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ICE, ICE, BABY  For years, Death Valley presented visitors with a mystery: those of the famed “sliding rocks.”  What made these small boulders seemingly glide across the playa, leaving tilled soil tracks in their wake?  The answer appears in the scientific journal PLOS One: a layer of ice, and a push from the wind.  Nature’s game of curling, we’d guess.  (Photos [from top]: Richard Norris / Jim Norris / Michael Hartman via The New York Times)

As many as 75 scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle dangerous pathogens, a spokesman for the federal health agency said Thursday.

The agency was testing a new way to kill anthrax, which they discovered did not work as well as they expected.

None of the potentially infected scientists have any symptoms, but a number of them are being treated with antibiotics “out of an abundance of caution,” the spokesman, Thomas Skinner, said.

The lapse occurred sometime from June 6 to June 13. Workers in three labs who were not wearing protective gear moved and experimented with samples of the highly infectious bacteria that were supposed to have been deactivated, the agency said.

It added in a statement that procedures used in two of those laboratories in Atlanta, where the C.D.C. is based, may have “aerosolized the spores,” essentially blowing the bacteria into the air. The exposure was discovered June 13, when the bacterial plates were collected for disposal and live B. anthracis colonies, or anthrax bacteria, were found.

“The likelihood that anyone was actually exposed is very small,” Mr. Skinner said.

Anthrax infects humans by touch, by inhalation or by consuming it. The inhaled form is the most dangerous, and among the 18 such cases identified in the United States during the 20th century, the fatality rate was around 75 percent, according to the C.D.C.’s website. After the terrorist attack in fall 2001 in which B. anthracis spores were released through the mail, five of the 11 people who were ill died.

The New York Times, "CDC Details Anthrax Scare for Scientists at Facilities."

Christ almighty.

The (English soccer) team has been working with a sports psychologist, and even Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist, has weighed in.

After analyzing all 204 penalties taken during the World Cup, Hawking recommended striking the ball with the side of the foot instead of the laces and taking a run-up of more than three steps.

Fair-haired and bald players are more likely to score a penalty, which Hawking called “one of science’s great mysteries.”

Clearly, England needs any help it can get.

“As we say in science,” Hawking told reporters, “England couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.”

The New York Times, "England’s Hope Springs Leaks."

Stephen Hawking?  More like Stephen Hating, amirite England?

This is an actual time-lapse video, comprising images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope over a four-year period, of the exploding star V8C8 Monocerotis.  It also represents GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political career as of the June 10 Virginia primary.  (via Sploid)

ucresearch:

What can a cell tell us about our health?
A misshapen nucleus is bad news. For any given cell, the nucleus — the home of most of a cell’s genetic material — generally takes a fairly consistent shape. But when things go wrong and disease takes hold, the nucleus can become deformed. 
From the video: The Squishiness of Cancer Cells →

ucresearch:

What can a cell tell us about our health?


A misshapen nucleus is bad news. For any given cell, the nucleus — the home of most of a cell’s genetic material — generally takes a fairly consistent shape. But when things go wrong and disease takes hold, the nucleus can become deformed. 

From the video: The Squishiness of Cancer Cells 

Inside a submerged cave in Mexico, scientists find the first evidence of a link between Native Americans and the Siberians they are thought to have descended from in the form of a complete, preserved skeleton.  (Photos: Paul Nicklen / National Geographic and Roberto Chavez Arce / Science Magazine via the AP / New York Times)

This headline is misleading. 

It should read “Conservatives Lose Climate Change Debate to Bill Nye.  Like, Badly.”

This headline is misleading.

It should read “Conservatives Lose Climate Change Debate to Bill Nye. Like, Badly.”

Physicist Alan Guth, seen here circa the 1970’s, around the same time he made his “spectacular realization” — that the reason why "the heavens look uniform from pole to pole and not like a jagged, warped mess" was because of "cosmic inflation" — the swelling of the universe immediately after the Big Bang, at speeds faster than light.  Now, radio astronomers have discovered gravitational waves, dating back to when the universe was "roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old" that appear to have proven Guth’s theory.
Mind blown.  Also, I’m drinking Coke from now on.
(Photo via Scientific American)

Physicist Alan Guth, seen here circa the 1970’s, around the same time he made his “spectacular realization” — that the reason why "the heavens look uniform from pole to pole and not like a jagged, warped mess" was because of "cosmic inflation" — the swelling of the universe immediately after the Big Bang, at speeds faster than light.  Now, radio astronomers have discovered gravitational waves, dating back to when the universe was "roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old" that appear to have proven Guth’s theory.

Mind blown.  Also, I’m drinking Coke from now on.

(Photo via Scientific American)