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From guns to balloons, Penn researchers are leaving no stone unturned.

A research team from the School of Medicine has found that a person in possession of a gun during an assault is 4.5 times more likely to get shot than one not possessing a gun.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology Charles Branas gave three possible hypotheses to explain these findings.

“People in possession of a gun may feel falsely empowered and ... overreact to the situation; they might be more likely to be in dangerous places or they might have their own gun taken away from them,” Branas said, adding that the last of these reasons was least likely.

He said this is just the beginning of a series of studies and the study design used is an approximation of an experiment.

The team’s observations have led to prospects of more definitive experiments to study the possession of firearms, as well as what danger or protection those firearms may provide.

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Emotional contagion exists in teams, according to recent Wharton research. Management Professor Sigal Barsade, the study’s author, found that people catch each others’ emotions like viruses.

“People don’t realize it’s happening because it happens at a subconscious level, but it comes through from behavioral and facial expression mimicry,” she said.

Barsade noted the significance of the findings, given that moods influence cognition, memory and decision-making. According to the results of the study, both positive and negative moods are contagious.

The results were observed in the context of group negotiation and also demonstrated a financial dimension. “Happy” groups were more likely to distribute money equally among themselves.

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The Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Sub-millimeter Telescope, or BLAST, is a balloon-borne telescope used to study the stars and other cosmic objects.

Flying at a height of 125,000 feet, BLAST is big enough to fill an entire stadium. According to Physics and Astronomy Professor Mark Devlin, researchers use balloons to get the telescope above the atmosphere, which otherwise blocks their view.

“We are looking for distant galaxies forming stars,” he said. “Our galaxy is not forming stars fast enough to have made all the stars in it, so we are looking at other galaxies to see what ours looked like in its adolescence and figure out where the stars came from.”

BLAST was launched from Antarctica in 2006, but was destroyed during landing. The team is rebuilding the entire telescope and anticipates launching it again in a year.

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