Author name: Michael Ricciardi

Michael Ricciardi is a well-published writer of science/nature/technology articles as well as essays, poetry and short fiction. Michael has interviewed dozen of scientists from many scientific fields, including Brain Greene, Paul Steinhardt, Arthur Shapiro, and Nobel Laureate Ilya Progogine (deceased). Michael was trained as a naturalist and taught natural science on Cape Cod, Mass. from 1986-1991. His first arts grant was for production of the environmental (video) documentary 'The Jones River - A Natural History', 1987-88 (Kingston, Mass.). Michael is an award winning, internationally screened video artist. Two of his more recent short videos; 'A Time of Water Bountiful' and 'My Name is HAM' (an "imagined memoir" about the first chimp in space), and several other short videos, can be viewed on his website (http://www.chaosmosis.net). He is also the author of the ebook 'Zombies, E.T's, and The Super Entity - A Selection of Most Stimulating Articles' and for Kindle: Artful Survival ~ Creative Options for Chaotic Times

Quantum Physics News: Rare Particle Decay Confirms Standard Model & A 'Holographic Duality' Hidden Beneath The Quantum World

(Two news stories covering recent research in quantum physics: a rare particle’s decay is validated for the first time, confirming predictions in the Standard Model of QT [but dimming hopes of more exotic particles, for now]; and, new research on exotic forms of matter called cuprates seems to indicate a ‘holographic duality’ hidden beneath the […]

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Alberta Tar Sands Site Has Been Leaking Oil for 9 Weeks – Situation Called "Uncommon"

Most US Americans don’t know about it (the news has barely earned a mention in our mainstream media outlets), but a site in Canada’s Alberta Tar (‘Oil’) Sands has been leaking now for some 9 weeks…with no signs of stopping, according to an anonymous government scientist speaking to the Toronto Star. An investigating official from

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Schrodinger's 'Kitten'? Large-Scale Quantum Entanglement Achieved By Two Physics Labs

In the famous gedanken experiment posited by famed quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger in the 1930’s, a hypothetical cat resides in a closed box with a radioactive atom which may exist in a stable or decaying state; if the atom decays, it triggers the release of a poison contained in a flask, which would kill the

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$60 Trillion — Global Economic Impact Of A Massive Methane Release In The Arctic, New Study Shows

Up to $60 trillion (just shy of the global GDP for one year) is what climate change impacts will cost the world’s economy if the estimated 50 billion tons of seafloor-trapped methane gas in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf were to be released into the atmosphere. That’s according to new economic modeling research conducted by

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New Technique Generates Electricity From CO2 Pollution

A new technique developed by a team of Dutch Engineers generates electrical power from a novel mixing of CO2, air, and water — without increasing CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a simple molecule that results from either the natural breakdown of organic matter (by bacterial decomposition), or as a by-product of combustion of hydrocarbon-based

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What Is The Sound Of One Species Vanishing? Listening To The Voice Of The Natural World

(Note to the Reader: The following article details a new remote monitoring system for tracking animal diversity and identifying threatened species, and, as an inspirational supplement, presents a TED Talk video by Bernie Krause on the value of listening to Nature’s many sounds.) Accurately Determining the Presence or Absence of Forest Fauna If you’re an

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Architect Designs 'Ark' — Floating Housing Project — For An Uncertain Climate Future (Photos)

Like many contemporary architects, Alexander Remizov designs structures based upon principles of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. But where he parts from many of his fellows is in his futuristic vision of a world impacted by highly uncertain climate change — particularly habitable land loss due to mass flooding events and extreme climate conditions. Many

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'The Inquisition of Climate Science' – A Book Review

The Inquisition of Climate Science by James Lawrence Powell is an essential literary resource for understanding how modern climate science is conducted, and equally, for understanding how climate change denialism has evolved and continues to undermine the public interest, to its great peril. Powell’s title smartly preempts the spurious notion of a “fair and balanced”

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Ancient Underwater Forest Discovered Off Alabama Coast

Some fifty thousand years ago, a forest comprised of Bald Cypress trees was buried under massive amounts of ocean sediment that also locked out dissolved oxygen present in the water — effectively preserving (and hiding) the primordial forest forever. Well, that is until Hurricane Katrina’s mighty storm surges (it is believed) disturbed the underwater burial

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Obesity-Cancer Link Explained By 'Gut Bug' Changes, New Research Finds

A long-standing question in medical science has been explaining the obesity-cancer link in humans; previous studies have shown that obesity increases the risk for many illnesses such as diabetes and cancer. But the exact biological mechanism that underlies this link has been elusive. But now, a new study of mice microbiomes (the communities of trillions

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Our Physical Surroundings And Postures Can Make Us Dishonest, Newest Study Confirms

An expansive office space or desk, or even a large car interior, alters our posture, making us feel more powerful…and this tends to make us dishonest…that’s according to new research to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. The study, entitled ‘The Ergonomics of Dishonesty’ (Yap et al), draws upon four

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Animal News Roundup: Ancient Horse Genome Sequenced, Elephant Diet Choices Shape Evolution, & A Lizard Live Birth Mystery Solved

Three intriguing and exciting animal news stories to report…So, let’s get to it. Genome from a 700,000 Year Old Horse Fossil Is Sequenced Setting the record for the oldest animal (human or otherwise) to have its DNA sequenced, a team of evolutionary biologists has sequenced DNA found in a bone from an ancient horse-like species

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Monarch Butterfly & Many Birds Facing Big Declines, Possible Extinction

[Special Note: see the note at bottom for a link to a new bird species discovery!] The decline in Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) numbers has been transpiring for at least two decades, but in recent years, these declines have become more dramatic. Each year, vast numbers of the ornately-winged insect engage in their famous, ritual

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Neuroscientists Create First Ever 3D 'Whole Human Brain' Map [VIDEO]

An international consortium of neuroscientists has completed a ten year effort in high-resolution “brain mapping” and created the most detailed map of a whole human brain ever produced. The complete 3D brain atlas is constituted from over 20,000 trillion bytes (terabytes) of data (more data than could be handled by any computer ten years ago).

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Animal-Human 'Chimera' Embryo Experiments To Be Given 'OK' By Japan's Regulatory Panel

A series for experiments in animal-human bio-engineering proposed by a team of Japanese researchers has cleared its first regulatory hurdles, news sources inside Japan reported Tuesday. The purpose of the proposed experiments is to grow human organs inside the body of a non-human animal. While many in the US, Canada and Europe might have some

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B.C. Government Formally Rejects Proposed 'Northern Gateway' Tar Sands Pipeline

Citing significant safety concerns, the government of British Columbia, Canada, has announced its formal rejection of the proposed ‘Northern Gateway’ tar sands pipeline which would, if approved and built, bring 500,000 barrels of (diluted bitumen) oil straight through the pristine rainforest along the ‘Spirit Bear Coast’, en route to points east and south (mostly, China,

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Stress and Existential Anxiety Increase 'Belief in Science', New Study Finds

The old adage “there are no atheists in fox holes” may be true for the more religiously inclined, but much less so for the more rational or scientific-minded amongst us. A recent study by psychologist at University of Oxford, in the UK, finds that a certain “faith” in the explanatory power of Science increases when

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New Laser Cloaking Technology Creates 'Time Holes' – Allows You To 'Erase History' [VIDEO]

When Alice went down the rabbit hole, she may have felt that she might never get back (though she did eventually). But some types of information can be sent into a ‘time hole’ and truly never come back. A team of engineers (Lukens et al) at Purdue University has developing an optical (laser-based) cloaking method

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Tiny Ancient 'Hybrid' Primate Revealed to Be 'Crucial Link' In Anthropoid Evolution

Fifty five million years ago, a tiny, proto-primate species weighing less than one ounce (28.35 grams) lived, ate, mated and died amongst the lush vegetation and tree-ringed lakes of a tropical forest that once flourished in central China. We know of this creature — officially named Archicebus achilles — thanks to a well-preserved (nearly complete)

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Particle Physics News: Entangling Photons From Different Times, First Direct Viewing of Electrons & A Puzzling New 'Particle' Debated

  Entanglement of Photon Pairs From Two Different Times In the bizarro sub-atomic realm of quantum physics, a particle can occupy two different states at the same time (a state known as superposition), and, two particles (like two particles of light, or photons) can become entangled — a curious, coupled state in which an action

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Amphibian News: Killer Fungus Found In Third Major Amphibian Group, USGS Amphibian Survey Findings 'Alarming'

Two important amphibian news items to report here…the first regards the spread of the lethal Chytrid fungus into Caecilians (a third major grouping of the Amphibia); the second item: a report on the recent USGS survey of US amphibian populations. Rare Amphibian Group Now at Risk from Frog-killing Fungus Frogs (and toads), salamanders, and Caecilians

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3D-Printed Pizza In Space! NASA Funds 'Food Replicator' For Space Station [VIDEO]

Regular readers of PS are aware that we have covered many news items of late involving the remarkably versatile technology known as 3D printing/rapid prototyping in which 3D computer design software, laser printing and materials science combine to create real (3 dimensional) objects or materials. This tech has been used to “print” various useful items:

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Extreme Political Views Caused By The ‘Illusion of Understanding’

  Have you ever tried to engage in a balanced discussion or debate over, say, macro-economics or maybe foreign policy — subjects that are complex and contingent upon many factors — and found yourself frustrated in your attempts by an extreme/unyielding ideological viewpoint? Well, the next time you’re confronted with an extreme (and typically over-simplified)

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Medical Breakthrough: 'Patient-Specific' Embryonic Stem Cells Achieved By Cloning

[UPDATED – May 24, 2013; see note at bottom] A team of reproductive biologists led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov at the Oregon Health and Science University (Beaverton, OR) have successfully created ‘patient-specific’ embryonic stem cells (ESCs) through cloning. The improved cloning technique used by the team is much more efficient than previous approaches that have achieved

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Long-Predicted Fractal Energy Pattern Observed For First Time By Physicists

Forty years ago, a mysterious and beautiful butterfly-shaped magnetic energy pattern was theorized by famed physicist and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Douglas Hofstadter. But due to previous limitations in the laboratory technology used to generate strong magnetic fields, this pattern had here-to-fore never materialized. Today, two separate but cross-collaborating research teams — one of which

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'Timelapse' Project Offers 25 Years of Animated Earth Images From Space [GIFS]

Ever wish you had a planetary time machine that allowed you to see the progression of geological or industrial changes leading up to our present time?…Ever wanted to see how much your city has grown over the past 25 + years…or view the dramatic loss of forest cover in the Amazon…or the retreat of Alaska’s

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Florida Orange Crop 'Totally Threatened' By Bacterium-Carrying Bug

The State of Florida’s $9 billion annual orange crop is under serious threat from ‘citrus greening’ disease (also known by its Asian name huanglongbing); some citrus farmers are calling it the worst threat to their crop in over half a century. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, which, as the

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The Secret Communication of Plants – Sensing a ‘Good Neighbor’ From A Bad One

Love Thy (Plant) Neighbor – Plants of many varieties utilize different signalling or communicative means to both compete with, and cooperate with, other plant species in their vicinity in order to promote growth or enable defense against mutual pests and pathogens. Such means include touch (physical contact or proximity), aromatic chemicals (“oderants”) and even light

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Chemical Safety Testing On Animals May Not Be Valid For Humans, Recent Study Finds

Since Congress mandated testing of new medicines and chemicals on animals back in 1937, billions of laboratory animals have been subjected to a vast number of chemicals and medicinal compounds — all under the entrenched belief that this “safety testing” is translatable to human animals; a concept known as the concordance assumption. But a recent

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Recent Gamma Ray Burst Produced 'Highest-Energy Light' Ever Detected

At just before 4:00 am EDT on Saturday, April 27, as NASA’s Swift space observatory was switching between galactic targets, a high-energy eruption occurred in the Constellation Leo. Swift was swift enough to detect the burst and compute its coordinates and the energetic eruption was soon detected by the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on-board the

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New Mexico County Is First In Nation To Ban Fracking & Oil Drilling

Mora County, New Mexico, has become the first county in the nation to ban natural gas ‘fracking’ and oil drilling, according to a report on Grist.org. Mora County –currently suffering from a severe drought — is located near Santa Fe and has a residential population of less than 5000 persons. Nearby San Miguel County has

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Bioengineers Create Genetic 'Bio-Transistor' – Will Permit Cell Programming, Disease Monitoring

Stanford University scientists working in the new discipline of synthetic biology have devised a “genetic transistor” that mimics the classic three terminal transistor found in many electronic devices and computers. The new device is intended to have broad applications for a variety of “cellular circuits” that will allow programming of individual cells to perform tasks

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Newly Discovered Binary Star System Confirms Predictions of Einstein's Gravity Theory

Seven thousand light years away a recently discovered super dense binary star system is proving itself to be the ideal test case for verifying a prediction made by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity (GR) back in 1915. The binary system is composed of a white dwarf star encircling a fast-spinning type of

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Cancer Therapy News: Radioactive Microbes, Altered Immune Cells Succeed As Anti-Cancer Treatments

Two recent successes in cancer treatment (metastatic pancreatic cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia) are reported here. Researchers Use Weakened Bacteria to Deliver Radiation Directly to Cancer Cells The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is a rod-shaped bacterium that can by-pass a cell’s defenses and penetrate its interior, potentially causing severe diseases such as meningitis. In healthy people (those

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'Resource Shocks' Caused By Climate Change Cited As National Security Threat

  We tend to expect a relatively conservative stance from our intelligence community on most any issue affecting national security, and, in particular, the dual issue of global warming and climate change. This ‘traditional’ stance reflects the general position of our elected leaders who continue to resist taking meaningful action and keep kicking the climate

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NASA Announces Newest Most Earth-Like Exoplanet Found By Kepler Mission

At a press conference earlier today, NASA scientists announced the discovery of three new ‘Super Earths’ — exoplanets that are slightly larger than our own Earth — one of which is the most Earth-like exoplanet ever found in a sun-like star’s habitable zone. This latter of the three new Super Earths is called Kepler-69cΒ and it

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Federal Court Rules Against Fracking Industry In California

In what is being hailed as a “landmark ruling” a federal judge in California has ruled (on April 8, 2013) that federal authorities at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) broke the law when they leased government-controlled land to oil and natural gas drilling companies without proper environmental oversight and assessment of the risks of

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Confirmed: 7 Million Year Old Skull Belonged To Oldest Human Ancestor

The skull fragments were discovered amongst the scorching sands of the Djurab Desert in Chad, Africa, in 2002. At that time, the anthropologists who discovered ‘Toumai’ (as the fossil hominin was dubbed) were already claiming it as a human ancestor — possibly the oldest ever found at roughly 7 million years old. This date is

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Apocalypse Avoided? Fed Budget Funds NASA Mission To Capture Asteroid

The spate of recent near-Earth asteroid ‘fly-bys’, along with the recent (and sensational) Russian meteor explosion, has heightened public awareness of these random space-based threats and prompted public calls for action. Some space agencies, research institutes, and private space sector companies have stepped tentatively into the asteroid-apocalypse-prevention arena — at least the “ideas” phase —

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Mystery Of African 'Fairy Circles' May Be Solved – Ecologist Claims He's Found The Culprit

The barren, perfectly circular patches of dirt — oftenΒ outlined by a thin ring of tall grass — seem to be somehow “alive”; they have been known to lastΒ years, and then simply vanish. The mysterious ‘fairy circles’, as they are popularly known, dot a 2000 kilometer stretch of desert that ranges from Angola to South Africa.

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In Search Of Conservation's 'Holy Grail' – Dealing With The Trade-Offs

“The Triple Bottom Line Solution” – When it comes to to preserving and conserving this planet’s dwindling crucial ecosystems and biodiversity “hot spots”, the mission is full of trade-offs. Effective conservation efforts can be costly and limiting access to natural resources (exploitation of which has led to the need for conservation in the first place)

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