Unexpected Eruption at Japan’s Kusatsu Triggers Avalanche

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An eruption at Japan's Kusatsu triggered an avalanche at a ski area on the volcano, injuring at least 25 with possibly more people missing. The eruption was unexpected, with so far no evidence of any warning signs from the volcano. News reports say that rocks littered the upper slopes of the volcano and the ski lodge was hit by volcanic debris as well. Additionally, the blast "triggered an avalanche". Although the reports I've seen don't say it explicitly, I think they mean a snow avalanche ...read more

If We Start Geoengineering, There’s No Going Back

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When it comes to climate change, speed kills. The temperature changes that are causing heat waves, intense storms and other climate aberrations are dangerous today because they're happening so fast. The climate has indeed been as warm, and warmer even, in the past, but it reached those temperature levels over the course of thousands or millions of years — long enough for the changes to occur gradually. This time around, the climate is being altered too fast for an ...read more

Sushi’s to Blame for a Man’s 5-Foot Tapeworm

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A Fresno, Calif. man is rethinking his diet after one of his favorite dishes came back to bite him in the butt. Dr. Kenny Banh who works in the emergency room in the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno shared a horrifyingly fascinating story about one of his patients on a recent episode of "This Won't Hurt a Bit," a podcast where experts of medicine share strange and fascinating medical stories. As Banh explained, a young man came into the emergency department complaining of b ...read more

Psychopaths May Be Immune to Contagious Laughter

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Having a good laugh is, among other things, a great way to bond socially. In fact, we’re much more likely to crow when we’re with other people than we are when we’re alone. And once you hear someone start, it’s hard not to crack up, too. However, a recent study in the journal Current Biology posits that this phenomenon might not be contagious for everyone, specifically for teen boys at risk of psychopathy. Elizabeth O’Nions of the University College London and her ...read more

Does Psychology Need SWaG? The Ethics of Naturalistic Experiments

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Diederik Stapel. Brian Wansink. Nicolas Guéguen. Anyone who's been following recent debates over research integrity in psychology will recognize these as three prolific and succesful academic psychologists who have suffered a total (Stapel) or ongoing (Wansink, Guéguen) fall from grace in the past few years. If you're not familiar with these cases, you can start by reading over Nick Brown's blog. Brown has been at the centre of the investigations into irregularities in Wansink and ...read more

Your Weekly Attenborough: Ctenocheloides attenboroughi

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Some species are so rare, so secluded or timid that they flit through our consciousness like a ghost. Perhaps they're known from no more than a single specimen, others, undoubtedly, exist only in the hazy halls of rumor. The diversity of life is too great for us, a single species, to pin every bit of biodiversity under the spotlight of science. Take as an example the ghost shrimp, Ctenocheloides attenboroughi (click through for a picture). The species is known from a si ...read more

For Mars, NASA Is Thinking Nuclear

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Everyone knows NASA has a tough job. Slipping “the surly bonds of Earth” is just the beginning for them. And while getting to the moon, and even Mars, is technically possible right now, one of the biggest problems remains finding and using a decent power source. So why not use nuclear power? Nuclear Know-how No, really. A small nuclear reactor might be the perfect solution, in addition to being pretty safe and clean. Nuclear power, unlike the weaponry, is actually one of the safes ...read more

Why Star Wars Space Nazis Shun Killer Robots

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Star Wars films tend to dwell upon space fantasy adventures that mix starships with space wizards wielding laser swords in a galaxy far, far away. Despite that focus, a number of Star Wars films also happen to feature another staple of science fiction: killer robots. Fictional killer robots often represent either the agents of greater villains or the primary existential threat to humanity in many science fiction films. Iconic Star Wars ...read more

Electronic Skin Puts the World in the Palm of Your Hand

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Someday, physically touching our electronic devices will be as archaic as standing up from the recliner to change the channel. Voice recognition systems and home assistants can turn on lights, pull up podcasts and order paper towels on command. Cameras in video game systems and televisions can do our bidding with a gesture. And to the list of hands-free methods of component control, we can add electronic skin. E-skins have been garnering a lot of attention from software and material en ...read more

Flu Season Has Exposed Life-Threatening Flaws in Medical Supply Chains

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Flu season in the U.S. typically peaks in February, but this year’s outbreak is already one of the worst on record. As of Jan. 6, 20 children have died from the flu, and overall mortality caused by the flu is already double that of last year’s. One reason the flu is so severe this season is that the dominant strain is H3N2, which has an impressive ability to mutate and is particularly aggressive against Americans over 50. Making the threat worse is the fact that most of the IV sali ...read more

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