21 Oct

Thomas Perlmann, Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, who announced the prize in Stockholm, said that the scientists “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings," adding, "their discoveries explain how plants, animals, and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.”

The trio of winners -- Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael Young -- will split up a prize of 9 million Swedish krona, or approximately $940,000 USD.

Scientists have been trying since at least the 1970s to figure out whether they could pinpoint genes in fruit flies that influence the daily patterns of sleeping, waking, and metabolism.

Hall and Robash, who work at Brandeis University, and Young, who calls Rockefeller University his professional home, began isolating circadian rhythm genes in the 1980s.

19 Oct

As the prospect of self-driving vehicles inches closer to becoming an everyday reality, the concept has extended beyond passenger or commercial vehicles navigating their usual rounds.

A Swedish-born project known as Born to Drive has come up with software that allows newly minted vehicles to deliver themselves to various points of sale, which theoretically includes the end-user customer.

That might not sound like a big deal, especially for those who dread visiting a car lot and perhaps imagine that most every car parked in one has been sitting there for several years.

But consider this: Roughly 80 million cars are manufactured globally each year. And the logistics of getting them from the factories to their final destinations are both complex and costly -- not just for the car dealer, but potentially the consumer, as well.

17 Oct

If extremely cold winters are getting to you, you aren’t alone. In fact, as you get older, living in a cooler climate could actually be bad for your health. A Canadian team recently reviewed data as part of a large-scale study and found that an extreme drop in temperature can bring on a fatal health event in patients who suffer from heart issues.

To arrive at their results, the team analyzed more than 112,000 elderly patients who had been diagnosed with heart failure over a ten-year period. They monitored the patients during a 635-day period and found a higher risk of hospitalization or deaths between October and April than during summer months.

15 Oct

He may be known as a popular rapper but B.o.B, a.k.a. Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., is making news these days for something other than his number one hits. B.o.B has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for weather balloons and satellites to send into space. The purpose? To prove the Earth is flat, once and for all.

The rapper has become well known in recent years for his unconventional views on things. He is a proud member of the Flat Earth Society, which supports the idea that the Earth is not round. His Twitter followers get a regular dose of his thoughts on the matter, as well as his support of theories like 9/11 conspiracies and the dangers of vaccines. He has also posted mysterious tweets like this one, which implied that celebrities might be clones since they “can’t gain weight, and they can’t grow hair.”

13 Oct

As millions of people struggle to recover from the devastation wreaked by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the world has watched in horror as pictures and videos illustrate the damage caused by hurricane-force winds.

But the accompanying foods and storm surges appear to have done significantly more damage. Some areas of Houston received more than 40 inches of rain during Hurricane Harvey. A few areas in Puerto Rico received similar amounts, leaving some saying that flood waters there won't recede or weeks or perhaps months.

Imagine, then, the damage that could be prevented if cities -- many of which consist of endless pavement, leaving room to drain water from only a 10-year weather event, not the 100- or 500-year events recently experienced in the American Southeast -- were entirely food proof. What would that look like?

About a decade ago, the city of Chicago began installing what are known as Green Alleys -- patches of permeable pavement that permit stormwater to drip through and be absorbed by the ground.

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