Much of Earth’s Water Is Older Than the Sun

Planets form in the presence of abundant interstellar water inherited as ices from the parent molecular cloud. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Planets form in the presence of abundant interstellar water inherited as ices from the parent molecular cloud.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit.

via Live Science:

Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.

The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn’t the only world to host life.

“The implications of our study are that interstellar water-ice remarkably survived the incredibly violent process of stellar birth to then be incorporated into planetary bodies,” study lead author Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, told Space.com via email. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]

“If our sun’s formation was typical, interstellar ices, including water, likely survive and are a common ingredient during the formation of all extrasolar systems,” Cleeves added.

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Dear Mr. President, It’s Time to Obey the Law: Release the JFK Secret Service Records and End Other Needless Secrecy

US Secret Service - Motorcade Support Unit by Cliff via Flickr (CC By 2.0).

US Secret Service – Motorcade Support Unit by Cliff via Flickr (CC By 2.0).

via Alternet:

Dear Mr. President,

We know you have many pressing issues on your plate, but last week’s problems with the Secret Service and White House security also warrant your attention. What if the man who sprinted across the White House lawn–and into your home–hadn’t been a troubled ex-serviceman, but instead had been an terrorist from ISIS or Al Qaeda or a violent American white supremacist?

As you know, last week’s incidents were only the latest in a long line of Secret Service problems involving lax protection of you and your family, heavy drinking and irresponsible behavior by some agents, and racial discrimination. What you probably don’t know is that those problems have been issues for the Service since the early 1960s. One reason you–and most of the American public–aren’t aware of those issues is the culture of secrecy that sometimes pervades the agency when it comes to its own shortcomings.

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Drone Footage Reveals Massive Scale of Hong Kong Protests

via Mashable:

The political protests currently taking place in the normally sedate confines of Hong Kong, referred to by many on social media as “Occupy Central,” have captured the world’s attention. But despite the photos of the protests being shared online, the sheer scale of the massive protest may be lost on some, until now.

One of the local news agencies covering the protests, Apple Daily, has posted aerial drone footage of the protesters, giving international onlookers a better idea of just how big the protests have grown in recent days.

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Higher Education’s Aristocrats

Justin Kern / Flickr

Justin Kern / Flickr

Via Jacobin:

Last week, the Barack Obama Foundation announced that the University of Chicago is one of four finalists to house the Obama Presidential Library, according to its mission of finding a site that reflects “President Obama’s values and priorities throughout his career in public service.”

If Obama chooses UChicago, however, he risks tying his legacy to the American university that perhaps most exemplifies higher education’s current crisis of mission. Rather than being institutions that prioritize free inquiry, research, and high-quality education, universities are increasingly acting like the worst of Wall Street, where anything goes in order make a buck for the people at the top.

The latest sign of identity crisis at UChicago? Hefty pay raises to a large number of top staff, who have enriched themselves at great cost to their institution.

New analysis of tax data from publicly available IRS 990 forms shows that eight high-level UChicago administrators have received more than $7.6 million in compensation increases since 2007-2008, even as the school moved toward and suffered a credit downgrade.

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Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

via Mysterious Universe:

They found the woman’s body jammed inside a tree. As Nazi bombs rained down on wartime Britain, her death might have been passed off as just another statistic. Instead, it became one of the most intriguing mysteries of the war. It was murder, but the victim was never identified. There were hints she had been an enemy agent, and that the authorities knew more than they let on. There were ritual aspects to the murder strongly suggestive of witchcraft and the occult. Finally there were the anonymous graffiti messages, popping up everywhere, asking the question that remains unanswered to this day: “Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?”

It started in April 1943. A decomposed human body – by this time little more than a skeleton – was found inside a hollow tree trunk in Hagley Wood, about ten miles from the industrial city of Birmingham in the English midlands.

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Study Says Women May Be More Sensitive to THC

By Joana Coccarelli via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Joana Coccarelli via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Alternet:

With roughly half of men admitting to having tried marijuana and only a third of women saying the same, it’s no wonder the pothead image throughout society is often a male-dominated one. Is this with good reason? Or are women more private about advertising their weed use? There could be numerous explanations — either way, a recent  study in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal suggests because of their estrogen levels, women may be more responsive to the key active ingredient in the plant.

In the study, funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant, Washington state psychology professor Rebecca Craft found that female rats are at least 30 percent more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of  THC, which is the ingredient in cannabis that leads to a high. The study also found the females developed a tolerance to THC more quickly.

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Apple Locks Out NSA with iPhone 6

By download.net.pl - mobile via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By download.net.pl – mobile via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

via The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation’s law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities.

The phone encrypts emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone’s user — and that Apple says it will not possess.

The result, the company is essentially saying, is that if Apple is sent a court order demanding that the contents of an iPhone 6 be provided to intelligence agencies or law enforcement, it will turn over gibberish, along with a note saying that to decode the phone’s emails, contacts and photos, investigators will have to break the code or get the code from the phone’s owner.

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Men, masculine pride and how to cope with depression

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Jason Spendelow, University of Surrey

Masculinity plays an important role in dealing with problems such as depression. Men often don’t feel able to reach out for assistance because both the symptoms of depression and the act of seeking help goes against a stereotypical view of how us blokes should or shouldn’t behave.

Of course, traditional masculine characteristics are not necessarily “good” or “bad”. Stereotypical male traits such as self-reliance and independence can be very valuable in life (for both men and women). But when demonstrated through unhealthy and over-used psychological practises, they can spell trouble for well-being and mark seeking help as off-limits.

For example, adherence to “strait-jacket” masculinity, might not only prevent getting treatment but also intensifies tactics such as hiding depressed mood and increasing risk-taking behaviours such as substance use.

Different strategy needed off the pitch.

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Watch this Giant Red Leech Devour a Worm

“The leech sucks its prey down like spaghetti.”

The music really adds to the video.

via io9:

For the first time, filmmakers in the forests of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu have documented the so-repulsive-it’s-captivating behavior of a large, red, worm-guzzling predator. While it remains unclassified by science, the animal is known to the area’s tribespeople, fittingly, as the “Giant Red Leech.”

Allow me to introduce this brief but unsettling clip, recently captured by BBC filmmakers for the new series ‘Wonders of the Monsoon,’ by stating the obvious: Nature can be gross. Some of us appreciate this fact more than others.

Read the entire write-up over at io9.

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