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Showing posts from October 6, 2015

South Korea's Lee to head U.N. panel of climate scientists

By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - South Korea's Hoesung Lee, chosen on Tuesday to head the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists, favours wider pricing of carbon dioxide output to curb emissions of the greenhouse gases the group blames for global warming. Government representatives meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, picked the professor of the economics of climate change to succeed India's Rajendra Pachauri as chair of the IPCC, whose findings are the main guide for combating global warming.

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Doomsday Revised: New Prediction Claims World Will End on Oct. 7

The 2012 Mayan apocalypse was a total bust. Falling into a long tradition of repurposing and revamping old doomsday predictions, an online Christian group is insisting that the now-deceased preacher, Harold Camping, was right, and that his prophecies forecast the end of the world. In 2011, Camping claimed that after the May 21 day of judgment, there would be only about five months until the world's end on Oct. 21, 2011.

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Should doctors help infertility patients who cross borders for care?

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Should doctors offer infertility treatment to patients who cross international borders to get care they can’t legally receive in their home country? Yes, if they want to, some ethicists argue in an essay in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. “Physicians should abide by national laws,” lead author Wannes Van Hoof, a bioethicist at Ghent University in Belgium, said by email.

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Doomsday Revised: New Claim World Will End on Oct. 7

The 2012 Mayan apocalypse was a total bust. Falling into a long tradition of repurposing and revamping old doomsday predictions, an online Christian group is insisting that the now-deceased preacher, Harold Camping, was right, and that his prophecies forecast the end of the world. In 2011, Camping claimed that after the May 21 day of judgment, there would be only about five months until the world's end on Oct. 21, 2011.

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NASA Rocket Launch May Spawn Glowing Clouds Off US East Coast Wednesday

A NASA rocket launch on Wednesday (Oct. 7) should give skywatchers in the Eastern United States a real treat, weather permitting. NASA plans to launch a sounding rocket at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Wednesday from the agency's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. If all goes according to plan, the liftoff will produce several multicolored patches of light in the darkening sky that will be visible to many people in the Middle Atlantic and Northeast United States.


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Un-Baaahlievable! Overgrown Sheep Gets Record-Breaking Haircut

An enormously overgrown sheep that spent years in the wild and was saddled with so much wool that it could barely walk underwent a lifesaving "haircut" last month that removed more than 90 lbs. (41 kilograms) of fleece. Now, the animal affectionately known as Chris the Sheep has set a new Guinness World Records for having the most wool removed in a single shearing. Named by the wandering hiker who discovered him, the Merino sheep was then rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), a community-based charity that works to prevent animal cruelty.


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South Korea's Lee to lead U.N. panel of climate scientists

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments picked South Korea's Hoesung Lee on Tuesday to head the U.N. panel of climate scientists, which guides policies for combating global warming and won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Lee, a professor of the economics of climate change, will succeed India's Rajendra Pachauri as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the IPCC said after a vote at a meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Reporting By Alister Doyle; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Newly identified human ancestor was handy with tools

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Homo naledi, the ancient human ancestor whose fossils have been retrieved from a South African cave, may have been handy with tools and walked much like a person, according to scientists who examined its well-preserved foot and hand bones. Its foot and hand anatomy shared many characteristics with our species but possessed some primitive traits useful for tree climbing, the researchers said on Tuesday. The new research offers fresh insight into a creature that is providing valuable clues about human evolution.


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Draconid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week

Skywatchers have a chance to see some "shooting stars" this week with the annual Draconid meteor shower. Weather permitting, skywatchers can see the Draconid meteor shower radiating out from the constellation Draco (the Dragon) near the triangle formed by the stars Deneb, Altair and Vega. NASA estimates that, on average, about 10 to 20 meteors per hour will be visible during the Draconids.


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South Korea's Lee to lead U.N. panel of climate scientists

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments picked South Korea's Hoesung Lee on Tuesday to head the U.N. panel of climate scientists, which guides policies for combating global warming and won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Lee, a professor of the economics of climate change, will succeed India's Rajendra Pachauri as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the IPCC said after a vote at a meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Reporting By Alister Doyle; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Pentagon sees decision soon on Russian rocket engine waiver

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department expects to decide "fairly soon" whether to issue a waiver to United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, that would allow it to continue using Russian rocket engines, the Pentagon's top acquisition official said on Tuesday. Without a waiver, or a change in last year's law banning the use of Russian engines on some launches, ULA said it cannot compete against Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, which won certification earlier this year to compete against ULA. ULA has been the monopoly provider for most Air Force satellite launches since its creation in 2006.

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'The Martian' Locales on Mars Revealed in NASA Spacecraft Photos

Newly released photos taken by a NASA spacecraft provide a real-world look at the Red Planet locales where much of the action takes place in the sci-fi epic "The Martian."


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Pulsars Have Crunchy Crust, Supersmooth Interiors, Study Suggests

Pulsars, the left-over remains of exploded stars, are considered some of the most accurate natural timekeepers in the universe, but even these excellent cosmic clocks aren't perfect. A new study suggests that pulsars occasionally exhibit a "glitch" in their timing because they are filled with a "superfluid" that can flow over any surface without friction. When massive stars grow old and die, they explode, sometimes leaving behind a neutron star — a small, incredibly dense nugget of collapsed, leftover star material.


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Nobel Prize in Physics Honors Flavor-Changing Neutrino Discoveries

Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald will share this year's Nobel Prize in physics for helping to reveal that subatomic particles called neutrinos can change from one type to another — a finding that meant these exotic particles have a teensy bit of mass. Neutrinos are the second-most abundant particles in the cosmos, constantly bombarding Earth. In their separate experiments, Kajita and McDonald each showed that neutrinos change between certain flavors — a process called neutrino oscillation.


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Astronaut Sally Ride's Personal Items, Papers Acquired by Smithsonian

In life, Sally Ride privately organized her personal items, NASA artifacts, awards and papers, which now will represent her career and legacy as America's first woman in space as part of the Smithsonian's collection. Neal, together with fellow curator Margaret Weitekamp and archivist Patti Williams, will join with Tam O'Shaughnessy, Ride's partner in life and the author of the new book "Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space," on Tuesday (Oct. 6) for a public program at the museum celebrating the acquisition of Ride's possessions by the Smithsonian.


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Trash Talk: Your Next Garbageman Could Be a Robot

Highly efficient robots on wheels could soon be hauling trash in a neighborhood near you. Together with universities in Sweden and the United States, Swedish auto manufacturer Volvo is developing these useful robots, which will be able to roll around a neighborhood, pick up waste bins and chuck the trash into the back of garbage trucks. The project is called Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, or ROAR, and while it may have some sanitation workers worried (there are typically human workers on the backs of trucks who manually empty bins), it could be a boon for garbage truck drivers, who would simply need to pull up to the curb and let the robots do the rest.


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Epic South Carolina Storm: A '1,000-Year Level of Rain'

South Carolina is still struggling after massive rainstorm that dumped up to forty percent of the average yearly rainfall in just a few days in some places. "We are at a 1,000-year level of rain," South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said at a news briefing on Sunday (Oct. 4). The inundation left nine people dead and some 40,000 people without safe drinking water in the state, NPR reported.


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Ancient Toothy Mammal Survived Dino Apocalypse

A furry, beaverlike mammal that survived the apocalyptic dinosaur-killing space rock that crashed to Earth 66 million years ago hid out in what is now New Mexico, grinding up leafy meals with its enormous molars. It belongs to a group of rodentlike mammals called multituberculates, named for the numerous cusps, or tubercles, found on their teeth. Multituberculates lived alongside dinosaurs, but managed to survive the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period.


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'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Records Hint at Improbable Journey of Controversial Papyrus

The search to uncover the true story behind the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a controversial papyrus that suggests that Jesus Christ had a wife, has extended beyond the theology halls of Harvard Divinity School, back to 1960s East Germany. The origin of the papyrus has remained elusive, and many scholars debate the document's authenticity. Now, records obtained from various sources by Live Science — many of which are publicly available online in databases in Florida and Germany, as well as on the Internet Archive— show that if the papyrus is authentic, the story behind how it came to the United States would be astounding.


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Mars' Missing Atmosphere Likely Lost in Space

The mystery of Mars' missing atmosphere is one big step closer to being solved. A previous hypothesis had suggested that a significant part of the carbon from Mars' atmosphere, which is dominated by carbon dioxide, could have been trapped within rocks via chemical processes. "The biggest carbonate deposit on Mars has, at most, twice as much carbon in it as the current Mars atmosphere," study co-author Bethany Ehlmann, of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.


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Cosmic Suds: Huntsville Brewery Creates Space-Themed Beers

In Huntsville, Alabama, home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, space and rockets are a part of the local culture — even, as it turns out, the beer culture. Dan Perry is a co-owner of the Straight to Ale brewery, based in Huntsville, where he has lived for most of his life. When naming his company's line of beverages, Perry said it just made sense to incorporate NASA and spaceflight.


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Beating parasites wins three scientists Nobel prize for medicine

By Simon Johnson and Ben Hirschler STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Three scientists from Japan, China and Ireland whose discoveries led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases including malaria and elephantiasis won the Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday. Irish-born William Campbell and Japan's Satoshi Omura won half of the prize for discovering avermectin, a derivative of which has been used to treat hundreds of millions of people with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis. China's Tu Youyou was awarded the other half of the prize for discovering artemisinin, a drug that has slashed malaria deaths and has become the mainstay of fighting the mosquito-borne disease.

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Neutrino scientists win Nobel Prize for Physics

Japan's Takaaki Kajita and Canada's Arthur B. McDonald won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery that neutrinos, labelled nature's most elusive particles, have mass, the award-giving body said on Tuesday. The scientists' research discovered a new phenomenon – neutrino oscillations - that was seen as ground-breaking for particle physics. "Yes there certainly was a Eureka moment in this experiment when we were able to see that neutrinos appeared to change from one type to the other in travelling from the Sun to the Earth," McDonald told a news conference in Stockholm by telephone.


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Neutrino scientists win Nobel Prize for Physics

Japan's Takaaki Kajita and Canada's Arthur B. McDonald won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery that neutrinos have mass, the award-giving body said on Tuesday. "The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($962,000) prize. Physics is the second of this year's Nobels.

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Neutrino scientists win Nobel Prize for Physics

Japan's Takaaki Kajita and Canada's Arthur B. McDonald won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery that neutrinos have mass, the award-giving body said on Tuesday. "The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crown (634,117 pounds) prize. Physics is the second of this year's Nobels.


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Nature thrives in Chernobyl, site of worst nuclear disaster

By Kate Kelland LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - - Some 30 years after the world's worst nuclear accident blasted radiation across Chernobyl, the site has evolved from a disaster zone into a nature reserve, teeming with elk, deer and wolves, scientists said on Monday. "When humans are removed, nature flourishes - even in the wake of the world's worst nuclear accident," said Jim Smith, a specialist in earth and environmental sciences at Britain's University of Portsmouth. "It's very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are now much higher than they were before the accident." After a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 threw clouds of radioactive particles into the air, thousands of people left the area, never to return.


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