MIT scientists identify a plasma plume that naturally protects the earth against solar storms.
The Earth’s magnetic field, or magnetosphere, stretches from the planet’s core out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun. For the most part, the magnetosphere acts as a shield to protect the Earth from this high-energy solar activity.
But when this field comes into contact with the Sun’s magnetic field — a process called “magnetic reconnection” — powerful electrical currents from the Sun can stream into Earth’s atmosphere, whipping up geomagnetic storms and space weather phenomena that can affect high-altitude aircraft, as well as astronauts on the International Space Station.
Now scientists at MIT and NASA have identified a process in the Earth’s magnetosphere that reinforces its shielding effect, keeping incoming solar energy at bay.
Electronic cigarettes, which deliver a heated aerosol of nicotine mimicking conventional cigarettes, was associated with higher odds of cigarette smoking by adolescents, whose use of e-cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012.
Lauren M. Dutra, Sc.D., and Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., of the Center for Tobacco Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco.
E-cigarettes are marketed in much the same way cigarette manufacturers marketed conventional cigarettes in the 1950s and 1960s, including on TV and the radio where cigarette advertising has been banned for more than 40 years. Studies have shown that exposing young people to cigarette advertising can cause them to start smoking. E-cigarettes also are sold in flavors (e.g. strawberry, licorice and chocolate) that are banned in conventional cigarettes because they appeal to young people.
High beach bacterial diversity may contribute to less water contamination.
Human activity influences ocean beach bacterial communities, and bacterial diversity may indicate greater ecological health and resiliency to sewage contamination, according to results published March 5, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Elizabeth Halliday from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and colleagues.
Beaches all contain bacteria, but some bacteria are usually from sewage and may contaminate the water, posing a public health risk. In this study, scientists studied bacterial community composition at two distant beaches (Avalon, California, and Provincetown, Massachusetts) during levels of normal- and high-contamination (measured using a fecal or ‘poop’ indicator) by genetically sequencing over 600,000 bacteria from 24 dry sand, intertidal sand, and overlying water sampling sites at the locations. Waters at the Avalon site frequently violate water quality standards, while waters at the Provincetown site have infrequent water quality violations.
Reconstruction of Torvosaurus gurneyi in lateral view (artwork by Simao Mateus, used with permission and modified). Scale bars=1 m (A) and 10 cm (B)
et al./ PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088905.g004)
New dinosaur species estimated up to 10 meters long and 4-5 tons.
Multiple images of a distant quasar are visible in this combined view from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. The Chandra data were used to directly measure the spin of the supermassive black hole powering this quasar. (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Michigan/R.C.Reis et al; Optical: NASA/STScI)
Astronomers at the University of Michigan have, for the first time, directly measured the spin of a distant supermassive black hole.
astronomy, black holes, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, light, NASA, Nature (journal), physics, science, Supermassive black hole, technology