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Reading the heavens with your phone

Two groups have released early versions of apps to turn your smart phone into a cosmic ray detector. Cosmic rays, most of which come speeding through the Milky Way from outside of our solar system, crash into the Earth’s atmosphere at...Show More Summary

Shining the Light On…

… Osteoarchaeology Wessex Archaeology’s human bone specialists – osteoarchaeologists Jacqueline McKinley and Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy – are hard at work this week putting together a new display for the head office in Salisbury. The display introduces staff, volunteers, clients and other visitors to the scientific analysis of human remains. Show More Summary

Even mild depressive symptoms result in poorer lumbar spinal stenosis surgery outcome

Even mild depressive symptoms can weaken the outcome of lumbar spinal stenosis surgery, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital. Patients with depressive symptoms had a weaker functional capacity post-surgery even five years after surgery. The results were published in The Spine Journal. read more

Four new dragon millipedes found in China

A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys. read more

Identifying the source of stem cells

EAST LANSING, Mich. – When most animals begin life, cells immediately begin accepting assignments to become a head, tail or a vital organ. However, mammals, including humans, are special. The cells of mammalian embryos get to make a different first choice – to become the protective placenta or to commit to forming the baby. read more

Assorted links

1. RBC theory won’t die soon. 2. Beware of fake priests in cemeteries. 3. Scott Alexander on whether polyamory is boring. 4. Average is Over, Sydney beach bum edition.  And Bolivia legalizes child labor for ten year olds. 5. Not your grandfather’s pot. 6. A Larry Summers summary post on secular stagnation. 7. My 2013 […]

"Down Under" Physicists Propose a Radical Parallel Universes Theory

Australian physicists are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a new, and of course, unfalsifiable, theory based on the existence of, and interactions between, parallel universes. The team proposes that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. That...

The 100 most highly cited papers of all time: Tools, not ideas

A rather obscure paper by biochemistOliver Lowry is the most highly citedscientific paper of all time(Image: beckerarchives) Nature has published a comprehensive list of the top 100 most highly cited papers of all time and the list is...Show More Summary

When Dr. Henry Ruffner gave his “bah, humbug” to German superstitions

Since it’s Halloween Eve, I figured I would fall back on an article that I read in the past year, which was written by a Shenandoah Valley author. I’ve mentioned Henry Ruffner in this blog before, mostly because of the famous “Ruffner Pamphlet” and how it pertained to slavery in antebellum Virginia. Yet, as with all […]

Hayabusa 2 nearly ready for launch: Photos from Tanegashima, and new artist's renderings

On October 27, JAXA provided media with an opportunity to view the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft at the Tanegashima space center, where it's making final preparations for launch. Koumei Shibata was there, and took several photos. And artist Go Miyazaki has shared several terrific new renderings of the spacecraft in flight.

Disney Research develops hybrid fluid transmission enabling light and swift robotic arms

Engineers routinely face tradeoffs as they design robotic limbs – weight vs. speed, ease of control vs. fluidity. A new hybrid fluid transmission developed at Disney Research Pittsburgh promises to eliminate some of those tradeoffs, making possible robot arms that are light enough to move swiftly and gracefully, yet with precise control. read more

Size matters: Baby's size at birth may predict risk for disease later in life

A new research report published in the November 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that being overweight might be better in the long term than being underweight. Before you reach for that box of Twinkies, however, it's important to note that this discovery only applies to the weight of newborn babies in relation to risk of future disease. read more

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