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A large object has been found beyond Pluto travelling in an orbit tilted by 47 degrees to most other bodies in the solar system. Astronomers are at a loss to explain why the object's orbit is so off-kilter while being almost circular.
Researchers led by Lynne Allen at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, first spotted the object in observations made with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in December 2004. Since October 2005, they have made follow-up observations that have revealed the object's perplexing path.
An agreement with British airline tycoon Richard Branson will put New Mexico on the map as the launch pad for personal space flight worldwide, the state's economic development secretary says.
State officials plan to announce a major agreement next week with Branson, but Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans on Tuesday would not discuss details.
Branson is to join Gov. Bill Richardson on Dec. 14 to announce the agreement with Branson's space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, Homans said.
Scientists in North Carolina say they have identified a gene that affects IQ, a finding that, if confirmed, would be a significant step toward understanding the genetic basis for intelligence.
Cannabis almost doubles the risk of fatal car crashes, according to a new study, though smoking the drug is still far less risky than drink-driving, the researchers say.
Stoned drivers were almost twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car crashes than abstemious drivers, according to a study of 10,748 fatal car crashes in France between 2001 and 2003. More than half of the drivers in the study themselves died as a result of their accidents and all the subjects were tested for drug and alcohol use after crashing.
Coffee improves short-term memory and speeds up reaction times by acting on the brain’s prefrontal cortex, according to a new study.
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine how coffee activates different areas of the brain in 15 volunteers.
“Caffeine modulates a higher brain function through its effects on distinct areas of the brain,” explains Florian Koppelstätter, who carried out the research with colleagues at the Medical University at Innsbruck, Austria.