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Welcome to Science Saturday, where the Overnight News Digest crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editors annetteboardman and Doctor RJ, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with this week's news about science, space, health, energy, and the environment.

Between now and the end of the primary season, Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday will highlight the research stories from the public universities in each of the states having primary or special elections for federal or state office this year plus stories from all research universities in major cities having municipal elections as listed in the Green Papers or the 2014 Daily Kos Elections Calendar.  Tonight's edition features the research and outreach stories from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

This week's featured story comes from NASA.

ScienceCasts: No Turning Back - West Antarctic Glaciers in Irreversible Decline

A new study led by NASA researchers shows that half-a-dozen key glaciers in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are in irreversible decline. The melting of these sprawling icy giants will affect global sea levels in the centuries ahead.
From the scientist's mouth himself, here are two videos from JPL.

Runaway Glaciers in West Antarctica

Glaciologist Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine, narrates this animation depicting the processes leading to the decline of six rapidly melting glaciers in West Antarctica. A new study by Rignot and others finds the rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.
West Antarctica Glaciers: Past the Point of No Return

A rapidly disappearing section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be on an unstoppable path to complete meltdown. The glaciers contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters).
For more, read the JPL/NASA press release West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable as well as the stories above the fold in Overnight News Digest: West Antarctica Ice Melt Edition by maggiejean.

More stories after the jump.

Recent Science Diaries and Stories

Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board: Climate change is severe national security risk
by Laurence Lewis

Spotlight on Green News & Views: Antarctic meltdown, renovating infrastructure, Big Coal vs. dissent
by Meteor Blades

This week in science: I see nothing!
by DarkSyde


io9: Look at These Ancient Egyptian Artifacts from Every Amazing Angle

The first rule of visiting any museum is "Do Not Touch." But, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is trying to ease that restriction, at least a little bit, by launching an interactive site where visitors can view virtual 3D objects as if they were holding them.

Mashable: 5 Rad Internships You Had No Idea Existed
By Eric Larson

The job market sure isn't what it used to be. Entry-level positions (read: internships) are usually grossly underpaid — if they're even paid at all — and likely involve menial, day-to-day tasks. Like it or not, it's the new career totem pole, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

But it isn't all bad. If you're a student or soon-to-be graduate looking for a more unique internship opportunity, check out our list of cool positions below.

#2 is the American Museum of Natural History.  Cool.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Texas A&M: Scientists warning growers about explosive populations of new grain sorghum pest
May 14, 2014

WESLACO  –  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service scientists are warning South Texas grain sorghum producers to be on the lookout for a new insect pest that, left unchecked, could wipe out their entire crop.

Dr. Raul Villanueva, an AgriLife Extension entomologist, and Danielle Sekula-Ortiz, an AgriLife Extension integrated pest management agent, say that in recent weeks they have documented explosive populations of sugarcane aphids at levels never seen here before.

Discovery News: Why Are Bananas Going Extinct?

A new fungus called Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 is threatening to eliminate all the Cavendish bananas! Why is this a big deal, and are we able save this delicious fruit? Watch as Trace and Tara discuss this growing concern.

NASA: NASA Center Renamed on This Week @NASA

Two giants of aerospace history were honored at a May 13 ceremony to celebrate the renaming of Dryden Flight Research Center to Armstrong Flight Research Center, after the late Neil Armstrong and the naming of the center's aeronautical test range after Hugh Dryden. Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon and a former research test pilot at the center and Dryden served as NASA's first deputy administrator. Also, Space Station Crews on the Move, Asteroid Mission Gear Tested, Unstoppable Glacier Melt, Exploring Earth's Magnetic Fields, Shrinking Great Red Spot, Helicopter Drop Test, Technology Transfer University and more!

NASA: NASA's RapidScat: Watching the Winds from Space

Explore the science behind NASA's wind-watching mission, ISS-RapidScat, launching to the International Space Station in 2014.

NASA: NASA #GlobalSelfie Photos of Animal Friends

Several of the 50,000 images submitted to NASA for its Earth Day #GlobalSelfie campaign included greetings from animal friends with whom we share the planet. The photos were submitted as part of NASA's campaign to produce a mosaic "Global Selfie" to be released on May 21. The event was designed to encourage environmental awareness and remind people of NASA's ongoing work to protect our home planet.

NASA: #GlobalSelfie Photos from Schools Around the World

Schools from around the world participated in NASA's #GlobalSelfie campaign by submitting photos taken on Earth Day, April 22, 2014. 50,000 images were submitted on Earth Day and are being assembled into a mosaic image to be released May 21. The Global Selfie event was designed to encourage environmental awareness and recognize NASA's ongoing work to protect our home planet.

Astronomy/Space NASA's Exoplanet-Hunting Kepler Space Telescope Gets New Mission
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
May 16, 2014 01:21pm ET

NASA's prolific Kepler spacecraft is back in action, a year after being sidelined by an equipment failure.

The space agency has approved a new mission called K2 for Kepler. The telescope's original exoplanet hunt was derailed in May 2013 when the second of the spacecraft's four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed, robbing it of its precision pointing ability.

"The approval provides two years of funding for the K2 mission to continue exoplanet discovery, and introduces new scientific observation opportunities to observe notable star clusters, young and old stars, active galaxies, and supernovae," Kepler Project Manager Charlie Sobeck, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, wrote in an update today (May 16). Near Miss: Tiny Asteroid Gives Earth a Close Shave (Photos)
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer
May 15, 2014 02:32pm ET

A small asteroid buzzed Earth Saturday (May 10), coming well within the orbit of the moon.

The near-Earth asteroid 2014 JG55 missed our planet by just 60,000 miles (96,560 kilometers), or about one-quarter of the distance between Earth and the moon. The flyby marked the third-closest asteroid near miss of 2014, researchers said.

The space rock was traveling about 22,000 mph (35,400 km/h) relative to Earth when it zipped past, they added. NASA's Asteroid-Capture Mission May Test New Method to Defend Earth
By Mike Wall, Senior Writer   |   May 16, 2014 07:21am ET

NASA's bold plan to park an asteroid near the moon may also test out a new way to protect Earth from dangerous space rocks.

Last year, the agency announced that it intends to tow a near-Earth asteroid into a stable lunar orbit, where it could be visited repeatedly by astronauts for research and exploration purposes. NASA officials are still ironing out the details of the mission, which may bag up an entire small space rock or snag a boulder off the surface of a large asteroid.

If NASA decides to go with the boulder option, the asteroid-capture mission will also include a planetary-defense demonstration, providing the first in-space test of a so-called "enhanced gravity tractor," officials said. Solar Winds Linked to Increased Lightning Strikes
By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer
May 15, 2014 02:38pm ET

Solar winds hitting Earth may trigger an increase in lightning, a new study suggests.

The research finds an increase in the number of lightning strikes after the streams of plasma and particles known as solar wind arrive on Earth from the sun. Exactly why this correlation exists is unclear, but researchers say the interaction of solar particles might somehow prime the atmosphere to be more susceptible to lightning.

"As the sun rotates every 27 days these high-speed streams of particles wash past our planet with predictable regularity. Such information could prove useful when producing long-range weather forecasts," study researcher Chris Scott, a professor in space and atmospheric physics at the University of Reading, said in a statement.


Cornell University: Climate change caused empire's fall, tree rings reveal
By Linda B. Glaser

A handful of tree ring samples stored in an old cigar box have shed unexpected light on the ancient world, thanks to research by archaeologist Sturt Manning and collaborators at Cornell, Arizona, Chicago, Oxford and Vienna, forthcoming in the June issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
[T]he samples also showed a small, unusual anomaly following the year 2200 B.C. Paleoclimate research has suggested a major short-term arid event about this time.
There was just enough change in the climate to upset food resources and other infrastructure, which is likely what led to the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and affected the Old Kingdom of Egypt and a number of other civilizations...

The Guardian (UK): Divers stage emergency excavation of historic Thames shipwreck

Archaeologists fear climate change could destroy preserved remains of the London, which blew up off Essex coast in 1665

Archaeologists will embark on an emergency excavation of one of Britain's most important shipwrecks on Sunday after discovering it is deteriorating at alarming speed because of the warmer waters caused by climate change.

The once-mighty 17th-century vessel, named the London, has lain in the muddy silt of the Thames estuary off the Essex coast near Southend-on-Sea for 350 years.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

University of Georgia: UGA research examines fate of methane following the Deepwater Horizon spill
May 11, 2014

Athens, Ga. - The 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout discharged roughly five million barrels of oil and up to 500,000 metric tonnes of natural gas into Gulf of Mexico offshore waters over a period of 84 days. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable cleanup effort, many were relieved by reports following the disaster that naturally-occurring microbes had consumed much of the gas and oil.

Now, researchers led by University of Georgia marine scientists have published a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience questioning this conclusion. Their research provides evidence that microbes may not be capable of removing contaminants as quickly and easily as once thought.

"Most of the gas injected into the Gulf was methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change, so we were naturally concerned that this potent greenhouse gas could escape into the atmosphere," said Samantha Joye, senior author of the paper, director of the study and professor of marine science in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Many assumed that methane-oxidizing microbes would simply consume the methane efficiently, but our data suggests that this isn't what happened."

Also read the Texas A&M press release Methane Gas Consumed Slower Than Expected After 2010 Gulf Explosion.


Southeast Missourian: Agencies work to reduce Asian carp in rivers
By Samantha Rinehart ~ Southeast Missourian
Thursday, May 15, 2014

As Asian carp continue to dominate the Mississippi River, wildlife experts say eradicating the invasive species is impossible, but the growing population could be managed with help from the public.

Dave Knuth, fisheries management biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, said it and other agencies have been tracking fish in the Mississippi for more than 20 years. Since Asian carp were introduced in the 1970s as a biological control in commercial aquaculture, he said the fish population has grown dramatically.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

University of Georgia: Fish communities key to balancing nutrients in coral reefs, UGA study finds
Different fish species combinations, similar nitrogen-phosphorus ratio found in four coral reefs
May 12, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Coral reefs are among the most productive—and imperiled—ecosystems in the world. One of the many threats they face is pollution from runoff and poorly treated wastewater, which upsets the delicate balance of nutrients they require.

Recent research led by University of Georgia ecologists sheds new light on the natural nutrient dynamics of coral reefs, particularly the often overlooked but critical role of fish. Their findings, published in Global Change Biology, could help inform future research and coral conservation efforts.

Coral reefs occur in tropical and subtropical coastal waters that are naturally low in nitrogen and phosphorus. A certain amount of these nutrients is essential for coral growth, but too much can increase the likelihood of coral disease and death. Lead author Jacob Allgeier, who conducted his research while at UGA and received his doctorate from the Odum School of Ecology in 2013, has spent years studying coral reefs in the Caribbean. He suspected the fishes that gather on reefs had a role to play in regulating nutrient levels and set out to determine if—and how—they did so.

Oregon State University: Taking the Measure of Seals and Those Who Study Them
An undergrad tests her stamina on a frozen continent
By Nick Houtman
Posted on April 18th, 2014

In Antarctica, when you sedate a 1,000-pound Weddell seal, it can take a while for the animal to settle down. Before the drug takes effect, the seal might raise its head, flex its 9-foot-long body or even attempt an ungainly crawl toward an opening in the sea ice. Keeping it away from such holes is important. If it were to dive before drifting into unconsciousness, it could drown.

During a research trip to Antarctica last year, Mee-ya Monnin was concerned about seal movement for another reason. She was taking photographs for a research project and needed the animals to be still. When properly composed, her photos would become the basis for a physical check-up of sorts.

This Oregon State University undergraduate from Snohomish, Washington, has developed a method for turning seal pictures into a computer model that calculates the surface area and volume of the animal. By combining those measurements with other information — weight, age, internal and external temperatures, reproductive status and thickness of the seal’s blubber layer — an Oregon State research team is establishing a reliable baseline for monitoring seal health in the future. Leading the project are OSU marine mammal scientist Markus Horning, Jo-Ann Mellish of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Allyson Hindle of the Harvard Medical School. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Texas A&M: ‘Tiny, tenacious and tentatively toxic:’ Texas A&M scientist makes two discoveries that were hiding in plain sight
Writer: Steve Byrns
Posted on May 14, 2014 by Angel Futrell

COLLEGE STATION – Sometimes we think we know everything about something only to find out we really don’t, said a Texas A&M University scientist.

Dr. Kevin Conway, assistant professor and curator of fishes with Texas A&M’s department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at College Station, has published a paper documenting a new species of clingfish and a startling new discovery in a second well-documented clingfish.


Scientific American: Is Reintroducing Acorns into the Human Diet a Nutty Idea?
If harvested sustainably and treated to remove bitter tannins, acorns may once again have a more prominent place in the kitchen
By Dawn Starin
May 16, 2014

As the world’s breadbaskets strain to meet the demands of the Earth’s growing population, already more than seven billion strong, we could use another nutritional, ecologically friendly food source. Could acorns, the fruits of the oak tree, be the answer? Certainly, they are beginning to draw renewed interest in the hunt for sustainable alternative food sources.

Over the past decade various Web sites, magazines and newspapers have recommended that the occasional acorn-based items be reintroduced into our diets. With a growing interest in foraging for local, edible wild plants, eating new and ever-more exotic food items and the need (both real and imagined) for gluten-free ingredients sweeping through parts of the Western world, is it possible that acorns—small nuts that fit all of these criteria—could be on the verge of a dietary comeback.

LiveScience: What Did Ancient Egyptians Really Eat?
Alexander Hellemans, ISNS Contributor
May 08, 2014

(ISNS) -- Did the ancient Egyptians eat like us? If you're a vegetarian, tucking in along the Nile thousands of years ago would have felt just like home.

In fact, eating lots of meat is a recent phenomenon. In ancient cultures vegetarianism was much more common, except in nomadic populations. Most sedentary populations ate fruit and vegetables.

LiveScience: The Ancient Greek Riddle That Helps Us Understand Modern Disease Threats (Op-Ed)
This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
By Adam Kucharski, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
May 12, 2014 12:49am ET

Even in the face of death, Zeno of Elea knew how to frustrate people. Arrested for plotting against the tyrant Demylus, the ancient Greek philosopher refused to co-operate. The story goes that, rather than talk, he bit off his own tongue and spat it at his captor.

Zeno spent his life exasperating others. Prior to his demise, he had a reputation for creating baffling puzzles. He conjured up a series of apparently contradictory situations known as Zeno’s Paradoxes, which have inspired centuries of debate among philosophers and mathematicians. Now the ideas are helping researchers tackle a far more dangerous problem.

LiveScience: Forget Folk Remedies, Medieval Europe Spawned A Golden Age of Medical Theory
This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
By Winston Black, University of Tennessee
May 15, 2014 12:11am ET

It’s often said that there was no tradition of scientific medicine in medieval times. According to the usual narrative of the history of progress, medicine in the European Middle Ages – from around the 5th to the 15th centuries – was a formless mass of superstition and folk remedies; the very antithesis of science.

And those who look in medieval medicine for precursors of modern pathology, surgery, antibiotics, or genetics will of course find it a failure. But if we’re looking for a coherent medical system that was intellectually and emotionally satisfying to its practitioners and patients, and based on written authorities, rational enquiry, and formal teaching, then medieval Europe produced one of the most influential and scientific medical systems in history.

University of Georgia: Virtual pet leads to increase physical activity for kids, UGA research says
May 14, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Placing children into a mixed reality-part virtual environment and part real world-has great potential for increasing their physical activity and decreasing their risk of obesity, according to University of Georgia researchers.

Sixty-one Georgia 4-H'ers, 9-12 years old, participated in a study designed to increase awareness and reduce childhood obesity. Participants set goals for the amount of physical activity they wanted to complete throughout the day over a course of three days. An activity monitor was worn to track their activity.

Children were split into two groups but only one group was allowed to train, exercise and play with an obese, virtual dog. The pet, and overall game platform, was developed by an interdisciplinary group of UGA researchers from the College of Engineering, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Veterinary Medicine. UGA Extension helped find participants for the study.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

University of Arkansas: SFC Fluidics Developing Smaller, Disposable Insulin Patch Pumps
U of A affiliate company secures $2 million in investment round
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — SFC Fluidics Inc. recently closed a $2 million investment round that will help it commercialize a new disposable insulin patch pump for diabetics that will be smaller than any pump currently on the market.

Launched in 2003, SFC Fluidics is a medical device and diagnostics company headquartered at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville. The University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation manages the park.

The battery-powered, low-cost insulin patch pump is two inches in diameter and will offer high precision, pain-free dosing over a wide range of delivery rates, according to the company. The insulin pump pod will deliver insulin automatically and without the need for multiple daily self-injections. The pump will last for several days, after which time the entire pod can be thrown away.

University of Kentucky: Study Provides New Insight into Common Disease Affecting the Elderly
By Laura Dawahare
May 7, 2014

A genome-wide association study (GWAS) led by Dr. Peter Nelson of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, and David Fardo of UK's Department of Biostatistics, has provided new insight into Hippocampal Sclerosis of Aging (HS-A), a common disease affecting the elderly.

Researchers from 16 different institutions compared 363 persons with autopsy-proven HS-A to a control group of 2,303 other individuals in an attempt to identify genetic predisposition to HS-Aging.

Nelson and his team found that small changes in the ABCC9 gene -- also known as Sulfonylurea Receptor 2 -- strongly paralleled the incidence of HS-Aging.  Further statistical analysis demonstrated a link between the use of sulfonylurea, a medication commonly used to treat diabetes, and an increased risk for HS-A.

Penn State: Human heart beats using nearly billion-year-old molecular mechanism
Neurobiologist Tim Jegla and his lab group find in a living, ancient sea anemone species the same gene family and ion channel that regulate the slow-wave contractions of the human heart.
By Seth Palmer
May 16, 2014

We humans have been around for about 2.5 million years, but the beating of our hearts is controlled by something much older than Homo sapiens -- an ancient molecular pathway that, according to Huck Institutes faculty researcher Tim Jegla, may be on the order of 700 million to a billion years old.

The Jegla Lab studies the evolution of the nervous and muscular systems, using model organisms such as the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis -- also known as the starlet sea anemone -- to investigate conserved traits and the molecular pathways and genes that underpin them.

Cnidarians -- comprising an ancient phylum that, in addition to sea anemones, includes animals such as jellyfish and corals -- have nervous systems that allow them to coordinate movement and respond to their surroundings, but do not have a brain or any other analogous organs.

University of Pittsburgh: Breakthrough in HIV/AIDS Research Gives Hope for Improved Drug Therapy

PITTSBURGH, May 16, 2014 – The first direct proof of a long-suspected cause of multiple HIV-related health complications was recently obtained by a team led by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research (CVR). The finding supports complementary therapies to antiretroviral drugs to significantly slow HIV progression.

The study, which will be published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is available online, found that a drug commonly given to patients receiving kidney dialysis significantly diminishes the levels of bacteria that escape from the gut and reduces health complications in non-human primates infected with the simian form of HIV. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“We now have direct evidence of a major culprit in poor outcomes for some HIV-infected people, which is an important breakthrough in the fight against AIDS,” said Ivona Pandrea, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology at Pitt’s CVR. “Researchers and doctors can now better test potential therapies to slow or stop a key cause of death and heart disease in people with HIV.”

Texas A&M: When prescription drugs cause adverse effects in the jaw
by LaDawn Brock
May 15, 2014

Attending a cancer support group presentation on the side effects of bisphosphonates gave Jerry Sawyer, 73, a jump-start on managing the symptoms when he experienced them himself.

Sawyer, a cancer survivor, learned from Dr. Charles W. Wakefield, professor and director of the advanced education in general dentistry residency program at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, how to identify the signs of bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw – a disease where bone loses blood supply and is non vital.

This condition was a side effect of Sawyer’s lengthy cancer battle, which began in late 1995 when he thought he pulled a hamstring while he was refereeing a professional soccer game in Dallas.


University of Georgia: Study suggests new ways of using online buzz to forecast new product sales
May 14, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Companies can significantly improve the forecasting accuracy of forthcoming products' performance by analyzing the history of online consumer buzz growth before product launch, according to a paper from researchers at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business.

Pre-release buzz refers to consumers' online conversations (e.g., in blogs and online forums) about a forthcoming product before its launch, according to the paper, which is published in the most recent edition of the journal Marketing Science.

"Consumers frequently talk about forthcoming products. Unlike conventional consumer conversations that occur in person, online buzz is curated and can be tracked in terms of date and time, and with the decline in computing and storage costs, it has become increasingly affordable for companies to keep a record of the history and evolution in consumer buzz over time," said Guyiang Xiong, assistant professor of marketing at UGA and co-author of the study.

University of Georgia: UGA study shows celebrities on Twitter can be credible brand endorsers
May 9, 2014

Athens, Ga. - Celebrities with a high number of Twitter followers and who are perceived positively in the public eye have the potential to be credible and influential brand endorsers, according to research by Joe Phua, an assistant professor of advertising in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Phua's study, "Following Celebrities' Tweets about Brands: The Impact of Twitter-Based Electronic Word-of-Mouth on Consumers' Source Credibility Perception, Buying Intention and Social Identification with Celebrities," was published in the latest edition of the Journal of Advertising. It is co-authored by Seung-A Annie Jin, an assistant professor of marketing communication at Emerson College in Boston.

Marketers are always searching for opinion leaders, Phua said, and a social media advertising campaign with a celebrity spokesperson can be a cost-effective, instantaneous way to reach a target audience.

University of Oregon: Oregon researchers capture handoff of tracked object between brain hemispheres

When tracking a moving object, the two halves of the human brain operate much like runners successfully passing a baton during a relay race, says a University of Oregon researcher.

In a study online ahead of print in Current Biology, electroencephalogram (EEG) measured brainwaves from healthy young adults revealed how information about an attended object — one being watched closely — moves from one brain hemisphere to the other.

Such handoffs are necessary because the human visual system is contralateral; objects on the left side of space are processed by the right hemisphere and vice versa. When objects change sides, the two hemispheres must coordinate so that the tracked object isn't lost during the exchange.

Texas A&M: Older Americans can improve fragmented sleep
by Jeremiah McNichols
May 15, 2014

In an “always-on” society, sleep may be one of the most undervalued aspects of long-term health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who don’t get enough of it are more likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and even cancer. But even for those who are willing to make good sleep habits a priority, there is another factor working against you: Aging. As Americans get older, their sleep becomes poorer, both in quality and quantity.

“At ages 65 and up, over 50 percent of the population experience problems sleeping,” said Dr. David Earnest, a professor of neurobiology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “That’s a greater impact than any other health-related disorder for that age group. And the older a person, the more likely they are to have sleep disturbances.”

Independent of medical conditions and medication side-effects that can intrude on sleep, Earnest cites two key “clocks” that age along with the rest of us. One, which scientists call the “homeostat,” identifies how tired you are by monitoring the amount of a sleep-inducing substance that builds up in your brain when you are awake and how much is discharged when you sleep. The other, your “biological clock,” establishes and attempts to maintain a pattern of wake/sleep cycles based on habits and environmental cues.

Texas A&M: It’s all in the timing: Texas A&M-led study shows how ‘body clock’ impairment underlies obesity, diabetes
May 14, 2014

COLLEGE STATION – A team of Texas A&M University System scientists have investigated how “body clock dysregulation” might affect obesity-related metabolic disorders.

The team was led by Dr. Chaodong Wu, associate professor in the department of nutrition and food sciences of Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. David Earnest, professor in the department of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center.
“Animal sleeping and eating patterns, including those of humans, are subject to a circadian rhythmicity,” Earnest said. “And previous studies have shown an association between the dysregulation of circadian or body clock rhythms and some metabolic disorders.”


Vero Beach Newsweekly: Digging for the truth
By Paige Van Antwerp The Newsweekly
Posted May 14, 2014 at 12:20 a.m

As they wrap up their excavation work for this season, scientists at the Old Vero Ice Age Site are “extremely pleased” with what they’ve accomplished.

The archaeological stakes are high — establishing an earlier date for human habitation in this part of the United States — requiring that their work be slow and extremely methodical. Even so, the archaeological team has found strong evidence for human habitation as far back as they’ve been able to dig.

The Scotsman (UK): Dunragit road works unearth ancient treasure trove

AN IRON Age village along with a host of ancient artefacts including tools and jewellery have been discovered on a construction site of a new bypass for a Scottish town.

The treasure trove unearthed during the building of the £17 million A75 Dunragit bypass in Wigtownshire sheds new light on land use and settlement in the area over the past 9,000 years.

The Epoch Times: Ancient Tomb of a Royal Messenger Reveals Visions of the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife
By April Holloway,
May 16, 2014

Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered a tomb in an ancient burial ground in Saqqara, Egypt, dating back 3,100 years, a find that scientists say adds a new “chapter to our knowledge”. The well-preserved wall paintings inside the tomb reveal scenes of funerary procession and the afterlife in remarkable detail.

Discovery News via LiveScience: Mummified Fetus Found in Tiny Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
May 13, 2014 02:31pm ET

A suspected fake mummy currently on display at an Egypt center in Wales, in fact contains a fetus 12 to 16 weeks into development, CT scan has revealed.

Known as W1013, the 20-inch artifact is a case made of cartonnage — layers of linen stiffened with plaster or glue — and belongs to the Wellcome collection at Swansea University’s Egypt Center, which houses more than 5,000 objects. Most of them were collected by the Victorian pharmaceutical entrepreneur and archaeologist Sir Henry Wellcome on excavations in Egypt.

The tiny mummy came to Swansea in 1971, but nothing is known about where Wellcome obtained it.

Smithsonian Magazine: Someone Had to Build the Terracotta Army—Archaeologists Just Found Their Humbler Grave Sites
Forty-five grave sites were found only kilometers from the emperor's tomb
By Mary Beth Griggs
May 9, 2014

There are thousands of terracotta warriors, first discovered in 1974, guarding the mauseleum of the first emperor of China, Qin Shihuang. An army that big must have needed an army of workers to build it. And now archaeologists in China think they may have found the graves of some of the people who built the tomb.

Forty-five graves were uncovered within a few kilometers of the Emperor's tomb, with the International Business Times reports, "skeletal remains of people believed to have been buried in a coffin with their leg twisted." This is one clue that these crypts are connected to the terracota warriors—"twisting leg of the dead before burying was a burial custom of the Qin Dynasty," say the IBT.

The News Star: Archaeologist discovers new mound at Poverty Point

During survey work in 2011, Poverty Point archaeologist Diana Greenlee happened upon what she thought was an undiscovered mound created by the prehistoric Poverty Point inhabitants.

Additional research, including sediment tests, proved her initial assumption true. Poverty Point has another mound. It was discovered in a remote wooded area of the site and designated now as Mound F.

Science Magazine: Ancient Roman Military Camp Unearthed in Eastern Germany

Archaeologists have confirmed the presence of a long-lost Roman military camp deep in eastern Germany. The 18-hectare site, found near the town of Hachelbich in Thuringia, would have sheltered a Roman legion of up to 5000 troops. Its location in a broad valley with few impediments suggests it was a stopover on the way to invade territory further east.

“People have been searching for evidence of the Romans in this part of Germany for 200 years,” says team leader Mario Kuessner, an archaeologist working for the state of Thuringia. “It took a long time before we realized what we had, and we wanted to be sure.”

Hurriyet Daily News: Female body discovered in centuries-old tomb
ÇORUM - Anadolu Agency

An illegal excavation in the northern Anatolian province of Çorum’s Sungurlu district has unearthed a 1,900-year-old tomb.

The tomb has been removed from the excavation area by archaeologists and moved into the Çorum Museum for display.

The Art Daily: Mexican archaeologists excavate 1,600 year-old shaft tomb in the State of Zacatecas

ZACATECAS.- Although it has been known since the 1950’s that inhabitants in the southern part of Zacatecas participated in the tradition of shaft tombs, there hadn’t been a chance for the systematic excavation of these funerary contexts, until experts at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) attended the municipality of Valparaiso in order to make an archaeological salvage of one.

Under the narrow ledge of the asphalted path that leads to La Florida, an archaeological team coordinated by investigator Laura Solar discovered in 2009 the contents of a chamber that –unlike other registries of shaft tombs in this place– had remained unaltered for at least 1,600 years.

Copenhagen Post (Denmark): Rare statue of Virgin Mary found buried under church floor
Renovations reveal exceptional icon

A Limoges statue of the Virgin Mary dating from the 13th century has been found during renovations of a small church in the eastern Jutland town of Søby.

The Independent (UK): Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria

A re-examination of the photographic evidence taken during the 2003 initial survey of the site by Mr. Clifford and his son Brandon has also provided evidence which is consistent with the vessel being from Columbus’ era - including a probable early cannon of exactly the type  known to have been on-board the Santa Maria.

When Clifford and his team returned to the site earlier this month, their intention was to definitively identify the cannon and other surface artefacts that had been photographed back in 2003. But tragically all the key visible diagnostic objects including the cannon had been looted by illicit raiders.

East Anglia Daily Times (UK): Leiston: Are these the bones of devil dog, Black Shuck?
Tom Potter
Thursday, May 15, 2014

Since the middle-ages, legend has spread of a fearful beast once said to stalk the region’s coastline and countryside.

Despite tales of a fiery-eyed monster showing up in graveyards, forests and roadsides - and an account of claw marks surfacing on the door to Blythburgh Church - the giant dog’s existence has been reserved to the annals of folklore.

Until now, perhaps, as archeologists have revealed evidence of huge skeletal remains unearthed by a member of the public in the trenches at Leiston Abbey last year.

Haaretz (Israel): Wall paintings recounting Crusader history uncovered at Jerusalem hospital
Burst water main in Saint Louis French Hospital uncovers forgotten wall paintings.
By Nir Hasson
May 14, 2014

The Saint Louis French Hospital is an unusual institution in Jerusalem, a city replete with unusual institutions. It was built at the end of the 19th century near the New Gate in the Old City wall, not far from the present-day City Hall. For several decades it has been serving as a hospice run by the Sisters of St. Joseph Catholic nuns.

The building contains a magnificent church, with crosses and statues of Jesus on its walls. However, in a prominent place near the entrance there is also a kashrut certificate. Among the patients are Christians, Muslims and Jews, some of them ultra-Orthodox.

Mansfield News Journal: Archaeologists excavate Harding Home's old kitchen in time for 100th anniversary

MARION — Archaeologists are digging at the Harding Home.

Their objective is not dinosaur fossils or mastodon remains, but rather evidence that might help the historic structure’s proprietors in their efforts to restore the residence of the 29th president of the United States to its glory days.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.


Nature (UK): Mexican skeleton gives clue to American ancestry
Genetic signature from cave remains matches that of modern Native Americans.
Alison Abbott

The near-intact skeleton of a delicately built teenage girl, who died more than 12,000 years ago in what is today’s Mexico, could help to solve the riddle of how the Americas were first populated.

Cave divers discovered the skeleton seven years ago in a complex of flooded caverns known as Hoyo Negro, in the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula. They called her Naia, after the naiads, the water nymphs of Greek mythology. She lies in a collapsed chamber together with the remains of 26 other large mammals, including a sabre-toothed tiger, 600 metres from the nearest sinkhole. Most of the mammals became extinct around 13,000 years ago.

Also see the Penn State press release Dating and DNA show Paleoamerican-Native American connection and the University of Texas press release Genetic Study Confirms Link between Earliest Americans and Modern Native Americans.

Design&Trend: Bone From Extinct 'Scottish Dodo' Found During Archaeological Dig
by Mary Nichols
May 12, 2014 11:46 AM EDT

A bone from an extinct seabird called "Scotland's dodo" has been unearthed during an archaeological dig.

The bone from the Great Auk, a species last seen in British waters on St Kilda in 1840, was recovered at the Kirk Ness site, now known as North Berwick, writes BBC News.

The Great Auk's bone was unearthed during a dig at the Scottish Seabird Centre in East Lothian.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Penn State: Colorful patterns of evolution mark butterflies and bumblebees
Biologist seeks to unravel the genetics behind adaptive radiation and mimicry.
By David Pacchioli
May 14, 2014

As a graduate student, Heather Hines followed bumblebees all over the world. She was part of a successful effort to track the history of bumblebee evolution, painstakingly constructing from genetic and geographic information a comprehensive family tree.

This was no small task. The genus Bombus encompasses some 250 species, its astonishing variety reflected in a diversity of color patterns: the interchangeable bands of orange-red, yellow, white, brown and black that cover bumblebee heads, thoraxes, and abdomens. From Mexico to the Pyrenees, and from California to western Burma, Hines, now an assistant professor of biology at Penn State, helped to document these patterns in all their many iterations.

While collecting specimens in Turkey, however, she observed something else. In bumblebees in the field, Hines kept seeing the same pattern, a white-banded body with a red tail. At first she thought she was looking at many members of a single species. Peering closer, however, she noted slight differences in coloring, and realized that what she was actually seeing was bees of several different species that had adapted themselves, albeit imperfectly, to look like one. "That," she says, "is what really got me interested in mimicry."


University of Texas: Hydrologists Find Mississippi River’s Buffering System for Nitrates is Overwhelmed
May 12, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas — A new method of measuring the interaction of surface water and groundwater along the length of the Mississippi River network adds fresh evidence that the network’s natural ability to chemically filter out nitrates is being overwhelmed.

The research by hydrogeologists at The University of Texas at Austin, which appears in the May 11 edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, shows for the first time that virtually every drop of water coursing through 311,000 miles (500,000 kilometers) of waterways in the Mississippi River network goes through a natural filtering process as it flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

The analysis found that 99.6 percent of the water in the network passes through filtering sediment along the banks of creeks, streams and rivers.

Such a high level of chemical filtration might sound positive, but the unfortunate implication is that the river’s natural filtration systems for nitrates appear to be operating at or very close to full capacity. Although further research is needed, this would make it unlikely that natural systems can accommodate the high levels of nitrates that have made their way from farmland and other sources into the river network’s waterways.


Georgia Tech: Making Money from Lignin: Roadmap Shows How to Improve Lignocellulosic Biofuel Biorefining
May 15, 2014 | Atlanta, GA

When making cellulosic ethanol from plants, one problem is what to do with a woody agricultural waste product called lignin. The old adage in the pulp industry has been that one can make anything from lignin except money.

A new review article in the journal Science points the way toward a future where lignin is transformed from a waste product into valuable materials such as low-cost carbon fiber for cars or bio-based plastics. Using lignin in this way would create new markets for the forest products industry and make ethanol-to-fuel conversion more cost-effective.

“We’ve developed a roadmap for integrating genetic engineering with analytical chemistry tools to tailor the structure of lignin and its isolation so it can be used for materials, chemicals and fuels,” said Arthur Ragauskas, a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ragauskas is also part of the Institute for Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech.

Portland Tribune via Portland State University: PSU ranked in top ten colleges for conserving energy
Author: Julia Rogers, Portland Tribune
Posted: May 14, 2014

Portland State University placed in the top ten by conserving water and electricity in the Campus Conservation Nationals last week.

Out of 109 schools to participate (four of which are Canadian), Oregon schools PSU and OSU competed, with PSU earning a top ranking by saving 42,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere and $6,446 in utility bills over three weeks.

Texas A&M: Arrays of nano-liter photobioreactors to accelerate algal biofuel development
May 14, 2014

A team led by Arum Han, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, recently had its paper on microfluidic systems for algal biofuel development published in the journal Lab on a Chip as a cover article.

lab on a chip coverMicroalgae, photosynthetic microorganisms present in most water, have been envisioned as future sources of renewable biofuel. Compared to current oil-producing feedstocks such as corn and soybean, microalgae are especially more attractive thanks to their significantly higher oil content. Microalgae also can be grown in wide ranges of water, and thus do not have to compete against food production requiring arable land. However, significant improvements are still required to make algal biofuel commercially viable, such as developing better microalgal strains showing higher growth and higher oil production.

Han’s team is developing microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems that can be used as high-throughput screening tools to quickly evaluate the growth and oil production characteristics of numerous algal strains under various growth conditions. Their paper describes how the team demonstrated the development of 10s or 100s of pico-liter sized photobioreactors on a business card sized chip. The developed microsystem utilizes microfluidic technologies to individually control light conditions (intensity and day-night cycle) for each of the 10s or 100s of photobioreactors, and was used to understand how microalgae grow and produce oil under different environment. The article also was featured as a Lab on a Chip HOT article.


Penn State: Department of Defense funds terahertz-range metamaterials research
By Walt Mills
May 16, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Metamaterials research having potential applications in high-speed data transmission, medical imaging and other kinds of imaging and remote sensing is the focus of a U.S. Department of Defense project funded for five years at $7.5 million.

Penn State is part of this six-member Multi-University Research Initiative by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The project is led by Mark Cappelli, professor of mechanical engineering, Stanford University. Also collaborating with Stanford are the University of Texas at Austin, Tufts University, UCLA and the University of Washington.

Penn State researchers will focus on the fundamental science necessary to develop plasma photonic crystals and plasma-embedded metamaterials that operate in the terahertz range. Terahertz is the region of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies between far infrared and microwave, and is a nonionizing frequency invisible to the human eye. This regime is already being used in airport surveillance and astronomy.

Penn State: Strongly interacting electrons in wacky oxide synchronize to work like the brain
By Walt Mills
May 14, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Current computing is based on binary logic -- zeroes and ones -- also called Boolean computing, but a new type of computing architecture stores information in the frequencies and phases of periodic signals and could work more like the human brain using a fraction of the energy necessary for today's computers, according to a team of engineers.

Vanadium dioxide is called a "wacky oxide" because it transitions from a conducting metal to an insulating semiconductor and vice versa with the addition of a small amount of heat or electrical current. A device created by electrical engineers at Penn State uses a thin film of vanadium oxide on a titanium dioxide substrate to create an oscillating switch.

Using a standard electrical engineering trick, Nikhil Shukla, graduate student in electrical engineering, added a series resistor to the oxide device to stabilize oscillations over billions of cycles. When Shukla added a second similar oscillating system, he discovered that, over time, the two devices began to oscillate in unison. This coupled system could provide the basis for non-Boolean computing.  Shukla worked with Suman Datta, professor of electrical engineering, and co-advisor Roman Engel-Herbert, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, Penn State. They reported their results today (May 14) in Scientific Reports.


EmaxHealth via Portland State University: Candy and tobacco share surprising chemicals
Author: Lana Bandoim
Posted: May 12, 2014

Researchers at Portland State University have discovered a disturbing connection between candy and flavored tobacco. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine and reveals that the products have similar chemicals. The artificial flavorings in multiple tobacco products are the same ones found in candy items such as Jolly Ranchers.

Penn State: Pantano reflects on past, future of materials science
Longtime director of Materials Research Institute steps down to return to teaching, research.
By Matt Swayne
May 13, 2014

Carlo Pantano, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has served as director of Penn State's Materials Research Institute since 1998. This month, Pantano will step down as director to return full-time to research and teaching. In a recent interview with Matt Swayne of Research Communications, he expressed his excitement about the future of materials science, and the cross-pollination happening at Penn State's Millennium Science Complex.

Science Crime Scenes

Australian Broadcasting Corporation via Yahoo! News Australia: Fresh reports of vandalism of ancient rock art on Burrup Peninsula
By Gian De Poloni
May 14, 2014, 8:59 am

Rock art in Western Australia's Pilbara region believed to be up to 60,000 years old has been attacked by vandals.

Tourist guide and Ngarluma man Clinton Walker said he had discovered a defaced piece of rock art on the Burrup Peninsula in Murujuga National Park.

"Someone has actually etched into a rock right above where some of the rock art is and wrote: 'go and work for a living'," he said.

CBS News: Theft reported at monument of President James Garfield
By Crimesider Staff CBS/AP
May 12, 2014, 9:50 AM

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Police are seeking suspects after someone broke in and stole items from the James Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery, reports CBS affiliate WOIO.

Early Wednesday morning in Cleveland Heights, a cemetery employee found the monument door open and roughly two dozen demitasse spoons and teaspoons missing, according to the station. A lock was also missing and pieces of glass were scattered around the scene, officers said.

N.Y. Times: Clyde Snow, a Sleuth Who Read Bones From King Tut’s to Kennedy’s, Is Dead at 86
MAY 16, 2014

With ghoulish geniality, Clyde Snow liked to say that bones made good witnesses, never lying, never forgetting, and that a skeleton, no matter how old, could sketch the tale of a human life, revealing how it had been lived, how long it had lasted, what traumas it had endured and especially how it had ended.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Science, Space, Health, Environment, and Energy Policy

Reuters via The Daily Telegraph (UK): Russia to ban US from using Space Station over Ukraine sanctions
In retaliation for imposing sanctions, Russia will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites
May 13, 2014

Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced a series of punitive measures on Tuesday against the US in response to sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crimea.

The two countries have long cooperated closely on space exploration despite their clashes in foreign policy.

University of Arkansas: University of Arkansas to Offer Insurance Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses
Friday, May 16, 2014

University of Arkansas benefits-eligible employees married to spouses of the same sex may now add them to the University of Arkansas employee insurance plans.

Employees will have until June 9 to complete and turn in your enrollment forms to Human Resources.

Portland Tribune via Portland State University: Cities' Green Accelerator
Author: Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune
Posted: May 15, 2014

While Portlanders have been biking, recycling, composting, protecting natural areas, keeping a lid on urban sprawl and developing other green infrastructure, the rest of the country has been watching.

For the past year, nine cities have been taking a page from Portland’s sustainability efforts and using the talents of 70 local experts to implement their own hometown projects.

They’re catalyzing development in their downtown areas, boosting transit-oriented development, managing their stormwater, redeveloping historic sites and taking other actions Portland has helped set the standard for.

It’s all part of Portland State University’s year-old Urban Sustainability Accelerator program, led by former Metro Councilor and 1000 Friends of Oregon director Robert Liberty.

Penn State: Hospitals recover from recession, some financial issues remain
by Victoria M. Indivero
May 12, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The recent economic recession affected hospitals across the nation, regardless of financial status, but following the rebound, financially weak and safety-net hospitals continue to struggle, according to health researchers.

"Poor financial outcomes [for hospitals] could lead to poor care," said Naleef Fareed, assistant professor of health policy and administration, Penn State. "This is an issue that needs attention as health care reform moves forward."

Fareed and colleagues used data from both the American Hospital Association Annual Survey and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to analyze how different groups of hospitals fared financially during the recession, and where these groups stand as health care reform continues in the United States.

"The effect of the recession wasn't permanent," said Fareed. "Hospitals recovered from the recession, but those that were initially financially weak before the recession remained in a precarious condition through 2011."

Texas A&M: Aggie medical students, doctors join the legislative conversation
by Jeremiah McNichols
May 12, 2014

Medical education has long focused on training future doctors to think critically, examine symptomatic evidence and plan a response. Thanks to an elective course in health care advocacy, the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine is preparing students from the medical school’s multiple campuses to serve as future health care leaders who will participate in the decision-making process that is shaping the future of our nation’s health care system.

The Texas A&M College of Medicine’s course partners fourth-year medical students with organizations that develop and propose solutions for public health problems; in the two academic years the course has been active, participation has grown from a pilot year of two students to eight in the 2013-14 academic year.

Students who participated in the pilot year focused on pediatrics and psychiatry, meeting with  organizations and legislators to discuss patient needs and structural change. This year’s cohort spanned career interests in cancer, anesthesia, emergency medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and family medicine. Participating students observed the legislative process at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, met with health care industry experts versed in public affairs, governmental relations and community outreach, as well as professional organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Texas Hospital Assosication and patient support groups like the Sickle Cell Foundation.

Science Education

KGW via Portland State University: Area students compete to make best prosthetic
Author: Joe Smith, KGW
Posted: May 12, 2014

PORTLAND -- On the campus of Portland State University, students from 13 area middle and high schools got to show off what a year of mentoring by MESA (Math, Engineering and Science Achievement) means to the students.

They're also showing how what they're doing could change the world.

The MESA challenge was to design the best functional hand prosthetic that could be used by children in developing countries.

Science Writing and Reporting

LiveScience: After 500 Years, Dürer's Art Still Engraved on Mathematicians' Minds (Op-Ed)
David Chudnovsky and Gregory Chudnovsky, New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
 May 13, 2014 01:55am ET

David and Gregory Chudnovsky are distinguished industry professors at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering and organizers of a series of scientific lectures on May 17, 2014, inspired by the mathematics of artist Albrecht Dürer. The following day, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will host lectures on his mysterious, symbol-laden art. The authors contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

This year marks 500 years since the creation of Albrecht Dürer's "Melencolia I," one of his three "Master Prints," widely considered the pinnacle of classical printmaking. Dürer, a Renaissance man, incorporated his world view and his deep interest in science, especially mathematics , into his prints. Among the prints, "Melencolia I" holds a special place, influencing many generations of artists, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians and students of science.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Texas A&M: Design prof’s new book to aid development of childrens’ ICUs
May 15, 2014

A new book aiding clinicians tasked with planning new pediatric and neonatal intensive care environments, authored by Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, director of Texas A&M’s Center for Health Systems and Design, is receiving favorable reviews.

"Planning for a new pediatric or neonatal ICU is daunting for most clinicians,” said Bob White, director of the Regional Newborn Program at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Ind. “Few have prior experience, and the skills needed are far different from those they use on a regular basis,” Shepley’s book, “Design for Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care,” he said, "fills this void in remarkable fashion."

The book, also aimed at researchers investigating these environments, includes essays from prominent voices in the field, ranging from inspired young architects and researchers to world-renowned healthcare design and research icons. It also features illustrations of work identified as exemplary or representative of new design approaches, which will help those planning new or remodeled projects to identify and examine precedents.

Science is Cool

Springer via Science Daily: Alcohol and drugs: Not just for modern humans
Date:May 12, 2014

Summary: Unlike most modern humans, the prehistoric people of Europe did not use mind-altering substances simply for their hedonistic pleasure. Researchers contend that their use was an integral part of prehistoric beliefs, and that these substances were seen to aid in communication with the spiritual world.

The Onion: Paleontologists Unearth Earliest Known Dinosaur Stickers
ISSUE 50•19 • May 15, 2014

MISSOULA, MT—Calling the discovery a major breakthrough for our understanding of the past, paleontologists working onsite in central Montana announced Thursday that they have excavated the earliest known dinosaur stickers on record.

Hat/Tip to annetteboardman for these stories.

Texas A&M: Emergency AmbiCycle™ designed to save lives in tight spots
by Rae Lynn Mitchell
May 15, 2014

AmbiCycle™ with MedEvacFrom small villages with long dirt roads to crowded cities with traffic at a standstill, maneuvering today’s ambulance during an emergency simply may not be an option. But promptly reaching patients to treat them effectively is nonnegotiable.

That’s where the AmbiCycle™ comes in. An alternative compact transportation device specifically designed to transport patients from the scene to the hospital, the AmbiCycle™ is about the width of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, nine feet long and has three wheels.

Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, and Eric Wilke, M.D., medical director at the College Station Fire Department, began design efforts on the AmbiCycle™ in the summer of 2008. During a volunteer medical trip to Uganda a few months earlier, Wilke saw a need for an emergency transportation vehicle that could navigate crowded and narrow streets in rural areas.

Originally posted to Overnight News Digest on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Astro Kos and SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar: Non-science research and outreach (33+ / 0-)

    University of Nebraska: Nebraska's economic indicator surges in April
    May 15, 2014

    Nebraska's Leading Economic Indicator jumped 1.89 percent in April.

    The rapid increase is the third straight month of improvement in the indicator, said UNL economist Eric Thompson, director of UNL's Bureau of Business Research. The indicator is a tool that predicts economic conditions for the coming six months.

    The April improvement was its strongest showing since December 2013.

    Penn State: Respect for human rights is improving
    By Matt Swayne
    May 12, 2014

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- By ignoring how the collection of data on political repression changes over time, human rights watchers may be misjudging reports that seem to show respect for human rights has not been improving, according to a Penn State political scientist.

    Many political scientists and sociologists believe that allegations of human rights abuses drawn from sources such as the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International over the past few decades show that attention to human rights is stagnating, said Christopher Fariss, assistant professor of political science. However, a new measurement model of the data, which recognizes the changes in how that information is collected and categorized, indicates that the human rights climate is actually improving.

    "By allowing the standard of accountability to vary with time, a new picture emerges of improving respect for human rights over time," Fariss said.

    Science Saturday is open for business fun!

    "My friend Vince Lamb often comments that Americans will take all manner of social, economic and political abuse, but will rise up with righteous fury when you disturb their Entertainment."-Michael Varian Daly

    by Neon Vincent on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:09:49 PM PDT

  •  secret history (11+ / 0-)

    The Secret History of the CIA  
    by Joseph J. Trento


    The result of more than a decade of research and hundreds of interviews with spies and double agents, The Secret History of the CIA penetrates the carefully orchestrated culture of secrecy that has allowed the agency to suffer from the weaknesses of its highest members, away from the media’s scrutiny.

    Trento uses his formidable reporting skills to guide the reader through the agency’s most important successes and failures.

    Reaching conclusions that are as astonishing as they are impossible to dismiss, this is a fascinating introduction to some of the most colorful and deceitful personalities in the history of our nation, and one that will forever alter every reader’s awareness not just of our intelligence services but also of contemporary American history.

    Governing is not easy, you have to deal with people you may not like. Some are smart some are dumb some are honest, some are not honest. Yet governing is what you have to do to make sure democracy works. ~ Leon Panetta, 5.14.2014

    by anyname on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:17:06 PM PDT

    •  1999 MLK conspiracy trial (8+ / 0-)

      Complete Transcript of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial

      VOLUME IX  
      November 30, 1999


      Testimony of Mr. William Schaap, attorney, military and intelligence specialization, co-publisher Covert Action Quarterly, on the role of the U.S. Government in the assassination of Martin Luther King MLK Conspiracy Trial

      Transcript - Volume 9 November 30, 1999

      Vs. Case No. 97242-4 T.D.
      November 30th, 1999
      Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,
      Division 4, Judge presiding.
      Suite 2200, One Commerce Square
      Memphis, Tennessee 38103
      (901) 529-1999
      (901) 529-1999

      For the Plaintiffs:
      Attorney at Law
      575 Madison Avenue, Suite 1006
      New York, New York 10022
      (212) 605-0515
      For the Defendant:
      Attorney at Law
      100 North Main Street, Suite 1025
      Memphis, Tennessee 38103
      (901) 527-6445
      Reported by:
      Registered Professional Reporter
      Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski,
      Richberger & Weatherford
      2200 One Commerce Square
      Memphis, Tennessee 38103
      (901) 529-1999

      - INDEX -
      . . .
      Direct Examination
      By Mr. Pepper --------------- 1299
      24 --------------- 1265 (Collective)
      25 --------------- 1271
      26 --------------- 1275
      27 --------------- 1286
      28 --------------- 1304

      MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call Mr. William Schaap to the stand.
      WILLIAM SCHAAP, Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:


      Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Schaap.

      A. Good afternoon.

      Q. Would you state your full name and address for the record, please.

      A. My name is William Schaap. My address is 143 West Fourth Street, New York, New York.

      Q. Could you give us a summary of your professional background, please.

      THE COURT: Before you do that, spell your last name.

      THE WITNESS: I'm sorry. S C H A A P.

      THE COURT: Thank you.

      A. I'm an attorney. I graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964. I've been a practicing lawyer since then. And I'm a member of the bar of the State of New York and of the District of Columbia. I specialized in the 1970's in military law. I practiced military law in Asia and Europe. I later became the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. And in the 70's and 80's I was staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

      I also in the late 1980's was an adjunct professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York where I taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.

      Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Have you also been involved in journalism and publishing?

      A. Yes, I have. Since 1977 or '78, in addition to being a practicing lawyer, I've also been a journalist and a publisher and a writer specializing in intelligence-related matters and particularly their relationship to the media. For more than 20 years I've been the co-publisher of a magazine called the Covert Action Quarterly which particularly deals with reporting on intelligence agencies, primarily U.S. agencies but also foreign.

      I published a magazine for a number of years called Lies Of Our Times which specifically was a magazine about propaganda and disinformation. And I've been the managing director of the Institute for Media Analysis for a number of years. I also, for about 20 years now, I think, was one of the principals in a publishing company called Sheraton Square Press that published books and pamphlets relating to intelligence and the media.

      Q. Do you also write? Have you authored articles and works?

      A. Yes, I do. I've written, oh, dozens of articles on -- particularly on media and intelligence. I've edited about seven or eight books on the subject. I've contributed sections to a number of other books and had -- I've -- many of my articles, of course, have appeared in my own -- our own publications, but I've also had articles appear around the world including New York Times, Washington Post and major media like -- like those.

      I've appeared a lot on radio and television as an expert on intelligence and the media. I'm slowing down a bit now because I'm getting older. But I used to do a lot of speaking at universities and colleges around the country and debating government officials and people connected to organizations that supported the CIA and the other -- FBI and the other intelligence agencies.

      Q. Have you ever testified as an expert witness in the area of governmental use of media for disinformation and propaganda?

      A. Yes, I have. I've -- I've testified as an expert in that field in both state and federal courts in this country. I've testified in foreign courts. I testified once before the United Nations on that subject and once before the U.S. Congress.

      Q. Mr. Schaap, I'm going to show you a copy of a -- of your own CV. It's a summary of your professional qualifications. I want you to confirm its accuracy.

      A. Yes, that's -- that's my CV that I prepared.

      MR. PEPPER: Your Honor, we move admission of Mr. Schaap's CV and move that he be accepted as an expert witness in the matter at hand for the issues of government use of media or disinformation and propaganda purposes.

      THE COURT: Objections?

      MR. GARRISON: I have no objection.

      THE COURT: All right. (Whereupon said document was marked as Trial Exhibit Number 28.)

      Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Mr. Schaap, in the course of your research, have you had occasion to study the use of the media by government agencies?

      A. Yes, I have. I've studied many government reports on the subject. Many, many books have been written about it and articles. In fact, I've written many of those articles.

      Q. Can you give the Court and the Jury a brief summary of the subject indicating the extent to which this type of activity by government still takes place?

      A. Yes, I can. I -- I won't go into ancient history, but it should be noted that -- that governments around the world have secretly used the media for their purposes for many hundreds of years, probably thousands. But certainly from the 16th and 17th century in England on there has been a great deal of research about the use by governments -- a secret use of the media.

      For our purposes though, the -- particularly relating to the U.S., the most significant and the first major deliberate program in this country was during World War I when President Wilson set up an organization called the Committee For Public Information under a public relations executive -- a man named George Creole. The purpose of this committee was to propagandize the war effort against Germany. This was created immediately after the U.S. entered World War I in 1917. And in propagandizing the war effort and war news, it was the policy of this committee to have no compunctions about falsifying the news whenever it was felt that that was necessary to help the war effort.

      Q. Can you give us an example of the type of falsification of the news that you're talking about.

      A. Yes. They -- the Committee For Public Information purported very often to release documents, supposedly genuine documents, to the press in order to substantiate whatever particular position the -- the Wilson government might have been taking at the time. And one of the most famous that happened early in its creation in 1917 was a disinformation campaign to suggest that the Russian revolutionaries, Lenin in particular and Trotsky, were actually German agents being paid by the Kaiser.

      The Government and Creole's committee made up the story. They made up -- created phony documents. They passed it all to friends in the major newspapers. And almost immediately this was front page news around the United States and around the world.

      Q. I'm going to show you a New York Times headline of that era and see if that's the kind of falsification you're talking about.

      A. Yes, this is -- the rest of the text is from an article where that headline appeared. But that was on the front page of the New York Times in 1917. And later it transpired that the documents were -- were forgeries that had been created by Mr. Creole. And, of course, it was obvious by the current course of history, the Russian revolutionaries were hardly friends of the Kaiser.

      Q. Yes, indeed.

      A. Much less employees.

      Q. Can you continue with your summary, please.

      A. Yes. After World War I, the U.S. continued to be the -- or actually became the world's leader in the control of information. Britain had been more pre-eminent before World War I. But at the end of the war, the U.S. was really in control of all the world communication media. And disinformation was used by the government sporadically during the inter-war years. It was particularly used in the red scares of the 1920's and the creation of disinformation suggesting various opponents of the government were communists.

      But it wasn't a major aspect of government policy until the advent of World War II. And that was when deliberate disinformation or a structure for emitting deliberate disinformation became very, very important.

      Q. What happened at that point in history to bring about that resurgence?

      A. Well, at the very beginning of World War II there were really two schools of thought competing, both of which had government agencies. One that was set up was called the Office of War Information which was a civilian organization although it worked closely with the War Department, as it was then called. And it was headed by a man named Elmer Davis who was a very famous reporter -- journalist.

      His philosophy was that the agency should tell the American people exactly what was happening -- tell them the truth. If we lost a battle somewhere in Europe or the Pacific, we should tell the people we lost that battle. If we won a battle, we'd tell them we won it. But he believed that in the long run we would do best by reporting the truth.

      But at the same time another key organization that developed during World War II was the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, which was headed by a military man, William Donovan, who was known as Wild Bill Donovan, who believed the saying that George Creole had -- his philosophy from World War I, which was that you should lie to the people whenever it's necessary, whenever you think lying will help maintain morale and win the war.

      This struggle was taking place, of course, in the context of World War II. And Donovan won both with President Roosevelt and afterward with President Truman. His philosophy that disinformation was a powerful -- a valuable weapon for a country to have, and that the disadvantages of lying to the American people were outweighed by the advantages of being able to manipulate the media.

      So when the war was over, the Office of War Information was dissolved. The OSS was transformed into the CIA. And the CIA was now existing in peace time, mind you. World War II is over, and now the CIA is set up with this information as a major part of its work and, in fact, as most of the reports later pointed out, the largest single part of the CIA's operations.

      The -- within the government at least, the acceptability of lying to the public became very widespread and acceptable even in time of peace. There had been people who felt, well, it's one thing when you're at war. But even in time of peace it became acceptable, and it spread from other agencies, including the -- the FBI which also began to engage in media manipulation in a very, very large way.

      Q. So in addition to being a war time strategy with respect to the security of the nation and the -- the promulgation of -- of falsehoods in times of war, this tactic started to be used in peace time.

      A. Exactly. That was the major difference. Certain things were -- were much more acceptable or expected over the course of history in time of war and were generally supposed to stop when the war was over. Now, there were people who argued in the late 40's that the Cold War was a war just like a hot war, and that was the war that was on, and that was why we had to do this.

      But what really happened is there were not battles being waged between soldiers. There was not a hot war going on anywhere, and yet the -- the infrastructure that had been set up to spread disinformation to be able to lie became institutionalized and became operating at a greater and greater level.

      Q. Mr. Schaap, how is it that some individuals like yourself have become more aware of these kinds of practices in our lifetimes while the mass of the population has not?

      A. Well, it's mostly because -- by coincidence there were a number of factors that came together, mostly in the 1970's, leading to major congressional investigations of these activities leading some newspapers to fund serious in-depth investigative reports. And in the middle and late 70's there were a series -- a huge series of congressional reports on intelligence activities, a whole section of which was devoted to media activities.

      And then there were major exposes in the New York Times and the Washington Post. It was sort of the Watergate mentality, I guess, that allowed this to happen. There was a window of a few years when exposing government misconduct, particularly past government misconduct -- and as far as the government was concerned, the older the better. But at least there was a window of opportunity where this was acceptable even within the mainstream, the establishment press. It was not frowned upon as much as it might have been at other times both before and since.

      Q. Before we go into some specific instances of this and details, can you explain to the Court and Jury really how does disinformation work? And why is it so -- why is it so successful?

      A. Well, you have to understand first the target of propaganda -- of disinformation. The consumer of the false news so to speak is -- in what we're talking about is the American public in general and sometimes the public overseas. Disinformation is almost always by -- by definition, about things that the average person has no separate personal knowledge of, otherwise it couldn't really work. I mean, you can't fool the people you're talking about. You can fool the other people who don't know about it. You're not trying to fool the people you're talking about.

      The simplest example is during the Vietnam War when there was a massive bombing campaign and the U.S. was bombing Cambodia. President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger repeatedly made public statements that we were not dropping bombs in Cambodia. Well, you couldn't fool the Cambodians who looked up and saw the bombs falling in their back yard. They knew you were bombing Cambodia. But the American people by and large accepted these statements as truth, and in fact that was a disinformation campaign that was later admitted.

      You're -- really we're talking about things that the public has no separate knowledge of. And it's also reinforced by the fact that Americans generally tend to believe what their government tells them, to believe that government officials on all levels generally tell the truth. And that -- if you have that, that absence of skepticism, it's a major plus for the disinformationists.

      And, also, it's very, very unusual around the world other than in the United States. In most other countries, particularly in Europe, it's much more the opposite. People tend on average to be very skeptical of their government. If the Italian government issues a statement, the average Italian on the street will say it's probably a lie until you can prove to me otherwise that it's not a lie. Because governments lie. That's what they -- you know, they sort of expect them to do that whereas Americans don't expect that.

      The average American would hear something from the government or hear the news on television and assumes that what they're hearing is the truth unless they're shown otherwise. They assume that almost nothing is ever a conspiracy. In Europe it's very much the opposite. Anything happens. They tend to think it's a conspiracy unless you show them that it wasn't a conspiracy.

      I mean, after all, "conspiracy" just means, you know, more than one person being involved in something. And if you stop and think about it, almost everything significant that happens anywhere involves more than one person. Yet here there is a -- not a myth really, but there's just an underlying assumption that most things are not conspiracies. And when you have that, it enables a government which has a propaganda program, has a disinformation program, to be relatively successful in -- in having its disinformation accepted.

      The other reason why it -- why it works even though as we -- as we know, somewhere there are people who know it's not true. Somewhere they know you're lying about something. But another reason it works is that disinformation is very, very effective over time. The longer that you, whoever you are, can control the spin on a story, the more that spin becomes accepted as the absolute truth. And in this country the government has a great deal of power and influence over that spin.

      Q. Why is it so effective over time?

      A. Well, this is an area where I had to consult with other experts because it turns out really to be a neurological function. And that was first explained to me by a -- a professor at Harvard Medical School. And it has to do with the way the human brain remembers things, the way we learn things, the way we create patterns and associations and reinforce -- well, I don't know how you -- it sort of like channels in the brain when certain things trigger certain collateral thoughts.

      And when you associate one thing with another over time, just the mention of the one brings the association of the other. What this will sometimes mean is that even when something is later exposed as a lie, if it was accepted as a truth for a long time, the exposure of it as a lie is not believed. It's in one ear and out the other.

      The best example that we know in my field is one that John Stockwell reported on. He was a CIA officer in Angola -- for Angola. But they were based -- the CIA station was based in the Congo. And when the Cuban troops were sent in to help the Angolans fight the South Africans during the early and mid 70's, the CIA's task was to try to discredit the Cubans and do whatever it could to make people around the world think it was a terrible thing that the Cubans were helping the Angolans.

      So Stockwell's group in Congo sat down, and one guy says to the other guy, let's think of something terrible to say that the Cubans did. And another guy says, hey, why don't we say they're raping Angolan women. That would be a great thing to say. The other guy says, terrific. And they call in their media experts, and they start sitting there at their desk at the CIA office and they start typing out these news stories about how a group of Cuban soldiers raped a bunch of Angolan women in some operation. And then they write Story Number 2 which is that the villagers got incensed and decided they didn't want the Cubans anymore, and they were going to find the fellows who did it and arrest them. And in Story Number 3 the villagers captured the Cubans. In Story Number 4 they were tried by a jury of the women victims and they were later executed with their own weapons.

      And they made a series of about 12 newspaper stories in a row. And with one phone call and one visit, it went over the wire services, it went into Europe, it went into the United States, it went around the world. And for about a six-month period there were all these stories about the horrible Cuban rapes in Angola. And what that does is when you hear -- the average person hears Angola or Cuban, they'll think rape of the women. And if they hear rape of the women, they will think Angola or Cubans. And if you get Angola, they'll think Cubans and rape of the women.

      And these patterns build up so that that becomes the truth embedded in your mind. Four years later John Stockwell quit the CIA and wrote a book exposing it. Wrote a big piece for the New York Times about how the entire Cuban/Angola story was a fabrication. And he sat there at the desk typing it. And the day after that story appeared, there was still 900 million people around the world who thought the phony story was true.

      Because when year, after year, after year you hear that something was the case, one story -- one day saying, hey, the whole thing was a lie, and it doesn't register on their brain. It can't beat those -- those patterns that have been built up.

      Q. Let's go back now taking an example -- let's go back now to the general area of intelligence because all of this activity is useless unless there's a structure into which it fits and into which it can be put out. Can you deal with the kind of structure of media operations that puts out this kind of disinformation. How extensive is it?

      A. Yes. We can be -- we have a lot of information about the CIA. We have a certain amount of information about the FBI, a certain amount about military intelligence. And the reason for this is because there were those congressional investigations that I mentioned before. There have been reports published, particularly from the Church Committee in the late 70's, where they published volume after volume describing the extent of media operations by the CIA and -- and other agencies.

      They -- the exact amounts of money that were being spent were -- were not divulged by those initial reports because that was considered to be classified. The intelligence budgets are always classified except at the same time every few weeks you'll read something in the newspaper where they say, the classified budget, which is approximately 25 billion dollars, and so on and so on and so forth.

      So what we -- what we have learned from these reports is that -- the first thing was that about a third of the whole CIA budget went to media propaganda operations.

      Q. Well, if a third of the CIA's budget went to media propaganda operations, how much would that be approximately?

      (Court adjourned until December 1, 1999, at 10:00 a.m.)

      Governing is not easy, you have to deal with people you may not like. Some are smart some are dumb some are honest, some are not honest. Yet governing is what you have to do to make sure democracy works. ~ Leon Panetta, 5.14.2014

      by anyname on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:21:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More on Naia of Hoyo Negro (12+ / 0-)

    Globe and Mail: Grim discovery sheds new light on when humans came to the Americas

    She was young, no more than 16, and feeling her way through a dark cave, perhaps lured by the quest for water in a land with no surface rivers or streams.

    One can imagine her terror as the cave suddenly opened into a yawning chasm, with a sheer drop to a shallow pool far below. A step too far took her over the unseen edge. In pitch blackness she fell as much as 30 metres – about eight storeys. The echoes of her scream and the sound of her body as it hit bottom would have echoed off the limestone walls for a few moments. Then eons of silence...

  •  accuracy one 10,000th of a milimetre (11+ / 0-)

    three thousand times smaller than a red blood cell

    An ant carries a one-millimetre-square microchip in it's mandibles.

    The photograph has been released by Huddersfield University Precision Technology centre, August 13, 1999, to illustrate it's work in the field of nanotechnology and ultra-precision engineering.

    The centre is the first in the country to be able to calibrate measurements and instruments to an accuracy of one 10,000th of a milimetre.

    Huddersfield University precision technology centre.

    University of Huddersfield

    Actor Sir Patrick Stewart replaced Sir Ernest Hall as the university’s Chancellor in November 2003.

    tiny particles
    3-D imaging devices in the nanometer range

    X-ray microscope delivers unparalleled nanoscale images in 3D

    A new X-ray microscope at Brookhaven National Laboratory is being used to create unparalleled high-resolution 3D images of the inner structure of materials.
     Using techniques similar to taking a very small-scale medical CAT (computer-assisted tomography) scan,
    the full field transmission x-ray microscope (TXM)
    enables scientists to directly observe structures spanning 25 nanometers -- by splicing together thousands of images into a single 3D X-ray image with "greater speed and precision than ever before." This capability is expected to power rapid advances in many fields, including energy research, environmental sciences, biology, and national defense.

    super resolution microscopy

    Governing is not easy, you have to deal with people you may not like. Some are smart some are dumb some are honest, some are not honest. Yet governing is what you have to do to make sure democracy works. ~ Leon Panetta, 5.14.2014

    by anyname on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:28:45 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Neon Vincent (10+ / 0-)

    and assistant annetteboardman for another great Science Saturday OND.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:42:44 PM PDT

  •  The Brad Pitt Rule (10+ / 0-)

    If a guy really, really likes, I think a lot of men find it one of the most nerve racking things to walk up, put out their feelings and ask a person out. If they say no, it's dispiriting but you move on. But if they say yes, the world seems a little brighter, the birds sing a little better and there's a feeling that all is right in the world.

    But what if they say yes, but yes wasn't really yes? What if instead of telling you no, or even lying and saying they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, the person "flakes" for the date and has an excuse for why they can't make it?

    One of those ultra-annoying byproducts of dating is the stand-up -- when someone just doesn't bother to show for a date, or cancels last minute, or even walks out in the middle. People can sure come up with some date cancellation doozies. Here are 18 bizarre dating no-show excuses as told by real men and women.

    1. A few years ago I was stood up. He called the next morning to apologize for missing our date because he had gone on a cocaine binge. Then he said, "So you understand, right? That's a good excuse." Hmmmm ... not really. I didn't doubt for a second that it was true!  

    2. My ex-boyfriend canceled a date with me to go to Animal Kingdom in Orlando. Ultimate low!!! To add insult to injury, he went with his business partner, a single mom from college, and I received no invite ... just a cancellation.

    3. He said he couldn't afford to buy a beer. We were supposed to meet at a dive bar and he called before to cancel saying, "I'm broke."

    4. I was on a blind date in college, and we were at a coffeehouse. Dude said he wanted to leave/end the date early because there was a gay guy checking him out and gays made him nervous. So I left instead.

    5. He said he had some crazy toe fungus that got so bad he could barely walk.

    6. He told me he couldn't make the date and couldn't call me to tell me because he was mugged and his phone was robbed. But apparently the robber returned his phone the next week as he has the same number.

    7. I once had a girl tell me she had a brain-dead aunt and the family was gathering to take her off life support.

    8. "I can't come out tonight, I'm in the ER because I stabbed myself in the leg. Right. Yeah, with a steak knife. Maybe next week?"

    9. There was the professional chef who, an hour before he was to show up, was afflicted with FOOD POISONING. Okay. It could happen, but would you admit that? Really?

    As a general rule, if someone cancels, it's important whether they suggest an alternate time. If they're really interested in you, they'll want to keep open the possibility of getting together another time.

    However, the nature of the excuse and how lame it is or isn't also matters. That's where the "Brad Pitt Rule" comes in. If someone's mother is dying, that's understandable. But ask yourself this: if instead of you, it was Brad Pitt that he or she was standing up, do you think the excuse they're giving you would keep them from going out with Brad Pitt that night?

  •  Here are a couple of recent items that (9+ / 0-)

    I’ve not seen mentioned here.  The first is a BBC report, ‘Biggest dinosaur ever’ discovered.  

    Based on its huge thigh bones, it was 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall.

    Weighing in at 77 tonnes, it was as heavy as 14 African elephants, and seven tonnes heavier than the previous record holder, Argentinosaurus.

    Scientists believe it is a new species of titanosaur - an enormous herbivore dating from the Late Cretaceous period.

    A local farm worker first stumbled on the remains in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia.

    The paleontologists found partial skeletons of seven individuals; there’s a picture of a good-sized man lying next to the largest femur, which is significantly larger than he is.

    The second is a paper ‘Neither silverfish nor fowl: the enigmatic Carboniferous Carbotriplura kukalovae Kluge, 1996 (Insecta: Carbotriplurida) is the putative fossil sister group of winged insects (Insecta: Pterygota)’ by Arnold H. Staniczek, Pavel Sroka, and Günter Bechly in Systematic Entomology.  The abstract:

    We revise the type material of the enigmatic fossil insect Carbotriplura kukalovae Kluge, 1996 from the Pennsylvanian of the Czech Republic. Multiple errors in the original description are documented and corrected. C. kukalovae is regarded as a possible transitional fossil link between Zygentoma and Pterygota. Carbotriplurida is therefore elevated to ordinal rank and considered as putative fossil sister group of Pterygota. The paranotal theory of the origin of insect wings and the parachute theory of origin of insect flight are briefly discussed and further corroborated. Testajapyx thomasi from the Pennsylvanian of Mazon Creek is tentatively considered as Dermaptera rather than Diplura.
    The first author has a nice explanation on the Science Blog of the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, but unfortunately it’s in German.

    Briefly, most insects can fly, but some cannot.  C. kukalovae is a 309 million year old fossil of a four inch long creature that appears to be the closest known relative to the flying insects, though it does not itself have wings.  It does have large eyes and long legs, suggesting that it was a diurnal climber that lived high in the Carboniferous jungle.  The thoracic and abdominal segments extend outwards on both sides and could have allowed the creature to glide, while the long tail could have been used for steering.  There is a video of modern flightless insects moving in just this fashion in the Peruvian jungle.  All of this suggests that insects developed flight via a gliding stage.

  •  Neon Vincent (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you for a load of great articles to study.
    I`ve been trying to upload a Youtube video of something I created in regards to the Egyptian artifacts in 3D.
    I`m having a bit of trouble doing so, but I will eventually succeed & post it when I do.
    I have it in QuickTime on my computer & I have a problem with it in Flickr also.
    Thank you for this evening`s great OND.
    Have a great weekend.
    Maybe here;

    I`m already against the next war.

    by Knucklehead on Sat May 17, 2014 at 10:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Thanks. (6+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:02:55 PM PDT

  •  Sensors, databases, privacy, and morality (4+ / 0-)
    Dr. Frankenstein wants his monster back: automatic facial recognition
    By Simplify, May 17, 2014
    A quick one, based upon:
    Never Forgetting a Face
    By NATASHA SINGER, May 17, 2014, The New York Times

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun May 18, 2014 at 12:30:47 AM PDT

  •  Recent evolution among Native Americans: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Neon Vincent

    From the linked article about Naia

    Yet researchers have puzzled over why the more-than-10,000-year-old Palaeoamerican skulls unearthed so far have such different morphology from those in more recent finds and from modern Native Americans. Scientists wondered whether other Native American ancestors had arrived in a later migration. The new DNA results indicate that the very different skulls of modern Native Americans have evolved on North American soil.
    Another article in the CSM:
    But mitochondrial DNA - passed down from mother to child - extracted from the girl's wisdom tooth showed she belonged to an Asian-derived genetic lineage shared only by today's Native Americans.

    This indicates cranial and other differences between the earliest New World human remains and today's Native Americans are due to evolutionary changes that unfolded after the first migrants crossed onto the land bridge, the researchers said.

    My emphasis in both cases.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:23:05 AM PDT

  •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Neon Vincent

    Sorry, I am just not making it to stay up late.  19 days since replacement of my left knee and I am doing well, but at night I do my second set of exercises, get an ice pack on and then crash and burn.

    I am not sure when I will make it back to OND at the right time, but I think of you all.  

    Best wishes to all here!!

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Sun May 18, 2014 at 09:49:03 AM PDT

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