There’s 6,300 tonnes of space junk orbiting Earth — Astonishing interactive visualizations
Autistic Kids Have Extra Brain Synapses
Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is because of a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia Univ. Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in Neuron.
A drug that restores normal synaptic pruning can improve autistic-like behaviors in mice, the researchers found, even when the drug is given after the behaviors have appeared.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/autistic-kids-have-extra-brain-synapses
getting married tomorrow
A diagram of the movement of the Moon around the Earth (seen here) and a recipe for invisible ink await you in Mary Smith’s Commonplace Book. Help us make Mary’s journal of scientific inquiry more accessible by becoming a digital volunteer at the Smithsonian Transcription Center.
Food Waste May Be Turned into Bioplastic
Your chairs, synthetic rugs and plastic bags could one day be made out of cocoa, rice and vegetable waste rather than petroleum, scientists are now reporting. The novel process they have developed and their results, which could help the world deal with its agricultural and plastic waste problems, appear in the ACS journal Macromolecules.
Athanassia Athanassiou, Ilker Bayer and colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology point out that plastic’s popularity is constantly growing. In 2012, its production reached 288 million tons worldwide, but its ubiquity comes at a cost. Synthetic plastics persist for hundreds or thousands of years while releasing toxic components with the potential to harm the environment and human health. Also, plastics are made out of petroleum, which is a nonrenewable source. The shift to more environmentally friendly bioplastics has been challenging and expensive. Athanassiou’s team wanted to find a simple, less costly way to make the transition.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/food-waste-may-be-turned-bioplastic
Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras launched their own news site, The Intercept, to post high-profile leaks without worrying about the hassles that can come with publishing through major media outlets. They don’t have to worry that an outside editor will put the kibosh on an Edward Snowden story due to government pressure, for instance. However, that isn’t precluding officials from doing what they can to limit access. The US military has issued directives that ban staff from reading The Intercept due to the classified material that frequently pops up, particularly from a new reported leak source. Workers caught browsing the content might face “long term security issues,” one such memo warns. And that’s if they can read it at all; people in multiple military branches say the site is blocked altogether.
The move isn’t totally surprising, of course. The government regularly puts strict limits on the sites you’re allowed to visit from its offices, and it has a legal obligation to keep classified content off of devices where it doesn’t belong. Even if higher-ups are sympathetic, they’re required to both scrub computers clean and report any visits. Nonetheless, the Intercept ban highlights a certain absurdity to the government’s data policies — it’s barring access to “secret” surveillance details that you can easily read as soon as you leave for home.
[Image credit: Shutterstock / Everett Collection]
Responding to a shoplifting call just a few miles from the unrest in Ferguson yesterday afternoon, two St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department fired a dozen shots in all at 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, killing him instantly. Described by neighbors as mentally ill, Powell was carrying a knife and shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me now, motherfucker!” as he approached the officers.
Graphic Video Shows St. Louis Police Shoot and Kill Kajieme Powell Near Ferguson
Responding to a shoplifting call just a few miles from the unrest in Ferguson yesterday afternoon, two St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department fired a dozen shots in all at 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, killing him instantly. Described by neighbors as mentally ill, Powell was carrying a knife and shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me now, motherfucker!” as he approached the officers. Today, the department released a cell phone video of the shooting, which a rep for the police union called “exculpatory.”
With two cans visible on the sidewalk, Powell can be seen pacing back and forth, talking to himself. Seconds after leaving their vehicle, the officers draw their weapons; less than 20 seconds later, Powell is dead.
"They puttin’ him in cuffs," says a witness. "He’s dead. Oh my god. They just killed this man. He didn’t have a gun on him. Now they’re cuffing him. He’s already dead. The man is already dead."
Others wonder aloud if so many shots were really necessary. “Over a fucking honey bun,” says one man. “Over two fucking sodas, y’all,” says another. “They could’ve tased that man.”
"I don’t think any of us can deny that the tension not only in St. Louis but around the county and the world because of the activities in Ferguson over the last 10 or 12 days certainly has led to us making sure that we got this right and answered as many questions as we could as quickly as we can," said local police chief Sam Dotson after the video’s release.
"It’s exculpatory for one thing," said Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
At a news conference yesterday, Dotson described the Powell’s death as “suicide by cop,” based on witness accounts. “Every police officer that’s out here has a right to defend themselves,” he said. “Officer safety is the number one issue.”
Newly released video from NYC Housing Authority security cameras in Queensbridge appears to show that the NYPD is lying about a fatal crash that killed a Japanese student last year and may have tried to cover up the incident by discarding further video evidence. Although the NYPD has refused to release any video—which they previously claimed shows the NYPD vehicle with its flashing lights engaged—attorney Steve Vaccaro has obtained video from NYCHA through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Read more here: http://gothamist.com/2014/08/20/ryo_oyamada_video.php