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Science News: Americans' Trust in Doctors Is Falling

Americans' trust in the medical profession has plummeted in recent years, and lags well behind public attitudes toward doctors in many other countries, according to a new report. That lack of trust comes from how Americans' perceive doctors' motivations, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and co-author of the new report. While physician leaders elsewhere in the world often take public stands on key health and medical issues, Americans perceive the medical profession as looking out for itself, not advocating for public health, he said. And a survey of people in 29 countries found the United States ranked 24th in public trust of doctors.

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Science News: Cosmonauts Breeze Through Speedy Spacewalk at Space Station

Cosmonauts Breeze Through Speedy Spacewalk at Space StationTwo Russian cosmonauts breezed through a spacewalk outside the International Space Station Wednesday (Oct. 22) on a mission to collect old experiments and inspect their orbital home. Clad in bulky Orlan spacesuits, cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev planned to spend about six hours performing maintenance on the station, work that included tossing obsolete gear out into space. The instrument, which was installed on the Russian Zvezda service module in 2011, was no longer in operation, and the cosmonauts jettisoned the device toward the rear of the space station.


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Science News: Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun Explosions

Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun ExplosionsKnown as magnetic flux ropes, coronal loops and solar prominences, these structures possess spiraling magnetic field lines, as if a huge bar magnet had been twisted into a corkscrew. Scientists have long thought magnetic flux ropes drive powerful solar explosions such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can spawn geomagnetic storms that damage satellites in space and disrupt power grids on Earth. Two models for how magnetic flux ropes are involved have emerged. In the first model, a magnetic flux rope exists before the eruption.


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Science News: Wacky Humpbacked Dinosaur Looked Like 'Star Wars' Creature

Wacky Humpbacked Dinosaur Looked Like 'Star Wars' CreatureAbout 70 million years ago, a humpbacked, duck-billed dinosaur with monstrous front limbs and "mudding hooves" tramped through rivers hunting fish. Though the odd-looking creature, named Deinocheirus mirificus, was discovered nearly 50 years ago, almost nothing was known about the mysterious creature until two new skeletons were unearthed in Mongolia recently. "Deinocheirus was a peculiar humpbacked form with a duckbill-like skull," that could grow to the size of a T. rex, said study lead author Yuong-Nam Lee, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in South Korea. In 1965, paleontologists unearthed the giant, 7.8-foot-long (2.4 meters) forelimbs of a terrifying dinosaur in Mongolia's Gobi Desert.


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Science News: Hundreds of 'Exocomets' Around Nearby Star Come in Two Flavors

Hundreds of 'Exocomets' Around Nearby Star Come in Two FlavorsThe discovery of these distant "exocomets" could shed light on what the solar system was like in its tumultuous youth, scientists added. Comets are icy bodies that give birth to giant tails of gas and dust when they approach stars. Astronomers investigated Beta Pictoris, a relatively young star located about 63 light-years from the sun. At only about 20 million years of age — far younger than the 4.6-billion-year-old sun — Beta Pictoris is surrounded by a huge protoplanetary disk.


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