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Science News: Strange Rock from Russia Contains 30,000 Diamonds

Strange Rock from Russia Contains 30,000 DiamondsSAN FRANCISCO — Here's the perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything: A red and green rock, ornament-sized, stuffed with 30,000 teeny-tiny diamonds.


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Science News: 'Virtual Body Swapping' Could Change People's Biases

'Virtual Body Swapping' Could Change People's BiasesA futuristic virtual-reality exercise could bring new meaning to the saying "don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes." In the exercise, people can "swap bodies" with someone of a different race or age. In such "virtual body swapping," people wear a headset that immerses them in a world in which they inhabit a body other than their own. One key finding of the recent research is that people's negative attitudes about other groups can be changed, said Manos Tsakiris, a professor at Royal Holloway University of London and one of the authors of a new paper on the technology published today (Dec. 15) in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. "Once you change people's representations of what their bodies are like, then you can change their social cognition, which is the way in which we relate to others," based on their appearance or behavior, Tsakiris said.


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Science News: Deadly Cholera Outbreaks Could Increase with Climate Change

In an effort to better understand the environmental conditions that cause deadly cholera outbreaks and to be able to predict them in the future, researchers based at the University of Maryland compiled more than 40 years of cholera studies to compare weather and groundwater conditions to patterns of outbreaks. Based on their findings, the scientists have successfully developed a method of using satellite data to anticipate cholera outbreaks two to four months in advance, the team reported yesterday (Dec. 15) here at the 47th annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. "This is a paradigm shift in our interpretation of cholera epidemiological data," study co-author Rita Colwell, a researcher at the University of Maryland, College Park, told reporters during a news briefing.

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Science News: SpaceX to attempt rocket landing at sea

Falcon 9 rocket is launched by Space Exploration Technologies on its fourth cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in FloridaBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies will attempt to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a sea platform following launch on Friday, company officials said, a vital step to prove its precision landing capabilities needed before it can gain a ground landing license. SpaceX, as the California-based firm is known, has been working on developing technology to return its rockets intact so they can be refurbished and reflown, dramatically cutting costs. ...


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Science News: Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar Space

Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar SpaceIt turns out that sailing through interstellar space isn't so peaceful. NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft — the only object made by humans to reach interstellar space — might still be caught what scientists have described as a cosmic "tsunami wave," a shock wave that first hit the probe in February, according to new research. You can hear the eerie interstellar vibrations in a video, courtesy of NASA. "Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet," study researcher Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa, and the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement from NASA.


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