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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 09:58 PM
Number of posts: 5,336

Journal Archives

Earth's inner core seems to be slowing its spin

Washington Post
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, January 23, 2023

In the mid-1990s scientists found evidence that Earth’s inner core, a superheated ball of iron slightly smaller than the moon, was spinning at its own pace, just a bit faster than the rest of the planet. Now a study published in Nature Geoscience suggests that around 2009, the core slowed its rotation to whirl in sync with the surface for a time — and is now lagging behind it.

The provocative findings come after years of research and deep scientific disagreements about the core and how it influences some of the most fundamental aspects of our planet, including the length of a day and fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field.

Three thousand miles below the surface, a scorching hot ball of solid iron floats inside a liquid outer core. Geologists believe that the energy released by the inner core causes the liquid in the outer core to move, generating electrical currents that in turn spawn a magnetic field surrounding the planet. This magnetic shielding protects organisms on the surface from the most damaging cosmic radiation.

Don’t panic. The core’s slowing down isn’t the beginning of the end times. The same thing appears to have happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the study authors at Peking University in China suggest it may represent a 70-year cycle of the core’s spin speeding up and slowing down.


Body Found in Van Linked to Monterey Park Ballroom Massacre

Daily Beast

Hours after a gunman turned a California ballroom into a shooting gallery —killing 10 people and wounding 10 others late Saturday—police discovered a body in a van believed to be connected to the escaped suspect.

The deceased individual was found in the driver’s seat, though there was no immediate confirmation that the body was that of the alleged shooter.

“Could it be our suspect?” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna had said of the person in the white van at an earlier press conference. “Possibly.”


People exposed to weedkiller chemical have cancer biomarkers in urine - study

The Guardian

New research by top US government scientists has found that people exposed to the widely used weedkilling chemical glyphosate have biomarkers in their urine linked to the development of cancer and other diseases.

The study, published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, measured glyphosate levels in the urine of farmers and other study participants and determined that high levels of the pesticide were associated with signs of a reaction in the body called oxidative stress, a condition that causes damage to DNA.

Oxidative stress is considered by health experts as a key characteristic of carcinogens.

The authors of the paper – 10 scientists with the National Institutes of Health and two from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – concluded that their study “contributes to the weight of evidence supporting an association between glyphosate exposure and oxidative stress in humans”.


Roundup is a commercial form of glyphosphate .

Amazon Fined For Exposing Warehouse Workers To Ergonomic Injuries

By Dave Jamieson
Jan 18, 2023, 03:11 PM EST

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday that it was hitting Amazon with a series of fines after investigating the online retailer’s workplace safety practices at three warehouses in Florida, Illinois and New York.

The agency found Amazon employees were at a “high risk” of lower-back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which officials attributed to the fast work pace in Amazon facilities. Workers at a warehouse in Florida were also in danger of being struck by heavy products that weighed more than 50 pounds, officials said.

In a letter warning Amazon of certain hazards, the agency noted that several workers had been injured at the Florida facility, including one who was hit in the face with a 61-pound piece of furniture and another whose hand was smashed by a bedframe.

Doug Parker, the head of OSHA, said on a call with reporters Wednesday that the e-commerce company had developed “impressive systems” to get customers their orders as fast as possible but had “failed to show the same level of commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of its workers.”


I hope these fines are more than just slaps on the wrist

Scientists Bred an All-Natural Flame-Resistant Cotton

Daily Beast
Maddie Bender
Published Jan. 18, 2023 2:00PM ET 

If gas stove discourse has exposed you to the wonderful world of everyday exposures to environmental pollution, might I suggest another culprit that is guaranteed to get your knickers in a twist? Flame retardants are chemicals that are used to treat every manner of household item, from mattresses to electronics to building insulation to the clothes on your back. They slow the spread of fire, but at a cost: In recent years, scientists have tied these chemicals (of which there are hundreds) to immune disruption; reproductive harm; cancer; fetal development issues; and neurologic dysfunction.

And that’s all before a fire actually starts. Firefighting foam used to extinguish blazes may contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), so-called forever chemicals that can be toxic to humans.

In a surprising development within the field of materials science, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have created a kind of cotton that naturally self-extinguishes when set on fire. And they did it by interbreeding existing lines of cotton, meaning that farmers can grow this cotton without a lengthy approval process. A study describing this new line of cotton was published on Jan. 18 in the journal PLoS ONE.

“This is the unexpected cherry on top of a long, fruitful and still ongoing USDA project involving many scientists, years and locations,” Gregory Thyssen, a cotton chemistry researcher at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, told The Daily Beast in an email. While researchers have previously identified natural flame retardant properties in brown-colored cotton, “The new study is the first report of a white cotton line with the property,” he said.


Human Genome Recovered From 5,700-Year-Old Chewing Gum

Modern chewing gums, which often contain polyethylene plastic, could stick around for tens or even hundreds of years, and perhaps much longer in the right conditions. Some of the first chewing gums, made of birch tar and other natural substances, have been preserved for thousands of years, including a 5,700-year-old piece of Stone Age gum unearthed in Denmark.

For archaeologists, the sticky stuff’s longevity can help piece together the lives of ancient peoples who masticated on the chewy tar. The ancient birch gum in Scandinavia preserved enough DNA to reconstruct the full human genome of its ancient chewer, identify the microbes that lived in her mouth, and even reveal the menu of a prehistoric meal.

“These birch pitch chewing gums are kind of special in terms of how well the DNA is preserved. It surprised us,” says co-author Hannes Schroeder, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “It’s as well-preserved as some of the best petrous [skull] bones that we’ve analyzed, and they are kind of the holy grail when it comes to ancient DNA preservation.”

Birch pitch, made by heating the tree’s bark, was commonly used across Scandinavia as a prehistoric glue for attaching stone tools to handles. When found, it commonly contains toothmarks. Scientists suspect several reasons why people would have chewed it: to make it malleable once again after it cooled, to ease toothaches because it’s mildly antiseptic, to clean teeth, to ease hunger pains, or simply because they enjoyed it.


Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54

Source: BBC

Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Rock legend Elvis, has died aged 54, her mother says.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla Presley said.

Lisa Marie, also a singer, was earlier rushed to hospital. Media reports say she suffered cardiac arrest.

She was found unresponsive at her home in Calabasas, California, sources told US outlet TMZ.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-64255117

When the Music's Over (a parody)

When the Speaker Vote's Over

When the voting's over
When the voting's over
When the voting's over
They'll vote again
They'll vote again
Fail vote again

When Donnie is his special friend
Pants on fire again and again
Donnie is their only friend
When will it end?
When will it end?
When will it end?

Cancel our subscription to the insurrection
Send them all to the House of Detention
Send all their friends inside

Until the end.

(Apologies to writers John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek & Jim Morrison, 'When the Music's Over')

A new test for autism hopes to help doctors diagnose before symptoms show

NBC News
Jan. 5, 2023, 8:23 AM EST
By Evan Bush

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind test for autism that they say can find markers of risk in a single strand of hair, an innovation that might help clinicians identify it in young children before they miss developmental milestones. 

The test — which is still in the early stages of development by the startup LinusBio and a ways from federal approval — is a diagnostic aid, meant to assist clinicians in identifying autism but not to be relied on alone. Because hair catalogs a history of exposures to metals and other substances, the technology uses an algorithm to analyze it for patterns of particular metals the researchers say are associated with autism. 

This test is the first to analyze this type of exposure history over time. The analysis predicted autism accurately about 81% of the time, according to a peer-reviewed study published last month in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. 

The researchers hope the technology could help children receive early intervention treatments sooner and also lead to the development of new drugs or therapy models for young children.  



Hope is the thing with feathers

Emily Dickinson - 1830-1886

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

The photo is from a beautiful collection posted on Bored Panda by Roesellen Raimond.
The fox images are amazing.

Link: https://www.boredpanda.com/nature-wildlife-photography-roeselien-raimond/
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