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Laser 'tricorder' can diagnose malaria through the skin

Malaria is a huge problem in many parts of the world (Image: Stephanie Aglietti/AFP/Getty Images)

It's a weapon that fights malaria – a laser scan can give an accurate diagnosis in seconds, without breaking the skin, just like the fictional tricorder in Star Trek.

It works by pulsing energy into a vein in a person's wrist or earlobe. The laser's wavelength doesn't harm human tissue, but is absorbed by hemozoin – waste crystals that are produced by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum when it feeds on blood.

When the crystals absorb this energy, they warm the surrounding blood plasma, making it bubble. An oscilloscope placed on the skin alongside the laser senses these nanoscale bubbles when they start popping, detecting malaria infections in only 20 seconds.

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Plants Communicate Using An Internet Of Fungus

Hidden beneath the surface and entangled in the roots of Earth’s astonishing and diverse plant life, there exists a biological superhighway linking together the members of the plant kingdom in what researchers call the “wood wide web”. This organic network operates much like our internet, allowing plants to communicate, bestow nutrition, or even harm one another.

The network is comprised of thin threads of fungus known as mycelium that grow outwards underground up to a few meters from its partnering plant, meaning that all of the plant life within a region is likely tapped into the network and connected to one another. The partnership of the roots of plants and the fungi is known as mycorrhiza and is beneficial for both parties involved; plants provide carbohydrates to the fungi and in exchange, the fungi aids in gathering water and providing nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen to its partnering plant.

This fungal network has been found to allow plants to aid one another in growth and flourishing. University of British Columbia graduate Suzanne Simard was the first to show that trees such as the Douglas fir and Paper birch were capable of transferring carbon to smaller trees that may not be receiving enough sunlight, allowing seedlings to grow in the shade of other trees. Simard believes that many of the world’s seedlings would not be able to survive if it weren’t for the lifeline this network provides.

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Fracking Waste Injection Wells Linked to 60% of Earthquakes in Central and Eastern U.S.

Fracking wells in the central and eastern United States have been linked to more than 60% of the earthquakes examined in those regions.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that of the underground wells associated with earthquakes, 66% were used for oil recovery, a type of injection well. Other wells, those involving saltwater disposal, were 1.5 times as likely as oil recovery wells to be associated with earthquakes.

They also determined that “high-rate” injection wells were more often associated with earthquakes than wells with lower-rate injection. High-rate wells pump in excess of 300,000 barrels of wastewater into the ground per month. Thousands of injection wells in operation during the past few decades have not appeared to trigger an increase in seismic activity. It is only the more recent, high-rate injection wells that have done so, reported the researchers.

The study, published in Science, said there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. since 2009, and that earthquakes associated with injection wells have “skyrocketed from a handful per year in the 1970s to more than 650 in 2014,” the university reported.

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NASA spies 3-mile-tall 'pyramid,' more bright spots on Ceres

Ancient astronaut alert! More weird features have been spotted by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

As Dawn first made its approach on Ceres earlier this year, it caught sight of large, bright and mysterious reflective spots in a crater on the big rock, which is also believed to contain quite a bit of water, ice and/or mud in its interior.

Now orbiting at a near altitude of just 2,700 miles, those big spots remain a mystery (the leading guess is still reflective patches of ice or salts), but Dawn is also beginning to pick out other bright spots and an odd pyramid-shaped peak that NASA estimates to be three miles tall, which would put it higher than any of the Rocky Mountains. The image with the peak was taken on June 6 and released Wednesday.

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Philae comet lander wakes up, says European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (Esa) says its comet lander, Philae, has woken up and contacted Earth.

Philae, the first spacecraft to land on a comet, was dropped on to the surface of Comet 67P by its mothership, Rosetta, last November.

It worked for 60 hours before its solar-powered battery ran flat.

The comet has since moved nearer to the Sun and Philae has enough power to work again, says the BBC's science correspondent Jonathan Amos.

An account linked to the probe tweeted the message, "Hello Earth! Can you hear me?"

On its blog, Esa said Philae had contacted Earth, via Rosetta, for 85 seconds on Saturday in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

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Quantum Experiment Demonstrates How Consciousness Creates Reality

According to atheism-based science, there's this objective world that exists independent from our individual experiences and consciousness arose pretty much by happenstance. Of course, that's a philosophical assumption, not actual science, but it has created a bias that's so prevalent it's rarely questioned among mainstream science. Then there's that pesky quantum physics, which keeps suggesting something entirely different, that consciousness doesn't arise from reality, but that reality arises from consciousness:

The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.

Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks -- at which point does the object decide?

Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.

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How meditation might ward off the effects of ageing

A study at a US Buddhist retreat suggests eastern relaxation techniques can protect our chromosomes from degenerating.

High in the mountains of northern Colorado, a 100-foot tall tower reaches up through the pinetops. Brightly coloured and strung with garlands, its ornate gold leaf glints in the sun. With a shape that symbolises a giant seated Buddha, this lofty stupa is intended to inspire those on the path to enlightenment.

Visitors here to the Shambhala Mountain Centre meditate in silence for up to 10 hours every day, emulating the lifestyle that monks have chosen for centuries in mountain refuges from India to Japan. But is it doing them any good? For two three-month retreats held in 2007, this haven for the eastern spiritual tradition opened its doors to western science. As attendees pondered the "four immeasurables" of love, compassion, joy and equanimity, a laboratory squeezed into the basement bristled with scientific equipment from brain and heart monitors to video cameras and centrifuges. The aim: to find out exactly what happens to people who meditate.

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Astronomers Discover Potentially Habitable Exoplanet 16 Light-Years Away

Scientists have reported the discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of the dwarf star Gliese 832.

Artistic representation of the exoplanet Gliese 832 c. Image credit: PHL / UPR Arecibo / NASA Hubble / Stellarium.

Gliese 832 is a red dwarf star located in the constellation Grus, roughly 16 light-years away. This star is already known to harbor Gliese 832 b, a gas giant discovered in 2009.

The newly found alien world, named Gliese 832 c, has an orbital period of 36 days, a mass five times that of Earth’s. According to the astronomers, it receives about the same average energy as Earth does from the Sun.

“If the planet has a similar atmosphere to Earth it may be possible for life to survive, although seasonal shifts would be extreme,” explained Dr Chris Tinney from the University of New South Wales, who is a co-author of the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

“However, given the large mass of the planet, it seems likely that it would possess a massive atmosphere, which may well render the planet inhospitable. A denser atmosphere would trap heat and could make it more like a super-Venus and too hot for life,” he said.

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Editor In Chief Of World’s Best Known Medical Journal: Half Of All The Literature Is False

In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.

Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” (source)


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