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Could solar flares be triggering birth defects?

It’s known that airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays, but could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level? A new study into these potential terrestrial effects has just been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Study co-author Adrian Melott, professor of physics […]

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Innovative lightweight metal foam set to protect astronauts

Lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, say researchers from North Carolina State University who believe their discovery holds promise for use in nuclear safety and space exploration. “This work means there’s an opportunity to use composite metal foam to develop safer systems for transporting nuclear waste, more […]

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Stimulant drug abuse appears to reduce brain volume in women but not men

Using MRI to study the brains of cocaine and meth users, researchers found that while the women demonstrated widespread brain differences when compared to their healthy control counterparts, the men demonstrated no significant brain differences. The findings from the study appear in the journalRadiology. “We found that after an average of 13.5 months of abstinence, […]

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Physicists map conductivity change in transition from 3 to 2 dimensions

Scientists from the Moscow Institute Of Physics And Technology and Tulane University (New Orleans) have for the first time described the behavior of electrons in a previously unstudied analogue of graphene, two-dimensional niobium telluride, and, in the process, uncovered the nature of two-dimensionality effects on conducting properties. Their findings will help pave the way for […]

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Universe may be less crowded than we think

Detailing their work in Astrophysical Journal Letters, a team of scientists suggest there may be far fewer galaxies in the far reaches of the Universe than previously thought. Led by Brian O’Shea, from Michigan State University, the team offer a theory that reduces the estimated number of the most distant galaxies by 10 to 100 […]

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Key element of human language discovered in Australian bird

Stringing together meaningless sounds to create meaningful signals was previously thought to be the preserve of humans alone, but a new study published in the journalPLOS Biology reveals that Australian babbler birds are also able to communicate in this way. Researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Zurich discovered that the chestnut-crowned babbler (pictured) – […]

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Could our beliefs about human consciousness and the notion of self be completely wrong?

Consciousness – the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions -is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed in the journalBehavioral and Brain Sciences. “The interpreter presents the information but is not the one […]

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Robots get micro-tentacles to handle delicate objects

Using a transparent elastomer, Iowa State University scientists have created tiny tentacles that robots can wrap around delicate objects to handle them safely. The spiraling microrobotic tentacles are described in a research paper published in the journal Scientific Reports. Demonstrating how one of the tentacles encircled an ant’s thorax, softly trapping the insect, lead researcher […]

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New photosynthesis-mimicking technology could enable round-the-clock solar power without batteries

Developed by chemists at UCLA, a new photosynthesis-like technology is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks without the use of batteries. The advance, detailed in the journal Science, could change the way we think about photovoltaic cells and energy storage. Sarah Tolbert, a senior researcher on the project, said the new […]

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