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This year’s flu shot doesn’t match virus circulating: report

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122532605001_6122532918001-vs This year's flu shot doesn't match virus circulating: report Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox-news/health/medical-research fox-news/health/infectious-disease/vaccines fnc/health fnc article 9be630bd-4d9e-5f5c-a41f-bb8a1aa4dd1f

There’s more bad news about the flu: The main strain of flu that’s circulating right now doesn’t exactly match what’s in this year’s flu shot, according to a new report.

However, the strain in the vaccine may still be close enough to offer some protection, officials said.

The news comes amid a particularly severe flu season in the U.S.; the season started early, and it’s unclear if flu activity has peaked yet.

6 FLU VACCINE MYTHS

At the start of the season, officials noticed something very unusual: The main strain of flu virus circulating was a type called influenza B. Typically, influenza B does not cause as many cases as influenza A strains (H1N1 and H3N2) and tends to show up later in the flu season, not at the beginning. Indeed, the last time influenza B dominated flu activity in the U.S. was during the 1992-1993 flu season, according to the new report. Some evidence suggests that influenza B may be more deadly in children than in adults, Live Science previously reported.

The new report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), details cases of flu among children in Louisiana, where flu has hit particularly hard. (Louisiana was one of the first states to experience elevated flu activity this season, all the way back in October 2019.)

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At one pediatric hospital in New Orleans there were more than 1,200 cases of influenza B and 23 hospitalizations among children between July 31 and Nov. 21, 2019, a time when flu activity is usually pretty low, the report said.

Officials looked at the genetic sequence of influenza B strains in a sample of 198 children in Louisiana, finding that nearly all the individuals were infected with a subgroup of influenza B that’s not in this year’s flu shot. (Specifically, the strain in circulation is known as influenza B/Victoria V1A.3 subgroup, while the strain in the flu shot is known as influenza B/Victoria V1A.1 subgroup.)

But that doesn’t mean this year’s vaccine is worthless; to the contrary, some data suggest that being vaccinated against one influenza B subgroup strain protects against other influenza B subgroup strains.

“They are close enough so the vaccine offers some protection,” Lynnette Brammer, who leads the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team, told The Washington Post. The CDC will have more data on the effectiveness of this season’s flu shot in February, the Post reported.

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So far this season, 32 U.S. children have died from the flu, according to the CDC. That’s the highest number of pediatric flu deaths reported at this point in the flu season since the CDC started tracking child flu deaths more than 15 years ago.

This season serves “as a reminder that even though influenza B viruses are less common than influenza A viruses in most seasons, influenza B virus infection can be severe in children,” the report said.

The CDC recommends the flu shot for everyone ages 6 months and older.

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Originally published on Live Science

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122532605001_6122532918001-vs This year's flu shot doesn't match virus circulating: report Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox-news/health/medical-research fox-news/health/infectious-disease/vaccines fnc/health fnc article 9be630bd-4d9e-5f5c-a41f-bb8a1aa4dd1f   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6122532605001_6122532918001-vs This year's flu shot doesn't match virus circulating: report Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox-news/health/medical-research fox-news/health/infectious-disease/vaccines fnc/health fnc article 9be630bd-4d9e-5f5c-a41f-bb8a1aa4dd1f

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Solar storms might be causing gray whales to get lost

AUSTIN, Texas — Migrating animals that live in Earth’s oceans may have a closer relationship with the sun than we thought. New research shows that healthy gray whales are nearly five times more likely to strand when there is a high prevalence of sunspots, and therefore high levels of radio waves emitted from solar storms. The researchers presented their findings here at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting on Jan. 7.

“It’s a fascinating finding,” Kenneth Lohmann, a biologist who studies magnetoreception (or how animals detect Earth’s magnetic field) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Live Science in an email. “There have been several previous reports linking magnetic storms to whale strandings, but this is a particularly well-done and convincing analysis,” said Lohmann, who was not involved in the study.

Scientists are unsure if whales use magnetoreception to navigate, but migratory whales, such as gray whales, are likely candidates because the ocean provides few other navigational cues, said study lead author Jesse Granger, a conservation biophysicist at Duke University in North Carolina.

Related: Whale Album: Giants of the Deep

From March to June, gray whales swim north from the coast of Baja California, Mexico, to the cool, food-rich waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas, north of Alaska. Whales make their return trip south beginning in November. Occasionally, a seemingly healthy gray whale strands while en route. Although there are myriad reasons why a whale might strand, one possibility is that the whale made a navigational error when something was disrupting Earth’s magnetic field or the whale’s ability to detect it — like a solar storm, for example.

Granger and her colleagues reviewed gray whale stranding data from the U.S. West Coast between 1985 and 2018 and found that live and otherwise healthy gray whales were stranding far more often when there were a high number of sunspots.

But that finding alone doesn’t explain how a sunspot could possibly cause a gray whale to get lost. Although sunspots cause a large increase in electromagnetic radiation, most of that radiation doesn’t make it to our planet’s surface, because that light is blocked or scattered by Earth’s atmosphere.

“However, there’s a huge chunk in the radio frequency (RF) wave range that does make it all the way to the Earth,” Granger said. “And, it’s been shown in several species that RF noise can disrupt a magnetic orientation ability.”

The researchers found there was a 4.8-fold increase in the likelihood that a whale would strand on days when there was high RF noise (because of solar storms) compared with low RF noise. This suggests that the whale’s magnetic receptor, or ability to read its map of the area, could be what’s causing the whale to take a detour — not that the map is incorrect, Granger said.

But scientists still don’t know for sure if whales even have a magnetoreceptive sense or not. All we know, Granger said, is that “whales are stranding a lot more often when the sun is doing crazy stuff.”

Magnetic storms are also known to cause other issues for animals unrelated to navigation, Lohmann said. “So, more work will be needed to determine whether the storms are affecting whale navigation or having some other effect.”

One of the team’s next steps, Granger said, is to see if this is a phenomenon that’s seen in other migratory species and in other parts of the world where the magnetic field may not be as easily detected.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group San-Diego-Whale-Watching-1 Solar storms might be causing gray whales to get lost LiveScience Kimberly Hickok fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/planet-earth/oceans fox-news/science fnc/science fnc b2476046-c804-518c-a609-6c4cf5d3010a article   Westlake Legal Group San-Diego-Whale-Watching-1 Solar storms might be causing gray whales to get lost LiveScience Kimberly Hickok fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/planet-earth/oceans fox-news/science fnc/science fnc b2476046-c804-518c-a609-6c4cf5d3010a article

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Can you catch a cold and the flu at the same time?

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs Can you catch a cold and the flu at the same time? Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fnc/health fnc article a98a0b56-b5cc-5b4a-ac90-ba4991b09892

Catching a cold when you already have the flu sounds like a nightmare scenario. But fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often, a new study finds.

Indeed, the researchers found that having the flu actually reduces a person’s chances of developing an infection with a common cold virus.

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“What we found is that during certain seasons when you have high levels of circulation of influenza, you are less likely to catch a cold caused by a rhinovirus [the main cause of colds],” said study lead author Dr. Pablo Murcia, a senior lecturer at the MRC-Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, said in a video about the study. This finding was true at both the population level (meaning across the population as a whole) and the individual level (meaning within an individual person).

Researchers typically study cold and flu viruses separately, “but we’ve shown here that we need to also be studying these viruses together like it’s an ecosystem,” Murcia said in a statement. “If we understand how viruses interact and how certain viral infections may favor or inhibit each other, then maybe we can develop better ways to target viruses.”

The study is published today (Dec. 16) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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More flu, less colds 

In the new study, the researchers analyzed information from more than 36,000 individuals in Scotland who provided more than 44,000 throat and nose swabs for testing for respiratory illnesses over a nine-year period. These samples were tested for 11 types of respiratory viruses, such as rhinoviruses, influenza A and B viruses, respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses.

In this population, 35 percent tested positive for at least one virus, and 8 percent tested positive for co-infection with at least two viruses.

Interestingly, a computer analysis of the data showed that when flu activity picked up in the winter, infections with rhinoviruses decreased.

“One really striking pattern in our data is the decline in cases of the respiratory virus rhinovirus … occurring during winter, around the time that flu activity increases,” said study first author Sema Nickbakhsh, a research associate at the Centre for Virus Research.

FLU DEATHS IN US REACH 1,300, CDC ESTIMATES

What’s more, when the researchers looked at individual patients, they found that people infected with influenza A were 70 percent less likely to also be infected with rhinovirus, compared with patients infected with other types of viruses.

Competing viruses 

The new study cannot determine the reason for the inhibitory effect between flu viruses and rhinovirus. But the researchers have a theory — these viruses may be in competition with each other in their quest to replicate and cause you misery.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We believe respiratory viruses may be competing for resources in the respiratory tract,” Nickbakhsh said. It may be that these viruses compete for specific cells to infect, or that a person’s immune response to one virus makes it harder for the other virus to also cause infection, she said.

And there could be other factors at play, such as people staying at home when they are sick, which may reduce the chances of catching another virus.

More studies are needed to better understand the biological mechanisms underlying these virus-virus interactions, the authors said.

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Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs Can you catch a cold and the flu at the same time? Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fnc/health fnc article a98a0b56-b5cc-5b4a-ac90-ba4991b09892   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs Can you catch a cold and the flu at the same time? Rachael Rettner LiveScience fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fnc/health fnc article a98a0b56-b5cc-5b4a-ac90-ba4991b09892

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5,700-year-old woman named ‘Lola’ has entire life revealed in her ‘chewing gum’

Thousands of years ago, a young Neolithic woman in what is now Denmark chewed on a piece of birch pitch. DNA analysis of this prehistoric “chewing gum” has now revealed, in remarkable detail, what she looked like.

The team nicknamed the young Neolithic woman “Lola” after Lolland, the island in Denmark on which the 5,700-year-old chewing gum was discovered. The Stone Age archaeological site, Syltholm, on the island of Lolland, pristinely preserved the gum in mud for the thousands of years after Lola discarded it.

It was so well-preserved that a group of scientists at the University of Copenhagen were able to extract a complete ancient human genome — all of the young girl’s genetic material — from it. They were also able to extract DNA from ancient pathogens and oral microbes that she carried in her mouth.

Related: In Images: An Ancient European Hunter Gatherer

This is the first time that an entire human genome was extracted from something other than human bones, according to a statement from the University of Copenhagen. The team’s analysis revealed that the chewer of the prehistoric gum was female, and likely had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes. They found that Lola’s genes matched more closely to hunter-gatherers from the European mainland than those who lived in central Scandinavia at the time.

The ancient chewing gum also held traces of plant and animal DNA, such as DNA from hazelnuts and duck, which might have been part of Lola’s diet, according to the statement. Finally, scientists found genes associated with “lactase non-persistence,” meaning Lola likely didn’t digest dairy very well.

Other previous archeological finds from the site had suggested “that the people who occupied the site were heavily exploiting wild resources well into the Neolithic, which is the period when farming and domesticated animals were first introduced into southern Scandinavia,” lead author Theis Jensen, a postdoctoral fellow from the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in the statement.

Finally, the researchers found DNA from oral microbes in the chewing gum, including DNA that could belong to the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis, otherwise known as “mono” or the “kissing disease.”

The birch pitch is a blackish-brown substance that’s created by heating up birch bark. This substance has been used since the Paleolithic era as glue for hafting stone tools, according to the statement.

But previously, pieces of birch pitch have been found with tooth marks, so archeologists think that as the pitch cools and solidified, it was chewed to make it moldable again before using it to glue.

Other theories suggest that people chewed the slightly antiseptic birch pitch to relieve toothaches or other illnesses. Birch pitch might also have been used for toothbrushing, to suppress hunger or even just for fun as chewing gum, according to the statement.

Ancient “chewing gums” are a relatively new source of DNA to analyze, and can help reveal the microbiome of our ancestors. It may also help explain how bacteria and viruses have changed over time.

“It can help us understand how pathogens have evolved and spread over time, and what makes them particularly virulent in a given environment,” senior author Hannes Schroeder, an associate professor from the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. “At the same time, it may help predict how a pathogen will behave in the future, and how it might be contained or eradicated.”

The findings were published on Dec. 17 in the journal Nature Communications.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group lola 5,700-year-old woman named 'Lola' has entire life revealed in her 'chewing gum' Yasemin Saplakoglu LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc cb81dd72-522c-5909-a8e7-e5cae26cf454 article   Westlake Legal Group lola 5,700-year-old woman named 'Lola' has entire life revealed in her 'chewing gum' Yasemin Saplakoglu LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc cb81dd72-522c-5909-a8e7-e5cae26cf454 article

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Diamonds buried 400 miles below surface could explain mysterious earthquakes

SAN FRANCISCO — Deep under Earth’s surface, earthquakes rumble in the mantle’s transition zone, the area that divides the upper mantle from the lower. Liquid in the mantle is thought to play a part in driving those deep earthquakes, but until now, no smoking gun could prove that fluid was present at those depths.

Now, scientists think they may have found evidence of fluid in an unlikely place: inside superdeep diamonds.

While most diamonds crystallize at depths of 87 to 124 miles (140 to 200 kilometers), superdeep diamonds are found as far as 373 to 497 miles (600 to 800 km) below the surface. Inside these gems forged at depth are tiny flaws, or inclusions, made by fluids. These flaws reveal that liquid is likely flowing in the mantle layers where the diamonds formed.

It’s this liquid that interests scientists studying the deep Earth, geochemist Steven Shirey, a senior research scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, told Live Science at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). That’s because the location and movement of these fluids might be the key to understanding deep earthquakes, Shirey said.

Related: Shine On: Photos of Dazzling Mineral Specimens

In new research, presented at the AGU meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 10), Shirey and his colleagues modeled the movement of fluid at depth using information about the spots where these diamonds formed in the mantle.

In creating these models, the scientists are hoping to connect the dots among fluid movement into the deep mantle, diamond formation “and the physical rupture properties of the rocks in that region” of the mantle-transition zone, Shirey said. As a next step, researchers need to “relate the currents of those fluids to deep-focus earthquakes,” he explained.

Deep earthquakes are energetic, frequent and “a very interesting manifestation of plate tectonics — kind of as deep as we can see plate tectonics,” Shirey said.

Just what happens at that frontier of plate tectonics “turns out to be a very interesting planetary question,” he said.

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Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group 260f75aa-CullinanDiamondGetty2014 Diamonds buried 400 miles below surface could explain mysterious earthquakes Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fnc/science fnc d1ab252d-5b16-5314-b179-4915f8b589ba article   Westlake Legal Group 260f75aa-CullinanDiamondGetty2014 Diamonds buried 400 miles below surface could explain mysterious earthquakes Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fnc/science fnc d1ab252d-5b16-5314-b179-4915f8b589ba article

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A dark river nearly 1,000 miles long may be flowing beneath Greenland’s ice

SAN FRANCISCO —Far below the frozen cover of the Greenland ice sheet sprawls miles of bedrock — and extending through that bedrock for close to 1,000 miles is a valley that may contain a subterranean river, transporting water from central Greenland to the northern coast.

In the past, planes flying overhead had partially mapped a rocky, subsurface valley under the ice, but their radar coverage of the region left gaps, said Christopher Chambers, a researcher at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

To build a clearer picture of what lurks below Greenland’s surface, Chambers and his colleagues created simulations to explore the valley at different depths and model how water might melt from the surface of a glacier to the depths below — perhaps creating a flowing river, Chambers told Live Science. He presented their findings Dec. 9 here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Related: Stunning Photos of Greenland’s Supraglacial Lakes

Radar maps showed that the valley floor was extremely level at depths of 980 feet and 1,640 feet (300 meters and 500 meters) below the surface, Chambers said. This is highly unusual for a feature that is so long, “and that in itself is like a potential smoking gun that this could be” a spot with active erosion or sediment deposition, such as a river, he explained.

First, the researchers digitally modeled the valley and removed the blocks of missing data. Once they had a continuous, open valley, they put it in a Greenland simulation, and melting water from the glacier began to redistribute itself underground, flowing along the valley’s base. In the simulations, the scientists also incorporated a known hotspot located deep in Greenland’s interior, and they found that the hotspot generated enough flowing water to travel along the valley all the way from Greenland’s center to the northern coast.

“Eventually if you get it deep enough — minus 500 meters [1,640 feet] — the water is now flowing the entire length along the valley and then exiting at Petermann Fjord,” creating a pathway that measures up to 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) long Chambers said.

Because this river would be running in darkness for hundreds of miles under the ice, the researchers named it “the Dark River,” they wrote in a summary of their research. The Dark River likely doesn’t have a very strong or constant flow, because glacier melt disperses over a large area, Chambers said. The river could occasionally be quite powerful “but only at certain times,” when large reservoirs of meltwater build up and then release into the valley, he added.

Image Gallery: Greenland’s Melting Glaciers

Photos: Craters Hidden Beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Images of Melt: Earth’s Vanishing Ice

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group GreenlandGetty2018 A dark river nearly 1,000 miles long may be flowing beneath Greenland's ice Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fnc/science fnc article 5c08944a-43a1-52c1-93da-ecbe4ad40119   Westlake Legal Group GreenlandGetty2018 A dark river nearly 1,000 miles long may be flowing beneath Greenland's ice Mindy Weisberger LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/geology fnc/science fnc article 5c08944a-43a1-52c1-93da-ecbe4ad40119

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Stunning warrior grave — complete with chariot, horses — uncovered in England

Inside a 2,200-year-old grave, archaeologists have discovered a stunning Iron Age shield, along with a chariot and two ponies buried in a leaping pose, in what archaeologists are calling one of the most important discoveries in the U.K.

A team of archaeologists led by Paula Ware of MAP Archaeological Practice Ltd. discovered the grave near Pocklington, England. The shield, which is about 30 inches (75 centimeters) across, “was discovered in July 2018, but its true glory was only revealed recently once conservation was completed,” Ware told Live Science. The restoration revealed that the shield is decorated with a series of complex swirls and what looks like a sphere protruding from its center.

Related: See Photos of Another Stunning Chariot Burial

The grave also held the remains of a man who was in his 40s when he died. In addition to the chariot and two “leaping” ponies, the site was filled with several pig joints and a feasting fork attached to a pork rib, Ware said. Two small brooches — one made of bronze and the other of glass — were also found in the tomb. The elaborate nature of the burial indicates that the deceased man must have been “a significant member of his society,” Ware said.

Ware agreed with what other media outlets have suggested about the significance of the find: It is one of the most important ancient discoveries ever made in the U.K. “Yes, especially as it has been excavated under modern archaeological conditions,” she told Live Science.

Ancient chariots are not altogether uncommon in burials. A 2,000-year-old Thracian chariot was discovered in 2008 alongside the bones of two horses and a dog in what is now Bulgaria, Live Science previously reported. The practice of burying noblemen near chariots in Bulgaria was especially popular during the time of the Roman Empire, which lasted from about 2,100 to 1,500 years ago. Some 2,500 years ago, a Celtic prince in what is today France was buried in a lavish tomb complete with gorgeous pottery, a gold-tipped drinking vessel and … a chariot, Live Science reported. Archaeologists announced in 2014 that they had discovered a 4,000-year-old burial chamber holding two four-wheeled chariots and plenty of treasures in the country of Georgia, in the south Caucasus.

The newfound grave and chariot were discovered when the archaeological team was excavating an area where homes were going to be built. The researchers plan to submit a paper describing the finds to a scientific publication.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group ancient-warrior-grave Stunning warrior grave — complete with chariot, horses — uncovered in England Owen Jarus LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc article 065df3c1-6936-5aa0-b04f-ecd7fb6622c6   Westlake Legal Group ancient-warrior-grave Stunning warrior grave — complete with chariot, horses — uncovered in England Owen Jarus LiveScience fox-news/columns/digging-history fnc/science fnc article 065df3c1-6936-5aa0-b04f-ecd7fb6622c6

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Student solves a decades-old physics mystery

A university student recently solved a question that’s puzzled physicists for over half a century: Why do gas bubbles appear to get stuck inside narrow vertical tubes? The answer may help explain the behavior of natural gases that are trapped in porous rocks.

Years ago, physicists noticed that gas bubbles in a sufficiently narrow tube filled with liquid did not move. But that’s “kind of a paradox,” said senior author John Kolinski, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

That’s because the gas bubble is less dense than the liquid surrounding it, so it should rise to the top of the tube (just as  air bubbles in a glass of sparkling water will rise to the top). What’s more, the only resistance to flow in a liquid comes when that liquid is moving, but in this case the fluid is standing still.

Related: Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings

To solve the case of the stubborn bubble, Kolinski and Wassim Dhaouadi, who was an undergraduate engineering student working in Kolinski’s lab at the time and is now completing a master’s degree at ETH Zurich, decided to probe it using a method called “interference microscopy.” This method is the same one that’s used by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector to find gravitational waves, Kolinski said.

But in this case, the researchers used a custom-made microscope that shines a light onto the sample and measures the intensity of the light that bounces back. Because light bounces back differently based on what it hits, measurements of the light bouncing back can help researchers figure out how “thick” a material is. In this way, they probed a buoyant bubble trapped inside a thin tube filled with an alcohol called isopropanol. The alcohol allowed them to have a “self-cleaning experiment,” which was necessary because the results would have been messed up by any kind of contamination or dirt, Kolinski said.

Starting with a scientist named Bretherton in the 1960s, researchers probed this phenomenon theoretically, but it was never directly measured before. Some calculations suggested that the bubble is surrounded by an extremely thin layer of liquid touching the sides of the tube, which slowly diminishes in size and eventually disappears, Kolinski said. That thin layer would create resistance to the motion of the bubble as it tries to rise.

The researchers indeed observed this very thin layer around the gas bubble and measured it to be about 1 nanometer thick. That’s what quenches the movement of the bubble as theoretical work had predicted. But they also found that the liquid layer (which forms because the pressure in the gas bubble pushes against the walls of the tube) doesn’t disappear, but rather stays at a constant thickness at all times.

Based on their measurements of the thin layer of fluid, they were also able to calculate its velocity. They found that the gas bubble isn’t stuck at all but is rather moving “extraordinarily slowly,” at a pace invisible to the naked eye, due to the resistance caused by the thin layer, Kolinski said. However, they also found that by heating up the liquid and bubble, they were able to make the thin layer disappear — a novel idea that could be “exciting” to explore in future research, he added.

Their findings could help inform the earth sciences field. “Whenever you have a gas that’s confined in a porous medium,” such as natural gas in porous rock, or if you’re trying to go the opposite direction and trap carbon dioxide inside rock, then you have lots of gas bubbles that are in confined spaces, Kolinski said. “Our observations are relevant to the physics of how these gas bubbles are confined.”

But the other part of the excitement is that this study shows “you can have people at all stages of their career making valuable contributions,” Kolinski said. Dhaouadi “drove the project toward a successful outcome,” Kolinski said.

The findings were published Dec. 2 in the journal Physical Review Fluids.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group student-physics-problem Student solves a decades-old physics mystery Yasemin Saplakoglu LiveScience fnc/science fnc article 8652cf3f-12ce-5871-b803-70860de37a2b   Westlake Legal Group student-physics-problem Student solves a decades-old physics mystery Yasemin Saplakoglu LiveScience fnc/science fnc article 8652cf3f-12ce-5871-b803-70860de37a2b

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Hoag’s object is a galaxy within a galaxy within a galaxy (and nobody knows why)

Look closely at the serpent constellation slithering through the northern sky, and you might see a galaxy within a galaxy within a galaxy.

This cosmic turducken is known as Hoag’s object, and it has befuddled stargazers since astronomer Arthur Hoag discovered it in 1950.

The object in question is a rare, ring-shaped galaxy measuring some 100,000 light-years across (slightly larger than the Milky Way) and located 600 million light-years from Earth. In a recent image of the oddball object taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and processed by geophysicist Benoit Blanco, a bright ring of billions of blue stars forms a perfect circle around a much smaller and denser sphere of reddish stars. In the dark gap between the two stellar circles, another ring galaxy — much, much farther away from us — peeks out to say hello.

What’s going on here, and what tore Hoag’s object in two? Astronomers still aren’t sure; ring galaxies account for less than 0.1% of all known galaxies, and so they aren’t the easiest objects to study. Hoag himself suggested that the galaxy’s peculiar ring formation was merely an optical illusion caused by gravitational lensing (an effect that occurs when extremely high-mass objects bend and magnify light). Later studies with better telescopes disproved this idea.

Another popular hypothesis suggests that Hoag’s object was once a more common, disk-shaped galaxy but an ancient collision with a neighboring galaxy ripped a hole through the disk’s belly and permanently warped its gravitational pull. If such a collision occurred in the last 3 billion years, then astronomers looking through radio telescopes should have been able to see some of the fallout from the accident. No such evidence has been found.

If there was a cosmic crash at the core of Hoag’s object, it must have happened so long ago that all the evidence has been swept away. With only a handful of other known ring galaxies available to study (none of which shows the perfectly symmetrical characteristics found in this one), Hoag’s object remains a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma — you know, like a turducken.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group hoags-object Hoag's object is a galaxy within a galaxy within a galaxy (and nobody knows why) LiveScience fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fnc/science fnc d0cfd48f-515e-52b1-936b-d6e558f9c037 Brandon Specktor article   Westlake Legal Group hoags-object Hoag's object is a galaxy within a galaxy within a galaxy (and nobody knows why) LiveScience fox-news/science/air-and-space/astronomy fnc/science fnc d0cfd48f-515e-52b1-936b-d6e558f9c037 Brandon Specktor article

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Is it safe to eat roadkill?

Each year, vehicles kill hundreds of thousands of animals on roads in the U.S., according to the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. That number could actually be much higher because not all accidents involving animals may be reported.

IS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN DEER DANGEROUS FOR HUMANS?

Rather than seeing those animals spoil and go to waste by the side of the road, dozens of states allow people to legally collect the meat for consumption.

Many carnivorous animals scavenge from prey that are already dead. But how can you know if roadkill is safe for humans to eat?

Collecting roadkill for eating is legal in over 20 states, including Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The most recent addition to this list is California; in October, legislators legalized roadkill harvesting from three regions in the state with “high wildlife collisions,” The Sacramento Bee reported. Under the terms of the new law, deer, elk, wild pigs and pronghorn antelope are fair game if they are killed in a car collision, according to the Bee.

Animals that die from their injuries after being hit by a car can be eaten safely —  provided you follow some basic precautions, said Nicole Meier, an information and education specialist at the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. That begins with an inspection of the animal to make sure that it wasn’t sick or injured before the impact that killed it, Meier told Live Science.

CAN A PERSON SURVIVE EATING ONLY BEEF?

Once that initial once-over is done, there are three variables that could make roadkill harmful to consume, Meier said. The first of those is heat. If a dead animal has been sprawled on a roadside in hot weather, it’s possible that the meat is unsafe to eat unless it was recently killed (for example, if you hit it yourself and know how long it’s been dead).

“If it’s summertime and that deer has been sitting on the highway — let’s just say for more than like 10 or 15 minutes — I would be super leery of it,” Meier said.

Bacteria typically multiply faster in higher temperatures; they grow most rapidly in temperatures ranging between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 60 degrees Celsius), and they can double in number in as little as 20 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. When the weather is warm, roadkill flesh becomes a potential hotbed of microbes that could lead to illness. In fact, after an animal has been dead for some time you can see bloating because of all the microbes breeding and producing gasses in its gut, Meier said.

Beyond salvage

Other factors to consider are the presence of dirt and water, which could expose the animal to environmental microbes. For example, if an animal is lying in a dirty puddle by the side of the road, the meat may be beyond salvage, Meier said.  Even if the carcass is cool, dry and relatively clean, you would still need to make sure that the stomach and intestines weren’t punctured; leaking gut bacteria could make the animal’s flesh inedible, according to Meier.

However, you may have to report to your state’s wildlife enforcement to let them know that you would like to harvest the animal before you help yourself.

For example, if you want to collect meat from roadkill in Vermont, you would need to call a game warden to get a special permit for transporting wildlife, Meier said. If you’ve never butchered an animal before, some states’ fish and wildlife departments offer classes for processing wild game, she said.

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Although the idea of eating roadkill may seem foreign to some people, game meat is a healthy and natural source of protein — and how the animal died shouldn’t rule it out as a viable meal, Meier added.

“[Eating] wild game is something that is so deeply rooted in Vermont — and really in the U.S.,” said Meier. “The more that we can sustainably harvest, the better off we will be.”

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Originally published on Live Science.

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