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Sci/Tech
 

Mining can damage fish habitats far downstream, study shows

Anglers across the nation wondering why luck at their favorite fishing spot seems to have dried up may have a surprising culprit: a mine miles away, even in a different state.

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A colorful gathering of middle-aged stars

NGC 3532 is a bright open cluster located some 1300 light-years away in the constellation of Carina(The Keel of the ship Argo). It is informally known as the Wishing Well Cluster, as it resembles scattered silver coins which have been dropped into a well. It is also referred to as the Football Cluster, although how appropriate this is depends on which side of the Atlantic you live. It acquired the name because of its oval shape, which citizens of rugby-playing nations might see as resembling a rugby ball.

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Avoiding ecosystem collapse

From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world's most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a decline of otter predation unleashes urchin population explosions. Three studies published in the Nov. 24 special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biological Science hold the promise of helping resource managers predict, avoid, and reverse the tipping points that lead to degraded habitats, economic losses, and social upheaval.

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January-October temperatures break records

The global average temperature over land and ocean surfaces for January to October 2014 was the highest on record, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It said October was the hottest since records began in 1880.

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Samantha set for space station

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is all set for her five-month mission on the International Space Station. She will leave Earth on Sunday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with NASA astronaut Terry Virts and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.

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Deep-Earth Carbon Offers Clues About Origin of Life on Earth

New findings by a Johns Hopkins University-led team reveal long unknown details about carbon deep beneath the Earth’s surface and suggest ways this subterranean carbon might have influenced the history of life on the planet.

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Business culture in banking industry favors dishonest behavior

Bank employees are not more dishonest than employees in other industries. However, the business culture in the banking industry implicitly favors dishonest behavior, as an economic study at the University of Zurich indicates. A change in norms would thus be important in order to improve the battered image of the industry.

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Upstate New York Walloped by Lake Effect Snow (Satellite Photos)

On November 5, 2014, spiral-shaped Super Typhoon Nuri lost its eye and began to morph into a comma-shaped extratropical cyclone as it approached the cool waters of the Bering Sea. After undergoing a rapid strengthening process meteorologists call “bombogenesis,” what emerged was one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded in the North Pacific, a storm with a minimum central pressure that plunged to 924 millibars. (For comparison, the all-time record low for an extratropical cyclone is 913 millibars.)

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Tornados of Fire: Examining the Fire Whirl Phenomenon

Meteorology meets fire science in a recent Weatherwise article exploring the violent whirlwinds that are known to wreak havoc in the nation’s west.

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Spooky alignment of quasars across billions of light-years

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centres. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in long jets along their axes of rotation. Quasars can shine more brightly than all the stars in the rest of their host galaxies put together.

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New, Free Certificate Authority to Dramatically Increase Encrypted Internet Traffic

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is helping to launch a new non-profit organization that aims to dramatically increase secure Internet browsing. Let's Encrypt is scheduled to offer free server certificates beginning in summer 2015.

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Hiding in plain sight: elusive dark matter may be detected with GPS satellites

The everyday use of a GPS device might be to find your way around town or even navigate a hiking trail, but for two physicists, the Global Positioning System might be a tool in directly detecting and measuring dark matter, so far an elusive but ubiquitous form of matter responsible for the formation of galaxies.

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Chemical in coffee may help prevent obesity-related disease

Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that a chemical compound commonly found in coffee may help prevent some of the damaging effects of obesity.

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Pioneering Philae completes main mission before hibernation

Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

After being out of communication visibility with the lander since 09:58 GMT / 10:58 CET on Friday, Rosetta regained contact with Philae at 22:19 GMT /23:19 CET last night. The signal was initially intermittent, but quickly stabilised and remained very good until 00:36 GMT / 01:36 CET this morning.

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Three touchdowns for Rosetta's lander

After achieving touchdown on a comet for the first time in history, scientists and engineers are busy analysing this new world and the nature of the landing.

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Warmest oceans ever recorded

"This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year," says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying variability of the global climate system at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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New study finds that macroweather exists on Mars

Weather, which changes day-to-day due to constant fluctuations in the atmosphere, and climate, which varies over decades, are familiar to those of us here on Earth. More recently, a third regime, called “macroweather,” has been used to describe the relatively stable period between short-term weather and long-term climate.

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Lightning expected to increase by 50 percent with global warming

Today's climate models predict a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes across the United States during this century as a result of warming temperatures associated with climate change.

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Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old

Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to Penn State researchers. "Learning and practicing something, for instance a second language, strengthens the brain," said Ping Li, professor of psychology, linguistics and information sciences and technology. "Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger."

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First Comet Panoramic Postcard

Rosetta’s lander Philae has returned the first panoramic image from the surface of a comet. The view, unprocessed, as it has been captured by the CIVA-P imaging system, shows a 360º view around the point of final touchdown. The three feet of Philae’s landing gear can be seen in some of the frames.

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"Microbiome" of Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs shifts during infectious disease outbreaks

The adult human body is made up of some 37 trillion cells. But microbes, mainly bacteria, outnumber our body's cells by a ratio of 10-to-1.

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Bilingual brains better equipped to process information

Speaking more than one language is good for the brain, according to new research that indicates bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language.

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A previously unrecognized flame retardant found in Americans for the first time

A new peer-reviewed study found that people are contaminated with several toxic flame retardants rarely studied in the US, including one that has never before been detected in Americans called TCEP. Scientists tested urine samples of California residents for biomarkers of six chemicals, all of which were present.

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Touchdown! Rosetta's Philae probe lands on comet

ESA's Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.

After a tense wait during the seven-hour descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET).

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New Global Maps Detail Human-Caused Ocean Acidification

A team of scientists has published the most comprehensive picture yet of how acidity levels vary across the world’s oceans, providing a benchmark for years to come as enormous amounts of human-caused carbon emissions continue to wind up at sea.

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Study finds laundry detergent pods serious poisoning risk for children

Laundry detergent pods began appearing on U.S. store shelves in early 2010, and people have used them in growing numbers ever since. The small packets can be tossed into a washing machine without ever having to measure out a liquid or powder. The convenience, though, has come with risks for young children.

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People deny facts like climate change because it threatens their ideologies

There may be a scientific answer for why conservatives and liberals disagree so vehemently over the existence of issues like climate change and specific types of crime.

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Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all

Last year CERN announced the finding of a new elementary particle, the Higgs particle. But maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle, maybe it just looks like it. And maybe it is not alone.

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58% chance of El Niño

There is a 58% chance of El Niño during the Northern Hemisphere winter, which is favored to last into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2015.

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Breathing Dirty Air During Pregnancy Raises Odds of Childhood ADHD-Related Behavior Problems

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, a component of air pollution, raises the odds of behavior problems associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, at age 9, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. Results are published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

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