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Five new planets close to Earth found

Scientists using an intra-galactic speed gun have detected what could be five new planets, relatively close to Earth.

The distance of the planets from our earth is that it would only take 12 years to reach them if anyone travelled at the speed of light, the scientists said.

After analysing about 6000 measurements of the star Tau Ceti’s velocity, scientists believe slight inconsistencies in its speed and direction are being caused by the gravitational pull of other celestial bodies.

“We believe the star is going very slightly backwards and forwards and shows the evidence for doing that at five different periods,” the Herald Sun quoted Professor Chris Tinney of the University of NSW’s astronomy team as telling a foreign news agency.

“We think five different planets are going around that star tugging on it making it move backwards and forwards,” he suggested.

An international team of researchers from Australia, Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States believe one of the five planets orbiting Tau Ceti is within the star’s habitable zone, where conditions are suitable for life.

Curbing car travel as effective as cutting calories

Both daily automobile travel and calories consumed are related to body weight, and reducing either one, even by a small amount, correlates with a reduction in body mass index (BMI), suggests a new study.

The University of Illinois researchers behind the study were led by computer science and mathematics professor Sheldon H. Jacobson.

“We’re saying that making small changes in travel or diet choices may lead to comparable obesity reduction, which implies that travel-based interventions may be as effective as dietary interventions,” said graduate student Banafsheh Behzad, a co-author of the study.

Obesity is a multidimensional problem with many social and medical factors, but maintaining body weight essentially is a result of energy consumed and energy expended.

Other studies look at the two issues individually, or at a local or individual level, but Jacobson’s group wanted to look at both sides of the equation through a national lens. As an outgrowth of previous work examining the relationship between driving and obesity, they decided to use driving as a proxy for physical activity.

“An easy way to be more physically active is to spend less time in an automobile. Any time a person sits behind the wheel of a car, it’s one of the most docile activities they can do in a day,” Jacobson said.

Black and white colours affect  perception of right and wrong

Some decisions may seem black or white - but new research has shown that the colours can actually affect the way people judge.

A study found that exposure to these two colours leads people to think in a “black and white” manner and hold more extreme views, the Daily Mail reported. Participants were offered moral dilemmas printed against either a black and white or neutral background.

Those presented in monochrome put forward more polarised views, according to the research carried out by Dr Theodora Zarkadi, of Anglia RuskinUniversity, and Dr Simone Schnall, of the University of Cambridge.

Dr Zarkadi said: “The two experiments showed that priming participants with a black and white background resulted in them making judgements in a ‘black and white’ and therefore extreme manner, by giving responses closer to the scale’s end points.”
 “The results indicate that the black and white metaphor was not driven solely by contrast because there was no comparable effect for the blue and yellow pattern in the first experiment.

“Instead, there appears to be a specific connotation of black and white that relates to judgement extremity,” she said.

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