Cassini Achieved A Successful First Dive Part Of Its “Grand Finale”

cassini first dive saturn

Cassini, NASA’s Saturn exploring mission, prepared and took the first dive of its “Grand Finale”.

NASA has been all abuzz this week as Cassini, its Saturn exploring mission, prepared and took the first dive of its “Grand Finale”. This is set to end on September 15th, as the spacecraft will take its final plunge.

Cassini’s Grand Finale will involve 22 planned plunges through Saturn’s rings. This is a first time ever, as no man-controlled craft has ever entered this region. The first dive was carried out this week. It took almost a full day before Cassini reported back to the mission center. This much-expected communication came late on Wednesday night and early on Thursday morning.

Cassini Completed Its First Dive Out Of 22

Joan Stupik, who is a guidance and control engineer for the Cassini mission at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave an interview prior to this confirmation. To achieve its goal, the spacecraft has to pass through a 1,200-mile gap in Saturn’s rings. As it does so, it also turns its antenna into a shield, which also puts a stop to the constant communication.

According to Stupik, scientists have been studying the gas giant’s rings for over a decade. However, they have little data on the small gap they detected. This is on the inside of the innermost ring and the atmosphere from the ring’s end. And this is where Cassini comes in. As part of its dives, it will gather information on both these elements.

Stupik said: “We think that it’s clear of debris, but there’s a small possibility that there could be small bits of debris particles, flecks of dust in there… going up to 45 times the speed of a bullet”

She also stated that these dives would offer more than just one fantastic opportunity. They will also help scientists take a closer look at the rings themselves. This way, they may be able to establish which are the oldest one. And they can do so as they analyze each ring independently.

By determining their age, research could also possibly determine their composition and how they formed. Also, Cassini could help science by taking a peek inside Saturn’s interior. This could show how big it is, what it is made of, and also how its magnetic field works.

If all goes according to plan, and Cassini manages to complete its mission, its final plunge is scheduled to take place on September 15th. That is if it doesn’t come into contact with debris during one of its following plunges.

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BuzzFeed to Go Public in 2018 as a Media Tech Company

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BuzzFeed is the voice of the new generation and it might go public in 2018 as a media tech company.

BuzzFeed has been around the block for ten years now. Not only that, but the company managed to introduced a new type of media format that suits the needs of modern society best. The centerpiece of its agenda is creating and promoting viral content. This term denominates a part of viral marketing that is powerful enough to create a phenomenon where many readers are promoting and sharing the post through their social media profiles because they loved it so much. According to several reports, the company is preparing itself for a 2018 IPO as a media tech company.

The Received Funds from NBCUniversal Might Make the 2018 IPO Plans Come True

According to several reports published in the media, BuzzFeeds has big plans for the year to come. The company is already getting ready to file for an initial public offering. This means that everybody will be able to acquire stocks in one of the most resounding media companies of the modern society.

Moreover, this move signals the company’s endeavor to create a source of capital for an explosive business expansion. BuzzFeed managed to build a large community of professionals over the years. The online website makes it a usual thing to publish content on a daily basis. Moreover, each piece has the potential to become viral content. This gigantesque work is possible thanks to its own community of reporters, cartoon artists, contributors, and also amateurs.

The move that propelled the company towards this decision in an instant was a huge November event. This was when NBCUniversal decided to invest in BuzzFeed a total of $200 million. The goal of these large funds was to accelerate the growth of the company. The two organizations also have a partnership regarding the advertising domain. Thus, as long as BuzzFeed is successful, so is NBCUniversal going to be.

The First Official Media Tech Company Will Open the Door to other Similar Platforms

The CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, stated that he received many buying offers from media companies over the years. However, he has no intention to give up on its huge project. This is why he left the selling idea for the intention of filing for an IPO in the first half of 2018.

If these plans succeed, the company will open an opportunity door for all modern online media platforms that transcended the traditional format of newsfeeds and obtained a hybrid between a media and a tech company. The CEO of Buzzfeed has also mentioned that the platform will obtain the title of a media tech company once it goes public.

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Wall Street Bonuses Scored Highest Value Since 2013

new york stock exchange

Wall Street Bonuses hit a record height last years despite low profits for the industry.

The financial services sector in New York City saw a major revenue increase last year. Employees that empower this industry received $138,210 in Wall Street bonuses for the year of 2016. This financial improvement has spectacular surge in bank profitsto thank for. This is the first time in three years when the profits escalated so quickly. By comparison, industry workers received just a 1% boost to their salaries.

Wall Street Bonuses Soared 21%

On Wednesday, the New York State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, released a new financial report. One of the main findings of the document highlights a huge discrepancy between the worth of financial industries. While the bank’s employees and brokerages got to take home a 1% profit, the Wall Street bonuses soared 21%.

Another odd fact was that in 2016, the Wall Street profits suffered a plunge in numbers actually. Despite this profit decay, the employers were generous in the compensation area. In the Wall Street world, bonuses are declared between December and March. These consist not only of cash, but also of stock as well. This is why some employees might get their hands on their gratification in several years from now.

The source of generous bonuses might have something to do with stock prices for banks that increased since November. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase saw a boost of more than 30%. At the same time, the Bank of America left all the others behind thanks to a 50% increase.

Only 10% of Employees Benefited the Bonus

On the other hand, Michael Karp, the CEO of Options Group, a top recruiting company, stated that only up to 10% of employees benefited the Wall Street bonuses. It was only 2015 when trading business faced massive difficulties and had to lower the bonuses for employees by 15%.

“Since DiNapoli’s survey focuses on tax credits, much of the increase came from the appreciation of deferred stock bonuses vesting this year,” Karp explained.

The comptroller’s report didn’t divulge numbers. However, the document did specify the bonuses for 2015. The securities industry paid an average of $388,000. This makes the average bonus for the year of 2016 to hit a total of $500,000. The recently disclosed report shows only average bonuses. On the other hand, employees aren’t remunerated equally across the securities industry. Those in the front office such as bankers and traders earn significantly more than the others.

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The Hidden Dangers of Swimming in a Pool with Urine


University of Alberta researchers discovered that an average swimming pool contains up to 20 gallons of urine.

With summers around the corner, everybody’s probably thinking about kicking it back and head towards the local watering hole to relax, cool down, and to exercise a little. But how safe are public pools? A recent study shows that most public pools contain a high amount of urine.

We all know that the best way to go for a great swim is to go to the beach. However, not all of us have the luxury of leaving all things outside and to head to the local beach. For those who are just capable of leaving the city, public pools are a great choice for cooling down in the summer and to do a couple of exercises.

However enticing the perspective of going for a couple of swims in the local pool may be, we all know that there’s a high chance of someone urinating next to you. Granted that it’s a little disturbing and quite unhealthy, but sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go to your happy place.

The Study On Urine Concentration

A recent study from the University of Alberta showed that most public pools contain a high level of urine, despite the posted signs and the owners cleaning it on a daily basis. Although most of us think that it’s fine to swim around in urine since chlorine can knock out most of toxins found in the bodily fluid, the Alberta researchers said that chlorine mixed with urine can be a dangerous mixture.

In order to determine the amount of urine in public pools, the team of researchers collected water samples from 31 public pools and tested them for a substance called ACE or acesulfame potassium. The researchers declared that ACE is an artificial sweetener, widely used by the food industry. Furthermore, according to the team, ACE is among the only substances that pass through our body without being metabolized.

Results and Additional Health Concerns

The lab tests revealed that a public pool contains 20 gallons of urine on the average. By comparison, the researchers said that the levels of urine identified in pools are approximately 570 times higher than those you would normally find in, let’s say, tap water.

The team said that chlorine, the disinfectant normally used to clean out pools, doesn’t help that much when it comes to dealing with urine. In fact, the scientists have discovered that the mixture of uric acid and chlorine can give birth to cyanogen chloride and trichloramine, two dangerous compounds which can wreak havoc on the CNI and damage the lungs and heart.

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Health Experts Declared Meningococcal Outbreak Onset in Oregon


With three confirmed meningococcal cases over a relatively short timespan, Oregon health officials fear they are witnessing the early stages of a full-blown outbreak.

Recently, health experts confirmed a case of meningococcal disease at Oregon State University. The announcement came after the strain has been lying dormant for quite some time now, and awoke only to set the stage for a full-blown outbreak, state health officials declared. The OSU student became ill last fall and is now recovering under close medical observation.

Meningococcal Cases

The student that has contracted the illness is the third to have been diagnosed with meningococcal disease. On Thursday, March 2nd, officials said the victim contracted the B strain of the disease. While the vaccines proved effective for A strains, it seems the serum does not protect the population against the secondary strain.

The sufferer has been admitted at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center on February 23rd. Health experts say the student is in good condition. However, the patients’ names have not been released to the press because of federal privacy restrictions. In November 2016, two other Oregon State University students were hospitalized and subsequently released from medical care upon completing the treatment sessions.

Meningococcal Disease

Health experts say the illness affects primarily young individuals, usually under 25 years of age. Good news is the disease is not highly contagious. However, it is still aggressive enough to claim lives, as meningitis can prove fatal. In addition, meningitis is also responsible for severe circulation issues that could lead to amputation in some cases.

At the moment, Benton County and Oregon State University health officials identified 43 people that could have been exposed to the infected student. In response, all of them have been treated with antibiotics to stop further spreading of the disease, said Benton County Health Department’s deputy director, Charlie Fautin. Also, as the sick student lived in an off-campus apartment, OSU officials said that no one else is believed to be at risk from exposure.

In light of the events, all Oregon State University students are recommended to get vaccinated. For this purpose, the educational facility scheduled vaccination clinics for students from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday at McAlexander Fieldhouse on the Corvallis campus.

University officials estimate upward to 7,000 students are eligible for receiving the vaccine, with 1500 to 1800 students living in sororities, fraternities, and other off-campus group housing facilities and approximately 5,000 students living in campus dorms.

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NASA Asks for Help Naming the 7 Newly Discovered Planets

newly discovered planets

Regardless of their amusing ring, officials say it is less likely the newly discovered planets will take after the seven dwarves in Snow White.

Now that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has stumbled upon seven new planets that may support intelligent life, beyond our solar system, the officials need to come up with names for each celestial body. To make thing more interesting, NASA launched the challenge on Twitter last week, February 25th, and asked the internet community to help with the task at hand. Needless to say, some funny entries made an appearance. However, there is little chance the planets will take after one of the seven dwarves in Snow White, as one user suggested.

Name Suggestions for the Trappist-1 Planets

At the moment, the planets discovered by the space agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope go by the names of Trappist-1b, Trappist-1c, Trappist-1d, Trappist-1e, Trappist-1f, Trappist-1g, and Trappist-1h. However, some amusing suggestions have been submitted under NASA’s hashtag “#7NamesFor7NewPlanets?”, with some users drawing inspiration from pop culture references, such as smartphone series, the seven Harry Potter novels, or popular characters from TV series like Friends or Game of Thrones.

Hence, one user came up with these names for the newly discovered planets:

  1. Tom Riddle’s Diary
  2. Marvolo’s Ring
  3. Slytherin’s Locket
  4. Hufflepuff’s Cup
  5. Ravenclaw’s Diadem
  6. Nagini
  7. Harry Potter

Also, some users found it amusing to reference the seven dwarves from Snow White’s story: Dopey, Doc, Itchy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, and Bashful. However, the most amusing suggestions came from Twitter user @idiotcracy, who reminded the internet of Britain’s Boaty McBoatface incident in 2016. Per @idiotcracy’s suggestion, the names of the Trappist-1 planets should be:

  1. Planet McPlanetface
  2. Moonie McMoonface
  3. Rocky McRockface
  4. Icy McIceface
  5. Dusty McDustface
  6. Gasy McGasface
  7. Wanda

Others chose to draw their inspiration from current events and call the newly discovered planets Far from Trump1 to Far from Trump7.

International Astronomical Union’s Opinion

No matter how much amusing they are, officials in charge of choosing the names of all things astronomical say there is no chance either of the entries will pass as valid names for the Trappist-1 planets. That is if they don’t want to repeat Britain’s Boaty McBoatface experience from 2016.

Ultimately, similar contests took place in recent years, more specifically, back in 2015, when the International Astronomical Union invited the public to name 32 extrasolar planets revolving around 15 stars.

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Girl with Unusual Condition Talks to teachers and Students Alike on world Rare Disease Day

rare disease

Ava Garnett talking about her rare disease early Tuesday morning. She was helped by an older student to deliver her message to the entire student body.

Fourth-grader Ava Garnett was born with a rare condition that affects her elbows, kneecaps, nails and other joints. Currently, she is studying at Petrides School in Sunnyside. According to her family, nothing can stop her from living her life as a normal child, taking part in various school activities and even participating in basketball championships with the school team.

However, on Tuesday, February 27th, she took the role of a teacher and talked to everyone at her school, including her classmates’ parents and school staff about rare diseases.

“I would like people who are different to be treated the way we are all treated and for them to be happy”, said Ava.

For the event, Petrides School’s students dressed in blue denim jeans and sported blue ribbons, offered by an organization that aims to eradicate the challenges of rare diseases, Global Genes.

Impact of Rare Diseases Worldwide

Global Genes researchers say approximately 7,000 unusual disorders have been identified so far across the globe. Almost 350 million people suffer from some sort of rare disease. Moreover, almost half of all patients are children.

Ava Garnett suffers from Nail Patella Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue, bones, and joints. Because of this, patients have trouble performing usual tasks because of the limitation of joint mobility, that sometimes can also involve dislocations. Nail Patella Syndrome Worldwide says that the main areas affected are the kneecaps and elbow, as patients can develop osteoarthritis at some point during their lives.

On Tuesday, Ava got her chance to talk to the entire educational facility she studies at about her condition. According to Joanne Buckheit, the unit’s principal, this not only empowered the little girl but also delivered a strong message to the entire student body.

Ava’s Message

On February 28th, the fourth-grader was helped by the school’s student body president, Christian Lorenzo, to make the morning announcement. After introducing her, Lorenzo stepped away and let Ava share her story with everyone.

The little girl started her speech with a short introduction, talking about the World Rare Disease Day, which started in 2008 and then went on to speak about herself, her daily routine, and her battle with the disease.

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Strenuous Physical Training Can Lower Male Libido, Study Finds

Man with low libido.

New study points out that gym-addiction can lead to decreased libido in men.

Thinking about hitting the gym more often to get those six packs you’ve often dreamed about? Hold on to that though because, according to a new study, men who often engage in strenuous physical training can experience a low sexual drive, as intense exercises might impede testosterone secretion. The same conclusion has been reached when researching the case files of male patients taking heart medication, abusing substances, or having sleep issues.

The Study’s Outlines

It’s a well-establish fact that a moderate physical training routine can increase the male libido, by stimulating the secretion of testosterone. But what happens when you overdo it? According to a new study published in the Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, intense workouts can have the opposite effect.

More specifically, the study, which was published on the 13th of February, reveals that strenuous physical training can actually lower the male libido. Subsequently, these training sessions can lower male hormone secretion and, overall, decrease the sexual. Plainly speaking, men who choose to move in the gym are just too tired to spend some extra energy on bedroom activities.

Low Libido – Strenuous Training, Heart Medication, Sleep Issues, and Drug Abuse

So, what’s there to be done? Anthony Hackney of the University of North Carolina believes he has an answer. Hackney, who is part of the research team who studied the link between sex drive and physical activity, declared that communication is the best way to solve this issue.

More specifically, Hackney said that couple counseling is the proper way to address sex drive issues. With the health of a therapist, a couple can figure out the best way to stay in shape and to increase or maintain the same sexual drive level.

Furthermore, the team believes that, like in many things, moderation is the key to solving this riddle. The study also pointed out some fascinating aspects pertaining to the effects of strenuous physical training on male libido.

Hackney has observed that other factors besides overtraining can have the same result. For instance, male patients taking heart medication such as beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors can experience a similar sex drive decrease. Furthermore, the same results have been observed in patients taking hair loss treatment.

Sleep issues and drug abuse can have the same disastrous effect on male libido. The team noted that patients with obstructive sleep apnea generally have a lower testosterone level. Furthermore, substance abuse can also impede the body’s ability to secrete testosterone, which results in decreased libido.

Image Source: Flickr

February Recall Review Faulty Every Product Pulled from Shelves from Swings to Knives


Massive product recall for Little Tikes this February. The company that makes swings for toddlers had to pull over 500,000 products from the stores.

February has not been a good month for business. Especially for swings manufacturers, soda distributors, or cutlery companies. Between February 19th and 25th, thousands of products have been pulled from the shelves because of health hazards posed to the consumers.

Little Tikes Swings

Last week, Little Tikes voluntarily recalled over 500,000 swings following 140 reports of toddlers falling after the seats broke. Unfortunately, 37 children were injured and two others ended up in the emergency room with broken arms before the faulty products were pulled from the shelves.

On February 23th, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission officially announced the recall of the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug `n Secure toddler swings. The list of faulty products includes swings manufactured from November 2009 through May 2014 with model number 615573 stamped on the seat.

Calphalon-Branded Knives

While keeping oneself from injury while cooking most of the time depends on that person’s ability to wield a knife, Calphalon demonstrated it is possible for cookware to work against the chefs. During the second half of the month, the company received over 3,000 reports of broken knives and was forced to pull the plug on distribution. Out of the multitude of enraged customers that sustained injuries while working with the knives, four required stitches, the reports revealed.

Hence, two million knives manufactured from August 2008 through March 2016 were pulled from the shelves, including knives sold individually, in sets, utility knives, paring, chef, and santoku.

SodaStream Bottles Recall

According to multiple reports, several SodaStream bottles exploded under pressure. Hence, the company was forced to recall its plastic, blue-tinted, one-liter carbonating bottles. The expiration date for the products in question is 4/2020.

Fortunately, no injuries associated with the SodaStream’s exploding bottles have been reported. Nevertheless, they do pose a health risk for the consumers, hence the recall, said company officials.

 Ready Pac Puro Picante Blazin’ Hot salads

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service statement released on February 23rd, approximately 59,000 pounds of a variety of Ready Pac Foods’ chicken salad product may be contaminated with listeria.

The products in question have been since recalled. They were manufactured between January 17th, 2017 and February 17th, 2017 and served in 7.5-oz. single serve salad bowl packages of Ready Pac Foods Puro Picante Blazin Hot.

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Health Experts Consider Third MMR Vaccine Dose Because of Rising Mumps Cases

MMR vacine

Federal health experts say the third dose of the MMR vaccine would only be administered as a precautionary measure, as more cases of mumps are being reported, despite patients being vaccinated twice.

Since almost a decade ago, mumps cases started to rise at alarming rates. Because of this surge, federal health officials are now weighing the option of administering a third dose of the MMR vaccine. Last year, as many as 5,000 people contracted the virus, a record for the last decade, said health experts.

Past Outbreaks

Last year, 19 cases of mumps were recorded in college campuses. Furthermore, Arkansas has been battling an outbreak that started in the summer of 2016 and has since claimed over 2,800 patients, a record for the state.

Mumps Outbreaks Across the Nation

Health experts say that unlike whooping cough and measles outbreaks, which also took their toll on the country’s population, the mumps outbreaks occurred in areas with high rates of immunization. Furthermore, residents of those regions reported they received a double dose of the vaccine.

On Thursday, February 23rd, federal health officials say they will investigate on whether an individual’s immunization decreases over time and if a third dose of the MMR vaccine is necessary. According to the local and state health authorities, the extra dose of the vaccine is only a precautionary measure.

Mumps Vaccine

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials recommend parents to vaccinate their toddlers. Hence, the first dose of the MMR vaccine (against mumps, measles, and rubella) should be administered between the first 12 and 15 months of the child’s life. For stronger immunization, the children will need a second dose of the vaccine at ages four and six, respectively.

According to health experts, the MMR vaccine is highly effective if a patient gets injected with two doses. Hence, patients vaccinated twice have an 88 percent stronger immune response to the virus, while those who get only one dose are 78 percent safe against mumps.

When compared to the other two diseases it keeps at bay, a single dose of the MMR vaccine is 97 percent effective against rubella and two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective at preventing measles. The nation’s vaccination program began in 1967. During that time, almost 200,000 cases of children infected with mumps were reported annually. Fortunately, by 2016, the prevalence of the disease dropped by 99 percent thanks to the positive effects of the MMR vaccine.

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