A&S in the News- April 2-8, 2016

  1. Study details Brazilians’ lack of desire for children, marriage
    Phys.org – April 4
    Fewer men and women in Brazil value marriage and having offspring when selecting a mate, according to a University of Alabama psychologist. Instead, financial prospects, appearance and social status rank higher, according a study led by Dr. Andre Souza, UA assistant professor of psychology. Souza’s study, “Mate preference in Brazil: Evolved desires and cultural evolution over three decades,” was recently published in Personality and Individual Differences. The study, which compared a survey conducted in 2014 with results of Brazilians’ mate preferences in 1984, noted that male and female preferences for mutual attraction, love, kindness and intelligence have remained the same over the last 30 years. However, the expansion of the Brazilian population and economy and drastic shifts in culture have influenced a decline in the desire to have children.
    Study details Brazilians’ lack of desire for children, marriageE-Science News – April 4
  2. Cyber criminals hold organizations hostage
    The Jackson Sun (Tenn.) – April 2
    In earlier columns, I’ve talked about the “ransomware” scam that infects computers. The scariest version involves a person’s computer locking up and displaying a message purportedly from the FBI saying it has detected illegal pornography on the computer. The person must pay ransom immediately to avoid criminal charges. Businesses and government agencies are not immune to such threats. In February, a Los Angeles hospital paid almost $17,000 to hackers who infiltrated its network and encrypted its data … Diana Dolliver, a professor at the University of Alabama, said, “It’s the old idea that if a million people give a dollar, you have a million dollars.”
  3. IceCube Neutrino Observatory Receives National Science Foundation Funding
    Lab Manager – April 4
    Smaller than an atom and hurtling through space at near the speed of light, neutrinos are high-energy particles that pass right through just about anything in their way—yourself included—at a pace of billions per second … But the IceCube Neutrino Observatory is catching some of these tiny particles ever so briefly in its icy net … The  University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa leads the calibration efforts as well as the reconstruction and analysis tools; Michigan State University is a main contributor to the simulation software and production; and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls oversees the education and outreach program.
  4. Japanese X-ray observatory seen spinning out of control
    ARS Technica – April 4
    The prognosis wasn’t good last week when the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, lost communication with its new Hitomi X-ray astronomy satellite. However, there was some hope a few days later when the space agency reestablished intermittent contact with the spacecraft orbiting some 580km above the Earth. Astronomers have since been observing the satellite, originally known as Astro-H, as it has orbited around the Earth. The photos with this story, captured by University of Alabama astronomer William Keel on Sunday evening, appear to show different pieces of the spacecraft catching the Sun as they slowly rotate.

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