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Showing posts from October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia: How Big Can Tropical Cyclones Get?

Hurricane Patricia is currently churning in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and weather forecasters are calling it the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. Hurricane Patricia is a Category 5 storm — the highest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale that is used to gauge a storm's intensity — and is expected to have winds of nearly 200 miles per hour (325 km/h) with even higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). According to the NHC, Category 5 hurricanes produce "catastrophic damage" that will destroy roofs and walls in framed homes.


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NASA's SLS Rocket Sheds Saturn V Color Scheme in Design Review

NASA's next-generation rocket has a new look. The space agency has revealed a reworked color scheme for the Space Launch System heavy-lift booster, removing the paint from one major component, while adding "racing stripes" to another. The new appearance was rolled out on Thursday (Oct. 22) with the announcement that a critical design review (CDR) had been completed.


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New Horizons Pluto Probe Heads Toward 2nd Flyby Target

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has begun chasing down another distant, icy object. New Horizons, which in July performed the first-ever flyby of Pluto, fired up its engines yesterday (Oct. 22) in the first of four maneuvers designed to send the probe zooming past a small object called 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019. The 16-minute engine burn changed New Horizons' trajectory by about 22.4 mph (36 km/h), mission officials said.


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Aquarius Dawns: 'Water Boy' Constellation Appears This Week

Aquarius, an easily overlooked star pattern with a storied history, will appear to the south during the evening this week. For almost 30 years, I've served as a guest lecturer and instructor at New York's Hayden Planetarium, and if there is one thing that I think has set me apart from my colleagues, it is the eclectic way that I give a constellation talk.


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Photo of Iceberg that Sank Titanic for Sale: Is It Real?

A photo of what could be the notorious iceberg that sunk the Titanic is up for auction this weekend, but experts are unsure whether the historic snapshot actually shows the destructive iceberg, or simply one that was floating in the vicinity at the time of the accident. The liner's chief steward took a photo of an iceberg with three crownlike points and an odd red streak on it, possibly from the Titanic's hull, he wrote in a note accompanying the photograph. "On the day after the sinking of the Titanic, the steamer Prinz Adalbert passes the iceberg shown in this photograph," the chief steward wrote in a message to commemorate the event.


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Howl of a good time: Deep monkey roars come with intimate secret

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The howler monkeys whose guttural calls reverberate through Central and South American rainforests possess a secret that the males of the species may prefer to be left unrevealed. Howler monkeys make among the loudest, deepest sounds of any land animal, and males use their roars to attract the ladies for mating and intimidate other males. Among nine howler monkey species studied, those with the biggest hyoid produced the deepest and lowest-frequency calls, but also had the littlest testes for sperm production.


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Ingredients for Life Were Always Present on Earth, Comet Suggests

Astronomers detected 21 different complex organic molecules streaming from Comet Lovejoy during its highly anticipated close approach to the sun this past January. "This suggests that our proto-planetary nebula was already enriched in complex organic molecules (as disk models suggested) when comets and planets formed," study lead author Nicolas Biver, of the Paris Observatory, told Space.com via email. Biver and his colleagues studied Comet Lovejoy with the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique's 100-foot-wide (30 meters) radio telescope in Spain during two separate three-day stretches in January 2015.


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Astronaut's Watch Worn on the Moon Sells for Record $1.6 Million

The Bulova timepiece, which Apollo 15 commander David Scott wore during NASA's fourth successful lunar landing mission in 1971, was sold by RR Auction of Boston for an astronomical $1,625,000 to a businessman from Florida who wished to remain anonymous. In the 1960s, NASA issued Omega Speedmaster watches to the Apollo astronauts to wear on their missions. At the end of the program in 1973, the space agency transferred the chronographs to the Smithsonian, where most of them are still held today.


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Neil deGrasse Tyson's 'StarTalk' Returns to TV Sunday with Guest Bill Clinton

The second season of "StarTalk," the science-themed TV talk show hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, premiers this Sunday (Oct. 25) on the National Geographic Channel.


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Cadaver Experiment Suggests Human Hands Evolved for Fighting

Just in time for Halloween, gore-resistant scientists are swinging frozen human cadaver arms like battering rams — in the name of science, of course. The researchers say their macabre experiments support the hotly debated idea that human hands evolved not only for manual dexterity, but also for fistfights. David Carrier, a comparative biomechanist at the University of Utah, and his colleagues have controversially suggested that fist fighting might have helped to drive the evolution of not only the human hand, but also the human face and the human propensity to walk upright.


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Not Rocket Science! NASA's 3D Camera Could Improve Brain Surgery

Scientists are one step closer to changing the way doctors do brain surgery, thanks to a tiny 3D camera in development at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The new JPL camera could take 3D images from inside the brain, allowing surgeons to see brain tissue in intricate detail and leading to faster, safer surgeries, NASA officials said. The new device, known as MARVEL (short for Multi-Angle Rear Viewing Endoscopic Tool) is attached to an endoscope, a snaking instrument used to examine the inside of the human body.


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2 Comets Collided to Form Rosetta's 'Rubber Ducky' Target

The strange shape of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has been studying for more than a year, arose from the long-ago collision of two separate, slow-moving comets, researchers say. "How the comet got its curious shape has been a major question since we first saw it," Holger Sierks, of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, said in a statement. "Now, thanks to this detailed study, we can say with certainty that it is a 'contact binary,'" added Sierks, who serves as the principal investigator of Rosetta's Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS), the main camera system for the mission.


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'Black Death' germ has afflicted humankind longer than suspected

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The plague germ that caused the "Black Death" in the 14th century and other ferocious pandemics has stalked humankind far longer than previously known. A study unveiled on Thursday of DNA from Bronze Age people in Europe and Asia showed the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, afflicted humans as long ago as about 2800 BC, more than 3,000 years earlier than the oldest previous evidence of plague. Seven had evidence of Yersinia pestis infection.


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Scientist eats, drinks and paints simultaneously

By Matthew Stock Scientists from Imperial College London have developed computer software that enables a person to control a robotic arm to paint a picture using just the movement of their eyes. The researchers say the technology demonstrates a potential use for robots to help people extend their range of abilities and do more than one task at a time. At the college's Brain and Behavior Lab, engineers have taken a robotic arm and devised a system for it to be used as an extension of the human body.

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Many Ads in Parenting Magazines Show Unsafe Practices for Kids

The heartwarming images of children — smiling, laughing out loud and snuggling — that fill the pages of parenting magazines actually hold a less-than-obvious problem: Many of these ads show kids doing things that are not safe. In fact, about one in six advertisements in two of the top-selling parenting magazines in the United States contains images or promotes products that could be considered unsafe for a child's health, a new study reveals.

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