This week, the highly-respected US Academy of Sciences journal (PNAS) published an article describing how the first line of defence of the human immune system distinguishes between microbes and the body's own structures. The basis of this recognition mechanism has been unclear since the key protein components were discovered over 30 years ago ? and has now finally been cracked by a collaboration between high-level research groups at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
A systematic review carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry has analysed existing studies and concluded that there are benefits to mental and physical well-being from taking exercise in the natural environment.
Since the days of Darwin, the "tree of life" has been the preeminent metaphor for the process of evolution, reflecting the gradual branching and changing of individual species. The discovery that a large cluster of genes appears to have jumped directly from one species of fungus to another, however, significantly strengthens the argument that a different metaphor, such as a mosaic, may be more appropriate.
The first stars in the universe were not as solitary as previously thought. In fact, they could have formed alongside numerous companions when the gas disks that surrounded them broke up during formation, giving birth to sibling stars in the fragments.
Mice know fear. And they know to fear the scent of a predator. But how do their brains quickly figure out with a sniff that a cat is nearby?
Compared to people in employment, men and women who are unemployed suffer more often and longer from both physical and emotional complaints.
“Background:? We measured blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of attendees at professional sporting events and assessed the factors associated with higher BACs. Methods:? We conducted BAC tests of 362 adult attendees following 13 baseball games and three football games. We ran multivariate analyses to obtain factors associated with the risk of having a higher BAC. Results:? In this assessment, 40% of the participants had a positive BAC, ranging from 0.005 to 0.217. Those who reported tailgating before the event had 14 times the odds of having a BAC?>?0.08 and those under age 35 had nearly 8 times the odds of having a BAC?>?0.08 (both compared to a zero BAC). Attendees of Monday night football games were more likely to have positive BACs compared to attendees at all other games. Conclusions:? We found that it is feasible to assess BAC levels of attendees at professional sporting events. Our findings suggest that a significant number of attendees at professional sporting events may have elevated BAC levels, particularly young adults and those who participated in tailgating activities. Further research ...
It's like messages raining down from everywhere all the time…what's one more?
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So, you know, I had this idea for a novel. I started it, but I've since discovered that jewel-like prose and engaging story-telling is a little bit hard, and when I couldn't finish the whole thing over lunch, I've sort of given up. But then I had another brilliant idea! I'll put up the first significant piece of the story, the really really important part, and let you people finish the rest for me. Just post the subsequent chapters in the comments, and I'll splice them together and publish them and make a million dollars, and even more when I sell the movie rights. I'll be sure to include your names somewhere in the endnotes.Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...
[The crew of STS-134 with commander Mark Kelly in the bottom Center. Photo credit: NASA.]
The announcement came from NASA today that Mark Kelly will indeed be commander of the last scheduled Space Shuttle mission, STS-134.There was some doubt about whether or not Kelly would be able to continue training for NASA's final shuttle mission after his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and critically injured during the 2011 Tucson Shootings on Jan. 8.
Kelly has been on leave from the rigorous pre-launch training schedule for the last few weeks to take care of his wife.
"I am looking forward to rejoining my STS-134 crew members and finishing our training for the mission," Kelly said in the NASA press release. "We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station and complete the other objectives of the flight. I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew."
[Endeavour in May, 2005.]
The AMS is a particle physics detector that will search for antimatter and dark matter and measure cosmic rays from space. (A particle detector detects and tracks high-energy particles made during nuclear decay, coming from cosmic radiation or made in particle accelerators.)
NASA's fact sheet on the AMS and its mission explains the need for the space-bound spectrometer:
"Experimental evidence indicates that our Galaxy is made of matter; however, there are more than 100 hundred million galaxies in the universe and the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe requires equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Theories that explain this apparent asymmetry violate other measurements. Whether or not there is significant antimatter is one of the fundamental questions of the origin and nature of the universe."The AMS uses a large magnet to make a strong magnetic field that is used to bend the path of charged particles coming from space as they go through several detectors. The detectors measure the particles' speed, charge and velocity among other things.