Double star systems in the night sky can be spotted in binoculars and telescopes if you know where to look. See how 'starhopping' can help lead the way.
In a discovery decades in the making, scientists have detected the first of a 'theoretical' class of stars first proposed in 1975 by physicist Kip Thorne and astronomer Anna Zytkow. Thorne-Zytkow objects are hybrids of red supergiant and neutron stars that superficially resemble normal red supergiants, such as Betelguese in the constellation Orion. They differ, however, in their distinct chemical signatures that result from unique activity in their stellar interiors.
Arguing for a continuation of the nation's human space exploration program, a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council concludes that the expense of human spaceflight and the dangers to the astronauts involved can be justified only by the goal of putting humans on other worlds.
A rethinking of homogeneity as the baseline used to study diversity has been proposed by one expert in the field. Researchers have often used homogeneous social groups as a “baseline” to see what effects social diversity can have -- in the workplace, organizations, schools, and even markets. And yet, he contends, there are good reasons to think that such an approach fails to fully capture the social dynamics in play. "Both diversity and homogeneity have the ability to affect how people think or make decisions," he notes.
Few healthcare providers report talking to their heart failure patients about end-of-life care preferences. Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants cited patient uneasiness, their own discomfort and lack of time as main reasons for not discussing the subject. Nearly a third of clinicians surveyed said they lacked the confidence to bring up the subject of end-of-life care.
Deployed from the hovering helicopter, the U.S. Navy frogmen make contact with the astronaut waiting inside.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Since the 1960s, geophysicists have known that some earthquakes are preceded by ultra-low frequency magnetic pulses that increase in number until the quake takes place. But this process has always puzzled them: how can rocks produce magnetic pulses? Now a group of researchers has worked out what's going on. They say that rocks under pressure can become semiconductors that produce magnetic pulses under certain circumstances. When igneous rocks form in the presence of water, they contain peroxy bonds with OH groups. Under great temperature and pressure, these bonds break down creating electron-holes pairs. The electrons become trapped at the site of the broken bonds but the holes are free to move through the crystal structure. The natural diffusion of these holes through the rock creates p and n regions just like those in doped semiconductors. And the boundary between these regions behaves like the p-n junction in a diode, allowing current to flow in one direction but not the other. At least not until the potential difference reaches a certain value when the boundary breaks down allowing a sudden increase in current. It is this sudden increase that generates a magnetic field. And the sheer scale of this process over a volume of hundreds of cubic meters ensures that these magnetic pulses have an extremely low frequency that can be detected on the surface. The new theory points to the possibility of predicting imminent earthquakes by triangulating the position of rocks under pressure by searching for the magnetic pulses they produce (although significantly more work needs to be done to characterize the process before then)."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Bigger smartphone screen size may be better for more than just practical reasons, according to researchers. Participants in a study on smartphones indicated that emotional reasons might influence their decision to buy smartphones with bigger screens even more than practical ones.
Researchers have been examining a low-frequency underwater sound signal that could have resulted from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The signal, which was picked up by underwater sound recorders off Rottnest Island just after 1:30 am UTC on the 8th March, could have resulted from Flight MH370 crashing into the Indian Ocean but could also have originated from a natural event, such as a small earth tremor.
One of the world's longest-running ecological studies has revealed that Amazonian forests are being altered by multiple environmental threats -- creating even greater perils for the world's largest rainforest. But the biggest surprise is that nearby undisturbed forests, which were also being carefully studied, changed as well.
Weight loss surgery might have more value than simply helping morbidly obese people to shed unhealthy extra pounds. It reduces their risk of cancer to rates almost similar to those of people of normal weight. This is the conclusion of the first comprehensive review article taking into account relevant studies about obesity, cancer rates and a weight loss procedure called bariatric surgery.
Intense light from the enormous explosion of a star 12.1 billion years ago -- shortly after the Big Bang -- recently reached Earth and was observed by a robotic telescope. Known as a gamma-ray burst, these rare, high-energy explosions are the catastrophic collapse of a star at the end of its life. Astronomers can analyze the observational data to draw further conclusions about the structure of the early universe.
A new line of genetically modified pigs will host transplanted cells without the risk of rejection, opening the door for future stem cell therapy research. One of the biggest challenges for medical researchers studying the effectiveness of stem cell therapies is that transplants or grafts of cells are often rejected by the hosts.
Mussels might be a welcome addition to a hearty seafood stew, but their notorious ability to attach themselves to ships' hulls, as well as to piers and moorings, makes them an unwelcome sight and smell for boaters and swimmers. Now, researchers report a clearer understanding of how mussels stick to surfaces, which could lead to new classes of adhesives that will work underwater and even inside the body.
Quantum criticality, the strange electronic state that may be intimately related to high-temperature superconductivity, is notoriously difficult to study, but the first findings of a 'quantum critical point' in a category of materials known as 'oxypnictides' could lead to a broader understanding of the quantum phenomenon.
Australia's koalas cope with extreme heat by resting against cooler tree trunks, new research has revealed. Researchers used a portable weather station and thermal imaging to uncover the koalas' cool plan. "Understanding the types of factors that can make some populations more resilient is important," one researcher said. Koalas also pant and lick their fur to cool down, but that can lead to dehydration.
For every 15 healthcare providers who receive the influenza vaccination, one fewer person in the community will contract an influenza-like illness, according to a study using California public health data from 2009-2012. Influenza-like illness causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year and, on average, 24,000 people die as a result. Currently, vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu.
Long-lost paintings have been discovered on the walls of Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temple. The ancient paintings date back almost 500 years and depict deities, animals, boats and the temple itself, giving historians a new understanding of life in a relatively unknown period of Cambodia's history.
Non-obstructive coronary artery disease was associated with a 28 to 44 percent increased risk of a major adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or death. The possible cause is that the non-obstructive plaques can still rupture and cause heart attacks. Providers and patients should take note of non-obstructive CAD and consider lifestyle changes and medications that could help prevent it from causing future adverse cardiac events such as heart attacks.
jfruh (300774) writes "Ben Wellington is a New Yorker and city planner with an interest in NYC Open Data, the city's online open government initiative. One thing he noticed in this vast dataset was that just two fire hydrants in the city generated tens of thousands of dollars a year in tickets. The sleuthing by which he figured out why is a great example of how open government data can help citizens in concrete ways."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.