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Dust storms may become more frequent in the future



A thick cloud of dust formed within minutes and blanketed part of Interstate 55—Illinois’ main thoroughfare between St. Louis and Chicago—during a white blizzard on May 1. The drivers applied the brakes, but not fast enough. Car after car collided, killing seven people and leaving the mangled remains of 72 vehicles on both sides of the highway.

For such a tragedy to occur in the Midwest, a perfect storm of factors would have to converge, says National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Shaffer, who has tracked the impressive wall of dust in satellite imagery. In this case, straight-line winds swept over crop fields near the Interstate just after farmers plowed them, loosening topsoil that had been unusually dry in weeks without rain. This combination of circumstances does not happen often, which means that dust storms in Illinois are rare. But with the effects of climate change and an ever-expanding agricultural industry, such storms could become a growing problem across the Great Plains and the Midwest, researchers warn. This concern has even led some scholars to wonder if the central part of the country will collapse. new dust collector. The original dust bowl of the 1930s was the worst drought in U.S. history, causing unprecedented dust storms and devastating agriculture.

“These were storms that eroded hundreds of millions of pounds of topsoil and spread dust all the way to New York City,” says Benjamin Cook, a climate change and drought scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Agricultural intensification—cultivating the prairies for corn and wheat—helped create the original Dust Bowl, Cook showed in his study. After the disaster, the State Soil Protection Service took important steps to improve practices that led to soil degradation. Farmers currently rely heavily on irrigation to keep dust under control. But experts say today’s traditional farming practices still put the soil at risk.

“Conventional agricultural practices are very intensive,” says Evan Thaler, a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory who specializes in agricultural soil erosion in the Midwest. “They plow the heap for weed control and soil moisture control, and what happens is that the soil becomes really nice and fluffy, and it’s easy to wash away with water and wind.” And in winter, when the plants do not grow, the soil remains bare and open. Thaler and his colleagues calculated that over the past 160 years a third of the dark topsoil that made the Midwest famous for its agriculture has been eroded.

The impact of agriculture on dust has also been seen more widely. In a recent study by Ganneth Hallar, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Utah, and her then graduate student, Andrew Lambert, discovered levels of atmospheric dust in the Great Plains. increased by 5 percent per year between 2000 and 2018.That’s nearly doubling the amount of dust in two decades. The increase is in line with the area that farmers converted from pasture to arable land during this period. Dust concentration was highest during spring planting and autumn harvest.

And agriculture is still expanding. Policies that encourage biofuel production force farmers to turn even land that is less agriculturally productive into corn fields for ethanol production, and those lands then produce more dust, Hallar says. Only a tenth of a percent of the prairie that held the soil for centuries in Illinois, the “prairie state,” remains today. More broadly, less than 4 percent of North America’s original tallgrass prairie has yet to be plowed. Even some land returned to the prairie by the USDA Reserve Conservation Program (CRP) has been converted back to arable land. “It’s more profitable to have even low-yielding crops in marginal areas compared to what the USDA pays for CRP land,” says Thaler.

Climate change is likely to exacerbate the dust problem in some places, as changes in weather patterns reduce rainfall and high temperatures dry out soils more quickly. “Much of the western United States has been locked in an almost continuous drought for the past 20 years,” says Cook. There and on the Great Plains, “if we see a further increase in aridity and drought, as we expect with climate change, we will begin to see a further increase in atmospheric dustiness.” Scientists are actively studying pockets of dust near highways in the southwest and have received identified the Great Plains and the Midwest as regions to watch.

While much of the west, southwest, and Great Plains becomes third in climate change, Illinois tends to get wetter, with more frequent heavy rainfall and localized flooding. However, the amount of dust is still increasing. Hallar’s data shows that the south-central region of the state, where the May storm originated, is getting dustier by about 2 percent a year. This points to the role that agriculture is playing here and makes the government responsible for encouraging more efficient farming practices, Thaler says. One way to deal with dust is no-till farming, which uses a special planter that plants seeds into the ground in tiny furrows, eliminating the need to plow the soil. Another is cover cropping, which involves planting crops such as oats or hairy vetch in the winter so that the fields are never left bare and unprotected.

“Combined, these two methods have been shown to reduce erosion by about 95 percent,” says Thaler. Congress has the option to include incentives for sustainable farming practices in a farming bill due to be revised this year, although Thaler is not sure if that will happen. “At the end of the day,” he says, “it’s all about politics.”

Encouraging such practices and continued irrigation could help prevent a Dust Bowl of disaster proportions from the 1930s, Cook said. Hallar agrees. “I would say this is a new trend that we should be very concerned about,” she says. “Will it be as bad as the Dust Bowl? We cannot say this. But this is something we should all be aware of and pay attention to.”


New study sheds light on the evolution of giant sauropod dinosaurs



The long-necked dinosaurs, sauropods, are known for their extreme body size, developing body masses several times that of the next heaviest land animals, elephant-like and rhinoceros-like mammals, and duck-billed dinosaurs.

The post “New Research Sheds Light on the Evolution of Giant Sauropod Dinosaurs” first appeared on Sci.News: Breaking Science News.

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Link between epilepsy and bipolar disorder



Is epilepsy a mental illness? No, it’s not. But it can put people at greater risk of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. We are increasingly discovering that mood disorders and epilepsy coexist. But there is still much that we do not understand in the connection between them.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 percent of people with epilepsy also suffer from serious mental illness, including bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. The prevalence of depression has been shown to be much higher than that of bipolar disorder.

Link between epilepsy and bipolar disorder

Rafael Forest, a neuropsychologist at the Marcus Institute of Neurology, says there is likely a correlation between bipolar disorder and epilepsy. Bipolar disorder is characterized by bouts of depression, but also mania “highs” when a person can move away from reality. They may have a reduced need for rest or sleep, as well as lack of appetite, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, shortsightedness, and feelings of selfishness or empowerment.

Wald says structural differences in the brain are similar between people with mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, and people with mood disorders. epilepsy. “Both diseases are associated with known chemical and structural differences in the brain. [that are different] from people who don’t have seizures or mood disorders,” Wald says.

The chronic nature of the disease and the hopelessness that accompanies it play a role, but that’s not all. The relationship between bipolar disorder and epilepsy is complex.

Epilepsy and seizures

According to Epilepsy Foundationthose who have seizures are also affected by other neurobiological factors such as head injuries, strokes associated with the onset of certain types of epilepsy, and neurotransmitter problems in the brain associated with both epilepsy and bipolar disorder.

In addition, medications such as phenobarbital have also been shown to cause depression in some people. There are also some indications that an excess of cytokines (a protein associated with the immune response) in the brain may be present in patients with epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Dysfunction in the temporal lobe, the part of the brain that processes auditory functions and codes for memories, may also play a role in both diseases.

Treatment of epilepsy with bipolar disorder

It is also important to note that according to a 2013 study published in the journal epileptic behaviorthat there would be a genetic component to both diseases. Bipolar disorder is associated with a family history, as are some types of epilepsy. According to the study, “it is critical to conduct a study of the patient’s personal history and family psychiatric history in order to minimize the risk of potential psychiatric symptoms.”

According to a 2016 study published in the journal FocusThe researchers found that both conditions respond to similar medications, which may indicate similar pathologies in the brain. “In some cases, the symptoms of bipolar disorder and epilepsy can be treated simultaneously with the same anticonvulsant,” the study authors write. For example, the anticonvulsant drug levetiracetam has been shown to treat both disorders.

Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Patients with Epilepsy

Patients with epilepsy have a one in three chance of also having a mood disorder, Wald says. If the patient has bipolar disorder, look for signs of mania, he says. “Mania includes less need for sleep, increased focus, risk-taking behavior, excessive spending, and other such symptoms,” he says.

Bipolar disorder, like epilepsy, requires treatment. It’s not something you can live with because it’s a chemical imbalance that needs proper treatment. But some treatments have been shown to be effective and allow patients with both diseases to live normal lives.

Read more: What is epilepsy and what should we know about it?

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Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime Video in 2023



Justin Duino / How to become a geek

Amazon Prime offers a huge selection of horror movies from over a century of cinematic history. There is everything from influential classics to recent releases, but all are intimidating. Here are the ten best horror movies to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Updated 05/10/23: We’ve checked our links and we’re still confident that these are the best horror movies streaming on Prime Video.

black phone

Two forces of horror unite when director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) adapts a story by Joe Hill black phone. In suburban Denver in 1978, a serial killer known as Grabber (Ethan Hawke) kidnaps local children and his latest target is 13-year-old Finny Blake (Mason Thames).

Imprisoned in Grabber’s basement, Finny discovers a phone that allows him to speak to the ghosts of Grabber’s previous victims, giving him the strength and knowledge he needs to escape. Hawke is a formidable villain, and Thames brings genuine emotion to the story of growing up in the midst of horror.

candy man

Both reboot and sequel, 2021 version candy man updates the story of the 1992 original and also continues the main character’s saga. Originally played by Tony Todd, Candyman is a creature with hooked arms that appears when someone says his name five times while looking into a mirror.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays a Candyman-obsessed artist whose ties to the killer date back to the first film. Candyman is the epitome of rage over centuries of racism and abuse, and the film combines poignant social commentary with its inner horrors.

creeping show 2

Though it’s not a horror classic of the first creep show, creeping show 2 is a worthy continuation of the anthology films based on the stories of Stephen King. The segments here feature a Native American wooden statue that comes to life for revenge; a mysterious slimy creature terrorizing teenagers on a lake; and a woman who is tormented by the ghost of a man she accidentally killed with her car. The Hitchhiker is the strongest of these segments, but all three capture the vintage horror feel that King and George Romero created in the first film.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Sequel to Clive Barker’s novel. Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II is actually a highlight of the long-running franchise, giving more screen time to iconic Doug villain Bradley Pinhead while also taking on a more surreal tone. It delves into the terrifying hellscape inhabited by Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites and showcases the dark, sadistic horrors they inflicted on victims opening a puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration.

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Night of the Living Dead

The entire zombie genre owes its origins to George Romero’s 1968 classic. Night of the Living Dead, which created the modern concept of zombies as clumsy, flesh-eating corpses coming back to life. Small-scale production is also a marvel of tension and ingenuity, locking a handful of characters in the house while the zombie apocalypse rages around them.

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Rosemary’s baby

Mia Farrow experiences an intensified version of the fears of impending motherhood in the Roman Polanski classic. Rosemary’s baby. Pregnant young wife Rosemary (Farrow) feels isolated and lonely in her New York City apartment as her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) becomes increasingly busy and distant. Polanski brilliantly exacerbates Rosemary’s fear and distrust, which are more than justified when she learns the truth about her menacingly obliging neighbors.

Saint Maud

Debut feature film directed by Rose Glass. Saint Maud focuses on the horrors of religious devotion. The main character (Morfydd Clark) is a nurse who has experienced a spiritual awakening and takes a job caring for a wealthy, terminally ill former dance star (Jennifer Ehle). Maud attempts to convert her patient by any means necessary, and Clarke conveys the initial intensity of her religious fervor. This fervor eventually turns deadly, in a striking and hauntingly beautiful climax.

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There’s something particularly unsettling about a smile with sinister intent, and director Parker Finn takes full advantage of that in his films. smile. Sosie Bacon plays a psychologist who comes across the strange phenomenon where people are forced to kill themselves with insane smiles on their faces – a curse that seems to extend to those who witness every death.

When she becomes cursed, she tries to trace his origins by seeing the insane smirks on everyone around her. It is a simple premise that creates many inner horrors leading to a grim but inevitable outcome.


A 2018 remake of the cult classic by Italian director Dario Argento. Suspiria takes the story in an even more impressionistic, hallucinatory direction. The film stars Dakota Johnson as a seemingly naive young American who comes to study at a sinister dance school in Berlin. Director Luca Guadagnino creates a haunting film about ambition, jealousy and bizarre cult activity.

Train to Busan

Korean director Yong Sang Ho reinterprets the zombie genre in an international blockbuster. Train to Busan, which takes place almost entirely on a commuter train from Seoul to Busan as a zombie outbreak overwhelms the passengers. It combines the fast-paced, self-contained momentum of a Hollywood action movie with the tension and gore of a zombie thriller.

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