Tag Archives: existence

Research in the news: The search for exceptional rings

Optics research just got a bit more exceptional, and the world may benefit.

Physicists have long known about the existence of isolated “exceptional points” — unique points where two physical states coalesce into one. Exceptional points give rise to counterintuitive phenomena; a more opaque material can seem more transparent, and light may be allowed to propagate in one direction but not the other. (more…)

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Sperm Length Variation is not a Good Sign

A new study published online in the journal Human Reproduction finds that the greater the inconsistency in the length of sperm, particularly in the tail (flagellum), the lower the concentration of sperm that can swim well. The finding offers fertility clinicians a potential new marker for fertility trouble that might trace back to how a patient’s sperm are being made.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Perhaps variety is the very spice of life, but as a matter of producing human life, it could be the bane of existence. That’s the indication of a new study in the journal Human Reproduction that found men with wider variation in sperm length, particularly in the flagellum, had lower concentrations of sperm that could swim well. Those with more consistently made sperm seemed to have more capable ones.

“Our study reveals that men who produce higher concentrations of competent swimming sperm also demonstrate less variation in the size and shape of those sperm,” said Jim Mossman, a postdoctoral scholar at Brown University and lead author of the paper published in advance online Oct. 28. “It suggests that in some cases, testes are working more optimally to produce high numbers of consistently manufactured sperm, and vice versa.” (more…)

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Belief in God Rises with Age, Even in Atheist Nations

International surveys about the depth of people’s belief in God reveal vast differences among nations, ranging from 94 percent of people in the Philippines who said they always believed in God, compared to only 13 percent of people in the former East Germany. Yet the surveys found one constant—belief in God is higher among older people, regardless of where they live.

A new report on the international surveys, “Belief About God Across Time and Countries,” was issued by the General Social Survey of the social science research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. It is based on a comprehensive, international study of belief in God and includes information from the International Social Survey Program, a consortium of the world’s leading opinion survey organizations. Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey, wrote the report. (more…)

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