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Antarctic ozone hole similar to last year

The Antarctic ozone hole, which forms annually in the August to October period, reached its peak size on September 11, stretching to 9.3 million square miles (24.1 million square kilometers), roughly the same size as last year’s peak of 9.3 million square miles (24 million square kilometers) on September 16, 2013. This is an area similar in size to North America. Ozone hole This image, using NOAA satellite data, shows the ozone hole (areas below 220 Dobson units) in shades of red. (Credit: NOAA Visualization Lab; http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail2.php?MediaID=1636&MediaTypeID=1) In comparison, the largest ozone hole area recorded to date on a single day was on September 9, 2000, at 11.5 million square miles (29.9 million square kilometers). The ozone layer helps shield life on Earth from potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can cause skin cancer, damage plants and phytoplankton—the top of the oceanic food chain. “The good news is that our measurements show less thinning of the ozone over the South Pole during the past three years,” said Bryan Johnson, a researcher with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. “However, the rate at which ozone thins during the month of September has remained about the same for the past two decades. A decrease in this rate will be an important sign of recovery.” South Pole balloon-borne ozonesonde observations measured a minimum amount of 120 Dobson Uni...  

Itching and scratching a 'vicious cycle', say researchers

Itchiness can be caused by a number of factors Research into itching has indicated why scratching can paradoxically make you feel more itchy. A study in mice found that "scratch cycles" get harder and harder to break because of serotonin released into the system. The research, which has not been tested in humans, indicates that blocking specific serotonin receptors in the spine could reduce chronic itching. Dermatologists said the research could help towards effective itch control. Itchy and scratchy Itchiness can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from very minor irritation by dust and small hairs to serious skin conditions. One of the purposes of scratching is to produce pain. This disrupts the itch by getting nerves to carry pain signals instead of itch signals. The pain causes the "happy" neurotransmitter serotonin to be released by the brain, to control the pain. But the serotonin then activates spinal cord nerve cells that control itch intensity when it reaches the spine, according to Prof Zhou-Feng Chen, director of Washington University's Center for the Study of Itch. "In mice, there is a vicious itching [and] scratching cycle," Prof Chen said. "If you reduce the serotonin the itchy intensity reduces." Pain barrier Prof Chen said it was not feasible to block serotonin release, because that could have wide-ranging consequences. Serotonin is involved in growth, ageing, bone metabolism and in regulating mood. The research indicated that one of the...  

Waunakee girls' swimmers win last dual meet

In their last dual meet of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 21, both the Waunakee High School girls Varsity and Junior Varsity squads blew by Portage 115 to 55, and 96 to 23, respectively. Making the solid wins all the more special, the team also used the meet to honor the squad’s seven seniors: Jessie Boruff, Morgan DeWinter, Mikawyla Ewert, Emma Fullenkamp, Liz Lorge, Allison Pierce and Caroline Roble. As part of a longstanding “Senior Night” tradition, the seniors on the team celebrated their last-ever high school dual meet together. The team and coaching staff acknowledged the seniors with a special introduction at the start of the meet and with gifts of swim caps and programs. They finished off the evening with a dinner together after the meet. Many of these girls started swimming together when the new Waunakee Aquatic Center first opened several years ago and have been swimming ever together at either club or high school levels ever since. One of the Senior Night traditions includes allowing the senior girls a chance to put together the preliminary lineups, putting swimmers into individual and relay events. Together with coaches Alyson Schaefer and Kyle Schenk, the Swimmin’ Women used the opportunity to allow some of the girls a chance to swim events that they may not have had a chance to swim yet this season. This gives the team a chance to have some fun, while allowing the girls a chance to try out new strokes. Setting a ton...  

Meet The Greatest Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Ever

I was at a PandoMonthly event in 2013 when Sarah Lacy interviewed John Doerr about the role of venture capitalists (VCs). John is certainly one of the greatest contemporary VCs, but he’s actually not the subject of this post. John via his firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has invested in a number of iconic companies in our lifetime, including Google, Amazon, and Intuit. When asked about the role of VCs, Doerr said that VCs “set the stage” for entrepreneurs — they check the lights, adjust the sound system and pull back the curtains for entrepreneurs to shine on stage. That analogy resonated with me. When I was watching Season 1 Episode 3 of Cosmos, When Knowledge Conquered Fear, I learned of the story of Isaac Newton’s Principia. You know, the book that brought Newtonian physics and calculus to the world and transformed all of modern science that followed it, no big deal. Perhaps the greatest work of science. I realized that the story wasn’t just about one of the greatest work of science ever, it also happened to be about the greatest venture capitalist ever, before our current understanding of the term was even born. His name? Edmund Halley. Yes, the Edmund Halley who is much better known for having a comet named after him, but as a venture capitalist? Here’s how events unfolded: on an August day in 1684, Edmund Halley, a Fellow and Council member of the Royal Society in London, paid Ne...  

In Baseball and Politics, The Lessons Of History Are True Until They Aren't

4365531Last night, the San Francisco Giants defied modern history by winning game 7 on the road against the Kansas City Royals. But if you were a gambler, you might well have put your money on KC. After all, the previous nine road teams had lost gave 7. In fact, the road team hadn’t won a game 7 since 1979, when the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates. And yet, it happened. The lesson, I think, is that while some eye-popping statistics make for great trivia questions, they are otherwise meaningless. Just because there is a high correlation between the Redskins winning a home game and the incumbent president’s party holding the White House, doesn’t mean it’s any more or less likely to happen this time. Correlations can be spurious, so while we should use statistics to help inform us, we must also be careful not to attribute meaning to random events. Sometimes it helps to increase your sample size. When it comes to game 7s, that’s the case. Though recent history seemed to bode well for KC, prior to 1979, the away team had won 13 of 16 game 7s. What to make of this stunning reversal? It could mean that something big changed around 1979, or (more likely) that the law of averages just kicked in (counting 1979, when you look at the last 25 game 7s, the home team won 12 and the away team won 14 — so there’s not much of a discernible difference). Statistics can inform analysis, but it also helps to know a b...  

Study finds saving lonely species is important for the environment

Enlarge Endemic eucalyptus found on Tasmania has evolved to live in a variety of conditions that exist from sea level to tree line. These include hot, cold, wet and dry habitats. Credit: Joe Bailey The lemur, Javan rhino and Santa Cruz kangaroo rat are all lonesome animals. As endemic species, they live in habitats restricted to a particular area due to climate change, urban development or other occurrences. Endemic species are often endangered, and a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study finds that saving them is more important to biodiversity than previously thought. Joe Bailey, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and his colleagues from the University of Tasmania in Australia looked at endemic eucalyptus found in Tasmania. They discovered that these rare species have developed unique characteristics to survive, and that these characteristics may also impact the survival of its neighbors in the ecosystem. The findings are published in the academic journal Plos One. Using experimental forestry trials where plants were taken from the wild and replanted in a single location, the researchers investigated whether the evolution of endemic species was an important process that altered species interactions. The study is one of the first to compare the functions of endemic and nonendemics in an experimental setting. The team discovered that these eucalypts have evolved...  

Film tells horrifying tale behind Louvre painting

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 13, 2014, visitors take photographs in front of The Raft of The Medusa oil painting, painted between 1818 and 1819 by French Romantic painter and lithographer Theodore Gericault, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. It's one ...  

Army, state and local health team meets at BACH

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Tennessee’s top health department official joined military and civilian health administrators at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on how healthcare efforts are synchronized across multiple agencies from local to county, regional and state levels.The working lunch meeting was an opportunity to bolster longstanding relationships and communicate directly with Dr. John Dreyzehner, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, which is tasked to protect, promote and improve the health of people in Tennessee.Representatives from Blanchfield, the Montgomery County Health Department, Mid-Cumberland Regional Public Health, Mid-Cumberland Emergency Response and the Tennessee Department of Health focused on solidifying existing public health assets and ways of sharing knowledge, training and resources.Communication, coordination and consultation between these health organizations were established long before this year’s rise of Ebola virus disease and remain an integral part of any contingency planning, Dreyzehner explained, as he toured Blanchfield’s intensive care unit and emergency room.“Relationships are critical, and one of the things we have with Fort Campbell is terrific relationships at all levels. We don’t want to be exchanging business cards during an emergency. The time to make a friend is before you really need that friend, and we feel really good about the relationshi...  

Chelsea's £50m flop Fernando Torres REVEALS why he left Stamford Bridge for ...

Fernando Torres has admitted it was his decision to leave Chelsea[GETTY]The Spanish international had become accustomed to being the talisman for each of his previous clubs, but couldn't sit idly by and watch Diego Costa eclipse him in West London.Rumours surfaced around the time Torres left Chelsea claiming Jose Mourinho forced him out, but the 30-year-old roundly rejected such claims.He said: "Mourinho has always been good to me. The decision to leave was a personal one because I needed more, I needed to feel important."Mourinho and I have a good relationship and still today we continue to talk to each other." I needed more, I needed to feel important Fernando Torres Torres has subsequently been linked with a move to join former manager Roberto Di Matteo at Schalke.But dismissed any speculation over a return to the Vicente Calderon, and vowed a switch was never an option."There wasn’t a real option to return. They speculated with it and I didn’t like that. I’ve said it many times, I won’t go to Atletico to retire."I will go if I have motivation to compete because the Atletico of today is very different than when I was there. I follow them every weekend. It [returning] is an option that isn’t real."...  

Rainbow revolution: US welcoming gay marriage, changing politics

Carl DeMaio is one of two openly gay Republicans running competitive races for the House of Representatives. The former San Diego City Council member is challenging Democratic incumbent Scott Peters in a race that is considered a toss-up. GREGORY ...  


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