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Sci/Tech
 

Warning from the past: Future global warming could be even warmer

Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from man-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute among others have used computer modelling to estimate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought. The results are published in the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

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Australia 20 years after gun reform -- no mass shootings, declining firearm deaths

Since gun law reform and the Firearms Buyback program 20 years ago, Australia has seen an accelerating decline in intentional firearm deaths and an absence of fatal mass shootings, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports today in a landmark study.


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Changing the federal legal status of marijuana could boost research, ease confusion

Marijuana has never been highly regarded by the federal government, which considers it a dangerous and addictive drug. But many states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and four states allow its recreational use. Now, activists are calling for the drug to be reclassified to make it easier to study its health benefits and untangle regulations, according to the cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

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“Electric Wind” can strip Earth-like planets of oceans and atmospheres

Venus has an "electric wind" strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping Earth's twin planet of its oceans, according to new results from the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission by NASA-funded researchers.

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A First: NASA Spots a Single Methane Leak -- the Aliso Canyon Leak -- from Space

For the first time, an instrument onboard an orbiting spacecraft has measured the methane emissions from a single, specific leaking facility on Earth's surface. The observation -- by the Hyperion spectrometer on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) -- is an important breakthrough in our ability to eventually measure and monitor emissions of this potent greenhouse gas from space.

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Small Asteroid Is Earth's Constant Companion

A small asteroid has been discovered in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come.

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Study gives new meaning to the term 'bird brain'

The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain - the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior - than the macaque.

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Future summers could be hotter than any on record

In 50 years, summers across most of the globe could be hotter than any summer experienced by people to date, according to a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

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Milky Way now hidden by light pollution from one-third of humanity

The Milky Way, the brilliant river of stars that has dominated the night sky and human imaginations since time immemorial, is but a faded memory to one third of humanity and 80 percent of Americans, according to a new global atlas of light pollution produced by Italian and American scientists.

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Who's the best-equipped superhero? Student research settles 'superpower showdown'

Seven years of student-led research into superheroes between 2009-2016 suggests Superman could be the best-equipped superhero of all, with a number of abilities including the 'Super Flare' attack and possession of high density muscle tissue.

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Generating unclonable patterns to fight counterfeiting

In a multinational collaboration, researchers from the Universities of Luxembourg, Ljubljana and Vienna have developed a new method to produce unique reflecting patterns that can be applied on valuable objects. As these patterns can't be cloned or copied, they could be used to identify products unambiguously in order to avoid counterfeiting.

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Birds have a light-dependent compass in their eyes

Birds have a light-dependent compass in their eyes. This compass gives them information about the direction of the Earth's magnetic field. Prof. Roswitha Wiltschko's research group at Goethe University Frankfurt, together with French colleagues, has elucidated how this compass works at the molecular level.

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Survey describes values, challenges of largest shareholder in US forests: Families

New research by the USDA Forest Service reveals the motivations, management activities, future plans, and challenges faced by the nearly 11 million families, individuals, trusts, and estates, referred to as family forest owners. Collectively, family forest ownerships control 290 million acres of forestland, or 36 percent of the nation’s forestland. The federal government is the nation’s second largest forestland owner with 31 percent.

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Americans accept and engage in same-sex behaviors more than ever

In a large study examining a nationally representative survey of American adults from 1973 to 2014, researchers from Florida Atlantic University, San Diego State University and Widener University have found that same-sex sexual experience has doubled, and acceptance of same-sex sexual experience has quadrupled. This suggests that the cultural change of the last few decades extends beyond simple tolerance of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals and their civil rights to include acceptance of same-sex sexuality and the freedom to engage in same-sex sexuality -- or at least the freedom to report one has done so on a survey. Either way, Americans have experienced a fundamental shift toward acceptance of same-sex sexual behavior and a greater willingness to engage in it.

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Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity at local, national, int'l scales

Industrialized nations that view wildfire as the enemy have much to learn from people in some parts of the world who have learned to live compatibly with wildfire, says a team of fire research scientists.

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What is the mass of the Milky Way?

It is a galactic challenge, to be sure, but Gwendolyn Eadie is getting closer to an accurate answer to a question that has defined her early career in astrophysics: what is the mass of the Milky Way?

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Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants

A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.

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'Dirty Blizzard' sent 2010 Gulf oil spill pollution to seafloor

Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants from the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed. In a new study, they also detailed how remnants of the oil, black carbon from burning oil slicks and contaminants from drilling mud combined with microscopic algae and other marine debris to descend in a "dirty blizzard" to the seafloor.

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Saving Nemo: Bleaching threatens clownfish

Clownfish became a household name over a decade ago when Disney released the movie "Finding Nemo."

Found exclusively in the Indo-Pacific, clownfish are symbiotic animals that only live in sea anemones, a close relative of corals that don't have a hard outer shell. The anemone provides a home and protection for the clownfish, while the clownfish provides food for the anemone.

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Doubling down on Schrödinger's cat

Yale physicists have given Schrödinger's famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing.

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Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease

Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, but the biological process has not been understood. A major, decade-long study of thousands of Americans found that people living in areas with more outdoor pollution -- even at lower levels common in the United States -- accumulate deposits in the arteries that supply the heart faster than do people living in less polluted areas.

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USGS: New research confirms continued, unabated and large-scale amphibian declines

New U.S. Geological Survey-led research suggests that even though amphibians are severely declining worldwide, there is no smoking gun - and thus no simple solution - to halting or reversing these declines.

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Close-up of the Red Planet

During May 2016 the Earth and Mars get closer to each other than at any time in the last ten years. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has exploited this special configuration to catch a new image of our red neighbour, showing some of its famous surface features. This image supplements previous Hubble observations of Mars and allows astronomers to study large-scale changes on its surface.

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Telescope Peering into Origins of the Universe Receives “First Light”

High in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile a unique Johns Hopkins University observatory has just achieved “first light,” the first time the telescope has collected radiation from space.

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Biodiversity protects fish from climate change

Fish provide protein to billions of people and are an especially critical food source in the developing world. Today marine biologists confirmed a key factor that could help them thrive through the coming decades: biodiversity. Communities with more fish species are more productive and more resilient to rising temperatures and temperature swings, according to a new study from the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and other international institutions.

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Why the effects of 2016 El Niño trumped climate change in the Alberta wildfires

In the wake of the damaging Alberta fires, there has been a lot of attention paid to what role climate change plays in wildfires. Yet 2016 is also a powerful El Niño year, which has created ideal conditions for the extraordinary fires in Alberta.

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Wildfires: The influence of human demographic development on fires in ecosystems is as strong as that of climate change

Every year, about 350 million hectares of land are devastated by fires worldwide, this corresponds to about the size of India. To estimate the resulting damage to human health and economy, precise prognosis of the future development of fires is of crucial importance. Previous studies often considered climate change to be the most important factor. Now, a group of scientists, including researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has found that population development has the same impact at least. The results are presented in the Nature Climate Change journal (dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2999).

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A Quasiparticle Collider

In the early 1900s, Ernest Rutherford shot alpha particles onto gold foils and concluded from their scattering properties that atoms contain their mass in a very small nucleus. A hundred years later, modern scientists took that concept to a new level, building the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to smash protons into each other, which led to the discovery of the Higgs boson.

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Impact chip

ESA astronaut Tim Peake took this photo from inside Cupola last month, showing a 7 mm-diameter circular chip gouged out by the impact from a tiny piece of space debris, possibly a paint flake or small metal fragment no bigger than a few thousandths of a millimetre across. The background just shows the inky blackness of space.

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NASA's Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered

“This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.”

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