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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Skipping Breakfast Might be Just Fine, According to a New Study

An old and beloved adage says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but new research suggests that it might need to retire.

According to a new study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, skipping breakfast might be just fine. It challenges the long-standing belief that starting your day with the right combination of healthy foods is the best strategy for all day energy, improved focus and concentration and overall well-being for a busy day.

This is actually not the first study to provide evidence that breakfast-eaters fare no better than non-breakfast-eaters (the evidence says, basically, breakfast is a wash, you could take it or leave it). While some previous studies have suggested that skipping breakfast could lead to heart disease down the line, this new study provides evidence that, at least in the short term, opting for big meal later in the day fares you no better or worse than bulking up on nutrition first thing in the morning.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New app 'reads minds' to post pictures

Posting a photograph to Twitter using just the power of thought may sound like a futuristic idea, but a new app that works with Google Glass means it is now possible to snap a picture and tweet it without lifting a finger or saying a word.

The app, called MindRDR, works through a second headset that the user wears alongside Google Glass, and communicates with the wearable device through Bluetooth.

It was created by London-based start-up This Place, which came up with the idea after using Glass, and finding that it could be more hands-free.

The headset, called the Neurosky EEG biosensor, uses a sensor that sits on your forehead and measures brainwaves. Concentrating triggers a higher brainwave reading, and this tells the app to take a picture, and then post it to Twitter.

Chloe Kirton, the company's creative director, said: "We started off by getting hold of Google Glass, which was really exciting for us - we really respect them and getting hold of one of their new products was really exciting.

"But when we started to use it we started to encounter what maybe you could call a usability issue; which is when you're swiping around looking for photos your arm can get a bit tired and we found ourselves holding our arms up and using the device, and we affectionately called this Glass elbow.

"So we wanted to task ourselves with finding a better way of using it, and not everyone has the high level of dexterity that is needed. The idea of mind control came up and we thought lets run with that and see where it can go. "

Monday, June 30, 2014

How Much Elephant Is In That Mouse?

‘New mouse species has elephant DNA,’ declared the headlines. It must have been hard to resist, considering the contrast in size between these animals. The wording conjures up images of runt elephants evolving into dwarf and then pocket pachyderms before shrinking so small that they could run up their bigger cousins’ trunks.

To further support the idea, the new species is part of a group called sengis, also known as elephant shrews.

Sadly, it’s all complete rubbish. Macroscelides micus is as closely related to elephants as aardvarks are. Yes, they share genes, but so do all creatures. Go back far enough and every living thing is related.

Part of the confusion arises because of the common name, which was probably given to them because of their long thin snouts.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

NASA Can Smell other Distant Planets now!

So what if NASA can't reach out to distant planets, but they have found out a way to smell them. A recent interplanetary smell-o-scope experiment was conducted by NASA to smell Titan, the moon of the planet Saturn.

The experiment involved a series of spectroscopic tests to be performed on the data collected by the spacecraft Cassini. Eventually from this virtual test this data is able to show chemical composition of a target's atmosphere, which in this case was Saturn's moon Titan.

The research team was led by Joshua Sebree, Assistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Also, he was a former postdoctoral fellow at NASA Goddard.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Astronomers are predicting the astronomical event of a lifetime next week. On 24 May 2014, Earth will pass through the debris tail of Comet 209P/LINEAR, which will unleash a myriad of cosmic explosions lighting up the night sky.

This will be the first time Earth has ever experienced this particular meteor shower. A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through debris left in space by a comet; the chunks of rock, ice and other materials, burn up in the atmosphere to form ‘shooting’ or ‘falling stars’.

The meteor shower, known as Camelopardalids, has its genesis from Comet 209P/LINEAR, a dim, nearly imperceptible comet that orbits the sun every five years. The comet was discovered in 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. This will be the first time Earth has crossed through the debris field left by Comet 209P/LINEAR.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Young and Smart Gene

A gene known for its anti-aging effects also benefits the brain, according to a new study published in the journal Cell Reports. Variants of the gene could help scientists to develop treatments to improve memory and learning.

Patients with a variant of the gene produce more of a hormone called klotho—named for the Fate from Greek mythology who spun the thread of life—and typically enjoy longer lives. This recent study, however, suggests that the hormone also benefits cognition, and not just among the elderly.

"Based on what was known about klotho, we expected it to affect the brain by changing the aging process," said the study's director and UC-San Francisco professor Lennart Mucke. "But this is not what we found."

Mucke put their results gently—the scientists' hypothesis was totally wrong. The study found that rather than reducing cognitive decline, high levels of klotho had relatively little effect on this type of health.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Sun's Neighbor Is The Coldest Brown Dwarf Star Ever Found

Astronomers have discovered one of the sun's neighbors - a brown dwarf star which is as frosty as Earth's Arctic.

Penn State University astronomers believe the brown dwarf is the coldest of its kind, writes Science World Report.

The star, named WISE J085510.83-071442, was found 7.2 light years away making it the fourth closest neighbor to our Sun.

It was discovered using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescopes.

"It is very exciting to discover a new neighbor of our solar system that is so close," said Kevin Luhman, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and a researcher in the Penn State Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds.

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 17, 2014: This artist's rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA AMES/SETI INSTITUTE/JPL-CALTECH
LOS ANGELES – Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

"This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid," University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA's orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet's size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NASA Discovers First Exomoon

In a paper that will be featured in the Astrophysical Journal, the first exomoon candidate has been discovered. Using telescopes based in New Zealand, in June of 2011 a brief brightening in the Sagittarius constellation occurred as a rare phenomenon called microlensing, when a celestial object passes between earth and a distant star. NASA-funded researchers, including the lead author from the University of Notre Dame David Bennett, have reported that while observing the gravitational magnification of the starlight, astronomers hypothesized that it was either a small star or brown dwarf and a Neptune-sized planet about 19 times the mass of earth, or a planet larger than Jupiter with an orbiting moon smaller than earth.

The possible exomoon was observed during a joint study by the Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork, or PLANET, and the Japan-New Zealand-American Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics, or MOA. The ratio of the large object to its small companion is 2,000 to one, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, but unfortunately the encounter was by chance and therefore cannot be viewed again to confirm their suspicions. If it is an exomoon, the chief scientist for NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, Wes Traub, believes that the planet may have been ejected from another planetary system along with its companion moon.