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Health News
FDA investigating unauthorized herpes vaccine research
William Halford had spent two decades researching and developing a vaccine that he believed could bring relief to the millions of people afflicted with herpes.

Plastic surgery game apps sending wrong message to kids
Plastic surgery isn't a game, but some apps have turned it into one for kids.

How many hours it takes to turn an acquaintance into a friend
Here's an unfortunate little truism, taken from a study recently published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: "It is not possible to have friends without first making friends."

Mother loses two sons in one night to opioids
In one night, the Savage family lost two sons to opioid overdoses. Now they are working to prevent other families from experiencing the same pain.

Plastic pollution is all around us


E. coli warning expanded to all romaine lettuce
The CDC warns that an outbreak of E. coli is now connected to all types of romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts of romaine, as well as chopped romaine in salads and salad mixes.

Aging gracefully: Preventing falls
Falls, for older people, are serious. They can significantly impair mobility and independence. They may lead to hospitalization and subsequent placement in a long-term care facility or nursing home. And as you get older, recovery is slower.

New species found among fossils in California
Finding fossils can be a fact of life for construction crews excavating in California. That's what happened when crews broke ground to begin the new Bay Area Calaveras Dam in 2013. They just didn't expect to find so many.

Pioneering physician Asperger sent children to their deaths, study claims
Hans Asperger has been recognized for decades for his groundbreaking studies on child psychiatry and pediatrics.

Man asks German police for help breaking up with partner
A police officer in Ludwigshafen, Germany, an industrial city in Rhineland-Palatinate, received an unusual request in March.

Ice swim racing is not for the faint of heart -- literally
Plunge into water at near-freezing temperatures, and your body goes into extreme distress. Your skin screams signals of pain. You can't breathe, because your chest is cramping up. Talking is nearly impossible. Your heart is pounding. Fear mounts -- as it should. Without any protection, you may lose consciousness in under 15 minutes. You'll be dead within an hour.

A growing number of universities teach weed 101
There's no weed major yet, nor are there textbooks, but a growing number of creative professors have come up with some clever ways to teach about marijuana.

Why does smoking pot give you the munchies?
If you smoke or eat pot, you might have encountered the "marijuana munchies," or the desire for salty, sweet or fatty carbohydrate-rich foods when using the drug.

Their DNA helps them dive deep on one breath
The free-diving Bajau people of Southeast Asia, or "sea nomads," can hold their breath for minutes at a time -- thanks to genetics and their unusually large spleens, a study suggests.

Rodents and filth linked to egg recall by FDA
An inspection report released Thursday by the US Food and Drug Administration indicates that the North Carolina farm linked to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella from contaminated eggs had an ongoing rodent infestation, unsanitary conditions and poor employee practices.

Marijuana-derived drug for epilepsy gets FDA recommendation
A US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Thursday unanimously recommended approval of an epilepsy drug that would be the first plant-derived cannabidiol medicine for prescription use in the United States.

Is sushi healthy?
Whether you eat sushi from a Japanese restaurant or from a local supermarket, there's no arguing that it's become a mainstream meal -- and that's good news.

Gene therapy for blood disorder offers 'hope' in new study
An experimental gene therapy for blood disorders was shown to be safe and effective in helping beta thalassemia patients avoid blood transfusions in a new study. However, more research is needed, and if approved for use, it could come with high costs.

Marijuana's effects on young brains diminish after 72 hours
Marijuana is notorious for slowing certain cognitive functions such as learning, memory and attention span (maybe that's why they call it "dope"?). But new research in young people suggests that these cognitive effects, while significant, may not persist for very long, even among chronic users.

Couples are happier when they share chores
It's Friday night, you've just enjoyed a nice meal at home with your significant other, and they're giving you signs that they want to move things to the bedroom -- but one glance at the kitchen sink dampens any desire you might have felt. It's stacked full of dirty dishes. One of you will be stuck cleaning them sooner or later on.

One concussion could increase risk of Parkinson's disease, study says
A diagnosis of traumatic brain injury -- whether mild, moderate or severe -- is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease as well as a two years younger age at diagnosis, new research in veterans says.

Every man's nightmare: A 'Broken Bananah'
What may be every man's worst medical nightmare happened to 32-year-old Ross Asdourian.

Man's second face transplant is a world first
A man in Paris with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis has become the world's first to successfully receive two facial transplants. He is now debuting his third face.

More than 95% of world's population breathing unhealthy air
More than 95% of the world's population is breathing unhealthy air and the poorest nations are the hardest hit, a new report has found.

What the Starbucks incident tells us about implicit bias
Could implicit bias training prevent an incident like the one at a Philadelphia Starbucks in which two black men were arrested after asking to use the restroom?

Flesh-eating ulcer spreading in Australia
Scientists in Australia have voiced concern about an apparent outbreak of Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating disease that usually occurs in West and central Africa.

The Kentucky county where the water smells like diesel
Hope Workman drives up the side of a mountain just for drinking water. She and many others in Martin County, Kentucky don't trust what comes out of their tap.

CNN Exclusive: More opioids, more money for doctors
As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money -- and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes.

Inside the secret lives of functioning heroin addicts
They're not slumped over in alleyways with used needles by their sides. Their dignity, at least from outside appearances, remains intact. They haven't lost everything while chasing an insatiable high.
Astronomy News

12.18.2007

Dec. 18, 2007: A powerful jet from a supermassive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy, according to new data from NASA observatories. This never-before witnessed galactic violence may have a profound effect on planets in the jet's path and trigger a burst of star birth in its destructive wake.

This real-life scene, worthy of the most outlandish science fiction, is playing out in a faraway binary galaxy system known as 3C321. Two galaxies are in orbit around one another. A supermassive black hole at the core of the system's larger galaxy is spewing a jet in the direction of its smaller companion.

see caption

Above: A composite image of 3C321. Scroll down the page to see an artist's illustration labeling the galaxies and the jet.

"We've seen many jets produced by black holes, but this is the first time we've seen one punch into another galaxy," says Dan Evans, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the study. "This jet could be causing all sorts of problems for the smaller galaxy it is pummeling."

Jets from super massive black holes produce large amounts of radiation, especially high-energy X-rays and gamma-rays, which can be lethal in large quantities. The combined effects of this radiation and particles traveling at almost the speed of light could severely damage the atmospheres of planets lying in the path of the jet. For example, protective layers of ozone in the upper atmosphere of planets could be destroyed.

see caption

Above: An artist's illustration of 3C321 with galaxies and jets labeled.

The effect of the jet on the companion galaxy is likely to be substantial, because the galaxies in 3C321 are extremely close at a distance of only about 20,000 light years apart. They lie approximately the same distance as Earth is from the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

The jet and galactic assault were discovered through the combined efforts of both space and ground-based telescopes. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope were part of the effort. Two sophisticated radio telescopes--the Very Large Array (VLA) in Socorro, New Mexico, and the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) in the United Kingdom--were also needed for the finding.

A bright spot in the VLA and MERLIN images shows where the jet has struck the side of the galaxy, dissipating some of the jet's energy. The collision disrupted and deflected the jet.

A unique aspect of the discovery in 3C321 is how relatively short-lived this event is on a cosmic time scale. Features seen in the VLA and Chandra images indicate that the jet began impacting the galaxy about one million years ago, a small fraction of the system's lifetime.

It's possible that the event is not all bad news for the beleaguered galaxy. The massive influx of energy and radiation from the jet could spark the formation of large numbers of stars and planets after its initial wake of destruction is complete. In the distant future, say researchers, whole new star systems may have the lethal jet to thank for their very existance.

Outlandish, indeed.

Credit: Science@NASA

It's The Hubble Space Telescope's Birthday. Enjoy Amazing Images Of The Lagoon Nebula
This month marks the Hubble Space Telescope's 28 years in space, and as a gift to us earthlings, NASA and the European Space Agency issued photos of colorful, explosive beauty.

SpaceX Launches NASA Satellite To Search For Alien Worlds
TESS — short for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — will spend two years searching for planets near bright, nearby stars.

Get Ready For the Next Big Thing In NASA's Search For Earth's Twin
NASA is launching a mission to find Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that scientists can study for signs of life. Scientists already know of over 3,000 planets around distant stars.

Environmental Group Plans Methane-Tracking Satellite
Scientists hope MethaneSAT will show where the potent greenhouse gas is coming from. Tracking methane in the air is difficult because it rises and spreads from the source.

NASA Hopes Supersonic X Plane Will Deliver Less Bang For The Buck
The new plane will test technologies to reduce the loud boom planes make when they break the sound barrier.

Center Of The Milky Way Has Thousands Of Black Holes, Study Shows
The supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy appears to have a lot of company, according to a new study that suggests the monster is surrounded by about 10,000 other black holes.

Time Travel With Your Fridge?
If the history of thermodynamics can teach us anything, it is that modest entropy reversals have not taken us back in time at all. But it is more fun to think otherwise, says guest Jimena Canales.

Is Humanity Unusual In The Cosmos?
Commentator Adam Frank talks with Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb about exo-civilizations, techno-signatures, and the search for alien life — living or long-gone.

As Predicted, Chinese Space Lab Falls From The Sky
A defunct Chinese space station was mostly burned up in the Earth's atmosphere before landing in the the South Pacific Sunday.

Chinese Space Lab Crashes To Earth
Tiangong-1, an abandoned Chinese orbiting lab, re-entered the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean Sunday evening, fulfilling predictions by the European Space Agency.

No Fooling: Chinese Space Lab Might Plunge From Orbit On April 1
China's Tiangong-1, launched in 2013, is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere sometime between March 31 and April 2, according to the European Space Agency.

Why Scientists Aren't Fans Of Creating On-Demand Meteor Showers
A Japanese company is proposing a venture to create on-demand meteor showers using small spheres dropped from a satellite. Scientists aren't really keen to the idea.

Homemade Rocket Fails To Make It Into Space
For two years Mike Hughes worked on a rocket. His goal was to prove the earth was flat. Over the weekend, he got a third of a mile into the air and then fell back to earth. The rocket had a parachute.

A NASA Astronaut Stays In Orbit With SpaceX And Boeing
Sunita Williams was the second female commander of the International Space Station. Now, she says her new job working with private companies to develop space technologies feels like a new frontier.

You Can't Fall If There's No Gravity
Astronaut Andrew Fuestel has been to space three times. He says he has a mild fear of heights, but he can push through it. He's OK after reaching hundreds of miles above the Earth.

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