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Thanks to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus, most people now recognize the need to maintain good hygiene as a means to avoid sickness.  And undoubtedly, frequent updates on death tolls, school closures and airport screenings from health officials and media figures also deserve some credit for the public's hyper vigilance in maintaining good hygiene--frequently washing hands, sneezing into shirt sleeves and so on.

While these behaviors can be good ways to prevent the spread of disease, is it possible that the current trend of hygiene awareness is overblown? Even to the point of turning people into germaphobes?
Most people would probably say they love shopping online. With the prices of online stores being so much cheaper than traditional retailers, what's not to love? According to recently released research, the increasing lack of product choices found online may be a good candidate.

A new study, published in Marketing Science, found that the traditional system of selling through retailers encourages longer – rather than shorter – product lines, which could dry up as manufacturers turn to direct sales online.

The reason is pretty simple. As more manufacturers go online and cut out the middle men and accompanying price increases, they tend to lose their incentive to diversify their products.
Back in 2005, when a massive 35-mile-long rift broke open in the Ethiopia desert some geologists controversially claimed that a new ocean was forming as two parts of the African continent pulled apart.

Currently, scientists from several countries have supposedly confirmed that the volcanic processes at work beneath the Ethiopian rift are nearly identical to those at the bottom of the world's oceans, and the rift may likely be the beginning of a new sea.
Charles Darwin described a canid on the Falkland Islands, off the east coast of Argentina, but it has long been extinct.  Darwin called it Canis antarcticus, placing it in the same genus as the domestic dog, wolf and coyote

Since then, biologists have also puzzled over the Falklands wolf's ancestry, with suggestions that they were related to domestic dogs, North American coyotes, or South American foxes. The wolves were the size of a coyote, but much stockier, with fur the color of a red fox. They had short muzzles, just like gray wolves, and thick, wooly fur. 
Researchers using measurements of the cosmic microwave background - a faintly glowing relic of the hot, dense, young universe - say their results provide support for the cosmological model of the universe - a prediction that dark matter and dark energy make up 95% of everything in existence while ordinary matter makes up just 5%. 

Writing in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers on the QUaD telescope project have released detailed maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB); they focused their measurements on variations in the CMB's temperature and polarization to learn about the distribution of matter in the early universe.
Dust samples collected by high-flying aircraft have found relicts from the ancient cosmos, according to scientists from the Carnegie Institution.

This stratospheric dust includes minute grains that likely formed inside stars that lived and died long before the birth of our sun as well as material from molecular clouds in interstellar space. This 'ultra-primitive' material likely drifted into the atmosphere after the Earth passed through the dust trail of comet Grigg-Skjellerup, giving scientists a rare opportunity to study cometary dust in the laboratory.