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Showing posts from December 26, 2012

Infants receiving vaccines are the most likely to be hospitalized and die

December 25, 2012 - A new study, published in Human and Experimental Toxicology, a peer-reviewed journal indexed by the National Library of Medicine, analyzed more than 38,000 reports of infant hospitalizations and deaths following vaccinations. Researchers found statistically significant correlations between the number of vaccine doses administered to infants and infant hospitalization and mortality rates: babies who receive the most vaccines tend to have higher (worse) hospitalization and death rates.

Infants who received 2 vaccines simultaneously were significantly less likely to be hospitalized than infants who received 3 or more vaccines at the same time. Infants who received 3 vaccines simultaneously were significantly less likely to be hospitalized than infants who received 4 or more vaccines at the same time. Babies who received 6, 7, or 8 vaccines during a single pediatric well-baby visit were the most likely to be hospitalized following their injections. In fact, the hospital…

Weather goes haywire over Europe: scientists baffled by erratic swings

December 26, 2012 - From deadly cold in Russia, floods in Britain and balmy conditions that have residents in southwest France rummaging for their bathing suits, the weather has gone haywire across Europe in the days leading up to Christmas.

The mercury in Moscow has fallen to minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit) -- unseasonably cold in a country where such chills don't normally arrive until January or February.

The cold has claimed 90 lives in Russia since mid-December and 83 in Ukraine, with eastern Eurasia in the grips of an unusually icy month that has seen temperatures drop to as low as minus 50 degrees C in eastern Siberia.



Another 57 people have died from the cold in Poland this month, and officials say the icy front is probably "the most severe of the last 70 years," according to Regis Crepet, a forecaster with Meteo-Consult.

While the former Eastern bloc shivers and Britain fights severe flooding after heavy rains, holiday-makers and residents…

WHY DO WE BLINK SO FREQUENTLY?

December 26, 2012 - We all blink. A lot. The average person blinks some 15-20 times per minute—so frequently that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours overall.

Although some of this blinking has a clear purpose—mostly to lubricate the eyeballs, and occasionally protect them from dust or other debris—scientists say that we blink far more often than necessary for these functions alone. Thus, blinking is physiological riddle. Why do we do it so darn often? In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of scientists from Japan offers up a surprising new answer—that briefly closing our eyes might actually help us to gather our thoughts and focus attention on the world around us.

The researchers came to the hypothesis after noting an interesting fact revealed by previous research on blinking: that the exact moments when we blink aren’t actually random. Although seemingly spontaneous, studies have revealed that people tend to bl…

CIA Director issued secret directive denying President Kennedy access to UFO files

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President John F. Kennedy’s desire to cooperate with the Soviet Union in joint space and lunar missions led to him asking the CIA to release classified UFO information to the Soviets. On November 12, 1963, Kennedy issued two Presidential Memoranda and participated in a Hotline discussion with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to finalize details for future joint space missions. Most importantly, agreement was reached on the need for sharing both countries most sensitive UFO files. Both Kennedy and Khrushchev were concerned that a mistaken identification of UFOs could lead to nuclear war and jeopardize space cooperation. Kennedy’s Memorandum to the Director of the CIA to share UFO files was relayed on to the James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence, who controlled access to the nation’s most sensitive UFO files. In responding to Kennedy’s request, Angleton followed a secret directive from former CIA Director Allen W. Dulles to ensure that under no circu…

Meteor Smoke Makes Strange Clouds

Anyone who's ever seen a noctilucent cloud or “NLC” would agree: They look alien. The electric-blue ripples and pale tendrils of NLCs reaching across the night sky resemble something from another world.

Researchers say that's not far off. A key ingredient for the mysterious clouds comes from outer space.

"We've detected bits of 'meteor smoke' embedded in noctilucent clouds," reports James Russell of Hampton University, principal investigator of NASA's AIM mission to study the phenomenon. "This discovery supports the theory that meteor dust is the nucleating agent around which NLCs form."

A new ScienceCast video explains how "meteor smoke" seeds noctilucent clouds. Play it

Noctilucent clouds are a mystery dating back to the late 19th century. Northern sky watchers first noticed them in 1885 about two years after the eruption of Krakatoa. Ash from the Indonesian volcano caused such splendid sunsets that evening sky watching became a …

Getting Ready for the Next Big Solar Storm

In Sept. 1859, on the eve of a below-average1 solar cycle, the sun unleashed one of the most powerful storms in centuries. The underlying flare was so unusual, researchers still aren't sure how to categorize it. The blast peppered Earth with the most energetic protons in half-a-millennium, induced electrical currents that set telegraph offices on fire, and sparked Northern Lights over Cuba and Hawaii.

This week, officials have gathered at the National Press Club in Washington DC to ask themselves a simple question: What if it happens again?

Modern power grids are vulnerable to solar storms. Photo credit: Martin Stojanovski

"A similar storm today might knock us for a loop," says Lika Guhathakurta, a solar physicist at NASA headquarters. "Modern society depends on high-tech systems such as smart power grids, GPS, and satellite communications--all of which are vulnerable to solar storms."

She and more than a hundred others are attending the fifth annual Space Weather…