Study finds astronauts' hearts become more spherical in space

New findings from a study of 12 astronauts show the heart becomes more spherical when exposed to long periods of microgravity in space, a change that could lead to cardiac problems, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

With implications for an eventual manned mission to Mars, the findings represent an important step toward understanding how a spaceflight of 18 months or more could affect astronauts’ heart health.

“The heart doesn’t work as hard in space, which can cause a loss of muscle mass,” said James Thomas, M.D., Moore Chair of Cardiovascular Imaging and Lead Scientist for Ultrasound at NASA, and senior author of the study. “That can have serious consequences after the return to…

DOE To Do WIPP Mine Reentry On April Fools Day

DOE is planning the first reentry into the mine for April 1st.
“Tomorrow, personnel are scheduled to enter the WIPP underground to survey conditions for the first time since the February 14 radiological release. A team of eight radiological control, mine operations, and mine rescue experts will descend into the mine through the Salt Shaft to establish a safe base of operations and conduct radiation surveys to check for airborne contamination. If no contamination is detected, a second team of eight members will enter the underground to check conditions between the Salt Hoist and the Air Intake Shaft.
Multiple mine entries are necessary before the team accesses the waste disposal area where a continuous air monitor detected airborne contamination. Once they reach that point, the team will locate and isolate the source of the contamination.”

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Source: Fukushima Sub

Liberia confirms spread of ‘unprecedented’ Ebola epidemic

Conakry (AFP) – Aid organisation Doctors Without Borders said Monday an Ebola outbreak suspected of killing dozens in Guinea was an “unprecedented epidemic” as Liberia confirmed its first cases of the deadly contagion.

Guinea’s health ministry this year has reported 122 “suspicious cases” of viral haemorrhagic fever, including 78 deaths, with 22 of the samples taken from patients testing positive for the highly contagious tropical pathogen.

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country: Gueckedou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Nzerekore, and now Conakry,” Mariano Lugli, the organisation’s coordinator in the Guinean capital, said in a statement.

The group, known by its French initials MSF, said that by the end of the week it would have around 60 international field workers with experience in working on haemorrhagic fever divided between Conakry and the south-east of the country.

“MSF has intervened in almost all reported Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but they were much more geographically contained and involved more remote locations,” Lugli said.

“This geographical spread is worrisome because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organisations working to control the epidemic.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) and local health authorities have announced two Ebola cases among seven samples tested from Liberia’s northern Foya district, confirming for the first time the spread of the virus across international borders.

Liberian Health Minister Walter Gwenigale told reporters the patients were sisters, one of whom had died.

The surviving sister returned to Monrovia in a taxi before she could be isolated and the authorities fear she may have spread the virus to her taxi driver and four members of her family.

The woman and those with whom she has come into contact are in quarantine in a hospital 48 kilometres (30 miles) south-east of Monrovia, Gwenigale said.

 

— Unstoppable bleeding —

 

Ebola has killed almost 1,600 people since it was first observed in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo but this is the first fatal outbreak in west Africa.

The tropical virus leads to haemorrhagic fever, causing muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

The WHO said Sierra Leone has also identified two suspected cases, both of whom died, but neither has been confirmed to be Ebola.

No treatment or vaccine is available for the bug, and the Zaire strain detected in Guinea has a historic death rate of up to 90 percent.

It can be transmitted to humans from wild animals, and between humans through direct contact with another’s blood, faeces or sweat, as well as sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

MSF said it had stepped up support for the isolation of patients in Conakry, in collaboration with the Guinean health authorities and the WHO.

“Other patients in other health structures are still hospitalised in non-optimal conditions and isolation must be reinforced in the coming days,” it added.

The WHO said it was not recommending travel or trade restrictions to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone based on the current information available about the outbreak.

But Senegal has closed border crossings to Guinea “until further notice”.

A breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Controlling and bending light around an object so it appears invisible to the naked eye is the theory behind fictional invisibility cloaks.

It may seem easy in Hollywood movies, but is hard to create in real life because no material in nature has the properties necessary to bend light in such a way. Scientists have managed to create artificial nanostructures that can do the job, called metamaterials. But the challenge has been making enough of the material to turn science fiction into a practical reality.

The work of Debashis Chanda at the University of Central Florida, however, may have just cracked that barrier. The cover story in the March edition of the journal Advanced Optical Materials, explains how Chanda and fellow optical and nanotech experts were able to develop a…

Moderately strong M1.4 solar flare erupted near the western limb

A moderately strong solar flare measuring M1.4 at its peak time erupted on March 31, 2014 from Region 2014. The event started at 07:20, peaked at 08:07, and ended at 08:18 UTC.

A Type IV Radio Emission was registered beginning at 08:17 UTC. Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the sun and are typically associated with strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms.

The responsible region is located near the western limb – the CME should not be Earth directed.

However, due to several partially Earth-directed CMEs from last couple of days, the geomagnetic field is expected to increase to unsettled and active levels on April 1 and continue through April 2 – unsettled to G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm…

Very intense Tropical cyclone Hellen radically intensified over the weekend, Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Hellen (Southwest Indian Ocean) radically intensified over the weekend and reached wind speeds of up to 232 km/h (144 mph) and wind gusts up to 278 km/h (172 mph). GDACS is calling red alert for Madagascar – this tropical cyclone is expected to have a high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path.

Up to 250 000 people people are affected by wind speeds of cyclone strength or above. In addition, 9 200 people people are living in coastal areas below 5 meters and can therefore be affected by storm surge.​

According to a bulletin issued by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) at La Reunion at 01:08 UTC today: “…storm surge could reach…