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10 comments

  1. Happy

    Well, here’s something to be thankful for during the holiday. A NASA-led study of the Van Allen radiation belts has uncovered new information about the invisible “shield” that keeps harmful ultrarelativistic electrons from frying us. http://gizmodo.com/be-thankful-for-the-invisible-belt-that-saves-earth-fro-1663882527 “…In the study, we learn about the existence of a hard barrier at the bottom of a previously-unknown outermost {Van Allen} belt, about 7,000 miles above Earth, and something called “plasmaspheric hiss.” This layer of electromagnetic waves stop the high-energy electrons zinging around the Earth from actually getting close to it. MIT News explains that the “hiss” in the phenomenon’s name is actually due to the sound the waves make over the radio, and that they keep us safe from otherwise quite dangerous radiation.” Includes links to scientific studies and reports.

  2. Stranger Than Fiction

    The incoming president of the New Mexico Medical Society has reportedly been suspended by the state medical board for a long list of infractions that includes having sex with patients, being under the influence while at work, writing lewd personal notes in medical charts, prescribing drugs to a sexual partner, delaying a c-section and leaving a patient to give birth unattended because he was having sex with another patient. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/n-m-doctor-suspended-sex-patients-article-1.2021686

  3. Surprised‽

    “Leaked: The Oil Lobby’s Conspiracy to Kill Off California’s Climate Law” http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-25/revealed-the-oil-lobbys-playbook-against-californias-climate-law “Created by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), one of the most powerful oil and gas lobbies in the U.S., the slides and talking points comes from a Nov. 11 presentation to the Washington Research Council. The Powerpoint deck details a plan to throttle AB 32 (also known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) and steps to thwart low carbon fuel standards (known as LCFS) in California, Oregon, and Washington State. Northwest Public Radio appears to have been the first to confirm the authenticity of the deck, which Bloomberg Businessweek did as well, with WSPA spokesman Tupper Hull.”

  4. Van Helsing

    “Post-medieval Polish buried as potential ‘vampires’ were likely local” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/p-ppb112014.php In northwestern Poland, apotropaic funerary rites – a traditional practice intended to prevent evil – occurred throughout the 17th-18th c. AD. Those of the dead considered at risk for becoming vampires for a variety of reasons were given specific treatment, and investigating these burial practices may provide insight into community cultural and social practices, as well as the social identities of people living in the area at the time. Excavations at a cemetery in northwestern Poland have revealed six unusual graves, with sickles across the bodies or large rocks under the chins of select individuals, amidst hundreds of normal burials. To better understand whether the bodies selected for apotropaic burial rites were local or non-local immigrants, the authors of this study tested permanent molars from 60 individuals, including 6 “special” or deviant burials, using radiogenic strontium isotope ratios from archaeological dental enamel. They then compared the results to strontium isotopes of local animals.

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