Daily Archives: August 12, 2017

Flame Retardant Linked to Drop in Children’s IQ

New research shows that a hazardous class of flame retardant chemicals may be leading to a decrease in children’s intelligence.Researchers from the University of California San Francisco have found that the presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)—a chemical used in furniture and household products—has a negative impact on a child’s IQ.”Despite a series of bans and phase-outs, nearly everyone is still exposed to PBDE flame retardants, and children are at the most risk,” Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and a member of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, said in a statement. “Our findings should be a strong wake-up call to those policymakers currently working to weaken or eliminate environmental health protections.”After reviewing data from various studies from around the world of 3,000 mother-child pairs, the researchers discovered a 10-fold increase in a mother’s PBDE levels led to a 3.7 IQ point drop in the child.

Source: Flame Retardant Linked to Drop in Children’s IQ

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German woman mistakes WW2 white phosphorus for amber 

A German woman narrowly escaped injury after picking up an object she believed to be amber but which then spontaneously combusted.She had plucked the small object from wet sand by the Elbe river near Hamburg and put it in a pocket of her jacket, which she laid on a bench.Bystanders soon alerted the 41-year-old to the fact her jacket was ablaze.The stone was actually white phosphorus, which had reacted with the air as it dried.Police say the two are easily confused.They are warning local beachcombers to collect amber in tins, saying pieces of phosphorus dropped in incendiary bombs by the Allies in World War Two still wash up.

Source: German woman mistakes WW2 white phosphorus for amber – BBC News

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World’s Largest Rose Bush Dates Back to 1885 | Oddity Central 

You’ve probably seen some impressive-looking flowers, but unless you’ve been to the Tombstone Rose Tree Museum, you’ve never seen anything quite like the World’s Largest Rose Bush – a gnarled trunk about 12 feet in diameter, with its branches covering 9,000 square feet. It’s been around since 1885, and yes, it still blooms every Spring.The White Lady Banksia Rose found its way to Tombstone, Arizona, from Scotland, over a century ago. In 1884, a young miner by the name of Henry Gee and his bride Mary left Scotland for the United States and settled in the legendary town. Mary felt homesick and after writing to her family about it, she received a box full of plants, bulbs and cuttings from the beautiful garden that she missed so much. As a token of friendship, Mary gifted one of the rose cuttings to a friend she had made in Tombstone, a woman called Amelia Adamson. The two of them planted it near the woodshed in the back patio of Amelia’s boarding house, and not only did the rose flourish in the Arizona desert, it grew into the largest rose bush in the world.

Source: World’s Largest Rose Bush Dates Back to 1885 | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

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Scientists discover unknown virus in ‘throwaway’ DNA

In research published in the journal Virus Evolution, scientists from Oxford University’s Department of Zoology have revealed that Next-Generation Sequencing and its associated online DNA databases could be used in the field of viral discovery. They have developed algorithms that detect DNA from viruses that happen to be in the blood or tissue sample of the species studied. The research focused on fish genomes as an example, but the method could be used to identify viruses in a range of different species.Next-Generation Sequencing has revolutionised genomics research and is currently used to study and understand genetic material. It allows scientists to gather vast amounts of data, from a single piece of DNA, which is then collated into huge, online, genome databases that are publically accessible.Dr Aris Katzourakis, an Associate Professor, and Dr Amr Aswad, Research Associate at Oxford’s Department of Zoology, initially discovered the new use for the database, by chance. While looking for an ancient herpes virus in primates, they found evidence of two new undocumented viruses.

Source: Scientists discover unknown virus in ‘throwaway’ DNA | University of Oxford

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Dirty energy’s quiet war on solar panels 

Let’s say you’re thinking about switching to solar at home, but you’re concerned about the start-up costs.What if you received generous federal and state tax credits? That could help!Better still, what if you discover that during those hot, sunny afternoons — when you’re at work and hardly using any energy at home — you can sell the excess energy your solar panels generate back to the grid at the full residential retail rate?This practice, called “net metering,” helps cut utility bills and shortens the payback period for solar installation costs. That sweetens the deal even more.But what if you don’t own a home, or can’t afford solar panels?In some states, you still have options, such as shared solar programs. These allow renters and low-income people to get power from collectively owned solar panels — located, say, on the roof of a public school or other neighborhood building — as I documented in a recent Institute for Policy Studies report.

Source: Dirty energy’s quiet war on solar panels | TheHill

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What type of lipstick did the OSS use in the field?

In the final days of the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945, the Allied war effort was approaching, but hadn’t yet reached, a victorious end, and supplies were still required on the ground and in offices, military and intelligence, throughout Europe.As one telegram collected in CIA’s declassified CREST archive reveals, not all of these necessities were armaments or standard stapler-type office artifacts.In a curious communication sent on January 13, 1945 from London to Stockholm, the Agency’s predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), authorized a quick list of workplace wants.First, pens …Then, pencils …And finally …50 fresh tubes of lipstick.

Source: What type of lipstick did the OSS use in the field?

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These Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps Could Save Your Hard Drive

Heat wreaks havoc on computers, especially laptops. Tight cases and dust buildup can lead to poor air circulation, and without circulation, the heat generated inside has nowhere to go.Indeed, ignoring heat problems is the surest way to destroy a laptop. You thought it slowed down because it’s old and contains outdated hardware? That’s partly true, but not the whole story.5 Ways To Utterly Destroy Your Laptop, Slowly But Surely 5 Ways To Utterly Destroy Your Laptop, Slowly But SurelyYour laptop is a fragile piece of machinery. It’s a complex system packed with fast hardware, yet it also finds itself in constant use. This is how you prolong its lifespan.READ MOREHeat can severely impair the performance of computer components, with hard drives being the most susceptible. If your hard drive seems like it’s dying, first check the internal temperature. Fortunately, checking temperatures is as easy as using one of these free apps.

Source: These Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps Could Save Your Hard Drive

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Here’s How Schrodinger’s Cat Works


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Uber’s search for a female CEO has been narrowed down to 3 men

 – A company trying to recover from allegations of rampant sexism might reasonably think that hiring a female chief executive would help it restore credibility with customers and – perhaps more importantly – with potential employees in a tight marketplace for talent.But what if no women wanted the job?That looks to be the case for Uber, the troubled ride-hailing company trying to replace deposed chief executive Travis Kalanick after a reign defined by highflying growth and a toxic brand of corporate machismo. In the wake of Kalanick’s departure, a number of A-list female executives have made it clear they are not interested in the role.Indeed, after a nationwide search that involved copiously combing through binders full of women across corporate America, the company has come up short. There are no women left on its current shortlist, which is down to three CEO candidates, according to people familiar with the search who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter freely.

Source: Uber’s search for a female CEO has been narrowed down to 3 men

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Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors: New study shows that chimps’ ability to learn

Chimpanzees of all ages and all sexes can learn the simple circular relationship between the three different hand signals used in the well-known game rock-paper-scissors. Even though it might take them longer, they are indeed able to learn the game as well as a young child. Jie Gao of Kyoto University in Japan and Peking University in China is lead author of a study in the journal Primates, which is the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre, and is published by Springer. The research compares the ability of chimpanzees and children to learn the rock-paper-scissors game.

Source: Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors: New study shows that chimps’ ability to learn simple circular relationships is on a par with that of 4-year-old children — ScienceDaily

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The Hidden Buddha Surrounded by a Hill of 150,000 Lavenders «TwistedSifter

On the outskirts of Sapporo, Japan, you will find the Makomanai Takino Cemetery. Established in 1982, a large stone Buddha sculpted 15 years ago sat alone in a vast field, giving an ‘unrestful impression’ according to the client.

Source: The Hidden Buddha Surrounded by a Hill of 150,000 Lavenders «TwistedSifter

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