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  1. High Energy Regions in Radiation Belt Around Earth Speed Up Electrons to Nearly the Speed of Light

    We knew there was radiation out there, but we didn't realize it was basically a nitrous booster for subatomic particles

    We've got good news for anyone who's ever dreamed of taking a trip to CERN to see how a giant particle accelerator operates -- you can save yourself a plane ticket. As it turns out, the Earth itself is surrounded by a radiation belt that contains regions of energy that act like particle accelerators

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  2. Radiation From Fukushima Could Help Solve the Mystery of Bluefin Tuna Migration

    A team of researchers is making the best of a bad situation and trying to use the lasting effects of radiation at Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor to help environmental conservation efforts. In the years since the meltdown, marine biologists have found traces of radiation from the meltdown in bluefin tuna as far afield as California. That radiation, though, could help marine biologists map the ill-understood migration routes of the tuna. That better understanding of the life cycle and habits of the bluefin could be brought to bear in efforts to protect the valuable food fish from overfishing, a growing concern for pretty much every tuna species.

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  3. Gamma Ray Burst Irradiated Entire Planet In 8th Century, Would Mess Us Up If It Happened Today

    Researchers in Germany think they have pinpointed the cause of low-levels of radiation indicated in tree rings dating from the eighth century -- a blast of gamma rays that hit the Earth in the year 775 after two far-off "stellar remnants -- like black holes or white dwarf stars --  merged together, causing a release of energy that could be felt from light years away. If that's true, though, then why aren't we all Incredible Hulks right now? Explain that, science!

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  4. Dreams Dashed: Radiation From Space Travel May Cause Brain Damage

    If you're anything like me, you still haven't given up on that dream of being an astronaut one day, breaking the surly bonds of Earth and experiencing the wonder and vastness of space firsthand. That's why I bring you the following story with a heavy heart -- according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the list of dangers involved in space travel just got a little longer, with "alien attacks," "insane computer AIs," and "being sucked out of an airlock" joined by a new hazard to space flight -- an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

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  5. Fukushima Site Producing Mutated Butterflies

    Today's reminder that nuclear accidents stay with us much, much longer than we might care to remember them: Butterflies in the vicinity of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan are mutating. A study published online last week in the journal Science Reports found that pale blue grass butterflies are common in much of Asia, but those born near the site of the meltdown are coming into the world with severe physical deformities. Mutations have been found in 12% of the specimens examined by researchers at the University of the Ryukyus in nearby Okinawa. While some of the mutations, like unusual spotting patterns on wings, are mostly innocuous, others are more severe, ranging from forked antennae, to twisted legs, to bent and useless wings. Some are suffering from mutations that leave them unable to even leave their cocoons.

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  6. How Much Radiation Can a Person Absorb?

    Xkcd took on a pet project in which the doses of radiation a human can and can't withstand were documented and thrown onto a handy chart. Head on past the break to see the larger, informative, somewhat terrifying chart.

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  7. Study: Cell Phone Radiation Could Be Responsible For Bee Population Decline [Video]

    The bee population in many areas of the world has been in a steep decline over the last four years, and until quite recently, scientists had no idea why. Were this decline to continue uninterrupted, it could spell the end for some fruits and vegetables altogether as far as farming is concerned, and would generally be devastating for produce growers. The decline has been named Colony Collapse Disorder, and parasites and climate change were once thought mostly to blame. The effect that bees have on crop growth is amazing, and their loss would be incredibly costly to the economy. The total value of produce pollinated by bees in the United States alone is estimated at around $12 billion. But CNN reported a study today that could reveal the reason behind the decline, though it's doubtful whether there's anything people would actually be willing to do in order to stop it.

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