Most of the really wrong design decisions in the Shuttle system — the side-mounted orbiter, solid rocket boosters, lack of air-breathing engines, no escape system, fragile heat protection — were the direct fallout of this design phase, when tight budgets and onerous Air Force requirements forced engineers to improvise solutions to problems that had as much to do to do with the mechanics of Congressional funding as the mechanics of flight. In a pattern that would recur repeatedly in the years to come, NASA managers decided that they were better off making spending cuts on initial design even if they resulted in much higher operating costs over the lifetime of the program.

The subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on at any given time. In the end, all of the treatment diets - even the placebo diet - caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. It didn’t matter if the diet contained gluten. (Read more about the study.)

"In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten," Gibson wrote in the paper. A third, larger study published this month has confirmed the findings.

It should be noted that this study is not about celiac disease — what it's saying is that if you don't have that specific disease you can eat all the gluten you want.

The country has outranked 162 others to take pole position in the Good Country Index, a league table based on 35 separate indicators from sources including the United Nations and the World Bank.

Sweden scores highest for positive lifestyle contributions including prosperity, equality, health and wellbeing, while also performing well culturally.

“We studied neighborhoods ranging in socioeconomic-status and culture. Those built with more activity-supportive environmental features had residents who did more physical activity. For example, transit access is a requirement for living a lifestyle that is less car-dependent and more active because it increases walking to and from the transit facility,” said James Sallis, PhD, lead study investigator and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

That's the verdict of a comprehensive review of the science on the subject recently published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. The team behind the research looked at decades of studies focused on all manner of techniques and apps that promise to help you devour words at an incredible clip. Sadly, what they found is that what looks too good to be true almost certainly is.

A large proportion of the public – over a quarter according to a Gallup survey in the US – believe that humans have psychic abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance, even though mainstream science says there is no evidence that these powers exist. It might be tempting for sceptics to put this down to a lack of intelligence or education on the part of the believers, but in fact past research has failed to support this interpretation.

Now a paper in Memory and Cognition has looked for differences between believers and sceptics in specific mental abilities, rather than in overall intelligence or education. Across three studies – this was one of the most comprehensive investigations of its kind – the researchers at the University of Chicago found that believers in psychic powers had memory abilities equal to the sceptics, but they underperformed on tests of their analytical thinking skills.

Back in the olden days, most typists were trained to use all their fingers. That’s less of a concern now, leading to all sorts of self-taught typing styles. But as a new study shows, our lack of formal training—and our resistance to using all ten fingers—doesn’t mean we’re not proficient typists.

This is a selective list of some short stories and novels that use more or less accurate science and can be used for teaching or reinforcing astronomy or physics concepts. I include both traditional “science-fiction” and (occasionally) more serious fiction that derives meaning or plot from astronomy or physics ideas.

The pooled OR for myopia indicated a 2% reduced odds of myopia per additional hour of time spent outdoors per week, after adjustment for covariates (OR, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.973-0.990; P<0.001; I(2), 44.3%). This is equivalent to an OR of 0.87 for an additional hour of time spent outdoors each day. Three prospective cohort studies provided estimates of risk of incident myopia according to time spent outdoors, adjusted for possible confounders, although estimates could not be pooled, and the quality of studies and length of follow-up times varied. Three studies (2 prospective cohort and 1 RCT) investigated time spent outdoors and myopic progression and found increasing time spent outdoors significantly reduced myopic progression.

Hawkins and Ahmad now say they know what’s going on. Their new idea is that distal and proximal synapses play entirely different roles in the process of learning. Proximal synapses play the conventional role of triggering the cell to fire when certain patterns of connections crop up.


But distal synapses do something else. They also recognize when certain patterns are present, but do not trigger firing. Instead, they influence the electric state of the cell in a way that makes firing more likely if another specific pattern occurs. So distal synapses prepare the cell for the arrival of other patterns. Or, as Hawkins and Ahmad put it, these synapses help the cell predict what the next pattern sensed by the proximal synapses will be.

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