MastersConnection 2020
Issue 514 In This Issue February 25th, 2017

Editors Corner

Have you ever wondered why cats go nuts for catnip? Apparently this has to do with a chemical the plant generates as a defense against aphids. Click here

Speaking of nature, did you know that the massive amounts of rain that California has been experiencing may be due to something called "atmospheric rivers"? Apparently atmospheric rivers are, in this case, "water vapors that extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western US". Click here

On a different subject, you may be aware that Google tailors search results based upon your previous searches, among other things. Other sites do something like this too. Are you aware that this can cause something called a "filter bubble"? This basically describes an effect where we "don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview". Click here

That's it from me for this week. Enjoy this newsletter and have a wonderful week.

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The articles published in these MastersConnection2020 newsletters, or on or, only represent the views or opinions of the person or entity whose name appears as the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the MastersConnection2020 or any of its affiliates.
Earth Watch

A Massive 'blob' of Abnormal Conditions in the Pacific Has Increased Ozone Levels
A vast patch of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean - nicknamed the blob - resulted in increased levels of ozone above the Western US, researchers have found. The blob - which at its peak covered roughly 9 million square kilometres (3.5 million square miles) from Mexico to Alaska - was assumed to be mainly messing with conditions in the ocean, but a new study has shown that it had a lasting affect on air quality too. "Ultimately, it all links back to the blob, which was the most unusual meteorological event we've had in decades," says one of the team, Dan Jaffe from the University of Washington Bothell. The blob of warm water in the Pacific was first detected back in 2013, and it continued to spread throughout 2014 and 2015. While it was less obvious in 2016, there were some indications that it persisted well into last year too.

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‘1mn penguins’ descend on Argentina in spectacular scene (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

Over one million penguins arrived on Punta Tombo, Argentina in what is thought to be a record number, resulting in stunning displays of wildlife along the shoreline. Often seen in parts of southern Argentina and Chile, the numerous small inlets of Punta Tombo in Argentina’s southeast region make a perfect breeding ground for the Magellanic penguins due to the large quantities of sardines and anchovies found close to shore.

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Science Watch

Russian & Swedish scientists slow down mice aging with synthetic antioxidant
A new experiment conducted by a joint team of Russian and Swedish scientists has produced groundbreaking results in slowing down the ageing process of mice, raising hopes of the potential creation of an “anti-age” drug. A group of scientist from Moscow State University in cooperation with their Swedish colleagues managed to dramatically slow down the aging process of genetically-modified mice, according to an article published in the Aging journal. The research focused on the role of intracellular powerstations — mitochondria – and the role of these organelles in the aging of mammals. The scientists tried to slow down the process with help of SkQ1 – a synthetic antioxidant, protecting from the reactive oxygen – the main “byproduct” of damaged mitochondria, which severely damages cells. A special strain of genetically modified mice created in Sweden was used to speed up the experiment.

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Would you delete traumatic memories? Scientists have discovered how
Scientists in Canada have taken the idea of positive thinking to a whole new level – by discovering a way to target and erase bad memories from our brains. The findings could be used to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, but researchers have warned of “huge ethical implications.” Researchers at the University of Toronto found a way to target and erase fear-based memories in mice, after discovering the neurons which are used to form these types of memories in the brain. “Although there are millions of neurons in the brain, only a few of them are necessary to form a fear or threat memory,” Dr Sheena Josselyn, an associate professor in the Department of Physiology, explained. Researchers were able to ‘flag up’ the neurons creating the bad memories by overproducing a certain brain protein in mice, and then targeted and genetically removed those neurons to erase the bad memories, while keeping others.

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Something Worth Knowing

Beware online "filter bubbles"

Ice Watch

Apocalyptical hailstorms pound Australia and Argentina with stones larger than oranges

Sydney, most of New South Wales as well as southeastern Cordoba, Argentina were badly hit by massive hailstorms with huge hailstones the size of orange!

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It snowed in this Australia, just days after a intense heatwave
It's been really bloody hot in Australia recently. But now it's snowing. In summer. Yes, really. Less than two weeks ago that much of the country endured days of relentless heatwaves, leading to temperatures of around 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) along the eastern coast. For a brief moment, it was hell on earth, bolstering the increasing trend of heatwaves in Australia getting longer and more intense — an impact of climate change, according to Climate Council research. Now fast forward to Sunday, and it was snowing in the Victorian alpine areas of Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and Mount Buller. Temperatures dropped from warm highs of 20 degrees Celcius during the heatwave, to a cold (by Australian standards) low of -2 degrees Celsius (28.4 degrees Fahrenheit) this week. "We had a pool of very cold air come up from the Southern Ocean, behind the front that went through on Sunday, and that led to below average temperatures across the state," senior forecaster at the Victorian Bureau of Meteorology, Dean Stewart, said.

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On The Lighter Side

What is catnip, really?
Speaking of Chemistry

Weather Watch

Several injured, 150 homes damaged in record-setting central Texas storms (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)
Overnight storms, including two tornadoes, in central Texas damaged more than 150 homes and injured several people in San Antonio as nearly 50,000 customers were without power at one point. Record rainfalls were recorded in San Antonio. Battered power lines have left some 44,000 people without electricity, according to CPS Energy. Lightning also sparked a fire at Woodridge Elementary School, the San Antonio Fire Department said, according to the San Antonio Current. The first tornado, an EF-1 with 105 mile per hour (mph) winds and a 4.5-mile path, cut through the north side of the city, while the second, and EF-0 tornado, hit 70mph with a path length of 1.6 miles, NWS confirmed Monday morning. The EF wind-speed rating scale goes from 0 (65-85mph) to 5 (200+mph). The city received 1.51 inches of rain on Sunday, a record for February 19, the San Antonio Express News reported. The severe weather damaged more than 150 homes, according to AP.

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‘Sky rivers’ responsible for massive California rain – study
When it rains, it pours and no one relates to this more than Californians, who after a prolonged drought have been slammed with drenchers and other extreme weather. According to a study, atmospheric rivers in the sky are to blame. After a five-year drought, California desperately needed some rain. But now the problem is that it won’t stop. According to a study published Monday in Nature Geoscience, it is because of a condition known as atmospheric rivers, or water vapors that extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western US. The large volume of rain has created problems for California. In Oroville, the risk of a dam collapse caused hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes. The study claims that “Landfalling atmospheric rivers are associated with about 40–75% of extreme wind and precipitation events over 40% of the world’s coastlines.”

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Saudi Arabia hit by mass FLOODING as 'apocalyptic' storm sweeps desert

Severe flooding has devastated Saudi Arabia, after freak weather broke a century-old record for rainfail. People took to social media to voice their fears that the freak weather was "apocalyptic". The bizarre Saudi Arabia flooding comes just two weeks ago after a snowstorm blasted across the United Arab Emirates.

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Space Watch

Irregular heartbeat of the Sun driven by double dynamo
A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645. Results will be presented today by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.   It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun’s activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy.

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

February 26th, 4pm to 6pm: Auditions---Auditions---Auditions! - "12 Angry Men"
Standing Room Only is holding auditions for their next production - performance dates in May. Both Men and Women encouraged to audition!!

Every Weekend in March: Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap"
Director Christopher Cantrell’s Comments on Standing Room Only's production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. This play was originally produced in 1952 and has been in production ever since. Christie, master of the murder mystery in other plays such as Ten Little Indians and Witness for the Prosecution gives us another classic who-done-it in "The Mousetrap". Why this play is so interesting to me is the idea that everyone is not who you think them to be.

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