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Showing posts from November 18, 2015

Alarming new "superbug" gene found in animals and people in China

By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - A new gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics has been found in people and pigs in China - including in samples of bacteria with epidemic potential, researchers said on Wednesday. "All use of polymyxins must be minimized as soon as possible and all unnecessary use stopped," said Laura Piddock, a professor of microbiology at Britain's Birmingham University who was asked to comment on the finding. Researchers led by Hua Liu from the South China Agricultural University who published their work in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal found the gene, called mcr-1, on plasmids - mobile DNA that can be easily copied and transferred between different bacteria.

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Astronomers see planet still growing in its stellar womb

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Astronomers have taken the first images of a planet still in formation, a discovery expected to shed light on how giant planets manage to beef up early in their lives, research published on Wednesday showed. Astronomers used a telescope in Arizona to peer at a young star located about 450 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. Astronomers previously suspected that a giant planet was orbiting in the gap.

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Curiosity Rover Headed to Dark Sand Dunes on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover will soon get history's first up-close look at Martian sand dunes. Curiosity is headed toward the dark Bagnold Dunes, which lie in the northwestern foothills of the towering Mount Sharp, and should begin investigating the sandy feature in the next few days, NASA officials said. Curiosity will study one dune that's as wide as a football field and as tall as a two-story building, NASA officials said.


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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Will Likely Be a Real (Star)Killer!

To paraphrase a beloved Jedi, that's no moon — but it's one step closer: the upcoming "Star Wars" movie promises a weaponized enemy base carved from an ice planet.


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Deke Slayton to Fly, Again: Orbital ATK Names 2nd Ship for Astronaut

Deke Slayton waited 16 years to fly in space after he was selected as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959. Grounded for more than a decade as the result of a heart condition, when Slayton finally did fly, he was the "world's oldest space rookie," a distinction the then-President of the United States, Gerald Ford, highlighted when he asked the 51-year-old pilot if he had any recommendations for those who would like to follow in his footsteps. Forty years later, Slayton's advice, and name, are living on in a commercial spaceflight company's continuing efforts to supply the International Space Station.


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Formation of Alien Worlds Photographed for 1st Time

For the first time ever, astronomers have directly observed planets in the process of being born.


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Data science is key piece in Monsanto long-term growth plan: CEO

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Monsanto Co's long-term growth plans, which include new crop-boosting technologies and expansion into new markets, relies heavily on data science, the "glue that holds the pieces together," Chief Executive Hugh Grant said on Wednesday.


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1,700-Year-Old Mosaic Once Decorated Luxurious Villa Courtyard

A hungry lion taking down its prey and colorful fish leaping from the sea — these two nature-inspired scenes make up part of a large tile mosaic that was recently uncovered in Israel. The mosaic served as a courtyard floor in a wealthy household some 1,700 years ago, archaeologists say. The ancient artwork was unearthed last year by archaeologists from the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) who were preparing the site of a new visitors center in the municipality of Lod, a city located about 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) southeast of Tel Aviv.


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Baby's New Leukemia Treatment Could Help Others with Cancer

A gene-editing technology that made headlines recently for successfully treating a baby with leukemia may one day be used to treat other types of cancers, experts say. Layla Richard was just 14 weeks old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where she was treated. Then, they edited the cells' genes, which gave the cells the ability to attack the cancer, and injected the cells into Layla.

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Weird Mucus Parasites Are Actually Jellyfish

Microscopic parasites only a few cells large are essentially greatly degenerated jellyfish, a finding that could expand the definition of the animal kingdom, researchers say. "When people think of an animal, they think of a macroscopic, multicellular, complex organism, and now they'll have to expand their definition of an animal to include very simple microscopic organisms," study co-author Paulyn Cartwright, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Kansas,told Live Science. Investigators analyzed myxozoans, a very diverse group of more than 2,100 microscopic parasites whose name means "mucus animals" in Greek, which refers to how scientists thought they were once associated with slime molds.


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Armadillos Carrying Leprosy Bacteria Spreading in Southern US

The armadillos in the southern United States carrying the bacteria that can cause leprosy are now found over a much larger geographic range than just a few years ago, a new study suggests. The nine-banded armadillos that can transmit the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae to humans were once thought to be primarily confined to parts of Louisiana and Texas. Leprosy — which is usually called by its modern name, Hansen's disease — is curable with antibiotics, and has a low risk of being spread among people.

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Emoji Snags 'Word of the Year' (Here’s Why That Makes Sense)

It's official: Oxford Dictionaries word of the year isn't a word at all, it's "face-with-tears-of-joy," the most globally used emoji in 2015. The smiley face with oversized tears made up a whopping 20 percent of all emojis used in the United Kingdom and 17 percent of those used in the United States, according to the Oxford Dictionaries blog. "Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens — instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers," according to the Oxford Dictionaries blog post, which explained the rationale for the "word" choice.


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Where Will the 1st Astronauts on Mars Land?

The ideal Red Planet crewed site should be of high scientific value — allowing pioneers to search for signs of Mars life and investigate other intriguing questions — and also possess enough resources to help sustain expeditionary crews, scientists and engineers said. They came to these and other conclusions at the First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars, which was held here Oct. 27 though Oct. 30 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.


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'Stretch Marks' on Phobos Show Martian Moon Is Falling Apart

Long, thin "stretch marks" on the surface of Phobos are early signs that the Martian moon is falling apart, new research suggests. Phobos is a tiny moon that is closer to Mars than any other moon in the solar system is to its planet. "We think that Phobos has already started to fail, and the first sign of this failure is the production of these grooves," Terry Hurford, a research assistant at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who led the study, said in a statement.


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Venture firm Andreessen Horowitz launches $200 million Bio Fund

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Venture firm Andreessen Horowitz put itself on the map with software investing. Now, it plans to take its software-heavy approach to biology and medicine, with a new $200 million fund for the hybrid sector and a former Stanford professor to run it. Vijay Pande, who previously taught chemistry, structural biology and computer science at Stanford University, is taking the helm of the new Bio Fund.

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