a byproduct from energy production. Wastewater injection increases the underground pore pressure, which may lubricate nearby faults thereby making earthquakes more likely to occur. Although the disposal process has the potential to trigger earthquakes, most wastewater disposal wells do not produce felt earthquakes.

    Many questions have been raised about whether hydraulic fracturing -- commonly referred to as "fracking" -- is responsible for the recent increase of earthquakes. USGS's studies suggest that the actual hydraulic fracturing process is only occasionally the direct cause of felt earthquakes.

    Real the newly published USGS report, “Incorporating Induced Seismicity in the 2014 United States National Seismic Hazard Model—Results of 2014 Workshop and Sensitivity Studies.”

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    Is the universe a hologram?


    At first glance, there is not the slightest doubt: to us, the universe looks three dimensional. But one of the most fruitful theories of theoretical physics in the last two decades is challenging this assumption. The "holographic principle" asserts that a mathematical description of the universe actually requires one fewer dimension than it seems. What we perceive as three dimensional may just be the image of two dimensional processes on a huge cosmic horizon.

    Up until now, this principle has only been studied in exotic spaces with negative curvature. This is interesting from a theoretical point of view, but such spaces are quite different from the space in our own universe. Results obtained by scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) now suggest that the holographic principle even holds in a flat spacetime.

    The Holographic Principle

    Everybody knows holograms from credit cards or banknotes. They are two dimensional, but to us they appear three dimensional. Our universe could behave quite similarly: "In 1997, the physicist Juan Maldacena proposed the idea that there is a correspondence between gravitational theories in curved anti-de-sitter spaces on the one hand and quantum field theories in spaces with one fewer dimension on the other," says Daniel Grumiller (TU Wien).

    Gravitational phenomena are described in a theory with three spatial dimensions, the behaviour of quantum particles is calculated in a theory with just two spatial dimensions -- and the results of both calculations can be mapped onto each other. Such a correspondence is quite surprising. It is like finding out that equations from an astronomy textbook can also be used to repair a CD-player. But this method has proven to be very successful. More than ten thousand scientific papers about Maldacena's "AdS-CFT-correspondence" have been published to date.

    Correspondence Even in Flat Spaces

    For theoretical physics, this is extremely important, but it does not seem to have much to do with our own universe. Apparently, we do not live in such an anti-de-sitter-space. These spaces have quite peculiar properties. They are negatively curved, any object thrown away on a straight line will eventually return. "Our universe, in contrast, is quite flat -- and on astronomic distances, it has positive curvature," says Daniel Grumiller.

    However, Grumiller has suspected for quite some time that a correspondence principle could also hold true for our real universe. To test this hypothesis, gravitational theories have to be constructed, which do not require exotic anti-de-sitter spaces, but live in a flat space. For three years, he and his team at TU Wien (Vienna) have been working on that, in cooperation with the University of Edinburgh, Harvard, IISER Pune, the MIT and the University of Kyoto. Now Grumiller and colleagues from India and Japan have published an article in the journal Physical Review Letters, confirming the validity of the correspondence principle in a flat universe.

    Calculated Twice, Same Result

    "If quantum gravity in a flat space allows for a holographic description by a standard quantum theory, then there must by physical quantities, which can be calculated in both theories -- and the results must agree," says Grumiller. Especially one key feature of quantum mechanics -quantum entanglement -- has to appear in the gravitational theory.

    When quantum particles are entangled, they cannot be described individually. They form a single quantum object, even if they are located far apart. There is a measure for the amount of entanglement in a quantum system, called "entropy of entanglement." Together with Arjun Bagchi, Rudranil Basu and Max Riegler, Daniel Grumiller managed to show that this entropy of entanglement takes the same value in flat quantum gravity and in a low dimension quantum field theory.

    "This calculation affirms our assumption that the holographic principle can also be realized in flat spaces. It is evidence for the validity of this correspondence in our universe," says Max Riegler (TU Wien). "The fact that we can even talk about quantum information and entropy of entanglement in a theory of gravity is astounding in itself, and would hardly have been imaginable only a few years back. That we are now able to use this as a tool to test the validity of the holographic principle, and that this test works out, is quite remarkable," says Daniel Grumiller.

    This however, does not yet prove that we are indeed living in a hologram -- but apparently there is growing evidence for the validity of the correspondence principle in our own universe.
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    Astrophysicists draw most comprehensive map of the universe

    A slice through the 3-D map of the nearby universe is shown. Our Milky Way galaxy is in the center, marked by a cross. The map spans nearly two billion light years from side to side. Regions with many galaxies are shown in white or red, whereas regions with fewer galaxies are dark blue.

    Astrophysicists have created a 3D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light years and is the most complete picture of our cosmic neighbourhood to date.

    The spherical map of galaxy superclusters will lead to a greater understanding of how matter is distributed in the universe and provide key insights into dark matter, one of physics' greatest mysteries.

    Professor Mike Hudson, Jonathan Carrick and Stephen Turnbull, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, and Guilhem Lavaux the Institute d'Astrophysique de Paris of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique of France, created the map. Professor Hudson is also an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

    "The galaxy distribution isn't uniform and has no pattern. It has peaks and valleys much like a mountain range. This is what we expect if the large-scale structure originates from quantum fluctuations in the early universe," said Hudson, also associate dean of science, computing.

    The map appears online in the peer-review journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, one of the world's leading primary research journals for astronomy and astrophysics.

    The lighter blue and white areas on the map represent greater concentrations of galaxies. The red area is the supercluster called the Shapley Concentration, the largest collection of galaxies in the nearby universe. Unexplored areas appear in medium blue.

    Knowing the location and motion of matter in the universe will help astrophysicists predict the universe's expansion and identify where and how much dark matter exists.

    Scientists have observed that galaxies move differently because the universe's expansion is not even. These differences are called peculiar velocities. Our own Milky Way galaxy and its neighbour Andromeda are moving with a speed of 2 million kilometres per hour.

    Previous models haven't fully accounted for this observed motion. Hudson and his team are interested in discovering what structures are responsible for the peculiar velocities.

    These deviations in the motion of galaxies are a valuable tool to determine the distribution of matter and dark matter on the largest scales.

    Dark matter accounts for a large majority of the mass content in the universe. It is a hypothesized form of matter particle that does not reflect or emit light and as a result it can't be seen or measured directly. The existence and properties of dark matter can only be inferred indirectly through its gravitational effects on visible matter and light.

    "A better understanding of dark matter is central to understanding the formation of galaxies and the structures they live in, such as galaxy clusters, superclusters and voids," said Hudson.

    The next step will involve getting more detailed samples of peculiar velocities to enhance the map, in collaboration with researchers in Australia.
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    Childhood bullying causes worse long-term mental health problems than maltreatment

    Bullying adversely affects children in later life more than being maltreated, according to new research from the University of Warwick.

    A new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry shows that children who have been bullied by peers suffer worse in the longer term than those who have been maltreated by adults.

    The research is led by Professor Dieter Wolke from Warwick's Department of Psychology and Warwick Medical School. The study is due to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego on Tuesday 28 April.

    There is already an established link between maltreatment by adults and the mental health consequences for children. Professor Wolke and his team wanted to examine whether long-term mental health issues among victims of bullying were related to having been maltreated by adults as well.

    They looked at data from 4,026 participants in the UK ALSPAC study (Avon Longtitudinal Study of Parents and Children) and 1,273 participants from the US Great Smoky Mountain Study.

    For ALSPAC they looked at reports of maltreatment between the ages of 8 weeks and 8.6 years; bullying at ages 8, 10 and 13; and mental health outcomes at age 18. Data from the Great Smoky Mountain Study had reports of maltreatment and bullying between the ages of 9 and 16, and mental health outcomes from 19-25 years old.

    Professor Wolke said: "The mental health outcomes we were looking for included anxiety, depression or suicidal tendencies. Our results showed those who were bullied were more likely to suffer from mental health problems than those who were maltreated. Being both bullied and maltreated also increased the risk of overall mental health problems, anxiety and depression in both groups."

    In the ALSPAC study 8.5% of children reported maltreatment only, 29.7% reported bullying only and 7% reported both maltreatment and bullying. In the Great Smoky Mountain Study, 15% reported maltreatment, 16.3% reported bullying and 9.8% reported maltreatment and bullying.

    Professor Wolke added: "Being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up; it has serious long-term consequences. It is important for schools, health services and other agencies to work together to reduce bullying and the adverse effects related to it."

    The research is being presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.