Future:

Augmented Reality Blurs Lines between Virtual and Real Life

Imagine being on vacation in an unfamiliar city. You’re hungry and looking around for something to eat. The choices are overwhelming. How do you know which restaurants are good? You don’t want to waste your money or your hunger on something inferior, right?

Now imagine putting on your sunglasses and looking at a restaurant. Except now you don’t just see a restaurant. You see customer reviews overlaying the actual building. Suddenly your decision isn’t so difficult after all.

So where can you get these glasses? Well you can’t… yet. But you can download an app from somewhere like Yelp and use your cell phone camera in the same way. And it’s not even that new of a technology. It’s been around for quite a while.

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General:

Research Shows: Risk of Marijuana’s ‘gateway effect’ Overblown

New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana – that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults – is overblown.

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.

Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, “A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis.’ “

“In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the ‘drug problem,’ ” Van Gundy and Rebellon say.

The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.

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last update: April 26, 2015

General:

Oil-Eating Microbes Consume Oil Plume

It’s no doubt the massive oil spill in the Gulf was the worst we’ve ever seen and has destroyed much of the ecosystem of the area including companies that depend on the health of the area in order to continue to conduct business. However, scientists have found that petroleum-eating bacteria was plentiful in the clouds of oil that drifted for months following the April 20th incident.

This bacteria which has been consuming oil seeping from the seafloor for ages seems to have increased their own metabolic machinery to consume more of the oil quite efficiently. The result has been a natural cleanup mechanism that can reduce the amount of oil by half about every three days or so.

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Space:

Sunspot Photo is Most Detailed Ever

A new image taken by NJIT Distinguished Professor Philip R. Goode and the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) team is the most detailed sunspot photo yet. In September, the popular astronomy publication, Ciel et l’Espace will publish more photos of the Sun taken using BBSO’s new adaptive optics system.

Goode said that the images were achieved with the 1.6 m clear aperture, off-axis New Solar Telescope (NST) at BBSO. The telescope has a resolution covering about 50 miles on the Sun’s surface.

In the center is a dark sunspot, that is to say a colder zone, less brilliant than the rest of the solar surface. The temperature is around 3600 ° C. All around, the mosaic of small cells is called granulation (temperature: about 5800 ° C). On an average size of 1000 km, these cells are made of hot gas rising from inside the Sun.

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General:

What The Locals Ate 10,000 Years Ago

If you had a dinner invitation in Utah’s Escalante Valley almost 10,000 years ago, you would have come just in time to try a new menu item: mush cooked from the flour of milled sage brush seeds.

After five summers of meticulous excavation, Brigham Young University archaeologists are beginning to publish what they’ve learned from the “North Creek Shelter.” It’s the oldest known site occupied by humans in the southern half of Utah and one of only three such archaeological sites state-wide that date so far back in time.

BYU anthropologist Joel Janetski led a group of students that earned a National Science Foundation grant to “get to the bottom” of a site occupied on and off for the past 11,000 years, according to multiple radiocarbon estimates.

“The student excavators worked morning till night in their bare feet,” Janetski said. “They knew it was really important and took their shoes off to avoid contaminating the old dirt with the new.”

In the upcoming issue of the journal Kiva, Janetski and his former students describe the stone tools used to grind sage, salt bush and grass seeds into flour. Because those seeds are so tiny, a single serving would have required quite a bit of seed gathering. But that doesn’t mean whoever inhabited North Creek Shelter had no other choice.

Prior to the appearance of grinding stones, the menu contained duck, beaver and turkey. Sheep became more common later on. And deer was a staple at all levels of the dig.

“Ten thousand years ago, there was a change in the technology with grinding stones appearing for the first time,” Janetski said. “People started to use these tools to process small seeds into flour.”

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Health:

Injection Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

If recently injured patients with serious bleeding were to receive a cheap, widely available and easily administered drug to help their blood to clot, tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year, according to a paper published on-line today by The Lancet.

Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, revealed that results from a trial show that early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients with recent, severe bleeding injuries saves lives, with no evidence of adverse effects from unwanted clotting.

The trial, named CRASH-2, was a large, randomised trial involving over 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, and was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme. This is the first trial of TXA in injured patients, although smaller trials have shown that it reduces bleeding in patients undergoing major surgery.

TXA is an off-patent drug, manufactured by a number of different companies. The cost per gram is about £3 ($4.50).

The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown. Although this would be advantageous in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were worried that TXA might increase the risk of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs. The results of this large trial show that TXA reduces death from bleeding without any increase in these complications.

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General:

Scientists Watch Atom’s Electrons Moving in Real Time

For the first time ever, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. have been able to watch an atom’s electrons move around in the atom’s outer shell. This marks a breakthrough that has the potential to shape and direct our current understanding of chemical processes towards a much better understanding.

The team of scientists were able to time the slight oscillations between the quantum states of valence electrons by using very short flashes of laser light in a process called attosecond absorption spectroscopy. By watching how electrons move, scientists can begin to understand the mechanics of these tiny particles in order to learn how they bond and laws that govern how they bond to make up everything around us. Until now, this has been impossible due to the tremendous speed of electrons.

“With a simple system of krypton atoms, we demonstrated, for the first time, that we can measure transient absorption dynamics with attosecond pulses,” says Stephen Leone of Berkeley Lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, who is also a professor of chemistry and physics at UC Berkeley. “This revealed details of a type of electronic motion – coherent superposition – that can control properties in many systems.”

Bottom line is that this is a huge breakthrough in the study of the properties of the particles that make up everything we see around us. By understanding the mechanics of atoms, we may be able to learn more about the four major forces, and possibly, in time, learn how to bend them.

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General:

Study Shows Women Attracted to Men in Red

What could be as alluring as a lady in red? A gentleman in red, finds a multicultural study published Aug. 2 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Simply wearing the color red or being bordered by the rosy hue makes a man more attractive and sexually desirable to women, according to a series of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester and other institutions. And women are unaware of this arousing effect.

For another way to attract women, or at least grab some attention, you’ll need a  Game Pad.

The cherry color’s charm ultimately lies in its ability to make men appear more powerful, says lead author Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Elliot says.

Why does red signal rank? The authors see both culture and biology at work. In human societies across the globe, red traditionally has been part of the regalia of the rich and powerful. Ancient China, Japan and sub-Saharan Africa all used the vibrant tint to convey prosperity and elevated status, and Ancient Rome’s most powerful citizens were literally called “the ones who wear red.” Even today, the authors note, businessmen wear a red tie to indicate confidence, and celebrities and dignitaries are feted by “rolling out the red carpet.”

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