Earth

Earth

Most distant massive galaxy cluster identified

Astronomers have detected a massive, sprawling, churning galaxy cluster that formed only 3.8 billion years after the Big Bang. Located 10 billion light years from Earth and potentially comprising thousands of individual galaxies, the megastructure is about 250 trillion times more massive than the sun, or 1,000 times more massive than the Milky Way galaxy.

Earth

New Federal dietary guidelines recommend eating less meat

Many Americans, especially men and teenage boys, eat too much red meat, poultry and eggs, and should reduce their consumption, according to new federal dietary guidelines jointly released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing Americans’ meat consumption will not only help improve public health, but reduce climate and water pollution from the meat industry.This is the first time federal dietary guidelines have included a recommendation to reduce meat consumption. The report advises that cutting back on meat can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.The new dietary advice, however, did not include the recommendation from the agencies’ expert scientific advisors that the FDA explicitly link the science-based benefits of adopting diets lower in red meat, and higher in plant-based foods, to additional benefits to environment sustainability and to food security.

Earth

How sperm get into the zona

Before it can fertilize an egg, a sperm has to bind to and bore through an outer egg layer known as the zona pellucida. Researchers now identify the protein in the zona pellucida that sperm latch onto. The zona pellucida protects the egg and the early embryo before implantation.

Earth

Eastern US Earthquake shook North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia more than it was designed to handle

Last month’s record earthquake in the eastern United States may have shaken a Virginia nuclear plant twice as hard as it was designed to withstand, a spokesman for the U.S. nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday. But Dominion Resources told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the ground under the plant exceeded its “design basis” only by about 10 to 20 percent, and it plans to prove in the next month that its reactors are safe to restart. The discrepancy is one of many items the NRC and company must deal with, in the first instance in which an operating U.S. nuclear power plant has experienced a quake beyond its design parameters. The NRC must sign off on Dominion’s restart plans for the North Anna plant, about 12 miles from the quake’s epicenter — and determine how it will make that decision.