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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 06 December 2011 at 12:52pm

Kepler 22-b: Earth-like planet confirmed

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the "habitable zone" around a star not unlike our own.

The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C.

It is the closest confirmed planet yet to one like ours - an "Earth 2.0".

However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.

During the conference at which the result was announced, the Kepler team also said that it had spotted some 1,094 new candidate planets - nearly doubling the telescope's haul of potential far-flung worlds.

Kepler 22-b was one of 54 exoplanet candidates in habitable zones reported by the Kepler team in February, and is just the first to be formally confirmed using other telescopes.

More of these "Earth 2.0" candidates are likely to be confirmed in the near future, though a redefinition of the habitable zone's boundaries has brought that number down to 48. Ten of those are Earth-sized.

'Superb opportunity'

The Kepler space telescope was designed to look at a fixed swathe of the night sky, staring intently at about 150,000 stars. The telescope is sensitive enough to see when a planet passes in front of its host star, dimming the star's light by a minuscule amount.

Kepler identifies these slight changes in starlight as candidate planets, which are then confirmed by further observations by Kepler and other telescopes in orbit and on Earth.

Kepler 22-b lies 15% closer to its sun than the Earth is to our Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However, the planet's host star puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy temperature that would support the existence of liquid water...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16040655

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 23 December 2011 at 10:57am

Astronomers Discover Rare Galaxy at Dawn of Time

ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2011) Astronomers, including the University of California, Riverside's Bahram Mobasher and his graduate student Hooshang Nayyeri, have discovered that one of the most distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate.

The researchers made the discovery using NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes. The blob-shaped galaxy, called GN-108036, is the brightest galaxy found to date at such great distances...


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221211227.htm


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 23 January 2012 at 12:35am

Toward Twister Forecasting: Scientists Make Progress in Assessing Tornado Seasons

ScienceDaily (Jan. 19, 2012) Meteorologists can see a busy hurricane season brewing months ahead, but until now there has been no such crystal ball for tornadoes, which are much smaller and more volatile.

This information gap took on new urgency after tornadoes in 2011 killed more than 550 people, more than in the previous 10 years combined, including a devastating outbreak in April that racked up $5 billion in insured losses.

Now, a new study of short-term climate trends offers the first framework for predicting tornado activity up to a month out with current technology, and possibly further out as climate models improve, giving communities a chance to plan.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119134019.htm
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 10 February 2012 at 6:53am

Fasting Weakens Cancer in Mice

ScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2012) Man may not live by bread alone, but cancer in animals appears less resilient, according to a study that found chemotherapy drugs work better when combined with cycles of short, severe fasting.

Even fasting on its own effectively treated a majority of cancers tested in animals, including cancers from human cells.

The study in Science Translational Medicine, part of the Science family of journals, found that five out of eight cancer types in mice responded to fasting alone: Just as with chemotherapy, fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors.

And without exception, "the combination of fasting cycles plus chemotherapy was either more or much more effective than chemo alone," said senior author Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120208152254.htm


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 11 February 2012 at 1:51pm

Green Tea Drinkers Show Less Disability with Age

(Reuters) - Elderly adults who regularly drink green tea may stay more agile and independent than their peers over time, according to a Japanese study that covered thousands of people.

Green tea contains antioxidant chemicals that may help ward off the cell damage that can lead to disease. Researchers have been studying green tea's effect on everything from cholesterol to the risk of certain cancers, with mixed results so far.

For the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers decided to examine the question of whether green tea drinkers have a lower risk of frailty and disability as they grow older.

Yasutake Tomata of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and his colleagues followed nearly 14,000 adults aged 65 or older for three years.

They found those who drank the most green tea were the least likely to develop "functional disability," or problems with daily activities or basic needs, such as dressing or bathing.

Specifically, almost 13 percent of adults who drank less than a cup of green tea per day became functionally disabled, compared with just over 7 percent of people who drank at least five cups a day.

"Green tea consumption is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident functional disability, even after adjustment for possible confounding factors," Tomata and his colleagues wrote.

The study did not prove that green tea alone kept people spry as they grew older.

Green-tea lovers generally had healthier diets, including more fish, vegetables and fruit, as well as more education, lower smoking rates, fewer heart attacks and strokes, and greater mental sharpness.

They also tended to be more socially active and have more friends and family to rely on.

But even with those factors accounted for, green tea itself was tied to a lower disability risk, the researchers said.

People who drank at least five cups a day were one-third less likely to develop disabilities than those who had less than a cup per day. Those people who averaged three or four cups a day had a 25 percent lower risk.

Although it's not clear how green tea might offer a buffer against disability, Tomata's team did note that one recent study found green tea extracts seem to boost leg muscle strength in older women.

While green tea and its extracts are considered safe in small amounts, they do contain caffeine and small amounts of vitamin K, which means it could interfere with drugs that prevent blood clotting.

http://www.onislam.net/english/health-and-science/news/455685-green-tea-drinkers-show-less-disability-with-age.html

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 16 February 2012 at 10:32am

Drinking Alcohol Shrinks Critical Brain Regions in Genetically Vulnerable Mice

ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2012) Brain scans of two strains of mice imbibing significant quantities of alcohol reveal serious shrinkage in some brain regions -- but only in mice lacking a particular type of receptor for dopamine, the brain's "reward" chemical.

The study, conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and published in the May 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, now online, provides new evidence that these dopamine receptors, known as DRD2, may play a protective role against alcohol-induced brain damage...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215190018.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 24 February 2012 at 2:42am

Climate Change, Increasing Temperatures Alter Bird Migration Patterns

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2012) Birds in eastern North America are picking up the pace along their yearly migratory paths. The reason, according to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers, is rising temperatures due to climate change...

"Timing of bird migration is something critical for the overall health of bird species," he said. "They have to time it right so they can balance arriving on breeding grounds after there's no longer a risk of severe winter conditions. If they get it wrong, they may die or may not produce as many young. A change in migration could begin to contribute to population decline, putting many species at risk for extinction.".

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120223142642.htm



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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 17 March 2012 at 2:19am

Gambling Addictions Expert Warns of Dangers of Internet Gambling, Especially On Youth

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2012) Participating in an online March Madness bracket or fantasy sport league is harmless fun for most people, but for someone with a gambling addiction, it can be a dangerous temptation.

"Now, with states entertaining the possibility of increasing revenue through legalizing internet gambling, it is even more important to pay attention to groups that may be vulnerable to problem gambling, particularly youth," says Renee Cunningham-Williams, PhD, gambling addictions expert and associate professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Internet gambling provides youth with increased opportunities to gamble, which is particularly concerning because this generation is arguably the most technologically savvy of any generation in history."

Cunningham-Williams says that young people have not passed through the period of risk for many mental disorders, yet need to navigate coming of age in an environment of increased acceptability and accessibility to gambling.

"Based on available research, it is unclear if the Internet contributes to more gambling problems, but we know that those who choose to gamble using the Internet and experience problems are often involved in other forms of gambling as well," she says.

"The Internet may make gambling opportunities more attractive, accessible and available."

Cunningham-Williams agrees with the National Council on Problem Gambling's position that advocates a harm-reduction public health approach to problem gambling.

"Such an approach recognizes that strong regulation is necessary but not sufficient," she says.

"We need a comprehensive strategy that involves prevention and education about the harms associated with illegal and problem gambling, effective treatment, and continued research. We do not currently have a lead federal agency to advocate for efforts to reduce the harm associated with problem gambling."...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316145655.htm


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 21 March 2012 at 12:08pm

Facebook's Dark Side

ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2012) When Darth Vader was introduced as the dark side of the Force in the first installment of the original trilogy, "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" (1977), Christopher Carpenter, the 30-year old assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University, was not yet born

Now, Carpenter is getting worldwide news coverage for his study of the "dark side," but on the timely subject of Facebook.

Carpenter's study, "Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and Anti-social Behavior," is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Narcissism is defined in this study as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance," Carpenter said.

For the average narcissist, Facebook "offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication." More importantly, for this study, social networking in general allows the user a great deal of control over how he or she is presented to and perceived by peers and other users, he added...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319194046.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 16 April 2012 at 5:21am

Walking could be a useful tool in treating depression

Something as simple as going for a brisk stroll could play an important role in fighting depression, according to researchers in Scotland.

Vigorous exercise has already been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression, but the effect of less strenuous activities was unclear.

A study in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity showed walking had a "large effect" on depression.

One in 10 people may have depression at some point in their lives.

The condition can be treated with drugs, but exercise is commonly prescribed by doctors for mild symptoms.

Researchers at the University of Stirling scoured academic studies to find data on one of the mildest forms of exercise - walking.

They found eight studies, on a total of 341 patients, which fitted the bill.

Therapy

The report's authors showed "walking was an effective intervention for depression" and had an effect similar to other more vigorous forms of exercise...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17701485


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 21 May 2012 at 12:30am

Arctic melt releasing ancient methane

Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere.

The methane has been trapped by ice, but is able to escape as the ice melts.

Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this ancient gas could have a significant impact on climate change.

Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2 and levels are rising after a few years of stability.

There are many sources of the gas around the world, some natural and some man-made, such as landfill waste disposal sites and farm animals.

Tracking methane to these various sources is not easy.

But the researchers on the new Arctic project, led by Katey Walter Anthony from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF), were able to identify long-stored gas by the ratio of different isotopes of carbon in the methane molecules.

Using aerial and ground-based surveys, the team identified about 150,000 methane seeps in Alaska and Greenland in lakes along the margins of ice cover.

Local sampling showed that some of these are releasing the ancient methane, perhaps from natural gas or coal deposits underneath the lakes, whereas others are emitting much younger gas, presumably formed through decay of plant material in the lakes.

"We observed most of these cryosphere-cap seeps in lakes along the boundaries of permafrost thaw and in moraines and fjords of retreating glaciers," they write, emphasising the point that warming in the Arctic is releasing this long-stored carbon.

"If this relationship holds true for other regions where sedimentary basins are at present capped by permafrost, glaciers and ice sheets, such as northern West Siberia, rich in natural gas and partially underlain by thin permafrost predicted to degrade substantially by 2100, a very strong increase in methane carbon cycling will result, with potential implications for climate warming feedbacks."...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18120093

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2012 at 11:35pm

Giant Telescope to Explore Far Reaches of Cosmos

(Reuters) - The world's biggest and most advanced radio telescope, capable of detecting signs of extraterrestrial life in the far reaches of the universe, will be located in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The decision to split the location of the $2 billion "Square Kilometre Array" followed intense lobbying by the two leading bidders, South Africa one side and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand on the other.

Scientists leading the project rejected the suggestion that the decision, which will mean higher costs, meant science had taken a back seat to political expediency.

"I can't deny there is a political aspect to the process because when you are spending very large amounts of public money, politicians are going to be interested," said John Womersley, Chair of the Board of Directors of the SKA organisation.

"However the decision we took is scientifically motivated, which in no way compromises the scientific capabilities," he said on Friday.

There is already infrastructure in South Africa and Australia, including radio telescope dishes that were built as precursors to the new array. They will now be incorporated into the SKA.

The consortium estimates that the decision to split the project will add about 10 percent to the 350 million euro ($440 million) budget for the first phase of construction.

When completed in 2024 the telescope will be made up of 3,000 dishes, each 15 meters (50 feet) wide, together with many more antennae, that together will give a receiver surface area of a square kilometer.

Scanning the sky 10,000 times faster and with 50 times the sensitivity of any other telescope, it will be able to see 10 times further into the universe and detect signals that are 10 times older.

It will be used to study the origins of the universe and will be able to detect very weak signals that could indicate the presence of extraterrestrial life.

"This hugely important step for the project allows us to progress the design and prepare for the construction phase of the telescope," said Michiel van Haarlem, Director General of the consortium.

"The SKA will transform our view of the universe; with it we will see back to the moments after the Big Bang and discover previously unexplored parts of the cosmos."...

http://www.onislam.net/english/health-and-science/news/457270-giant-telescope-to-explore-far-reaches-of-cosmos.html


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 14 June 2012 at 12:34am

Big Bang Particle Discovery Closer: Scientists

(Reuters) - Physicists investigating the make-up of the universe are closing in on the Higgs boson, an elusive particle thought to have been key to turning debris from the Big Bang into stars, planets and finally life, scientists said.

Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are using their large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's biggest particle accelerator, to try to prove that the mystery particle really exists.

Poring over huge volumes of data, CERN physicists are confident they are now closer to achieving that aim, outside scientists with links to two key research teams at the Switzerland-based facility said.

"They are getting quite fired up," one scientist outside CERN but with links to the experiment who declined to be named told Reuters.

Strong signs of the Higgs were being seen in the same energy range where it was tentatively spotted last year, the scientists added, even though the particle is so short-lived that it can only be detected by the traces it leaves.

The quest for the obscure but scientifically crucial Higgs boson is being conducted by harnessing the LHC's high energy accelerator, which is located on the edge of Geneva, to replicate the Big Bang, the process scientists believe brought the known universe into being.

The Higgs is named after Briton Peter Higgs who in 1964 first came up with a detailed idea of what it might be and is the last major missing piece in the so-called Standard Model of how the universe works at the elementary particle level.

Its formal discovery, once it is endorsed by the world scientific community, would almost certainly ensure a Nobel prize for Higgs, now 83 and retired, and perhaps for at least one other European physicist and one American.

Speculation

The scientists spoke of their CERN colleagues' progress after research chiefs at the Swiss facility decreed a cut-off last weekend in the processing of all data related to the search for the particle ahead of a major physics conference, ICHEP, in Melbourne in mid-July.

There has been widespread speculation that a major announcement on the Higgs, based on careful analysis of the most interesting of over 300 trillion proton collisions in the LHC so far this year, may be made at that gathering.

But there was no confirmation from CERN itself that it was close to formally announcing it had discovered the particle and its linked energy field, thought to have given mass to matter and shape to the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

Researchers on the collider's separate ATLAS and CMS detectors have been "blinded" - or cut off from findings from the rival team and even from different groups inside their own.

CERN spokesman James Gillies said the centre would want to make any important announcement, once there was something to say, in Geneva.

"As for what ATLAS and CMS may or may not have in the 2012 data, that's only known to a few people in each experiment right now," he added.

"Blinding" is used in science to ensure that different groups working on identical experiments but with different if similar equipment do not influence the outcome of each other's research.

If they then come to the same conclusion, they can safely be seen to have independently validated each other's results, clearing the way to actually claiming a discovery...

http://www.onislam.net/english/health-and-science/news/457545-big-bang-particle-discovery-closer-scientists.html


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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2012 at 11:49pm

Iceberg breaks off from Greenland's Petermann Glacier

The Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland has calved an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan, scientists say.

Images from a Nasa satellite show the island breaking off a tongue of ice that extends at the end of the glacier.

In 2010 an ice island measuring 250 square km (100 square miles) broke off the same glacier.

Glaciers do calve icebergs naturally, but the extent of the changes to the Petermann Glacier in recent years has taken many experts by surprise.

"It is not a collapse but it is certainly a significant event," Eric Rignot from Nasa said in a statement.

Some other observers have gone further. "It's dramatic. It's disturbing," University of Delaware's Andreas Muenchow told the Associated Press.

"We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before," Mr Muenchow added.

However, the calving is not expected have an impact on sea levels as the ice was already floating.

Icebergs from the Petermann Glacier sometimes reach the coast off Newfoundland in Canada, posing a danger to shipping and navigation, according to the Canadian Ice Service.

Scientists have also raised concerns in recent years about the Greenland ice shelf, saying that it is thinning extensively amid warm temperatures.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18896770


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