Dire Wolves Were Not Really Wolves, New Genetic Clues Reveal
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It had long been assumed that dire wolves made themselves at home in North America before gray wolves followed them across the Bering Land Bridge from Eurasia. For decades, paleontologists have remarked on how similar the bones of dire wolves and gray wolves are. Dire wolves, it now appeared, had evolved in the Americas and had no close kinship with the gray wolves from Eurasia; the last time gray wolves and dire wolves shared a common ancestor was about 5.7 million years ago. Perri, Mitchell and their colleagues found no DNA evidence of interbreeding between dire wolves and gray wolves or coyotes. Dire wolves were genetically isolated from other canids, Mitchell notes, so “hybridization couldn’t provide a way out” because dire wolves were probably unable to produce viable offspring with the recently arrived wolves from Eurasia.

Vaccines Need Not Completely Stop COVID Transmission to Curb the Pandemic
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According to Dawn Bowdish, a professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University, this so-called sterilizing immunity was a key factor in eliminating smallpox. “The [smallpox] vaccination caused sterilizing immunity, meaning that you don’t carry any of the virus. Sterilizing immunity may have been a lofty goal for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, though not necessary to curb disease. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) generates localized intestinal immunity, preventing infection and protecting against disease and transmission. But ample precedent points to vaccines driving successful containment of infectious diseases even when they do not provide perfectly sterilizing immunity.

Scientists Search for Rudolph's Red Nose, and other great stories.
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Green light (530nm) is readily absorbed by both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood but bounces (scatters) off of the surrounding tissue. Shining green light inside the nose of reindeer and humans, the researchers were able to take detailed videos of the nasal circulatory system, tracking the rate of blood flow through individual blood vessels.The researchers wrote their own image analysis software that can determine the density of blood vessels and track velocity of red blood cells through the dense network of blood vessels.Despite the tongue-in-cheek premise of this study, researchers have not previously used this imaging technique to study nasal circulation. The team found that humans and reindeer noses both feature hairpin-shaped blood vessels and similar capillary networks. Most pertinent to their aim, they found that the density of blood vessels in reindeer noses is 25% greater than the density in human noses, leading to a rosy tint. \"These factors explain why the nose of Rudolph, the lead flying reindeer employed by Santa Claus to pull his sleigh, is red and well adapted to carrying out his duties in extreme temperatures,\" the authors conclude in their paper.The annual BMJ holiday issue is a great read-- check out other great findings from the holiday issues including: whether 27 is actually the dangerous age for musicians, how fast you have to walk to beat Grim Reaper , and the dreamed-of expose on tooth fairy malpractice.

Coronavirus News Roundup: January 9–January 15
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People “should not really consider themselves protected until after a week or two following dose two,” he adds. The researchers now are studying whether outcomes vary for people on specific types of these drugs, the release states. Experts call this a One Health approach or concept, and they want governments to factor it into policies, Robbins reports. As humans move into more of Earth’s natural environments, more spillovers of animal diseases into humans are expected. “The spillover of animal, or zoonotic, viruses into humans causes some 75% of emerging infectious diseases,” Robbins writes.

The Science of Spiritual Narcissism
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Perhaps on the whole, spiritual practices really do help quiet the ego, and spiritual narcissism isn’t that widespread. SELF-CENTRALITY AND SPIRITUALITYIn the past few years, a number of high-quality studies have started to unearth the existence of spiritual narcissism and self-enhancement among spiritual practices that purport to quiet the ego. SPIRITUAL SUPERIORITY AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICESIn a more recent set of studies, Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser conducted an exploration of “spiritual superiority.” They interviewed several psychologists, spiritual trainers and lay people, and asked them to describe people who use spirituality as a self-enhancement tool. Interestingly, their scale of spiritual superiority was more strongly correlated with communal narcissism than self-esteem, providing evidence for the notion of “spiritual narcissism.” Indeed, it’s important to distinguish between healthy self-esteem and narcissism. Increases in healthy self-esteem as a result of spiritual practices may be a good thing, and are not necessarily indicative of spiritual narcissism, which is why it’s good that the researchers were able to tie their measure of spiritual superiority to a specific form of narcissism: communal narcissism.

Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to ‘Inactivism’
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The graph also helped make the researcher a target of attacks by climate change deniers. They have merely changed their tactics, Mann contends in his book The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet. You argue that the climate change deniers are going extinct and being replaced by a new group that you call “the inactivists.” Who are the inactivists? They are trying to convince people that climate change is not the result of their corporate policies but of our own individual actions. Can you give some concrete examples of how the fossil fuel industry has been working to create divisions within the environmental community?

How Leonard Bernstein Opposed Richard Nixon With 1973 'Anti-inaugural' Concert
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\" \" Composer Leonard Bernstein used a performance the night before Richard Nixon's inauguration as an \"anti-inaugural.\" On January 20, 1973, the second presidential inauguration of Richard Nixon — elected in a landslide victory — took place amidst shaking signs and shouting protestors. But at the exact same time a free and unofficial inauguration concert at the National Cathedral took place thanks to legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. For even more on the animosity between Leonard Bernstein and Richard Nixon, we'd recommend a deep dive into \"The Bernstein Files,\" a three-part multimedia series in The New Yorker from classical music expert Alex Ross. Now That's Interesting When the Philadelphia Orchestra was asked to perform President Richard Nixon's 1973 inauguration concert, 16 members requested the night off.

'One Small Step' Act Encourages Protection of Human Heritage in Space
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On Dec. 31, the One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act became law. However, it is also the first law enacted by any nation that recognizes the existence of human heritage in outer space. I believe that the One Small Step Act, enacted in a divisive political environment, demonstrates that space and preservation truly are nonpartisan, even unifying principles. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ASUAdvertisementAdvertisementThe One Small Step ActThe One Small Step Act is true to its name. It's a small step.

The Misunderstood Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
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\" \" A mule-drawn wagon carrying the casket of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is followed by dignitaries and thousands of people as it moves en route to Morehouse College, Atlanta for his memorial service on April 9, 1968. \"The same criticisms made against Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement today were trotted out against Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks 60 years ago. But Clayborne Carson, history professor at Stanford University and founding director of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, points out that King didn't retire after the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Of course, Americans have every reason to venerate Martin Luther King and to celebrate his accomplishments. Learn more about the civil rights movement in \"The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle\" by Clayborne Carson (editor).

People With Asthma, Hay Fever May Have Higher Risk of Psychiatric Disorders
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\" \" A new study found a link between asthma and hay fever and an increase in psychiatric illness. All told, they examined data for 139,941 people without any history of allergic diseases, as well as 46,647 people with problems like hay fever or asthma. AdvertisementAdvertisementDespite the increased risk, it's obvious that hay fever and asthma don't doom a person to a psychiatric illness diagnosis. \"Therefore, I wanted to clarify whether these allergic diseases are associated with psychiatric disorders.\" Additionally, it's possible that the physical symptoms of hay fever and asthma could be made worse by the stress of psychiatric disorders.

10 Ways to Survive a Snowstorm
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Spencer Platt/ Getty ImagesThe best thing to ­do during a snowstorm is to stay indoors. But if you absolutely­ need to get somewhere on foot, you'll have to be very smart in order to survive. Loose, warm, layered clothing is the way to go. Loose clothing helps the blood flow, increasing warmth. Snowstorm conditions are usually accompanied by limited visibility, so make your outer layer a bright color so you can be seen by others.

December’s Total Solar Eclipse as Seen from Space
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On December 14, 2020, a camera onboard a satellite recorded something that looked like a brown blob streaking across South America. Individuals on the ground witnessed something more striking: a total solar eclipse, or a daytime blackout triggered by the moon blocking the sun and throwing its shadow on Earth. Though total solar eclipses happen relatively frequently—about once every 18 months—seeing them is lucky. In about 600 million years, total eclipses will stop. The temporary nature of these alignments makes all their recordings valuable, even when the perspective makes what feels like a boundary-breaking moment—shocking darkness in the middle of the day—seem small.

The Evolutionary Origins of Friendship
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As awful as 2020 was, its ability to reveal the genuine strengths and weaknesses of our relationships was an unexpected boon. They enable us to discern fair-weather friends from friends tried and true. As an evolutionary psychologist, I have conducted research on social relationships and emotions for over 20 years. If I demonstrate that I value you, then, all else equal, it pays for you to value me in return. The pandemic has therefore been an unexpected (albeit unwanted) opportunity to test the tensile strength of our relationships.

Can Shocking Images Persuade Doubters of COVID’s Dangers?
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Images are visceral reminders of the pandemic’s dangers, revealing unsettling events behind closed doors, showing us suffering’s human face. Is there evidence showing that shocking images reliably persuade? In our study, we found that participants also believed shocking images would deliver a persuasive punch, moving people’s attitudes about the risks of the coronavirus. Viewing disturbing images, we use the sadness or outrage we ourselves feel as a guide to understand how others will feel. If you entered our study doubting the threat, the images didn’t shock you and, accordingly, didn’t move your thinking.

Another Way to Protect against COVID beyond Masking and Social Distancing
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Estimated virus half-life was more than 24 hours at 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and 40 percent relative humidity, but only 90 minutes at 27 degrees C (80 degrees F) and 65 percent relative humidity. Indeed, a study conducted in New South Wales, Australia, demonstrates an inverse relationship between relative humidity and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We are requesting that the WHO produce clear guidelines on the minimum lower limit of air humidity in buildings. We recommend maintaining relative humidity between 40 to 60 percent to maximize the benefits of humidity but not the drawbacks of too much humidity that promote mold growth. Indoor air control is the next frontier to improve human health and reduce transmission of various types of viruses, including SARS-COV-2.

New Ruling Cracks Down on Emotional Support Animals on Planes
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Richard Atrero de Guzman/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesIn a long-awaited ruling, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on Dec. 2, 2020, that \"carriers are not required to recognize emotional support animals as service animals and may treat them as pets.\" This ruling came after a skyrocketing number of pets flying as service and \"emotional support animals\" (ESAs) — up 150 percent between 2015 and 2017, according to Delta — had prompted the airline and others to enact more stringent requirements for on-board animals. \"The research on the positive impact that emotional support animals have on people who are struggling with mental illness is pretty plentiful,\" says psychologist Tanisha Ranger, who works mainly with veterans. Many passengers looking to avoid this fee had started to classify their pets as emotional support animals. And when untrained animals attack innocent bystanders, it further creates stigma for those who actually need service animals.\"

Your Bed Has More Poop Than a Chimp's
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Dylan Coker/Newspix/Getty ImagesYour parents probably spent years yelling at you to clean your room and make your bed. It seems no matter how tight your bed corners are or how many quarters you can bounce off that blanket, your bed still isn't as clean as a chimpanzee's. Researchers at North Carolina State University compared human beds to the treetop nests chimpanzees make for themselves nightly. The chimp nests also had no insects or spiders, though the team expected to see some parasitic species in the nests. Now That's Cool It won't solve your bacteria problem, but the humankind evolution bed could solve your insomnia.

New Technology Turns a Sunny Day into Safe Water
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\" \" More than 2 billion people worldwide live without access to safe, clean water. As the problem is exacerbated by climate change, scientists have come up with a new solution using sunlight, a plentiful resource. That's enough drinking water for four people for one day. Ramping up production for large-scale purification is still in development, but this method is encouraging as an additional means of securing safe water for a growing population. It's time to see the future of clean water in a whole new light.

Inside the CIA's Treasure Trove of bin Laden Files
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When bin Laden became a wanted man, running from the U.S. government, he began wearing a black cowboy hat when out in public, thinking it would shield his identity from spy satellites and drones. Bin Laden was an intense and religious person, joining the zealous Muslim Brotherhood in high school. Initially, bin Laden denied involvement, but in October 2004, he released a video claiming responsibility and decrying American intervention in the Middle East. But it was the final release on Nov. 1, 2017 that featured what seemed like a treasure trove of data, including 79,000 audio and image files, plus al-Qaida \"home videos.\" But what seems to pique everyone's curiosity is bin Laden's obsession with hentai — anime porn.

Top 5 Best Mortgage Refinancing Companies of 2021 – HowStuffWorks Reviews Articles Search
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And since refinancing can get you a better, lower interest rate, it’s a very financially savvy perk for anyone who refinances. When you got your initial mortgage, you may have ended up with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Do Your Research Before You RefinanceAre you ready to reap the benefits of mortgage refinancing? A financially sound choice, refinancing can secure a lower interest rate and big savings over the course of the loan’s lifetime. Search for the best mortgage refinancing lenders and compare what they can offer you.

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