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Showing posts from October, 2015

Fitful Sleep Is Worse Than Staying Awake

It's the first question anyone asks when someone has a new baby: Are you getting enough sleep? Several nights of interrupted sleep may be tougher to deal with than getting less sleep, new research suggests. "When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don't have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration," study lead author Patrick Finan, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a statement.

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Fall Back? Why Daylight Saving Time Is So Confusing

There is mixed research on whether daylight saving time causes an uptick in car accidents as a result of groggy drivers. More objective measures of timekeeping go way back: Ancient Egyptians divided the day into 12 hour-long segments, and used both astronomy and devices called water clocks to track the hours. Other ancient timekeeping methods included sundials and candle clocks, which worked like water clocks except by melting wax rather than by dripping water.

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Aftermath of Gargantuan Landslide Captured in Space Image

A huge chunk of rock and ice slid down the flanks of Canada's Mount Steele on Oct. 11, at a dizzying speed — one estimate suggests a whopping 123 mph (nearly 200 km/h). The aftermath of the gargantuan landslide — about 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) tumbled down the mountain — was captured in a stunning satellite image, released last week by NASA's Earth Observatory. The fifth tallest mountain in Canada, Mount Steele is a major peak in the Saint Elias Mountains, towering over part of the southwestern Yukon Territory.


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Scared to Death: Can You Really Die of Fright? 

There's no question about it, the answer is yes, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. This response likely benefited early humans when they faced a menacing beast or aggressor, giving them the necessary adrenaline to either fight the attacker or flee the scene, Glatter said. The rush of adrenaline is an involuntary response controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

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Always 'Z' Prepared: When Zombies Attack, Look for a Scout

The upcoming horror-comedy film "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse," opening today (Oct. 30), provides a seemingly unlikely answer: the kid on your block with a sash full of badges. "I was never a Boy Scout, but it's actually a terrific guide for survival," said Mat Mogk, founder of the Zombie Research Society (ZRS), which promotes studies relevant to the (hypothetical) zombie threat. Zombie societies and fictional Scouts aside, some very sober experts have taken the idea of zombie survival at least semiseriously.


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Insight - MERS, Ebola, bird flu: Science's big missed opportunities

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Anyone who goes down with flu in Europe this winter could be asked to enrol in a randomised clinical trial in which they will either be given a drug, which may or may not work, or standard advice to take bedrest and paracetamol. Scientists are largely in the dark about how to stop or treat the slew of never-seen-before global health problems of recent years, from the emergence of the deadly MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, to a new killer strain of bird flu in China and an unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa. "Research in all of the epidemics we have faced over the past decade has been woeful," said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health foundation and an expert on infectious diseases.


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Halloween in Space: A Vampire Astronaut and Nightmare in Orbit

You might masquerade as an astronaut for Halloween, but what about when astronauts dress up? In search of eerie holiday cheer, Space.com caught up with retired astronaut Clayton Anderson to hear about his dedication to Halloween garb. "It was Halloween," Anderson recounted.


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Boo! Halloween Asteroid Looks Just Like a Creepy Skull

NASA has called it a "Great Pumpkin." Others have called it "spooky." But this image of a huge asteroid making a Halloween flyby of Earth today looks so much like a skull, it's scary. The radar image of the stadium-sized asteroid 2015 TB145 was captured on Friday, Halloween eve (Oct. 30), by scientists using the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This radar view - while fitting for today's Halloween asteroid flyby - is actually just one of several images of 2015 TB145 that show it rotating in space, with pitted surface scarred by time.  The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center overseeing Arecibo released the skull-shaped view, as well as another image showing a series of views of the asteroid over time.


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Halloween Asteroid Flies By Earth Today: Watch It Live Online

A huge asteroid the size of the football stadium has a close encounter with Earth today (Oct. 31) and you can watch the space rock safely fly by online this Halloween. NASA scientists have dubbed asteroid a cosmic "Great Pumpkin" to celebrate the spooky holiday flyby. The asteroid poses no threat of hitting Earth, but it does give astronomers a tantalizing chance to ping the space rock with radar to learn more about what it's like.


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Low-Fat Diets Are Not Better for Weight Loss

Low-fat diets are unlikely to result in greater weight loss than higher-fat diets that have the same amount of calories, a new study finds. The scientists found no difference in people's average weight loss when comparing low-fat and higher-fat diets. Reducing fat only led to greater weight loss when compared to not following any type of diet.

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Women's Risk of Early Death Linked to Reproductive Milestones

Some factors related to a woman's reproductive health — such as the age at which she had her first period or the age at which she gave birth to her first child — may be related to her risk of dying early, a new study suggests. Still, "further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to identify the mechanisms that may link reproductive factors with risk of death," Merritt told Live Science.

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People with Type 2 Diabetes Fall into 3 Distinct Groups, Study Finds

Type 2 diabetes doesn't affect every person who has it in exactly the same way, but now, a new study shows that people with Type 2 diabetes can be divided into a few distinct groups. The scientists found that there are actually three groups of people with Type 2 diabetes, each with a different set of problems associated with the disease. The findings show "there are statistically meaningful differences between patients," said Joel Dudley, the leader of the study and the director of biomedical informatics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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The Spooky Effects of Sleep Deprivation

If a person is deprived of sleep, it can lead to "tremendous emotional problems," said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. "Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture," he said. There isn't a clear definition of exactly how long a person must go without sleep, or how little sleep a person has to get to be considered sleep-deprived, and different people need different amounts of sleep, so there may be no universal definition of "sleep deprivation." Rather, a person is considered sleep-deprived if they get less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert, researchers say.

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Vampires, Zombies & Werewolves, Oh My! The Origins of Halloween Monsters

Love them or fear them, the spooky creatures that haunt your Halloween nightmares have complicated histories. From the 15th century vampire myths of Serbia to the werewolf tales of ancient Rome, here are the origin stories of your favorite Halloween monsters. Vampire legends were popular long before Edward Cullen won the hearts of "Twilight" fans.


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Science of the Paranormal: Can You Trust Your Own Mind?

Of all the paranormal phenomena that surround Halloween, the haunted house may be the last to inspire real fear. After checking that none of the medical gas bottles were leaking, he sat back at his desk, only to see a gray figure emerge in the corner of his vision.


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Goblin Sharks and 'Skeletorus': 6 Scary Beasts to Haunt Your Halloween

Some sport extra-long fangs, while others perform ghoulish acts. Some roam the deep sea, while others haunt the land. But if there's one thing all of the animals listed here have in common, it's this: They are ready for Halloween 365 days of the year. Here are 10 creepy critters to contemplate as you bob for apples, carve pumpkins and eat copious amounts of candy.


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Allied Navies Destroy Mock Ballistic Missile in Practice Test

How many navies does it take to shoot down one ballistic missile? On Oct. 20, naval armed forces from nine different nations teamed up to shoot down a mock ballistic missile high above Earth's atmosphere. The fiery interception was part of a demonstration by the Maritime Theater Missile Defense (MTMD) Forum, an organization established in 1999 to promote cooperation among allied navies and to facilitate the coordination of sea-based defense systems.


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'Be the Astronaut' and 'Journey to Space' in New Museum Exhibits

In Los Angeles, the California Science Center has debuted "Journey to Space," a hands-on, climb-aboard experience at what it takes to live and work off the Earth. And in Texas, Space Center Houston recently opened "Be the Astronaut," a multimedia exhibit that takes visitors on trips to the moon, Mars, asteroids, Jupiter and beyond. From exploring the International Space Station to landing on multiple worlds, these new, separate attractionsfeature authentic artifacts, replica space hardware and interactive displays to entertain and educate children and the general public about the physics, science and technology needed to support human space exploration, both now and in the future.


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Halloween Fireballs Will Blaze in the Sky Through November

During the next couple of weeks, there is a fairly good chance that Earth will encounter a swarm of unusually large space particles, capable of generating some eye-catching fireball meteors. The Taurid meteors, sometimes called "Halloween fireballs,"(fireballs are extremely bright meteors) create one of this year's longest meteor showers, with at least a couple of shooting stars per hour from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30. Meteors — popularly known as "shooting stars" — are produced when debris enters and burns up in Earth's atmosphere.


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Swim for the Earth: 3D-Printed Bikini Scrubs Water Pollution

Engineers from the University of California, Riverside, teamed up with designers from Eray Carbajo, an architecture and design firm based in New York City, to design a bikini that can absorb contaminants from water while a person swims. Sponge is a new material that engineers at UC Riverside started developing four years ago. "This is a supermaterial that is not harmful to the environment and [is] very cost-effective to produce," Mihri Ozkan, a member of the research team and an electrical engineering professor at UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering, told UCR Today, the school's online news publication.


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Party Like It's 2500 B.C.: Stonehenge Builders Hosted Barbecues

The ancient builders of Stonehenge may have hosted massive barbecue cookouts where thousands of revelers feasted on meat, new research suggests. Archaeologists at the Neolithic settlement of Durrington Walls in modern-day southern England, where the builders of Stonehenge likely lived, found evidence that the village hosted open-air meat-roasting parties 4,500 years ago, with animals likely walking to the site for slaughter from regions far and wide. At the time, thousands of ancient pilgrims may have flocked to the site of Stonehenge to honor their dead, while heading back after hours to party and grill at Durrington Walls, the study authors speculated.

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Tiny Bird Fossil Solves Big Mystery About Life After Dinosaurs

The newfound skeleton dates back to about 62.5 million to 62 million years ago, making it the oldest known modern bird specimen in North America to live after the dinosaur-killing mass extinction, the researchers said. "Birds were explosively diversifying right after the end of the Cretaceous, right after the big mass extinction," said study co-author Tom Williamson, curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. "Maybe a dozen or less lineages of birds survived," said study co-author Daniel Ksepka, curator of science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut.


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Little Cousin: Human, Ape Ancestor Had 'Goggle Eyes'

The fossil of a small primate with "goggle" eyes that strode atop tree branches, snagging snacks of fruit, suggests the last common ancestor of all apes might have been less like humans' closest living relatives than often thought, researchers say. This discovery could shed light on what the last common ancestor of all apes and humans might have been like, scientists added. For instance, the newfound species was a small-bodied ape that would have weighed about 8.8 to 11 lbs. (4 to 5 kilograms), making it similar in size to the smallest living gibbons.


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Halloween Asteroid Flyby: Here's What We Know About 2015 TB145

As a big asteroid flies by at a close but safe distance from Earth on Saturday (Oct. 31), astronomers will likely get a better radar view of the surface than ever before. Asteroid 2015 TB145 — discovered earlier this month, on Oct. 10 — will fly by slightly outside the moon's orbit. TB145 will fly by at 300,000 miles (480,000 kilometers) from Earth, but poses no threat to our planet.


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NASA Probe Flies Through Saturn Moon Enceladus' Plume

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has made its deepest dive yet through the plume emanating from the south pole of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus.


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Large asteroid set to shoot by Earth on Halloween

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A large asteroid that scientists only discovered this month will make a relatively close approach to Earth on Saturday, astronomers say, providing one of the best opportunities in years to gather data about a passing space rock. The asteroid, estimated to be about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in diameter, will shoot past the planet at 22 miles (35 km) per second at around 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Halloween afternoon. Known as 2015 TB145, it will come within about 300,000 miles (480,000 km) of Earth, farther away than the moon but relatively close by cosmic measures.

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Fossil unearthed in Spain sheds light on ape evolution

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The well-preserved partial skull and skeleton of a gibbon-like creature that lived 11.6 million years ago in Spain is shedding new light on the evolutionary history of modern apes.Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery in Catalonia of fossil remains of a small, fruit-eating female ape that lived in a warm, wet forested region teeming with animals including elephant relatives, rhinos and saber-toothed predators.They gave the ape, weighing 9-11 pounds (4-5 kg), the scientific name Pliobates cataloniae and the nickname "Laia. ...


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Scientific Prizes Bring Needed Attention to Mental Health Research

Dr. Herbert Pardes is executive vice chairman of the board of trustees at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and president of the Scientific Council of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation — and last year was the first to win the prize that now bears his name. Pardes contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. This fall, scientists around the world will trade lab coats for tuxes and ball gowns for the annual "award season" announcements of the Nobel Prize, the MacArthur Foundation fellowships, the Lasker Awards, and the star-studded and televised Breakthrough Prize awards.


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The More Severe-Burn Patients Eat, the Faster They Heal (Op-Ed)

Dr. Larry Jones, director of the Comprehensive Burn Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, contributed this column to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Patients with severe burns, understandably, suffer from substantially diminished appetites because they're in a considerable amount of pain and are often sedated, as a result. Despite these challenges, when burn patients are admitted to the Comprehensive Burn Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, we make nutrition a priority, often beginning a feeding tube within 6 hours.


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Facing Organ Donor Shortage, Patients Forced to Get Creative

Dr. Todd Pesavento is medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation and interim executive director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Every 10 minutes, another name goes on the list of Americans waiting for an organ transplant. Most of those patients will have to wait months or even years before finding a donor organ, and unfortunately, some never will.


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Scientists announce progress toward better battery to power cars

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have created a battery whose technology in principle could power electric cars and other energy-hungry devices far better than current lithium-ion batteries, but it remains years away from commercial use. Researchers at the University of Cambridge on Thursday announced the creation of a laboratory demonstration model of a lithium-oxygen battery that overcomes many of the barriers that have held back the development of this technology. Clare Grey, a Cambridge professor of materials chemistry who led the research, called it "a step towards a practical battery, albeit with many hurdles ahead." The researchers said it could be more than a decade before a practical lithium-oxygen battery is ready, in part because the battery's ability to charge and discharge is too low.


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Freak Waaaay Out This Halloween with the Scariest Space Movies

No Halloween season is complete without a few scary movies, so here are Space.com's recommendations for the most frightening flicks with a cosmic twist. In film, science fiction and horror have gone hand in hand since either genre was born. [Please note that these movies are not suitable for all viewers, and many of them contain disturbing images.


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Dawn Probe Heads to Superclose Orbit of Dwarf Planet Ceres

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has begun the long journey to its final orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. The probe should begin collecting data and capturing photos from the new orbit in mid-December, NASA officials said. Dawn has been getting closer and closer to Ceres since arriving at the dwarf planet this past March.


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Scientists: Warming ocean factor in collapse of cod fishery

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The rapid warming of waters off New England is a key factor in the collapse of the region's cod fishery, and changes to the species' management are needed to save one of America's oldest industries, according to a report published Thursday in Science magazine.


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Scientists announce progress toward better battery to power cars

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have created a battery whose technology in principle could power electric cars and other energy-hungry devices far better than current lithium-ion batteries, but it remains years away from commercial use. Researchers at the University of Cambridge on Thursday announced the creation of a laboratory demonstration model of a lithium-oxygen battery that overcomes many of the barriers that have held back the development of this technology. Clare Grey, a Cambridge professor of materials chemistry who led the research, called it "a step towards a practical battery, albeit with many hurdles ahead." The researchers said it could be more than a decade before a practical lithium-oxygen battery is ready, in part because the battery's ability to charge and discharge is too low.

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'1st Hardware Store in Space': Commercial 3D Printer Launching in 2016

California-based startup Made In Space is partnering with home-improvement giant Lowe's to launch a commercial 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) early next year, representatives of both companies announced today (Oct. 29). Made In Space built the 3D printer, which is called the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), and will retain ownership of the machine.


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Marriage Linked to Better Outcomes After Heart Surgery

People who are married may be more likely to survive heart surgery than people who are divorced, separated or widowed, according to a new study. In the study, researchers looked at health and survival rates in 1,576 adults ages 50 or older who underwent cardiac surgery. The new findings suggest that "marital status is a predictor of survival and functional recovery after cardiac surgery," the authors,from the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in their study published today (Oct. 28) in the journal JAMA Surgery.

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Oh Baby! The Science of Identical Triplets and Quadruplets

For two Baltimore parents, their three new bundles of joy may make them feel like one in a million, and statistics show they're not far off: Parents Thomas and Kristen Hewitt welcomed a rare set of identical triplets earlier this month, The Baltimore Sun reports. The Hewitts' three boys were born more than six weeks early, on Oct. 6, the Sun reported. Statistics help tell the story: Without the help of fertility treatments, and according to a mathematical rule that doctors use called Hellin's law, about one in 90 births is twins, one in 8,100 births (90 squared) is triplets and one in 729,000 births (90 cubed) is quadruplets, Herman said.

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Snakebite Victims in Africa Lack Needed Antivenom, Researcher Says

There is an urgent need for better and more accessible snakebite treatments in Africa, which cause thousands of deaths each year, researchers argue. Recently, the antivenom manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur made headlines when it said it would stop producing the snakebite treatment. "The reality is that for the vast majority of Africa's snakebite victims, the loss of Sanofi's antivenom will mean little, if anything at all," Williams wrote.

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Omm…MG! Rare Yoga Injury Breaks Man's Leg

A man in Ireland broke his leg and spent 10 days in the hospital after injuring himself in a surprising way — while practicing yoga. The 38-year-old yoga enthusiast fractured the thighbone on his right leg while doing a difficult seated yoga pose known as Marichyasana posture B in his morning yoga class, according to a new report of the man's case, which was published online Oct. 9 in the journal BMJ Case Reports. When the man got into the position, he heard a loud cracking sound and felt enormous pain in his right femur (thighbone).

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Electric Embrace: Eels Curl Up to Supercharge Shocks

It's kind of like walking straight into an electric fence, or getting shot with a stun gun. "You wouldn't voluntarily do it over and over again," said Kenneth Catania, a professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and author of a new study about the electric eels' shocking behavior. Catania has been zapped a few times since he began studying the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus), a fish that's indigenous to the murky waters of the Amazon.


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22 Ancient Shipwrecks Discovered Near Greek Island

Shipwrecks were the stuff of lore around the craggy coasts of Fourni, a Greek archipelago close to Turkey in the eastern Aegean Sea. By day 5, the researchers had discovered evidence of nine more sunken ships. "I think we were all shocked," said Peter Campbell, co-director of the project from the U.S.-based RPM Nautical Foundation.


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Zap happy: electric eels innovative in subduing hapless prey

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When it comes to unleashing their trademark zaps, electric eels employ an impressive and sophisticated set of tactics. A study unveiled on Wednesday detailed how these dangerous denizens of the muddy waterways of South America's Amazon and Orinoco basins can double the voltage of their jolts by curling their serpentine bodies to adjust the position of the positive and negative poles of their electric organ. The scientist who conducted the research also described how the eels use electrical pulses as a radar system to track prey as well as to immobilize prey by causing strong, involuntary muscle contractions in an electrifying form of remote control.


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Spacecraft to sample water plumes from Saturn moon

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (REUTERS) - A U.S. spacecraft was poised to make a deep dive into plumes of water, ice and organic matter blasting from Saturn's small, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, in an effort to learn if it could support life, NASA said on Wednesday. Only a drop of water will be collected during the 19,000 mph (30,600 kph) flyby, which is scheduled to take place about 1 p.m. EDT. Scientists say that will be enough to answer some key questions about Enceladus, which has a global ocean sealed beneath its icy surface.

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Modern Mystery: Ancient Comet Is Spewing Oxygen

The Rosetta spacecraft has detected molecular oxygen in the gas streaming off comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a curious finding that has scientists rethinking the ingredients that were present in the early solar system. What's mystifying astronomers about the new find is why the oxygen wasn't annihilated during the solar system's formation. Molecular oxygen is extremely reactive with hydrogen, which was swirling in abundance as the sun and planets were created.


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Rookie Spacewalkers Perform Critical Space Station Work

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren successfully completed their first-ever spacewalks today (Oct. 28), completing a handful of tasks vital to the International Space Station's longterm endurance. NASA's 32nd International Space Station (ISS) spacewalk officially started at 8:03 a.m. ET (1203 GMT) and lasted for 7 hours and 16 minutes as Kelly and Lindgren performed a handful of important maintenance tasks, including putting additional shielding over a science experiment, lubricating the station's robotic arm and rerouting cables to a future docking site for commercial spacecraft.


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Spacewalkers prep station for space taxi parking spots

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Two U.S. astronauts wrapped up nearly seven hours of electrical work and maintenance chores outside the International Space Station on Wednesday, part of an ongoing upgrade to prepare the outpost for new commercial space taxis. Station commander Scott Kelly and flight engineer Kjell Lindgren left the station's airlock around 8:30 a.m. Eastern time (1230 GMT), the first spacewalk for both astronauts. NASA had hoped to have the station outfitted with two new berthing slips before the end of the year so that commercial space taxis under development by Boeing and privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, would have places to park.

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Dog robot copes with tough terrain

By Jim Drury Swiss researchers have built an electrically actuated, walking, climbing, running four-legged robot that can handle difficult terrain. The 'dog' robot is called StarlETH - its name pronounced 'Starlet' and featuring the acronym for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). According to lead researcher Marco Hutter, "it's meant to be a robot that can climb over obstacles, so being very versatile.

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Watch This Amazing World View Test Flight for Balloon-Based Space Tourism

Arizona-based World View Enterprises, which aims to loft paying customers to the stratosphere beneath a giant balloon, launched an uncrewed test flight Saturday (Oct. 26). "This test flight is symbolic of a major step towards a new era of accessible space travel for us all," World View CEO and co-founder Jane Poynter said in a statement. Saturday's trial demonstrated that World View's system can lift off gently, successfully transition from balloon floating to aerodynamic parafoil flight at high altitudes, and descend and land smoothly, company representatives said.


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New Disk of Young Stars Found in Milky Way

A group of young stars has been caught loitering near the center of the Milky Way galaxy, a region previously thought to be dominated by a more mature population. Astronomers say the stars form a disk (previously unknown to scientists) that passes through the outer part of the dusty, peanut-shaped bulge at the galactic center. The thick forest of dust located at the Milky Way's galactic center is a place where even the bright flame of a burning star can be nearly impossible for astronomers to see.


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DIY Halloween Costumes: 7 Geeky Getups for Any Party

With Halloween less than a week away, science nerds everywhere are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their costumes. A Halloween costume depicting dark matter can pretty much look however you want it to look, because no one knows what dark matter really is. Adorn yourself in these articles of clothing, and then slink around the party, saying mysterious things like, "Are my axions showing?" Also, be sure to do a lot of unpredictable things, like grab people and hold them in one place (explain that dark matter was once believed to be a sort of "glue" that held galaxies in place) and then push them away (explain that astronomers are no longer sure that dark matter actually serves as an anchor for anything).


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290-Million-Year-Old Creature Could Sprout New Limbs

If an ancient amphibian lost a limb or a tail, it could simply sprout a new one, according to researchers who found fossil evidence of limb regeneration dating back 290 million years. The finding shows that some Carboniferous and Permian period animals had regenerative abilities a full 80 million years before salamanders, one of the few modern-day animal groups that can fully regenerate their limbs and tail, existed in the fossil record. The fact that other tetrapods — a group comprised of four-legged vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds — had regenerative abilities suggests there are multiple ways to regrow limbs, said study lead researcher Nadia Fröbisch, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in Berlin.


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Google Can Help You Find the Perfect Halloween Costume

Not sure what to be for Halloween? Google may be able to help. A new Google Trends tool shows you what costumes are popular right now in your area and around the country, so you can be sure to wear something more original than, say, a Stormtrooper costume to this weekend's festivities.


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What Would an Alien Megastructure Look Like? Sci-Fi Authors Weigh In

Researchers aren't sure what's going on, and they have posited that some sort of light-blocking "alien megastructure" is a possible — though unlikely — explanation. "We are the most skeptical people on the planet," Robert J. Sawyer, a Canadian sci-fi writer who regularly discusses alien life in his novels, told Space.com. Sawyer added that journalists, by contrast, often pump up the news because they "smell front page." And while Sawyer supports the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) because it is so cheap to listen for radio signals, he said it's meaningful that, in five decades of searching, nothing has come up so far.


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For 'The Ordinary Spaceman' Clayton Anderson, Astronaut Life Is Anything But

When Clayton Anderson began to write about his 30-year NASA career, he was warned that astronaut memoirs are "a dime a dozen, and all the same." But that didn't deter him — and his new book is far from an "ordinary" space narrative. In "The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut" (University of Nebraska Press, 2015), Anderson traces his childhood, career, 15 applications to the astronaut training program and, finally, his training and two flights to space (one of which was a long-duration flight), Anderson covers his daily activities and unusual experiences with detailed and humorous observations. In a recent interview, Space.com caught up with Anderson to hear more about his new memoir, the challenges of being an astronaut and unusual space pastimes.


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Einstein Is Right About General Relativity — Again

Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity has been proven right again — and this time, physicists have pinned down just how precise it is: Any deviations from his theory of general relativity are so small that they would change calculations by just one part in 10,000 to one part in 100,000. Time after time, experiments have proved that Einstein's theory of general relativity, which describes the way gravity behaves, especially when dealing with high speeds and large masses. In the new study, physicists looked at gobs of data on planetary orbits to look for tiny anomalies that couldn't be explained by either Isaac Newton's theory of gravity — in which gravity is a force between objects that depends on their masses — or Einstein's general relativity theory, which says gravity is a warping of space-time itself.


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Gem-Filled Warrior's Tomb Discovered in Ancient Greek City

Archaeologists who thought they were excavating the site of an ancient house in Greece recently uncovered something much more rare: a wealthy Bronze Age warrior's tomb, chock-full of precious metals and colorful gemstones. The tomb, which dates back some 3,500 years to 1500 B.C., was found by an international group of researchers led by archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati. Gold cups and jewelry, as well as hundreds of beads made from precious stones like amethyst and jasper, also surrounded the remains of the deceased Mycenaean warrior, who once lived near what is now the city of Pylos, on the southwest coast of Greece.


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Record-Breaking 408 Earthquakes Hit Bay Area City Over Past 2 Weeks

A whopping 408 earthquakes have hit San Ramon, California, in the past two weeks, including 11 in one 24-hour stretch. This record-breaking earthquake swarm is nothing to fear, however, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Periods of tectonic unrest are common in the area and probably don't presage a larger quake, the USGS said.


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NASA Astronauts Making Spacewalk Debut at Space Station Today: Watch Live

American astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren plan to spend nearly six-and-a-half hours working outside the International Space Station during their spacewalk, which will be dedicated to "station upgrades and maintenance tasks," according to NASA. Both Kelly and Lindgren have said they are excited for today's spacewalk, which will include (among other tasks) the installation of a protective cover on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $2 billion particle physics detector that has been performing science on the station's exterior since 2011.


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Tractor beams of science fiction becoming a reality

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The tractor beam, a staple of science fiction including "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" that is employed to grab spaceships and other things remotely, is entering the realm of reality. Researchers on Tuesday said they have developed a tractor beam that uses high-amplitude sound waves to levitate, move and rotate small objects without making contact with them. "As a mechanical wave, sound can exert significant forces on objects.


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Tractor beams of science fiction becoming a reality

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The tractor beam, a staple of science fiction including "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" that is employed to grab spaceships and other things remotely, is entering the realm of reality. Researchers on Tuesday said they have developed a tractor beam that uses high-amplitude sound waves to levitate, move and rotate small objects without making contact with them. "As a mechanical wave, sound can exert significant forces on objects.

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Cutting Sugar Made Obese Kids Healthier in 10 Days

There can be no more dancing around the fact that, for children, consuming added sugar contributes to a litany of chronic diseases, particularly obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, scientists concluded in new research published today (Oct. 27). In the study, researchers closely monitored 43 obese children and found that reducing the consumption of added sugar — even while maintaining the same number of calories, and the same amount of non-sugary junk food such as potato chips — led to a dramatic improvement in a cluster of health measures in just 10 days. The kids lowered their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar and lost a little weight, too, despite no change in their calorie intake or physical activity.

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Leading Causes of Death in the US: What's Changed Since 1969?

Five of the six top causes of death in America — including stroke, cancer and diabetes — now have lower death rates than they have in past years, according to a new report. To investigate the deadliest conditions in the United States, researchers pulled national mortality data from death certificates, looking at the period from 1969 to 2013. Deaths from stroke had the most substantial decrease, falling 77 percent (from 156 deaths per 100,000 people to 36 deaths per 100,000 people) during the study period, and heart disease was close behind, down by about two-thirds (from 520 deaths per 100,000 people to 169 deaths per 100,000 people), the researchers found.

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Real-Life 'Tractor Beam' Can Levitate Objects Using Sound Waves

It may seem straight out of "Star Trek," but it's real: Scientists have created a sonic "tractor beam" that can pull, push and pirouette objects that levitate in thin air. The sonic tractor beam relies on a precisely timed sequence of sound waves that create a region of low pressure that traps tiny objects that can then be manipulated solely by sound waves, the scientists said in a new study. Though the new demonstration was just a proof of concept, the same technique could be adapted to remotely manipulate cells inside the human body or target the release of medicine locked in acoustically activated drug capsules, said study co-author Bruce Drinkwater, a mechanical engineer at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.


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'Let's Go Mets!' Astronaut Mike Massimino Roots for His Home Team

Attention, sports fans! Game 1 of the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals launches tonight (Oct. 27), and not even astronauts are immune to baseball fever. "The Mets are about to begin the World Series and I want to wish them the best of luck," Massimino says in the 21-second video.


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Tractor beams of science fiction becoming a reality

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The tractor beam, a staple of science fiction including "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" that is employed to grab spaceships and other things remotely, is entering the realm of reality. Researchers on Tuesday said they have developed a tractor beam that uses high-amplitude sound waves to levitate, move and rotate small objects without making contact with them. "As a mechanical wave, sound can exert significant forces on objects.


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Private Spaceflight Industry Aims to Shake Off a Rough Year

Over the past 12 months, robotic resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) launched by both Orbital ATK and SpaceX failed, and Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo broke apart during a test flight, killing the vehicle's co-pilot and seriously wounding its pilot. Orbital ATK and SpaceX plan to be flying again before the year is out, for example, and Virgin Galactic is nearly finished building SpaceShipTwo number two.


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Falling Space Junk Will Burn Up In Earth's Atmosphere Next Month

A piece of space junk will fall back to Earth next month, giving researchers a chance to study how incoming objects behave when they hit the planet’s atmosphere. The object, which is known as WT1190F, is expected to enter Earth's atmosphere on Nov. 13 above the Indian Ocean, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Sri Lanka. "The object is quite small, at most a couple of meters in diameter, and a significant fraction if not all of it can be expected to completely burn up in the atmosphere," Tim Flohrer, of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Space Debris Office at the European Space Operations Center in Germany, said in a statement.


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Tractor beams of science fiction becoming a reality

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The tractor beam, a staple of science fiction including "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" that is employed to grab spaceships and other things remotely, is entering the realm of reality. Researchers on Tuesday said they have developed a tractor beam that uses high-amplitude sound waves to levitate, move and rotate small objects without making contact with them. "As a mechanical wave, sound can exert significant forces on objects.

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New tech makes hybrid buses cost-effective

By Jim Drury Artemis's new Digital Displacement (DD) power system this year won the company a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award. The company, owned by Mitsubishi, hit the headlines earlier this year when a 7MW (megawatt) wind turbine containing a Digital Displacement transmission (DDT) hydraulic system was deployed to operate as a floating wind-turbine in deep water 20 kilometers off Fukushima. Until now hydraulic pumps and motors have been controlled by varying the stroke of pistons with an adjustable mechanism, but have proved inefficient for automotive transmissions and wind turbines.

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To Preserve the Earth, Rethink Our Relationship with Nature (Op-Ed)

Justin Adams, global managing director, lands, at The Nature Conservancy contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Just last week, the global community saw the launch of the U.N.'s new and ambitious 15-year Sustainable Development Goals. In the run-up to COP21, more conversations have shifted to the nexus of food, water and energy, and about poverty, climate change and risk.

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What's the Next Network? The Lighting All Around You (Op-Ed)

Hugh Martin is chairman and chief executive officer of Sensity Systems. In 2011, he was named CEO for Fortune magazine's "Executive Dream Team: The startup edition." Martin created the vision for the light sensory network and for Sensity Systems, which capitalizes on conversions to LED lighting to create high-speed, sensor-base, multiservice, open networking platforms.  This Op-Ed is part of a series provided by the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers, class of 2015. The next time you drive past a street light or walk under a light pole as you cross a parking lot to your car, take a moment to ponder this: that same lighting fixture illuminating your path might someday also keep you safer, guide you to where you're headed, lead you to an open parking space, and even make your business more profitable and your customers more loyal.

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Relativity's Legacy: Your Guide to Traveling the Galaxy in Only 20 Years

Paul Sutter is a research fellow at the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste and visiting scholar at the Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts Ask a Spaceman and RealSpace, and the YouTube series Space In Your Face.

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Would You Rather Be Stranded on Mars or the Moon? XPrize CEO Answers (Video)

Chanda Gonzales, senior director, Google Lunar XPrize, contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. The moon is not only our nearest neighbor in space but also an essential stepping-stone to the rest of the universe, and the opportunity to learn from our closest neighbor  can provide the necessary experience to further humanity's presence in the solar system and beyond.


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Lions Are Disappearing Across Africa

Lions are disappearing from most of the African continent, and the decline is especially evident in West Africa, according to new research. The lion population has has been in decline since 1992, largely because of conflicts with native herders and declines in lions' prey species, the new survey found. Almost two-thirds of the more than 8,000 lions studied live in populations facing decline.


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Diabetes Blood Test Urged for All Overweight US Adults

All overweight and obese adults in the United States should be routinely screened for abnormal blood glucose levels as part of a heart disease risk assessment, according to new government recommendations. It's the first time the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of medical experts that makes recommendations on the effectiveness of preventive health services, has advised that American adults ages 40 to 70 who are overweight or obese undergo a blood test for diabetes, even if they have no symptoms of the disease. Excess weight is a known — but modifiable — risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

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Pediatricians Unveil Game Plan for Safer Youth Football

Parents who may be having second thoughts about allowing their children to strap on a helmet or score a touchdown may get some comfort from a new policy statement on youth football injuries from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In its statement, the AAP outlined a series of recommendations to improve children's safety while participating in youth football leagues, such as USA Football and Pop Warner.

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Microbe Masterpieces: Scientists Create Cool Art from Bacteria

What do Vincent van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night," a map of New York City and a countryside harvest landscape have in common? Perhaps not much, but all of these images can be re-created by growing colorful microbes in petri dishes — and they were for this year's Agar Art Contest, an unusual annual competition sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology. First place went to Mehmet Berkmen of New England Biolabs, who worked with artist Maria Penil to create piece called "Neurons." The petri dish was painted to look like nerve cells using the yellow-tinged bacteria called Nesterenkonia and the orange-colored bacteria called Deinococcus and Sphingomonas.


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