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The Evolutionary Reason Why We Love Sitting By A Crackling Fire

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 Huffpost Science

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Relaxing in front of a crackling fire (or at least the Netflix version) is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a cold winter evening. And now scientists know why.

Watching a fire lowers blood pressure, according to new University of Alabama research. Our enjoyment of gazing at fire may be rooted in evolution, as the act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times.

The researchers, led by anthropologist Christopher Lynn, asked 226 adults to watch a video of a fireplace, and took their blood pressure before and after watching the video. They also asked participants to report on their experiences of the fire.

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CRACKLING FIRESo relaxing – Jacques Croizer via Getty Images

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/the-evolutionary-reason-w_n_6171508.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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What Sexual Assault Does To The Brain

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Huffpost Science

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The unraveling of Rolling Stone‘s recent blockbuster feature on campus sexual assault has led to a great deal of hand-wringing over the way the media covers these crimes.

The magazine’s story centers around “Jackie,” who described being subject to a horrific gang rape while a freshman at the University of Virginia. Independent reporting found fault in Rolling Stone’s coverage, primarily surrounding some discrepancies between Jackie’s account in the magazine and the memories of those who had been around her at the time of the attack.

Based on these discrepancies, some have called the story a hoax, or at least untrue. In response, activists were immediately concerned that the bad press would reinforce the prevailing tendency to doubt sexual assault victims, an estimated 92-98 percent of whom are telling the truth. But actually, the argument that Jackie’s account is fake based on fuzzy detail recall isn’t just unlikely — it’s scientifically unsound.

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SEXUAL ASSAULT

Simone Becchetti via Getty Images

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/how-the-trauma-of-sexual-_n_6294546.html

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Early Bird Or Night Owl, Your Sleep Schedule Says A Lot About Your Personality

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Huffpost Science

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Whether you’re a night owl or a morning person, your sleep habits reveal a lot about you–from your personality to the structure of your brain and even to your expected time of death.

That’s according to a new video from the YouTube video series ASAPScience, which explains the pros and cons of each sleeping preference.

“Early birds tend to display more positive social traits, such as being proactive and optimistic, and are less prone to depression or addictions to nicotine, alcohol, and food,” Mitchell Moffit, co-creator of the series, says in the video. “Night owls exhibit significantly less white matter [in their brains], and as a result, there are fewer pathways for feel-good hormones such as serotonin or dopamine to travel through, but it’s not all bad for the late-nighters. In fact, they tend to be much more creative, have been found to have higher cognitive abilities, and are known to be risk-takers.”

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!!!!!EarlyBirdsVSNightOwls1.

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Click link below for story, video and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/01/night-owl-morning-person-asapscience_n_6236918.html

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Orion’s Dramatic Test Flight Ends With ‘Bulls-Eye’ Splashdown

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Huffpost Science

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 NASA’s new Orion spacecraft made a “bull’s-eye” Pacific splashdown Friday following a dramatic journey 3,604 miles beyond Earth. The achievement opens a new era of human exploration aimed at putting people on Mars.

The unmanned, 4½-hour test flight set at least one record: flying farther and faster than any capsule built for humans since the Apollo moon program.

“There’s your new spacecraft, America,” Mission Control commentator Rob Navias said as the Orion capsule neared the water 270 miles off Mexico’s Baja peninsula.

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!!!!!OrionSpaceCraft1Orion Spacecraft Launch

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Click link below for story, video and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/second-orion-launch-nasa_n_6270530.html

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A Single Kiss Can Transfer Way More Germs Than You Ever Knew

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Huffpost Science

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Kissing just got a whole lot less romantic–at least for germaphobes.

A new study shows that a single French kiss can transfer up to 80 million bacteria from one person to another.

For the study, 21 couples visiting a zoo in Amsterdam were asked to lock lips for 10 seconds. Before the kiss, one member of each couple drank a yogurt drink containing specific strains of bacteria. After the kiss, the researchers swabbed the mouth of the partner who hadn’t drunk the yogurt, and then did a bacterial count of the strains from the yogurt to arrive at the 80 million figure.

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!!!!!SingleKiss1.

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Click link below for story, video and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/bacteria-kiss-how-many-transfer_n_6171034.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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High Heels Have A Strange Effect On Men, And Here’s Proof

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Huffpost Science

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 Listen up, ladies.
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Flats may be all the rage these days, but a provocative new study from France suggests that high heels do a better job of helping women get what they want from men.

“Women’s shoe heel size exerts a powerful effect on men’s behavior,” Dr. Nicolas Guéguen, a psychologist at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in Rennes, and the scientist behind the study, said in a written statement.

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Click link below for story and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/20/high-heels-more-attractive_n_6192640.html?utm_hp_ref=science

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Historic! Europe’s Philae Probe Lands on Comet 317 Million Miles Away

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After a suspense-packed, seven-hour descent, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander made an unprecedented touchdown on the surface of a comet Wednesday — marking the high point of a $1.3 billion, 10-year mission.

Cheers erupted as the confirming signals were received at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, at 11:03 a.m. ET. The signals took 28 minutes to travel at the speed of light over the 317 million miles (510 million kilometers) between Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Earth.

 “It is sitting on the surface,” reported Stefan Ulamec, Philae lander manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center. “Philae is talking to us — we are on the comet!”
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!!!!!SpacecraftOnComet1
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