Scientists use knowledge from the food industry to understand mass extinction

The close of the Permian Period around 250 million years ago saw Earth’s biggest extinction ever. At this time large volcanic eruptions were occurring in what is now Siberia. The volcanoes pumped out gases that led to acid rain. Falling on the supercontinent Pangaea, the acid rain killed off end-Permian forests. The demise of forests led to soil erosion and the production of organic-rich sediments in shallow marine waters. —> Read More Here

Carnegie Mellon, Pitt ethicists question impact of hospital advertising

Alex John London and Yael Schenker question the impact of health information that is available online, specifically hospital advertisements. London and Schenker argue that while the Internet offers patients valuable data and tools — including hospital quality ratings and professional treatment guidelines – that may help them when facing decisions about where to seek care or whether to undergo a medical procedure, reliable and unbiased information may be hard to identify among the growing number of medical care advertisements online. —> Read More Here

‘PBS NewsHour’ Leads The Way In Climate Coverage Among Nightly News Programs

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“PBS NewsHour” led the way in coverage of climate change among U.S. nightly news programs in 2014 for the third year in a row, according to a new analysis.

Progressive watchdog group Media Matters found that “NewsHour” covered climate change 45 times last year, up from 35 in 2013. “CBS Evening News” aired only 22 reports on climate in 2014, while “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News Tonight” aired 14 and 11 climate-related stories, respectively.

“The networks’ nightly news programs — and ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’ in particular — would do well to follow ‘PBS NewsHour’s’ lead by improving the quality and quantity of their climate change coverage,” the group wrote.

Friday’s new report praised “NewsHour” for the quality of its climate coverage. The program interviewed or quoted 27 scientists in its climate-related reports last year, more than the other three nightly programs combined. CBS interviewed or quoted 11 scientists, NBC featured seven and ABC interviewed or quoted two in 2014.

Media Matters noted that PBS also avoided interviewing any climate-change deniers or presenting a false balance around the scientific issue. ABC’s “World News Tonight” and “NBC Nightly News” both aired segments that —> Read More Here

Exploring the Universe with Nuclear Power

Artist's concept of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket in Low Earth Orbit. Credit: NASA

Artist’s concept of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket in Low Earth Orbit. Credit: NASA

In the past four decades, NASA and other space agencies from around the world have accomplished some amazing feats. Together, they have sent manned missions to the Moon, explored Mars, mapped Venus and Mercury, conducted surveys and captured breathtaking images of the Outer Solar System. However, looking ahead to the next generation of exploration and the more-distant frontiers that remain to be explored, it is clear that new ideas need to be put forward of how to quickly and efficiently reach those destinations.

Basically, this means finding ways to power rockets that are more fuel and cost-effective while still providing the necessary power to get crews, rovers and orbiters to their far-flung destinations. In this respect, NASA has been taking a good look at nuclear fission as a possible means of propulsion.

In fact, according to presentation made by Doctor Michael G. Houts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center back in October of 2014, nuclear power and propulsion have the potential to be “game changing technologies for space exploration.”

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© mwill for Universe Today, 2015. —> Read More Here

Physicists Create Möbius Strips out of Light

An international team of physicists, led by Dr Thomas Bauer from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, has experimentally produced a three-dimensional geometrical structure called Möbius strip from the polarization of light. Light is an electromagnetic wave, and as such it has an electromagnetic field. The [...] —> Read More Here

Understanding the reinforcing ability of carbon nanotubes

A new article explores what is preventing the reinforcing ability of carbon nanotubes from being used in a ceramic matrix. Ever since their discovery, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been considered the ultimate additive to improve the mechanical properties of structural ceramics, such as aluminum oxide, silicon nitride and zirconium dioxide. Yet despite the remarkable strength and stiffness of CNTs, many studies have reported only marginal improvements or even the degradation of mechanical properties after these super-materials were added. —> Read More Here

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