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Showing posts from November 19, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Was a Science Champion, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Says

Abraham Lincoln is best known for abolishing slavery and keeping the United States together through the Civil War, but he also helped the country become the scientific and engineering powerhouse we know today. For example, Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862, creating a system of land-grant colleges and universities that revolutionized higher education in the United States, notes famed astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson. "Known also as the people's colleges, they were conceived with the idea that they would provide practical knowledge and science in a developing democratic republic," Tyson, the director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium in New York City, writes in an editorial that appeared online today (Nov. 19) in the journal Science.


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Stellar Graveyard Reveals Clues About Milky Way's Ancient Birth

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has peered far back in time, detecting clues about how the Milky Way galaxy came together, shortly after the universe's birth. Astronomers trained Hubble on the Milky Way's dense central bulge and spotted a population of superdense stellar corpses called white dwarfs that are remnants of stars that formed about 12 billion years ago. "It is important to observe the Milky Way's bulge, because it is the only bulge we can study in detail," study lead author Annalisa Calamida, of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a statement.


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FDA approves first genetically modified salmon for consumption

(Reuters) - AquaBounty Technologies' salmon became the first genetically engineered animal to receive U.S. approval for human consumption, setting the stage for more such approvals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday the company's genetically engineered Atlantic salmon was as nutritious as the farm-raised ones and was safe for consumption.


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You Share 70% of Your Genes with This Slimy Marine Worm

Over 500 million years ago, humans and certain worms shared a common ancestor, and people still share thousands of genes with the worms, said scientists who recently sequenced genomes from two marine worm species. The results suggest humans and acorn worms, so called because of their acorn-shaped "heads," are distant cousins, said the researchers, led by Oleg Simakov of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University in Okinawa, Japan. The researchers analyzed genes from two acorn worm species: Ptychodera flava, collected off Hawaii, and Saccoglossus kowalevskii, from the Atlantic Ocean.


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'X-Ray Vision' Tech Uses Radio Waves to 'See' Through Walls

"X-ray vision" that can track people's movements through walls using radio signals could be the future of smart homes, gaming and health care, researchers say. A new system built by computer scientists at MIT can beam out radio waves that bounce off the human body. Receivers then pick up the reflections, which are processed by computer algorithms to map people’s movements in real time, they added.


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Not So Precious: Eyeless 'Smeagol' Arachnid Discovered in Underground Lair

In a deep, dank cave in Brazil, a pale, blind creature lurks, never venturing out to feel the sun. Researchers recently found the creature in its underground lair, a limestone cave in southeastern Brazil, and described it for the first time today (Nov. 18) in the journal ZooKeys. You may know harvestmen as "daddy longlegs," those spiderlike critters that crawl all over the yard during the summer months.


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'RoboBees' with Laser Eyes Could Locate Disaster Victims

Mechanical eyes that shoot laser beams could one day help robot bees fly without crashing into obstacles, researchers say. These laser eyes could also one day help people control smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearable technology and other mobile devices using only gestures, the researchers added. Previous research found that robot bees are capable of flying while tethered and moving while submerged in water.


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How to Flirt in Panda: Bears' Squeaks Decoded

Maybe that sounds like nonsense to the average person, but to panda bears, those sounds may translate roughly to "let's get busy," "stop bothering me" or "more, please" respectively, according to a new study of panda bear sounds.


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Earth-Like Exoplanet May Be Too Radiation-Blasted to Host Life

?"Large coronal mass ejections have the potential to strip away any atmosphere that a close-in planet like Kepler-438b might have, rendering it uninhabitable," study co-author Chloe Pugh, of the University of Warwick in England, said in a statement. "With little atmosphere, the planet would also be subject to harsh UV [ultraviolet] and X-ray radiation from the superflares, along with charged particle radiation, all of which are damaging to life," Pugh added. Kepler-438b, which lies about 470 light-years from Earth, may be able to retain an atmosphere if it possesses a global magnetic field like Earth does, the researchers said.


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Lunar Lovers, Why Now Is the Best Time to Moon Watch

One of the first things every new moon watcher learns is that, when observing the moon, timing is everything.


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Aston Martin debuts Castrol's 90 second oil change tech

By Matthew Stock Motor-oil firm Castrol, part of the BP Group, has launched a removable container that packages the oil and filter into one unit, making changing a car's oil a far simpler task. The Nexcel oil cell is to be fitted as standard in the new Aston Martin Vulcan track-only supercar, while the technology is expected to be in regular cars within five years. The developers say the bucket-shaped unit makes an oil change much easier and cleaner.

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Hobbits Were a Separate Species, Ancient Chompers Show

An ancient, 3-foot-tall (0.9 meters) human whose diminutive stature has earned it the nickname "hobbit" has puzzled evolutionary scientists since its little bones were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores. Some have suggested the individual was a Homo sapien with some miniaturizing disorder. Now, teeth from the hobbit suggest it belonged to a unique species rather than a modern human with a growth disorder.


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French Flags on Facebook: Does Social Media Support Really Matter?

In the aftermath of the coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris last Friday (Nov. 13), support popped up in the new public arena: Facebook. The social network rolled out a tool allowing users to easily put a French flag overlay on members' profile pictures to express sympathy with the victims. "Got a French flag on your Facebook profile picture?

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