Reader’s Scigest 30-01-14

ParacetamolBy and

Falling on its Face-book

Researchers at Princeton University have predicted that Facebook will have lost 80 percent of its users by 2017, by comparing its growth to the growth curve of an infectious disease. The researchers have described a social media epidemic, and argue that people are slowly becoming immune to the attractions of the 1.2 billion-user site. The research was based on data from Google trends, which records the number of times ‘Facebook’ is searched. According to this data, the number of people Googling the site peaked in December 2012, and have been trailing off ever since.

Flu would’ve thought it?

Flu remedies may be harmful instead of beneficial, according to recent studies. Sufferers of the flu are generally advised to take paracetamol and aspirin by medical professionals but, while alleviating the pain and symptoms, they may also lower their fever, which can cause the body to produce more flu virus and prolong the time they have the viral infection. A team, led by David Earn, have created a mathematical model and used data from a 1982 study of ferrets to estimate the increase in the number of flu cases caused by the suppression of fever – which could result in 2000 extra flu deaths each year in the US alone.

Water discovery!

Water vapour has been detected on Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. Scientists using the European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory have identified water rising off the dwarf planet, an observation that confirms that Ceres has an icy surface and an atmosphere. This marks the first time that water has been detected on any object in the asteroid belt. NASA’s Dawn Mission is currently on its way to Ceres and will arrive in the spring of 2015, meaning that further investigation of the surface will be undertaken.

Photograph: cpradi on Flickr

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