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Scientists say they understand origin of Jupiter’s Red Spot

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a result of chemicals being broken down by sunlight, researchers report.

The scientists, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, blasted ammonia and acetylene gases, both found on Jupiter, with ultraviolet light.

This produced a reddish material with light-scattering properties similar to those of the spot.

Chronic lack of sleep poses threat for firefighters

More than 60 percent of deaths of firefighters are caused by heart attacks and traffic accidents. Sleep disorders may be an important contributing factor, a new study suggests.

Researchers screened a nationally representative sample of 7,000 firefighters in 66 fire departments for obstructive sleep disorder, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and shift work disorder. They interviewed the subjects and documented traffic accidents using police reports and detailed descriptions from subjects.

The study, in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, found that about 37 percent of the firefighters screened positive for at least one sleep disorder, most for obstructive sleep apnea. The researchers found that compared with sound sleepers, those with a sleep disorder were about twice as likely to have a motor vehicle crash, to nod off while driving and to have cardiovascular disease or diabetes. They were also more likely to have depression and anxiety.

Study links obesity to pollutants in the air

Exposure to secondhand smoke and roadway traffic may be tied to increased body mass index in children and adolescents, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied 3,318 children in 12 Southern California communities beginning at an average age of 10, and then followed them through age 18. They used parental questionnaires to establish exposure to smoking, and data on traffic volume and levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulates to track pollution.

The study, in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that compared with children exposed to no secondhand smoke or near-roadway air pollution, BMI was 0.80 higher in children exposed to pollution alone, 0.85 higher in those exposed to secondhand smoke alone, and 2.15 higher in those exposed to both. A normal BMI for adults is 18.5 to 24.9. Higher than 25 is considered overweight, and above 30 obese.

– New York Times

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