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D-brief

Hubble Spies a Galaxy Deformed and Rejuvenated by a Near Collision

By Jake Parks | May 17, 2019 11:20 am

A cosmic hit-and-run some 30 million light-years away has left one galaxy with an identity crisis.

For billions of years, the now-irregular NGC 4485 lived a nice and normal life as a standard spiral galaxy located in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs). Then, a few million years back, NGC 4485 experienced a near-miss when the equivalent of a galactic semi-truck (NGC 4490) careened past it, creating a gravitational wake that wreaked havoc for both parties.

The  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: cosmology, stars

The Crux

Processed Foods, Regardless Of Nutrition, Still Cause Weight Gain

By Anna Groves | May 17, 2019 9:49 am

You probably already had a feeling you should skip the vending machine for an afternoon snack. But it turns out ultra-processed foods are even worse than we already thought.

A new study, out in Cell Metabolism, shows these foods cause weight gain even when they don’t have more fat, sugar, or carbohydrates than their healthier counterparts. There’s something about the processing itself that causes people to eat more before they feel full. On the flip side, switching to a whole food di …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts

D-brief

O'Neill Colonies: A Decades-Long Dream for Settling Space

By Korey Haynes | May 16, 2019 5:00 pm

Last week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos revealed his spaceship company’s new lunar lander, dubbed Blue Moon, and he spelled out a bold and broad vision for humanity’s future in space. Faced with the limits of resources here on Earth, most fundamentally energy, he pointed to life in space as a solution.

“If we move out into the solar system, for all practical purposes, we have unlimited resources,” Bezos said. “We could have a trillion people out in the solar system.” And while colonies …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

D-brief

Beyond Harmful Gas: The Future of Refrigeration May Rely on 'Plastic Crystals'

By Brian Owens | May 16, 2019 4:58 pm

(Inside Science) — Refrigeration has been around for about 100 years, but hasn’t changed much in that time. A time traveller from the early 1900s would still recognize the big box full of chilled food in your kitchen. But soon, researchers say, new materials could replace refrigeration as we know it, making it more adaptable, efficient and environmentally friendly.

Standard fridges work using a process called vapor compression. A compressor increases the pressure on a gas, which raises …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Technology, top posts

D-brief

Frenchie Breathing Problems Run Deeper Than Smushed Faces

By Megan Schmidt | May 16, 2019 4:47 pm

Who can resist a smooshed nose, wrinkly wide grin, and buggy eyes? Flat-faced dog breeds like bulldogs and pugs have become the popular “it” pets of the moment. But the iconic looks that make Frenchies and the like so photogenic can also be harmful to their health and wellbeing.

Veterinarians have long known that brachycephalic breeds – or dogs bred to have condensed snouts – are prone to breathing issues. One of the most worrisome conditions is what’s called Brachycephalic  …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: animals

D-brief

New Horizons Reveals Ultima Thule's Quiet, Lonesome Past

By Korey Haynes | May 16, 2019 4:00 pm

After New Horizons streaked past Pluto in 2015, its main task was over, but it still had work to do. On New Year’s Day of 2019, it made a flyby of another, even more distant object named 2014 MU69, more commonly called Ultima Thule. Since then, the spacecraft has been slowly but steadily sending streams of information back across the increasingly vast gulf of space between it and Earth.

From that information, scientists now know that the snowman-shaped space rock formed from a gentle co …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: solar system

D-brief

On Islands, Tons of Plastic Trash Is Likely Buried Beneath the Sands

By Lacy Schley | May 16, 2019 12:04 pm

We all know our plastic problem is out of control. So far, humans have produced more than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, and that number is only growing. Now, a new study in Scientific Reports claims that the problem goes deeper than we thought — literally.

The Plastic Beneath
An Australian team of researchers traveled to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI), a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean that’s roughly 1,700 miles off the northwest coast of Australia. There, they sur …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: ecology, ocean, pollution

D-brief

MRI Scans During Birth Show How a Baby's Head Changes Shape

By Nathaniel Scharping | May 15, 2019 5:08 pm

Don’t get a big head, your mother may have told you. That’s good advice, but it comes too late for most of us. Humans have had big heads, relatively speaking, for hundreds of thousands of years, much to our mothers’ dismay.

Our oversize noggins are a literal pain during childbirth. Babies have to twist and turn as they exit the birth canal, sometimes leading to complications that necessitate surgery. And while big heads can be painful for the mother, they can downright transformative for …

MORE ABOUT: sex & reproduction

D-brief

Tonight's SpaceX Starlink Launch Could be the Start of a New Internet

By Korey Haynes | May 15, 2019 3:30 pm

Tonight, SpaceX will launch the first flock of their Starlink satellites to space. These are the vanguard of what CEO Elon Musk hopes will eventually become a network of 12,000 orbiting devices providing cheap, global internet coverage.

The launch window opens at 10:30 p.m. E.T. The satellites, which are densely packed inside the cargo hold already, will be delivered to space on a Falcon 9 rocket. The weather forecast for Cape Canaveral, SpaceX’s standard launch site, looks promising fo …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

D-brief

NASA Names 2024 Moon Mission 'Artemis,' Asks Congress for Funding

By Korey Haynes | May 15, 2019 3:30 pm

On Monday night, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the space agency has named its planned mission to put humans back on the lunar surface: Artemis. As the Greek deity most associated with the Moon, and the god Apollo’s twin sister, the namesake choice was an obvious fit.

On the logistical side, Bridenstine also announced that NASA will ask Congress for an additional $1.6 billion in funding to jumpstart the program. NASA has not put forward a full budget for the ambitious Arte …

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration
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