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Sci/Tech
 

CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider just recently started testing the accelerator for running at the higher energy of 13 TeV, and already they have found new insights into the fundamental structure of the universe. Though four fundamental forces – the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity – have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. “Very impressive, this result is,” said a diminutive green spokesperson for the laboratory.

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Soil organic matter susceptible to climate change

Plants direct between 40 percent and 60 percent of photosynthetically fixed carbon to their roots and much of this carbon is secreted and then taken up by root-associated soil microorganisms. Elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere are projected to increase the quantity and alter the composition of root secretions released into the soil.

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New lobster-like predator found in 508 million-year-old fossil-rich site

What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes and prominent grasping appendages that lived as much as 508 million years ago - more than 250 million years before the first dinosaur.

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As the Earth's temperature rises, a positive feedback in the system results in additional warming

A new study has confirmed the existence of a positive feedback operating in climate change whereby warming itself may amplify a rise in greenhouse gases resulting in additional warming.

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Glimpses of the future: Drought damage leads to widespread forest death in American southwest

The 2000-2003 drought in the American southwest triggered a widespread die-off of forests around the region. A Carnegie-led team of scientists developed a new modeling tool to explain how and where trembling aspen forests died as a result of this drought. It is based on damage to the individual trees' ability to transport water under water-stressed conditions.

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Prenatal exposure to common air pollutants linked to cognitive and behavioral impairment

Researchers at the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and colleagues at Columbia University's Center for Children's Environmental Health have found a powerful relationship between prenatal PAH exposure and disturbances in parts of the brain that support information processing and behavioral control. Their study of 40 children, followed from before birth until 7 to 9 years of age as part of the Center's large community-based cohort, will be published online by JAMA Psychiatry on March 25.

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Shell-shocked: Ocean acidification likely hampers tiny shell builders in Southern Ocean

A University of Colorado Boulder study shows a ubiquitous type of phytoplankton -- tiny organisms that are the base of the marine food web - appears to be suffering from the effects of ocean acidification caused by climate change.

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Complex genetic ancestry of North and South Americans uncovered

By comparing the genes of current-day North and South Americans with African and European populations, an Oxford University study has found the genetic fingerprints of the slave trade and colonisation that shaped migrations to the Americas hundreds of years ago.

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A mile deep, ocean fish facing health impacts from human pollution

Deep-water marine fish living on the continental slopes at depths from 2,000 feet to one mile have liver pathologies, tumors and other health problems that may be linked to human-caused pollution, one of the first studies of its type has found.

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Herbicides can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics

Research lead by a team from the University of Canterbury has found that commonly used herbicides can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.

Herbicides are used to kill plants. They can be tested for killing bacteria, too, as part of the process of reviewing their approval for use. However, they have never been tested for other effects on bacteria, University of Canterbury’s Professor Jack Heinemann says.

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Curiosity Rover Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars

A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA's Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments.

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Our solar system may have once harbored super-earths

Long before Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars formed, it seems that the inner solar system may have harbored a number of super-Earths -- planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. If so, those planets are long gone -- broken up and fallen into the sun billions of years ago largely due to a great inward-and-then-outward journey that Jupiter made early in the solar system's history.

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Archeologists discover Maya 'melting pot'

Archaeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed new information about the Maya civilization's transition from a mobile, hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary way of life.

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Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been weaker than ever before in the last century, or even in the last millennium. The gradual but accelerating melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, caused by man-made global warming, is a possible major contributor to the slowdown. Further weakening could impact marine ecosystems and sea level as well as weather systems in the US and Europe.

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Legalizing marijuana and the new science of weed (video)

More than a year into Colorado's experiment legalizing marijuana, labs testing the plants are able for the first time to take stock of the drug's potency and contaminants -- and openly paint a picture of what's in today's weed. At the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), one such lab will present trends -- and some surprises -- that its preliminary testing has revealed about the marijuana now on the market.

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World's largest asteroid impacts found in central Australia

A 400 kilometre-wide impact zone from a huge meteorite that broke in two moments before it slammed into the Earth has been found in Central Australia.

The crater from the impact millions of years ago has long disappeared. But a team of geophysicists has found the twin scars of the impacts - the largest impact zone ever found on Earth - hidden deep in the earth's crust.

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Have researchers discovered the sound of the stars?

A chance discovery by a team of researchers, including a University of York scientist, has provided experimental evidence that stars may generate sound.

The study of fluids in motion - now known as hydrodynamics - goes back to the Egyptians, so it is not often that new discoveries are made. However when examining the interaction of an ultra-intense laser with a plasma target, the team observed something unexpected.

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Shrinking habitats have adverse effects on world ecosystems

An extensive study of global habitat fragmentation - the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches - points to major trouble for a number of the world's ecosystems and the plants and animals living in them.

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Crocodile ancestor was top predator before dinosaurs roamed North America

A newly discovered crocodilian ancestor may have filled one of North America's top predator roles before dinosaurs arrived on the continent. Carnufex carolinensis, or the "Carolina Butcher," was a 9-foot long, land-dwelling crocodylomorph that walked on its hind legs and likely preyed upon smaller inhabitants of North Carolina ecosystems such as armored reptiles and early mammal relatives.

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NOAA: Risk of moderate flooding for parts of central and eastern United States

According to NOAA’s Spring Outlook released today, rivers in western New York and eastern New England have the greatest risk of spring flooding in part because of heavy snowpack coupled with possible spring rain. Meanwhile, widespread drought conditions are expected to persist in California, Nevada, and Oregon this spring as the dry season begins.

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Scientists Confirm Institute of Medicine Recommendation for Vitamin D Intake Was Miscalculated and Is Far Too Low

Researchers at UC San Diego and Creighton University have challenged the intake of vitamin D recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Institute of Medicine (IOM), stating that their Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D underestimates the need by a factor of ten.

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Billions of the stars in the Milky Way will have 1 to 3 planets in the habitable zone, where life could exist

Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy, the Milky Way, using the Kepler satellite and many of them have multiple planets orbiting the host star. By analysing these planetary systems, researchers from the Australian National University and the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen have calculated the probability for the number of stars in the Milky Way that might have planets in the habitable zone. The calculations show that billions of the stars in the Milky Way will have one to three planets in the habitable zone, where there is the potential for liquid water and where life could exist. The results are published in the scientific journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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Many plastics labeled 'biodegradable' don't break down as expected

Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too good to be true. Scientists have now found out that, at least for now, consumers have good reason to doubt these claims. In a new study appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, plastics designed to degrade didn't break down any faster than their more conventional counterparts.

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Colorful life-form catalog will help discern if we're alone in the universe

While looking for life on planets beyond our own solar system, a group of international scientists has created a colorful catalog containing reflection signatures of Earth life forms that might be found on planet surfaces throughout the cosmic hinterlands. The new database and research, published in the March 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gives humans a better chance to learn if we are not alone.

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Pollution levels linked to stroke-related narrowing of arteries

Air pollution has been linked to a dangerous narrowing of neck arteries that occurs prior to strokes, according to researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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Low vaccination rates fuel the ongoing Disneyland 2015 measles outbreak

Inadequate vaccine coverage is likely a driving force behind the ongoing Disneyland measles outbreak, according to calculations by a research team at Boston Children's Hospital. Their report, based on epidemiological data and published online by JAMA Pediatrics, indicates that vaccine coverage among the exposed populations is far below that necessary to keep the virus in check, and is the first to positively link measles vaccination rates and the ongoing outbreak.

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On Pi Day, How Scientists Use This Number

If you like numbers, you will love March 14, 2015. When written as a numerical date, it's 3/14/15, corresponding to the first five digits of pi (3.1415) -- a once-in-a-century coincidence! Pi Day, which would have been the 136th birthday of Albert Einstein, is a great excuse to eat pie, and to appreciate how important the number pi is to math and science.

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A Grand Extravaganza of New Stars

This dramatic landscape in the southern constellation of Ara (The Altar) is a treasure trove of celestial objects. Star clusters, emission nebulae and active star-forming regions are just some of the riches observed in this region lying some 4000 light-years from Earth. This beautiful new image is the most detailed view of this part of the sky so far, and was taken using the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.

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Political liberals display greater happiness, UCI study finds

What does it mean to be happy? Is it how happy you say you are, or is it how happy you act? Previous research has found that political conservatives report being happier than political liberals. But UC Irvine psychologists have discovered that those on the left exhibit happier speech patterns and facial expressions.

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Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes

Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news. The weakening of strong winds associated with the jetstream and weather systems prolongs and hence intensifies heat extremes like the one in Russia in 2010 which caused devastating crop failures and wildfires. This is shown in a study to be published in the renowned journal Science by a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They link the findings to changes in the Arctic caused by man-made global warming.

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