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Showing posts from October 19, 2015

Obama, budding astronomers look at moon, dream of Mars at White House

Obama was joined by budding young scientists who checked out a moon rock and took selfies with NASA astronauts and other science celebrities. Chief among the selfie targets: Ahmed Mohamed, better known as "clock boy." Mohamed, 14, was arrested last month when he brought a homemade clock to his Dallas-area school that teachers mistook for a bomb. Mohamed was wearing a NASA t-shirt when he was arrested.


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'Herbal Viagra’ and Lamar Odom: What's in These Supplements?

Former NBA championship winner and reality TV star Lamar Odom awoke from a coma on Friday (Oct. 16) after he was found unconscious earlier in the week at the Love Ranch brothel in Nevada. Odom took a diet supplement touted as "herbal Viagra" before falling unconscious, and while it isn't clear exactly what happened to the 35-year-old athlete, federal agencies and researchers have warned that such supplements may contain hidden drug ingredients, and cause severe side effects. Authorities reported that Odom had also used several drugs, including cocaine and opiates, before losing consciousness.

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Ancient crystal suggests life on Earth appeared 4.1 billion years ago

(Reuters) - An ancient zircon crystal unearthed in Western Australia may hold evidence that life appeared on the planet 4.1 billion years ago, or about 300 million years earlier than previously thought, according to a team of U.S. researchers. Scientists from Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles said they recently collected some 10,000 multibillion year-old zircons in Jack Hills, Australia, including one believed to contain a carbon deposit that is 4.1 billion years old, give or take 10 million years.

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Solar powered car racers set off in Australian challenge

BARROW CREEK, Australia - More than 40 racing teams from two dozen countries left Darwin on Sunday to race across Australia to the southern city of Adelaide in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The 3,000 kilometer (1,864 mile) trek is one of the most prestigious solar car races. The biannual event first began in 1987 and is based on the original notion that a 1000 watt car would complete the trip from Darwin to Adelaide in 50 hours.

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Signal-Scrambling Tech 'Freezes' Drones in Midair

A new device that can detect, target and deter commercial drones could be used to keep the flying robots away from areas where they're not wanted, like government properties, airports or your own backyard. The new Anti-UAV Defense System (AUDS) was developed by three tech companies in the United Kingdom. It has a radar detection component, advanced tracking capabilities and a sneaky little onboard device that keeps drones at bay.


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Apple-1 Computer & Rare Enigma Machine Up for Auction

Forget scanning electron microscopes, high-speed centrifuges and computer-controlled telescopes — some of the coolest science tools ever made are totally analog, incredibly old and available for purchase as part of a new online auction. Hosted by Christie's auction house in London, the Seven Centuries of Science sale features some of the coolest scientific instruments from the 14th century onward. The oldest artifact to hit the auction block is a horary quadrant — an instrument used to measure the time of day by calculating the altitude of the sun.


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Going Once! WWII-Era 'Grizzly' Tank Sells for $155,000

The tank, officially called a Medium Tank, M4, is more often known as the M4 Sherman (named after  William Tecumseh Sherman, an American Civil War general). Sherman tanks were the most commonly used tank by United States troops, as well as certain other Allied troops, during WWII. Known in Canada as Grizzly I cruisers, only 188 of these slightly modified M4 tanks were produced in Canada between 1943 and 1944.


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Astronauts Relive Their 'Secret Space Escapes' at NY Comic Con

NEW YORK —When New York Comic Con organizers got wind of what exactly the new Science Channel show "Secret Space Escapes" had in mind for its panel, they decided they'd better get a bigger room. The series, which premiers Nov. 10, features stories from more than 20 astronauts that tell of being trapped, cornered, stranded and even surrounded by fire during space missions and landings, and how they put their exhaustive training to "escape" from life-threatening situations. But Science Channel didn't just tell the audience about those amazing, occasionally terrified, spacefarers during its Comic Con panel Oct. 10.


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Syfy's 'The Expanse' Explores a Complicated Future on Far-Flung Worlds

NEW YORK —  The future is morally complicated, visually spectacular and set on far-flung worlds — complete with equally far-flung plotlines and awesome special effects — in Syfy's new show "The Expanse," which premieres Dec. 14. At New York Comic Con on Oct. 8, we got a glimpse of how the show's cast and writers pulled together the show's intricate set of worlds. Introducing the Comic Con panel, the moderator asked the creators whether "The Expanse" would have a sort of "Game of Thrones"-in-space vibe to it because of the many plotlines and political elements — they gleefully said they welcomed that particular comparison.


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For Pregnant Women, Absolutely No Drinking, Docs Say

There is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy, advises a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. And all forms of alcohol — including beer, wine and liquor — pose a similar risk to the developing fetus, according to the report from the nation's largest group of pediatricians. Women who binge drink when they are not pregnant may be more likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy, the researchers noted in their report published online today (Oct. 19) in the journal Pediatrics.

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Gay Conversion Therapy Harms Minors, Government Says

A supposed treatment, called gay conversion therapy, that aims to change the same-sex attractions of gay people should not be offered to minors as it can cause serious psychological harm, according to a newly released federal agency report. Advocates of such conversion therapy hold that people can change their sexual orientation. But the new report, which was released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, concludes that the technique is based on the faulty premise that there is something wrong with being gay or lesbian.


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Everything's Bigger in Texas: Ancient Supersize Shark Fossils Unearthed

A mega shark that lived 300 million years ago would have made today's great whites look like shrimps, according to fossils of the beast unearthed in Jacksboro, Texas. Scientists have dubbed the newfound fossils the "Texas supershark," and the name is fitting: These supersharks were enormous: more than 26 feet (8 meters) long, or more than half the length of a school bus.


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Prawn sex-change boosts male yields, say scientists

By Ori Lewis and Elana Ringler An Israeli-developed method to enhance prawn yields without resorting to genetic modification has started to take hold in Asia, the researcher who has developed the technology said. Male prawns can grow up to 60 percent larger than females and a breakthrough by a team of researchers at Ben Gurion University in creating all-male prawn populations is significantly increasing income for farmers. "This technology is using a cutting-edge scientific approach called temporal gene silencing through RNA interference and the idea is that if we use this technology we can produce an all male population that is for the benefit of the end user, the grower," Professor Amir Sagi, who heads the research group, told Reuters.

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Canada's frozen north feels financial burn of global warming

By Chris Arsenault YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, Canada (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change is taking a heavy economic toll on Canada's far north, with buildings collapsing as melting permafrost destroys foundations, rivers running low and wildfires all a drain on the region's limited finances, senior government officials said. A sprawling area spanning the Arctic Circle with a population of less than 50,000, Canada's Northwest Territories has spent more than $140 million in the last two years responding to problems linked to global warming, the territory's finance minister said. "Our budgets are getting squeezed dramatically from climate change," Finance and Environment Minister J. Michael Miltenberger told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


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