The world’s largest virus

A huge virus discovered in sediment on the Chilean coast and another in an Australian pond are not only the largest scientists have ever seen, but also among the most baffling. A single so-called pandora virus is 1,000 times the size of the influenza virus and holds 2,556 genes, compared with the flu’s 13. Only 6 percent of its genes […]

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Study: Painkillers Dull Pleasure

Every week, more than 50 million Americans take acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other popular painkillers, to ease their aches and pains. But a new study has revealed that the drug also dulls emotions—including happiness. Prior research showed that acetaminophen can help take the sting out of negative feelings like dread, but the new findings from Ohio […]

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Depressed? Blame the heavens

Scientists have long laughed at astrology’s underlying premise—that celestial events can influence human emotions and behavior. But a series of new studies has produced evidence that at least one kind of astronomical event—solar flares—may, in fact, affect human beings. Periodically, the sun erupts with large storms that hurl waves of electromagnetically charged particles into space, altering Earth’s own magnetic field. […]

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Ghostly Particles from Outer Space Detected in Antarctica

Buried deep in the Antarctic ice, an observatory has spotted ghostly, nearly massless particles coming from inside our galaxy and points beyond the Milky Way. Finding these cosmic neutrinos not only confirms their existence but also sheds light on the origins of cosmic rays, the researchers said. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is made up of 86 shafts dug 8,000 feet […]

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The Sun Is Coming!

Earth got off relatively easy last week after being hit by the biggest blast of solar radiation since 2005—but we may not be so lucky next time. Last week’s coronal mass ejection, in which a solar flare whipped an arc of magnetic particles toward Earth at 4 million mph, led some airlines to reroute flights away from the poles, where […]

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Galactic turmoil ahead

The Milky Way and its closest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, are on course for “ a head-on collision,” says astronomer Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute. But no need for precautions because the crash won’t happen for another 4 billion years. Researchers have long known that Andromeda, currently some 2.5 million light-years away, is moving toward […]

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