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Showing posts from October 9, 2015

Apollo Photos Redux: The Story Behind the NASA Moon Pics Posted to Flickr

The addition of tens of thousands of the Apollo astronauts' moon photos to an online repository drew worldwide media interest this week, but lost in many of the headlines were the facts behind the four-decade-old photographs. Numerous news articles declared the photos were "never before seen" and attributed the upload to NASA, neither of which were true. "Contrary to some recent media reports, this Flickr gallery is not a NASA undertaking, but an independent one," said Kipp Teague, the founder of the Project Apollo Archive, in an introduction he wrote for the newly-added gallery.


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It's a Great Time to Spot the Elusive Planet Mercury: Here's How

Over next three weeks, we're going to be treated to a show being staged in the eastern twilight skies by three bright planets: Jupiter, Mars and Venus. Presently, Jupiter, Mars and Venus can be seen in the predawn sky stretched out in a diagonal line in that order, going from lower left to upper right. In fact, in the coming days Jupiter seems intent on having separate meetings with two his companions.


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Computer science now top major for women at Stanford University

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Computer science has for the first time become the most popular major for female students at Stanford University, a hopeful sign for those trying to build up the thin ranks of women in the technology field. Based on preliminary declarations by upper-class students, about 214 women are majoring in computer science, accounting for about 30 percent of majors in that department, the California-based university told Reuters on Friday. If more women majored in technological fields like computer science, advocates say, that could help alleviate the dearth of women in engineering and related professions, where many practitioners draw on computer science backgrounds.


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Scientists predict drier Horn of Africa as climate warms

By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Horn of Africa is becoming drier in step with global warming, researchers said on Friday, contradicting some climate models predicting rainier weather patterns in a region that has suffered frequent food crises linked to drought. A new study using a sediment core extracted from the Gulf of Aden found the East African region covering Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia has dried at an unusually fast rate over the past century. Lead author Jessica Tierney, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the research team was confident the drying was linked to rising emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, and was expected to continue as the region heats up further.

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The Origins of Religion: How Supernatural Beliefs Evolved

The vast majority of the U.S. population does not belong to the Catholic Church, and a growing percentage of Americans are not affiliated with any organized religion at all, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centers. This understanding of how the world worked facilitated the rapid decision-making process that humans had to go through when they heard a rustling in the grass.

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Boom in gene-editing studies amid ethics debate over its use

WASHINGTON (AP) — The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle cell, preventing babies from inheriting a life-threatening disorder.

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Putting Astronauts on Mars: NASA Lays Out Three-Phase Plan

NASA aims to put boots on Mars in the 2030s after first gathering human-spaceflight experience and expertise in low Earth orbit and the "proving ground" of cis-lunar space near the moon. NASA has been working on this three-stage path to the Red Planet for some time, and the space agency lays out the basic plan in a 36-page report called "Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration," which was released Thursday (Oct. 8). "This strategy charts a course toward horizon goals while delivering near-term benefits and defining a resilient architecture that can accommodate budgetary changes, political priorities, new scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs and evolving partnerships," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.


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Nestle spends $70 million on U.S. health science hub

Nestle's health science division is investing $70 million in a product technology center that will become the unit's new U.S. headquarters and research hub, the division said on Friday. The Bridgewater, New Jersey center will further Nestle's healthcare push as the Swiss company delves deeper into nutritional therapy and the high-margin medicines arena. Opening in 2016, the hub will relocate the unit's current research and development activities from Minneapolis and its current headquarters from nearby Florham Park.


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Secrets, Sci-Fi & Uncertainty: Jeff Bezos and the Future of Private Spaceflight

In September, billionaire Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos announced that Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company he founded, would build a facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, kicking off a new phase for the company as it pursues the construction of an orbital space vehicle.

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Private Dream Chaser Space Plane Poised for New Flight Tests in 2016

A space plane that would continue the legacy of NASA's shuttle program is getting ready for a second stage of flight testing, according to representatives from the Sierra Nevada Corp. At a gathering of the top leaders and innovators in the commercial spaceflight industry here yesterday (Oct. 7), Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of Sierra Nevada's space systems division, discussed the status of the two "Dream Chaser" space planes, which could one day fly astronauts or cargo to the International Space Station or other destinations. The vehicle will begin its second stage of testing at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in early 2016.


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Myth Busted: Conspiracy Theorists Do Believe Stuff 'Just Happens'

The sheriff of Douglas County in Oregon where a mass shooting occurred on Oct. 2 is in hot water after the discovery that he posted a "Sandy Hook truther" video to Facebook in 2013. Contrary to popular opinion, the research finds, people who think conspiratorially aren't more likely to assume everything happens for a reason, rejecting the likelihood of random chance, than people who don't hold conspiracy beliefs. "What we show is that the psychology of conspiracy theories is located in a rather high level of cognition, perhaps at the level of beliefs and ideology and not at the level of a deeper personality or perception mode," said study researcher Sebastian Dieguez, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.


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No-Brainer: Bike Helmets Protect Noggins and Face Bones

Wearing a bicycle helmet may seem like a no-brainer, but preteens and teens tend not to wear them, even though helmets dramatically decrease the odds of a traumatic brain injury, a new study finds. Bike riders who wear helmets are 58 percent less likely to get a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) after an accident compared with riders who aren't wearing helmets, according to the findings presented today (Oct. 8) at the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago. Researchers at the University of Arizona Medical Center looked at the records in a national injury database of 6,267 people who had an intracranial hemorrhage (a brain bleed)following bicycle-related accidents in 2012.

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9 Million US Kids at Risk for Measles

About 9 million U.S. children are susceptible to measles, either because they haven't received the vaccine against the viral disease or because they aren't up to date with their shots, a new study shows. The findings suggest that although enough people are vaccinated to prevent measles from spreading widely in the United States, there could still be large outbreaks of the disease, due to clusters of unvaccinated children, the researchers said. "We can't get complacent" about vaccinating kids against the measles, said study researcher Robert Bednarczyk, an assistant professor of global health at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Black Burger, Green Poop: Halloween Meal's Odd Effects Explained

Burger King recently introduced its Halloween Whopper — the restaurant's signature hamburger is sporting a black bun during October. "Sometimes stool color is very important, and sometimes we can get worried inappropriately about the color of stool," Dr. Ian Lustbader, a clinical associate professor of medicine and a gastroenterologist at New York University's Langone Medical Center, told Live Science. Most likely, it's the food coloring in the bun, Lustbader said.

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Ancient Ethiopian man's genome illuminates ancestry of Africans

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA extracted from the skull of a man buried 4,500 years ago in an Ethiopian cave is providing new clarity on the ancestry of modern Africans as well as shedding light on an influx of people from the ancient Middle East into the Horn of Africa. Until now, genome sequencing efforts on ancient people have focused on remains from cooler, drier climes that tend to better preserve DNA. The cave, sitting 6,440 feet (1,963 meters) above sea level in southwestern Ethiopia's Gamo highlands, was discovered in 2011, University of Cambridge geneticist Andrea Manica said.

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