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Australia powers up the world’s biggest battery

The world’s largest lithium battery was activated in Australia on Friday, fulfilling the pledge by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build it in 100 days or provide it for free, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The electric car company’s Powerpack battery system stores energy generated by a nearby wind farm in South Australia, and it is capable of providing electricity for as many as 30,000 homes, CNN reported.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” the state's premier, Jay Weatherill, said in a statement Friday. “This is history in the making."

Tesla said it hopes the project “provides a model for future deployments around the world.”

Musk made his “100 days or it's free” vow on Twitter during an exchange with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, CNN reported. The promise began with the official contract was signed in September.

With the battery going online this week, Musk met his deadline. The battery was officially launched Friday, but Australian media reported that it started supplying power to the electricity grid Thursday during peak demand hours.

Scientists say glitter is potential environmental hazard

Glitter's sparkly days may be over, if scientists get their way.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it poses a potential ecological hazard, scientists told The Independent. The threat is particularly serious to marine animals, who have suffered fatal consequences from consuming plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

>> Read more trending news

Glitter is not just found on cards and decorative items, but also in makeup.

Scientists don't necessarily want a complete ban on glitter, but are encouraging the creation of nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

>> Read more trending news

Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.

Breathtaking NASA time lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

This fall marks 20 years since NASA satellites started to continuously observe life on Earth.

>> Read more trending news

To commemorate the monumental discoveries over the years, NASA is sharing stories and videos about how much views from up above have taught us about life on our home planet and the search for life elsewhere.

A new time-lapse animation, shown below, captures 20 years’ worth of the planet’s changing land and ocean life as seen from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of view Sensor, which launched in 1997.

“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a NASA news release last week. “That’s the Earth. That is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures."

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Over the past 20 years, NASA scientists have monitored the health of crops, forests and fisheries around the globe and have learned more about the long-term changes across continents and ocean basins, the agency wrote in the news release.

NASA to launch JPSS-1 weather satellite Saturday morning

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, will launch a satellite Saturday that will help improve weather forecasts.

>> Read more trending news

The satellite launch was scheduled for earlier this week, but was postponed twice, once because of high winds and once because of technical difficulties.

The launch for the JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled at 4:47 a.m. Saturday, according to NASA.

>> Related: NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

A live stream of the launch will be available on NASA’s website starting at 4:15 a.m.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three to seven day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity and atmospheric moisture. 

The JPSS-1 will be launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California pending proper flight conditions. The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

>> Related: NASA scrubs launch of JPSS-1 weather satellite again

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will then be provided twice a day.

JPSS-2 is planned to launch in 2021, and JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 are anticipated to launch in 2026 and 2031.

NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, scrubbed Tuesday’s launch of a weather satellite that will help improve weather forecasts due to a last-minute technical problem.

JPSS-1 is the first of a few polar orbiting satellites to launch from the Joint Polar Satellite System.

>> Read more trending news 

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity, and atmospheric moisture.

The JPSS-1 was scheduled to be launched around 4:47 a.m. EST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The launch has been postponed until Wednesday.

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

NASA astronaut Dick Gordon dies at 88

Astronaut Richard “Dick” Gordon, who served as command module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission, died Monday, NASA officials confirmed Tuesday. He was 88.

>> Read more trending news

Gordon served in the U.S. Navy and became in astronaut in 1963, according to NASA.

“Dick Gordon is an American hero, and a true renaissance man by any measure,” Curt Brown, chairman of the Orlando-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and an astronaut and veteran of six space flights, said in a news release Tuesday. “He was an American naval officer and aviator, chemist, test pilot, NASA astronaut, professional football executive, oil and gas executive and generous contributor to worthy causes. He was in a category all his own.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, citing family and friends, said Gordon died at his home in California.

According to NASA, Gordon spent more than 316 hours in space on two missions.

“He was the pilot for the three-day Gemini 11 mission in 1966 and performed two spacewalks,” agency officials said. “At the time of the flight, Gemini 11 set the world altitude record of 850 miles.”

Gordon was born Oct. 5, 1929, in Seattle. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Washington in 1951, according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. He received his wings as a naval aviator in 1953 and was later assigned to an all-weather fighter squadron at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

He served as a test pilot and an instructor before he was chosen in 1963 to become one of 14 astronauts to create Group 3.

“Four astronauts died in training accidents before any left the atmosphere,” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “The surviving 10 astronauts flew in the Apollo program.”

Gordon had more than 4,500 flying hours with the U.S. Navy under his belt before he piloted his first space flight, Gemini 11, in September 1966. He served as command module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission three years later.

“In all, Gordon spent 13 days in space, and his expeditions were portrayed by actor Tom Verica in the 1998 HBO miniseries, ‘From the Earth to the Moon,’” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “Gordon, a voracious reader and chemist, also published several technical papers for the Navy and NASA before retiring from both in 1972 at the rank of captain.”

Gordon is survived by six children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Scripps Florida scientists find 'functional cure' for HIV

In findings that could point to a better treatment for HIV infections, Scripps Florida scientists say they’ve found a new way to manage the virus.

Scripps Associate Professor Susana Valente says she successfully tested a drug that promises a “functional cure” for HIV: The infection isn’t gone, but the virus lies dormant.

>> Read more trending news

The results of a study led by Valente were published in October in the journal Cell Reports. Valente and researchers from Scripps Florida, the University of North Carolina and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research used a natural compound known as didehydro-Cortistatin A, or dCA. It stops the spread of HIV by inhibiting the protein Tat.

“It is really the proof of concept for a functional cure,” Valente said.

Read the full story on MyPalmBeachPost.com

Study: Marijuana addiction in adults related to anxiety disorder

New research from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, suggests anxiety may be a major risk factor of problematic marijuana use in early adulthood.

>> Read more trending news

The research, published last month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, involved 1,229 participants enrolled in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a 20-year cohort study that followed participants between 1993 and 2015.

The Great Smoky Mountain Study is part of a collaborative effort between Duke University and the North Carolina State Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

One of its primary goals is to estimate the number of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders and the persistence of those disorders over time, according to the study website.

>> Related: Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

To study risk factors for problematic cannabis use, researchers examined the Great Smoky Mountains participants annually from ages 9 and 16 years and then again at ages 19, 21, 26 and 30 years and logged patterns of problematic cannabis use.

Problematic cannabis use refers to the daily consumption of marijuana or a habit that meets diagnostic guidelines for addiction, meaning cannabis use disorder.

The researchers split the participants’ cannabis use into the patterns described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5.

Patterns of problematic use, according to the DSM-5:

  • Non-problematic use in adolescence (19-21) and early adulthood (26-30)
  • Limited problematic use in late adolescence only and persistent problematic use in late adolescence and early adulthood
  • Delayed problematic use in early adulthood only

Using pairwise associations to identify risk profiles associated with patterns of problematic cannabis use in early adulthood, the researchers also examined multiple risk factors, such as psychiatric disorders; other substance use; education’ challenging social factors, such as low socioeconomic status and family issues; and additional demographics.

What the researchers found

More than three quarters, 76.3 percent, of the participants in the study did not develop problematic use of cannabis during their late adolescence or early adulthood.

>> Related: Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

But one quarter of the participants did develop problematic use of cannabis, and researchers found they had distinctive risk profiles. 

This group was divided into the three pattern categories: persistent problematic cannabis use, limited problematic cannabis use and delayed problematic cannabis use.

Persistent problematic use

For persistent users -- those with the most problematic use of marijuana, sometimes beginning as early as age 9 -- the problems continued into early adulthood.

>> Related: Northern Michigan University offers marijuana studies degree

What’s most important, Sherika Hill — adjunct faculty associate at Duke University School of Medicine and lead author of the study — told Medical News Today, is that 27 percent of persistent users reported anxiety disorders as children and 23 percent reported anxiety disorders as older teens or during college years, up to age 21.

This group also had the highest levels of psychiatric disorders.

“This suggests,” Hill said, “that a focus on mental health and well-being could go a long way to prevent the most problematic use.”

Limited problematic use

The group with limited problematic use surprisingly reported the most childhood family instability and dysfunction of the three -- factors usually linked with a higher level of drug use, the researchers found.

>> Related: Need relief from chronic pain? Marijuana may not help after all, studies say

But limited users tended to have more cannabis use issues as preteens, teens and early adolescents and fell off the habit as they got older.

Delayed problematic use

And lastly, most of the participants in the group of delayed users with little to no cannabis use in adolescence and early adulthood but problematic use between age 26 and 30 experienced bullying and mistreatment as children.

Why did childhood bullying and mistreatment not lead to earlier problematic cannabis use? The researchers don’t really know. 

Hill told Medical News Today about the motivation behind the new study is that most of the current policies and interventions on cannabis use are aimed at early adolescents.

“We have to start thinking about how we are going to address problematic use that may arise in a growing population of older users. Given that more states may be moving towards legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, this study raises attention about what we anticipate will be the fastest growing demographic of users — adults.”

Read the full study at jaacap.com

Just 1 percent of women know of this common ovarian cancer symptom, study says

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. However, many are unaware of the red flags, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Target Ovarian Cancer, a cancer charity in Europe, recently conducted an experiment to determine how the disease has affected women in recent years. 

To do so, they interviewed nearly 1,400 women of the general population in the United Kingdom to measure awareness of ovarian cancer. They then surveyed about 500 practicing general practitioners across the U.K. to measure awareness and their experience with ovarian cancer.

Lastly, they handed out questionnaires to about 400 U.K. women with ovarian cancer. It focused on their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

>> Related: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that ovarian cancer affects about 7,300 women in the U.K., and 11 women die every day from the disease.

Despite the statistics, not many know about the warnings signs. 

Just 1 percent know that “increased urinary urgency” is one of the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer, and only 21 percent are able to name bloating as a symptom.

Furthermore, 30 percent of women incorrectly believe cervical screenings also detect ovarian cancer.

>> Related: Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

As for doctors, 45 percent of them wrongly think symptoms are only present in the later stages of the disease, and about 43 percent of women visit their general practitioner three times or more before being referred for a diagnostic tests. 

“The findings ... show what is working when it comes to diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer in England, but they also show where more remains to be done,” the authors concluded in the study

To heighten awareness, researchers recommend general practitioners complete accredited training on ovarian cancer. They also hope to highlight the Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to educate women on the symptoms and the importance of visiting the doctor. 

Want to learn more about the results? Take a look at the full report here

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