NASA launches groundbreaking Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory

NASA successfully launched its first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of the vital soil moisture hidden just beneath our feet. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory now begins a three-year mission that will figuratively scratch below Earth’s surface to expand our understanding of a key component of the Earth system that links the water, energy and carbon cycles driving our living planet. —> Read More Here

Gravitational waves from early universe remain elusive

A joint analysis of data from the Planck space mission and the ground-based experiment BICEP2 has found no conclusive evidence of gravitational waves from the birth of our universe, despite earlier reports of a possible detection. The collaboration between the teams has resulted in the most precise knowledge yet of what signals from the ancient gravitational waves should look like, aiding future searches. —> Read More Here

Binge-Watching Netflix Is Making You Feel Lonely And Depressed

Settling in on the couch with a bottle of wine and an entire season of Friends may seem like a perfectly enjoyable way to spend the weekend, but regular binge-watching sessions may be a sign of mental health problems.

A new study from the University of Texas at Austin found that the more lonely and depressed people are, the more likely they are to binge-watch television.

The researchers conducted a survey on over 300 millennials, asking how often and how much they watched TV, how often they felt lonely, and examining various measures of depression and self-regulation. Those who lacked self-regulatory skills reported being unable to stop clicking “next” even though they knew there were other things they needed to do, indicating a lack of self-control. The data also showed that feelings of loneliness and depression were directly correlated with binge-watching.

Loneliness, depression and lack of self-control have also been implicated in other types of binge behavior, such as heavy drinking and excessive social media use.

“Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way,” study author Yoon Hi —> Read More Here

Mysterious Space Globule Looks Undeniably Beautiful

space globule

Some astronomers call it “God’s Hand.” Others say it looks like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature.

Featured in a new image taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, a small cloud of gas and dust dubbed CG4 is nothing short of stunning. Just check it out below.

The image of the so-called “cometary globule” — which lies some 1,300 light years from Earth — shows a close-up of the space cloud’s head, and was released by ESO on Jan. 28. Although the globule shines bright in the image, it’s a faint object in reality and, therefore, difficult to detect.

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A Very Large Telescope image of the cometary globule CG4, which has a comet-like shape with a head and tail.

The head of CG4 is around 1.5 light-years in diameter, while its tail is about eight light-years long — that’s so big that it basically dwarfs our entire solar system, according to Discovery News. Astronomers hope to study more cometary globules — like CG4 — to solve the mystery of why they have their distinct comet-like shapes. —> Read More Here

Creepy Medical Supplies Found Amid Wreckage Of Pirate Blackbeard’s Ship

blackbeard

Ahoy! Archaeologists excavating pirate Blackbeard’s sunken ship, named Queen Anne’s Revenge, recently unearthed from the wreckage various medical devices–and some of them look pretty darn terrifying.

Among the grisly finds were a urethral syringe that would have been used to treat syphilis, two pumps, and a porringer that would have been used in bloodletting, Live Science reported.

“We just have to understand that these people were suffering,” Dr. Linda Carnes-McNaughton, an archaeologist with the U.S. Department of Defense who volunteered on the excavation, told CNN. “They were seeking relief for any kind of ailment, and certainly if there was warfare on the water, there were wounds among other ailments that needed treatment. It wasn’t always a formally trained person in desperate times. That’s probably more common than we know.”

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A mortar and pestle that was likely used to grind ingredients to make medicine.

blackbeard
Supplies used to measure medicine.

Blackbeard lost his flagship when it ran aground off the coast of North Carolina in 1718. The ship was hidden by water and sand for more than 270 years until it was rediscovered in 1996. Now, the shipwreck is being closely studied as part of the —> Read More Here

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