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Gizmorama - November 8, 2017

Good Morning,


If you were wondering who the U.S. government was going to blame for climate change, wonder no more! Spoiler alert...we humans are responsible!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,
Erin


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*--- U.S. government report blames humans for global climate change ---*

Humans are to blame to for global warming, according to the most comprehensive climate change report yet produced by the federal government.

The 600-page report is unambiguous and contradicts many of the Trump administration's positions and talking points on climate change.

Since taking office, Trump and Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, have downplayed the severity and certainty of global warming.

"I believe that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this year. "There's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact."

The latest report strikes a different tone.

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," researchers write in the report. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence."

The first volume of the National Climate Assessment, titled "Climate Science Special Report," is legally mandated, and the Trump administration did not attempt to stop its publication.

The report was prepared by thousands of scientists from a range of academic and research institutions and was peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. It is intended to inform decisions made by Congress and the federal government, but it's unclear whether the Trump administration will lend it any credence.

"This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies," Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, told the New York Times. "It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They're obviously not getting it from their own scientists."

The report points to the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests as the primary causes of the nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit of warming over the last century. It also blames man-made climate change for increases in extreme weather events, including larger tropical storms, rising sea levels, coastal flooding, prolonged droughts and dangerous heatwaves.

"The frequency and intensity of extreme high temperature events are virtually certain to increase in the future as global temperature increases," the report reads. "Extreme precipitation events will very likely continue to increase in frequency and intensity throughout most of the world."

The Trump administration has already voiced their intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which includes targets for greenhouse gas reductions in participating countries. But according to the latest report, dramatically curbing emissions offers the only possible solution to the problem of climate change.



*-- Cosmic rays reveal hidden space within Great Pyramid of Giza --*

With the help of cosmic rays, scientists have identified a secret chamber inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The chamber lies above a cathedral-like corridor known as the Grand Gallery. Both share similar dimensions. It's purpose is unknown.

"All we know is that we have a void, we have a cavity, and it's huge, which means possibly intentional and certainly worthy of further exploration," Peter Der Manuelian, an Egyptologist at Harvard University who did not assist the latest research, told NPR.

The discovery was made using technology normally deployed in particle physics labs.

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles that stream through space. When they collide with Earth's atmosphere, they trigger another high-energy particle called a muon.

Muons can penetrate rock, but they lose energy as they do. Their absorption rates can reveal the density of the rocky medium through which the electron particles are traveling. To map the insides of the pyramid, scientists surrounded it with muon detectors.

The system is rather simple.

"If there is more mass, fewer muons get to that detector," Christopher Morris, a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, told New Scientist. "When there is less mass, more muons get to the detector."

Researchers with the Scan Pyramids Mission were able to use the data picked up by the muon detectors -- how many muons were detected and at what angles -- to detail the dimensions of several chambers within the pyramid.

Their analysis revealed the three known chambers, the King's Chamber, the Queen's Chamber and an underground chamber. The two main chambers are connected by the Grand Gallery, above which lies the fourth -- and previously unknown -- chamber.

To confirm their findings, researchers conducted two more slightly different muon-detection experiments, setting their instruments up in different locations and allowing long exposure times.

"The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big," Mehdi Tayoubi, with the HIP Institute in Paris, the group leading the scanning mission, told NPR. "I don't know what it could be. I think it's now time for Egyptologists and specialists in ancient Egypt architecture to collaborate with us, to provide us with some hypotheses."

The scientists detailed their discovery of the new chamber in a paper published this week in the journal Nature.

***

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