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Showing posts from 2019

How Nature Makes You Feel Good

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Stressed, anxious or depressed? Take a trip to a local park, hike in the mountains, stroll on the beach or explore a garden for a natural mood boost. Even sitting on a park bench to listen to the birds chirp and the leaves rustle can make you feel calmer and happier. What's happening? Science can explain.Stock Images and Video of Nature The sun provides you with vitamin D which is used in a variety of bodily functions, including regulating one’s mood. Natural light also provides you with melatonin, a chemical that helps you sleep. Being in nature can also help you disconnect. A recent study found that people who check their emails or texts constantly, actually have higher heart rates. Kids look at screens 7 hours or more a day now, leading to higher obesity rates, attention disorders and even depression. Luckily, there’s an easy remedy. Just step outside and enjoy! Even in a major city, you can take a trip to a local park or green space.Custom Framed Prints, Mugs, Shower Curtain…

The Women of Coding

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In 1833, Lady Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, became the first computer programmer when she created a machine for computing called the Analytical Engine. Her partner, Charles Babbage, designed the hardware, while Lovelace focused on the machine’s inner workings or what we now call “software.” Bringing the machine to its absolute limit, Lovelace published the first computer algorithm in 1843. Lovelace’s legacy would continue into the 20th century, as women entered the workforce. While men were busy fighting WWII, a group of female computer scientists, including Betty Holberton, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Fran Bilas and Betty Jean Jennings programmed the ENIAC, one of the first general purpose computers. Although they were called “subprofessionals” by their peers and “refrigerator girls” by historians, Hoberton and her team used ENIAC to make crucial calculations on the trajectory of ballistic missiles for the US and its allies. View More Wo…

Climate Change, Extreme Weather and the Jet Stream

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In the last decade or so, we’ve experienced giant tornados, damaging wildfires, flood-inducing rainstorms, fatal heat waves, and droughts destroying crops and livestock like never before. At the same time the polar jet stream, a westerly wind generated by solar radiation and the corollas effect (a phenomenon that creates our weather), has been behaving in unprecedented ways. Scientists believe this is not a coincidence, rather it is related.Stock Images of Climate Change,
Extreme Weather and the Jet Stream
Normally, the jet stream travels either in a straight line or undulates in waves called Rossby waves. Rossby waves bring warm air northward and cold air southward. This can create a temporary heat wave or a rainstorm. The jet stream is powered by the temperature differential between the cold arctic air and the warmer air in the lower latitudes. As global warming continues to warm the arctic air, the jet stream is losing its power. The Rossby waves have become larger, expanding mu…

What You Need to Know About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

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Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are largely unfamiliar terms. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are affected by these conditions, however, many people still don’t know how to identify the two, or understand how they relate and differ. Crohn’s and colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which result from an overactive immune response that treats the normal, healthy contents of the colon (such as good bacteria and food) as foreign invaders. When the immune system detects a foreign substance, it sends a sea of white blood cells to the site of this substance, which in turn causes inflammation. Victims of IBD struggle to experience healthy digestion that doesn’t involve their system getting unnecessarily attacked by an immune response. The body’s reactions to these two diseases are often described similarly: loss of appetite, weight loss, urgent bowel movements, diarrhea, and fatigue. They are both long-term (chronic) conditions; individuals who are affected will likel…

The Great Insect Crisis

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While bugs might not make everyone's list of favorite animals they play a vital role in the world’s ecosystems and today they face an existential threat. Globally, 40% of insect species are in decline, amounting to a 2.5% decrease each year. The cause is linked primarily to man-made pesticides. Industrial farms spray their crops with barrels of pesticides each year, killing insects and preventing larval development. Studies from Puerto Rico and Germany show the devastating impact of industrial farming in local areas, and the effects are believed to be worldwide. Other factors include global warming and urbanization, which have reduced insect habitats and damaged the environment.Insect Stock Photo Gallery The decline in insects, while startling on its face, has an even greater impact on the world at large. Insects are essential to most of the world’s ecosystems. Pollinating insects generate plant species while continuing the cycle of life. Carnivorous insects devour rotting ca…

The Dead Do Tell Tales

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A murder victim can no longer speak like you and I can, but through scientific methods, they may have an awful lot to say. This is the science of forensics, and there are many branches of it. Forensics has been popularized by many TV show, books, and movies. Everyone is familiar with the fast-paced crime solving that is showcased: a piece of evidence gets delivered to a crime lab, within hours or mere minutes it is analyzed, and the forensic scientist is off to capture the criminal.Stock Images of Forensic Science In reality, what forensic scientists do is a bit different. They rarely, if ever, visit a crime scene, and they certainly don’t chase down suspects, gun in hand, after spending an hour in the lab doing DNA analysis. A typical forensic scientist spends their entire day in the lab. Most DNA takes about 30 days to process due to budgetary constraints and the vast number of cases. Despite not usually doing filed work, the excitement and rewards of being part of a successful ca…

Black History Month Started at Negro History Week.

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In 1925 Carter G. Woodson announced that Negro History Week, a celebration of African Americans’ contributions to US history, would be held the following year. He chose the week in February when both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were born. Woodson said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Stock Images and Videos about Black History Month Woodson was born in 1875 in Virginia to parents who were former slaves. Growing up in a large, poor family, Woodson could not attend school on a regular basis. He was mostly self-taught. He even continued his studies while he worked as a coal miner. At the age of 20, he entered Douglass High School, graduating in only two years. He went on to attend college and continued his schooling for many years. In 1912 Woodson received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. The popularity of Negro History Week g…

Alchemy and the Road to Science

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Today alchemy conjures up images of boiling cauldrons and magic elixirs, but the past reveals its lasting impact on the foundation of science. Alchemy began in ancient Egypt, sometime between the 4th and 3rd century BC, with the aim of transmuting base metals (i.e led) into noble metals, such as gold. In the 8th century AD, Arab alchemists invented the first laboratories for transmutation, creating complex methods of classification and documentation. Jabir ibn Hayyan and Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi even made breakthroughs in chemistry, discovering sulfuric and hydrochloric acid. Alchemy Stock Photos Islamic alchemy inspired the later European search for the philosopher’s stone, an object believed to turn base metals into gold and bestow its owner with eternal life. The investigation lasted hundreds of years and although unsuccessful, produced countless experiments and lengthy chronicles of their results. The pursuit of the philosopher’s stone was echoed in China by the search for t…

Around the World in 118 Elements

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Look around. How many things exist in the world? Consider that every one of them is comprised of only 118 elements.  In order to understand these elements, we needed a means of organizing and categorizing them. Human beings struggled for millennia to devise such a system and In 1869,  the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev gave us the periodic table as we know it.Stock Images & Video of the Periodic Table Mendeleev created a diagram that resembles a lopsided castle. Each row and column has its own meaning. Each element appears in order according to the number of its protons. For example, H (hydrogen) comes first with 1 proton, He (helium) with 3 protons, and so forth through to Og (oganesson) with 118 protons. The vertical columns, or groups, tells us the number of electrons in the outer orbital and the rows, or periods, tell us the number of electron orbitals an element has. At 46 percent, Oxygen is the most common element on earth.  Carbon is found in all living things: people, d…

Have We Found the True Cause of Alzheimer's?

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Alzheimer’s has been a mysterious disease ever since it was discovered. Considered to be a condition that fits into the dementia category, Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by physical changes in the brain that deteriorate brain function, cognitive ability, and memory in a certain pattern. People who are at least 65 years old are most often affected, however, there are also early-onset cases. The progression of Alzheimer’s happens over decades and since the brain is such a complicated organ, it has been difficult for scientists to study. The brain of the patient that had the first named case of Alzheimer’s disease was found to have amyloid (protein) plaques and tao tangles (tangles of fibers) within it. These abnormalities have long been considered by medical professionals to be one of the main causes of the disease, however recent studies suggest that the true cause could be another condition that happens initially, and this abnormal tissue growth may be a secondary symptom.Stock…

How the Stars Got Their Colors

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After seeing hundreds of dazzling galaxies and nebulae in print, one might have a preconceived notion of what it’s like to look through a telescope. The reality, however, is somewhat different. Celestial objects such as galaxies, star clusters, and planetary systems are some of the most beautiful treasures in outer space. Unfortunately, they’re so far away that they mostly appear faint to the naked eye, even when viewed through a telescope. The problem is that, unlike a camera, our eyes cannot adjust their exposure time in order to soak up more light from these distant objects. For astrophotographers to get the vibrant colors of a nebula or galaxy, they need to rely on a number of techniques, including long exposures, color compositing and sometimes editing in post-production. Eagle Nebula, Messier 16. SS2596669. The famous Eagle Nebula pictured here is actually three monochromatic images mapped to different color wavelengths combined to create one image. Some might say that this mak…