Saturn's moon Enceladus, only as wide as Arizona and covered with 25 miles of ice, has become astrobiologists' latest candidate for extraterrestrial life in our Solar System. Why? Because it has liquid water under that ice, as much as Lake Superior. And it comes in contact with rock at its bottom. And its geysers contain salt water and organic chemicals.
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The ebola virus has spread to several countries in Africa, including the capital of Guinea and has killed scores. Experts say that the strain that is currently active is Ebola Zaire, the deadliest of all of them. European nations (especially France) are on alert because the former colonies in Africa have numerous flights a day to Europe.
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UN's World Health Organisation claims that 7 million people worldwide die due to air pollution, or one in eight deaths. But more than 50% of those deaths were linked to indoor smoke from cook stoves, which affects developing countries like India more than first world countries like America. "Air pollution" deaths tend to come from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
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Thomas Friedman may not want Cold War II, but if there has to be one, he wants "a new moonshot":
"The Space Race and the technologies it produced weren't purely an offshoot of the U.S.-Soviet missile competition, but they were certainly energized by that competition. Well, if we're going to go at it again, this time I want an Earth Race. I want America to lead in developing an energy policy that will weaken the oil-and-gas-autocracy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, as a byproduct, produce the technologies that will mitigate climate change, make America a global technology and moral leader and ensure that the next generation can thrive here on Earth."
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Global warming seems to have downsides no one was even thinking about.
"A mysterious giant virus buried for 30,000 years in Siberian permafrost has been resurrected. The virus only infects single-celled organisms and doesn't closely resemble any known pathogens that harm humans. Even so, the new discovery raises the possibility that as the climate warms and exploration expands in long-untouched regions of Siberia, humans could release ancient or eradicated viruses. These could include Neanderthal viruses or even smallpox that have lain dormant in the ice for thousands of years."
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Over the weekend a Texas court ordered that a hospital disconnect Marlise Muñoz from life support. Munoz died two months ago, but the hospital had been relying on dodgy legal advice from a pro-life hack's law firm to justify keeping her fully brain-dead corpse "alive" as a human incubator for her fetus. Nevermind that
The fetus was not viable, the hospital acknowledged in court papers. It suffered from hydrocephalus -- an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the brain -- as well as a possible heart problem, and the lower extremities were deformed. One of Mr. Muñoz's lawyers said medical records indicated some of the doctors treating his wife had recommended taking her off life support.Conservatives can't leave it alone, of course - most hilariously, the take-away from "this is a 'very hard situation and it is very hard to draft laws that cover such things'" seems to be not that families should be allowed to make decisions about these tough choices as they see fit, but rather that we NEED MOAR LAWS TO PROTECT TEH BABIES.
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December and January have had some awesome weather, but how about some rain now?
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And you thought that Democrats and Republicans were primarily different on issues like whether to extend Unemployment Insurance or fund their government:
"According to a Pew survey released Monday, some 67 percent of Democrats believe in the theory of evolution -- compared to 43 percent who believe the theory on the Republican side of the aisle."(FWIW, 65% of Independents believe in evolution.) That 24-point gap has steadily grown: it was only 10-points in 2009, suggesting that Obama's presidency has truly driven millions of Americans out of touch with reality.
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Mikhail Kalashnikov has died at age 94 following a lengthy illness. The exact cause has yet to be released.
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How many times have you seen the cliche about the US spending more on health care than anyone else and having a worse outcome - a conclusion based entirely on US life expectancy statistics?
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"An enormous alien planet -- one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter -- was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star. The newfound exoplanet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. The existence of such a massive and distantly orbiting planet raises new questions about how these bizarre worlds are formed, the researchers said. 'This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see,' study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona's department of astronomy, said in a statement."
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Remember the Four Food Groups dietary advice peddled * by the federal government for nearly 40 years? And then - whoops, their bad - forget all that and we were advised to embrace the Food Pyramid: eat lots of bread, but not much fat and you will live a long, healthy life. And Americans continued to be shaped like pyramids and as a result continued to be not so terribly healthy.
Next Michelle Obama introduced the nation to - God help us - ChooseMyPlate.gov because the government, 'knows best what's good for you. Trust us this time.' (At least its website works.)
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a decades-long federal research program that attempted to reveal correlations between diet and health in order to inform the epidemiological studies that brought us the Four Food Groups and the Food Pyramid, and will bring us the next ChooseMyPlate. A new study reveals the quality of the NHANES data:
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