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Friday, October 02, 2015

"We have recognized the need for exercise pills for some time, and this is an achievable goal based on our improved understanding of the molecular targets of physical exercise," says coauthor Ismail Laher, of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. read more

The existence of vacuum fluctuations is already known from theory as it follows from Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, one of the main pillars of quantum physics. This principle dictates that electric and magnetic fields can never vanish simultaneously. As a consequence, even total darkness is filled with finite fluctuations of the electromagnetic field, representing the quantum ground state of light and radio waves. However, until now direct experimental proof of this basic phenomenon has been considered impossible. Instead, it is usually assumed that vacuum fluctuations are manifested in nature only indirectly. From spontaneous emission of light by excited atoms e.g. in a fluorescent tube to influences on the structure of the universe during the Big Bang: these are just some of the instances that highlight the ubiquitous role the concept of vacuum fluctuations plays in the modern physical description of the world. read more

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Since 1980, when UC Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez and his father, the late UC Berkeley physicist Luis Alvarez, discovered evidence of a comet or asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago, scientists have argued about whether the impact was the cause of the mass extinction that occurred at the same time, the end of the Cretaceous period, or the KT boundary. Some argued that the huge volcanic eruptions in India known as the Deccan Traps, which occurred around the same time, were the main culprit in the extinctions. Others insisted the death knell had been the impact, which left behind a large crater dubbed Chicxulub off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and viewed the Deccan Traps eruptions as a minor sideshow.

Earlier this year, Richards, Renne and eight other geoscientists proposed a new scenario: that the impact ignited volcanoes around the globe, most catastrophically in India, and that the two events combined to cause the KT extinction. read more

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Emerging evidence ties endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society - diabetes and obesity, according to the executive summary of an upcoming Scientific Statement issued today by the Endocrine Society. read more

Kristen V. Brown, Fusion: For decades, DARPA, the secretive research arm of the Department of Defense, has dreamed of turning soldiers into cyborgs. And now it's finally happening. The agency has funded projects that involve implanting chips into soldiers' brains that they hope will enhance performance on the battlefield and repair traumatized brains once the fog of war has lifted. "Of the 2.5 million Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 of them came home with traumatic brain injury," journalist Annie Jacobsen told NPR. "DARPA initiated a series of programs to help cognitive functioning, to repair some of this damage. And those programs center around putting brain chips inside the tissue of the brain." read more


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