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June 27 2014

Is prison contagious?


Incarceration in the United States is frequently described as an epidemic, with per capita rates nearly quadrupling in the past 30 years. African-Americans appear to be particularly susceptible: In 2011, they were six times more likely than whites to be incarcerated, making up 38% of the 1.6 million Americans behind bars while accounting for only 13% of the U.S. population. Now, a computer simulation originally developed to track infectious disease suggests the longer prison sentences that blacks often receive may accelerate the rate of “infection.”

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June 27 2014

Elastic invisibility cloak hides materials from touch sense


In the past years, invisibility cloaks were developed for various senses. Objects can be hidden from light, heat or sound. However, hiding of an object from being touched still remained to be accomplished. KIT scientists have now succeeded in creating a volume in which an object can be hidden from touching similar to a pea under the mattress of a princess. The results are now presented in the renowned Nature Communications journal.

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June 27 2014

Higgs Boson Picture Becomes Clearer as LHC Gears Up for Restart


Physicists have found more evidence that the "Higgs-like particle" they discovered two years ago behaves just as the fabled Higgs boson should — and they've begun ramping up for fresh discoveries from the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest particle-smasher.

The fresh findings about the Higgs boson appear in the journal Nature Physics, and are based on a detailed analysis of data from one of the LHC's experiments, the Compact Muon Solenoid or CMS.

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June 27 2014

The First Indirect Detection of Dark Matter


Dark matter is one of the universe's most befuddling, and elusive, components. It could make up roughly a quarter of the universe's total mass and energy, yet no one knows for sure because no one has actually seen it. Well, it may be showing itself at last. nasa's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has recorded high-energy gamma-ray light emanating from the center of the Milky Way that fits well with dark matter predictions.

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June 27 2014

Supermassive black hole trio discovered


A distant galaxy containing three supermassive black holes, each millions to billions of times more massive than the Sun, has been discovered 4 billion light-years away.

The trio of black holes is the tightest system known to date, reports an international team of astronomers in the journal Nature.

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June 27 2014

Glimpse into the invisible world of electric asteroids


Space may appear empty -- a soundless vacuum, but it's not an absolute void. It flows with electric activity that is not visible to our eyes. NASA is developing plans to send humans to an asteroid, and wants to know more about the electrical environment explorers will encounter there.

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June 27 2014

NASA's STEREO maps much larger solar atmosphere than previously observed


Surrounding the sun is a vast atmosphere of solar particles, through which magnetic fields swarm, solar flares erupt, and gigantic columns of material rise, fall and jostle each other around. Now, using NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, scientists have found that this atmosphere, called the corona, is even larger than thought.

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June 27 2014

Star-eating star spotted


A star in a neighboring galaxy might have swallowed another star. Sitting about 200,000 light-years away in the constellation Tucana, the star HV 2112 appears to be a red supergiant that has engulfed a neutron star. This strange pair, called a Thorne-Zytkow Object, or TZO, was largely theoretical until now.

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June 27 2014

Nearby Alien Planet May Be Capable of Supporting Life


A newfound alien world might be able to support life — and it's just a stone's throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things.

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exoplanet in the star Gliese 832's "habitable zone" — the just-right range of distances that could allow liquid water to exist on a world's surface. The planet, known as Gliese 832c, lies just 16 light-years from Earth. (For perspective, the Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light-years wide; the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light-years away.).

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June 27 2014

Aluminum-bearing site on Mars draws NASA visitor


With its solar panels their cleanest in years, NASA's decade-old Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is inspecting a section of crater-rim ridgeline chosen as a priority target due to evidence of a water-related mineral.

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June 26 2014

Curiosity travels through ancient glaciers on Mars


3,500 million years ago the Martian crater Gale, through which the NASA rover Curiosity is currently traversing, was covered with glaciers, mainly over its central mound. Very cold liquid water also flowed through its rivers and lakes on the lower-lying areas, forming landscapes similar to those which can be found in Iceland or Alaska. This is reflected in an analysis of the images taken by the spacecraft orbiting the red planet.

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June 26 2014

Study links Greenland ice sheet collapse, sea level rise 400,000 years ago


CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study suggests that a warming period more than 400,000 years ago pushed the Greenland ice sheet past its stability threshold, resulting in a nearly complete deglaciation of southern Greenland and raising global sea levels some 4-6 meters.

The study is one of the first to zero in on how the vast Greenland ice sheet responded to warmer temperatures during that period, which were caused by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun.

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June 26 2014

Neandertals ate their veggies, their feces reveal


Scientists excavating an archaeological site in southern Spain have finally gotten the real poop on Neandertals, finding that the Caveman Diet for these quintessential carnivores included substantial helpings of vegetables. Using the oldest published samples of human fecal matter, archaeologists have found the first direct evidence that Neandertals in Europe cooked and ate plants about 50,000 years ago.

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June 26 2014

Vegetarian diets produce fewer greenhouse gases and increase longevity, say new studies


Consuming a plant-based diet results in a more sustainable environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, while improving longevity, according to new research. Based on findings that identified food systems as a significant contributor to global warming, the study focuses on the dietary patterns of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians to quantify and compare greenhouse gas emissions, as well as assess total mortality.

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June 26 2014

The Last Tribesman


We all feel lonely from time to time. It is one of the fundamental aspects of human nature for us to desire to share time and space with others of our own kind. When devoid of this contact, we can be pulled down into the dark depths of despair. But can you imagine the extreme loneliness of not only being being truly, soul crushingly alone, but forgotten as well? Can you imagine being the very last of your people?

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June 26 2014

The Bigfoot Law: Celebrating 45 Years of Safety


2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the Skamania County Sasquatch Refuge. The closest thing to official government recognition the creature has ever had.

The year was 1969. Man achieved its first landing on the moon, The Beatles released Abbey Road, and it became illegal to kill Sasquatch.

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June 26 2014

Wolves Might Use Their Eyes to Talk to Each Other


It’s no secret that wolves, foxes, and dogs are highly social animals. But beyond all the wagging, pawing and yipping we like to try to interpret, canids may have yet another way to communicate. New research hints at the possibility that dogs and their ilk could be sending each other signals with their eyes.

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