Thu January 16, 2014

An Old Tree Doesn't Get Taller, But Bulks Up Like A Bodybuilder

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:12 am

The world's biggest trees, such as this large Scots pine in Spain's Sierra de Baza range, are also the world's fastest-growing trees, according to an analysis of 403 tree species spanning six continents.
Asier Herrero Nature

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.

Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.

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Thu January 16, 2014
Shots - Health News

Florida Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana For Child Seizures

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:57 pm

Marilyn Budzynski takes care of her 20-year-old son, Michael, in Eustis, Fla., in September. Michael suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
Tom Benitez MCT /Landov

Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.

But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.

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Wed January 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Pregnant Women Warned Against Drinking Water In W.Va. Area

The Freedom Industries facility sits on the banks of the Elk River last Friday, in Charleston, W.Va., site of a chemical spill that has led to a ban on using tap water in the area. The CDC says pregnant women in affected areas should drink only bottled water.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women who live in the areas of West Virginia where a toxic chemical leaked into the water supply last week to drink bottled water, even in places where the no-use ban has been lifted. The move comes "out of an abundance of caution," the CDC and the state's Bureau of Public Health say.

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Wed January 15, 2014

The Science Behind Flying In V Formation

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

A flock of Northern bald ibises forms a flying V.
Courtesy of Markus Unsöld


Wed January 15, 2014
All Tech Considered

Innovation: A Charger That Keeps Your Phone Germ-Free

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:10 pm

PhoneSoap uses UV-C light to clean your phone while it charges.
Courtesy of PhoneSoap


Wed January 15, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Choice Is Yours: The Fate Of Free Will

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BASE jumping: Could there be any other explanation for this than free will?

Everyone wants to be free; or at least have some choice in life. We all have our professional, family and social commitments. On the other hand, most people believe that they are free to choose what to do, from the simplest to the more complex: should I drink coffee with sugar or sweetener? Do I put some money in the savings or do I spend it all? Who should I vote for in the next elections? Should I marry Carmen or not?

The question of free will is essentially a question of agency, of who is in charge as we go through our lives making all sorts of choices.

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Wed January 15, 2014

Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:21 pm



And later this year, billions of people around the world will become obsessed by sounds like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

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Tue January 14, 2014
The Two-Way

First Land-Walking Fish Looks Like It Had 'All-Wheel Drive'

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:15 pm

An updated rendering of Tiktaalik based on new research published in PNAS.
Kalliopi Monoyios

A creature that lived 375 million years ago and is thought to have been the first fish to have made the transition to land sported large pelvic bones in addition to its leg-like front fins, new research shows, suggesting that it was a more efficient walker than previously thought.

Tiktaalik roseae, discovered in 2004 on Ellesmere Island in Nunavit, Canada, is a key transitional fossil that links lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods, the first four-limbed vertebrates at the end of the Devonian period.

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Tue January 14, 2014
The Salt

Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:52 pm

A mathematician's sweet dream: For about $10,000, you can print out rainbow sugar dodecahedrons and interlocking cubes.
3D Systems


Tue January 14, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Ghosts Of Physics

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:36 pm

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The IceCube observatory at the South Pole looks for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources, like exploding stars.
NSF Xinhua/Landov

Right now, as you are reading these very words, trillions of particles called neutrinos are streaming through your body. Hardly a single atom in your body feels their passage. Hardly one of the trillion neutrinos feels your presence. They are ghosts to you as you are to them. But that doesn't mean these tiny flecks of matter don't matter.

Neutrinos, it turns out, have shaped the universe and their remarkable story has now been expertly told in a new book by astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana. It's called Neutrino Hunters.

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