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Showing posts from January 25, 2016

Scientists to announce "Doomsday Clock" time

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — Scientists behind a "Doomsday Clock" that measures the likelihood of a global cataclysm are set to announce Tuesday whether civilization is any closer or farther from disaster.


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Oslo trash incinerator starts experiment to slow climate change

By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Oslo's main waste incinerator began the world's first experiment to capture carbon dioxide from the fumes of burning rubbish on Monday, hoping to develop technology to enlist the world's trash in slowing global warming. The test at the Klemetsrud incinerator, which burns household and industrial waste, is a step beyond most efforts to capture and bury greenhouse gases at coal-fired power plants or factories using fossil fuels. "I hope Oslo can show other cities that it's possible" to capture emissions from trash, Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen said at an opening ceremony at the Klemetsrud waste-to-energy incinerator which generates heat to warm buildings in the city.


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Sex life of sleeping sickness parasite may lead to its downfall

By Alex Whiting LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An unusual sex life may spell the extinction of the deadly African sleeping sickness parasite, which threatens millions of people in West and Central Africa, an international team of scientists said on Tuesday. The parasite, called T.b. "We've discovered that the parasite causing African sleeping sickness has existed for thousands of years without having sex and is now suffering the consequences of this strategy," said Willie Weir, bioinformatician at the University of Glasgow.

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Spider Shows Off His Big Paddle to Woo Mates

Males of the human variety may spend hours at the gym bulking up to attract the ladies, but that's nothing compared to the efforts of a new spider species from Australia. This little brown spider sports a massive, paddlelike appendage on its legs that it flashes at females to woo mates, new research has revealed. The paddle seems to be a way of separating the fertile females from those that have no interest in mating, said Jürgen Otto, the biologist who discovered the oddball spider.


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Migrating Storks Can't Resist a Garbage Dump Feast

Garbage dumps may be such attractive pit stops for some storks that they shorten their migration routes to pay a visit, a new study suggests. A few years ago, Andrea Flack, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, was tracking the path of white storks from Germany, trying to get close enough to the birds to download flight data from the GPS trackers attached to their backs. Flack eventually found herself standing in an open garbage dump in Morocco, staring at her research subjects.

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US Military Wants Smaller and More Stable Atomic Clocks

The U.S. military wants you … to design a better atomic clock. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the branch of the U.S. Department of Defense tasked with developing new technologies for the military, recently announced a new program called Atomic Clocks with Enhanced Stability (ACES). Atomic clocks are used to keep track of time in places where a tiny fraction of a second makes a huge difference.

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Sexy Signal? Frill and Horns May Have Helped Dinosaur Communicate

The fancy frill and cheek horns that adorned the head of a triceratops relative may have helped the dinosaur communicate, possibly acting as a social or sexy signal, a new study suggests.


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2/3 of Young Adults Would Make the Wrong Decision About Stroke Symptoms

Most adults younger than 45 would make the wrong choice if they were experiencing the symptoms of a stroke: They'd wait to go to the hospital. A new study finds that only about 33 percent of people younger than 35 said they would be "very likely" to go to the hospital if they experienced numbness, weakness or difficulty speaking, all of which can be symptoms of stroke. The findings are alarming for physicians, because the first 3 hours after a stroke are known as the "golden window." In other words, getting treatment during this time frame can be the difference between recovery and permanent brain damage.

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Apple's 'Night Shift' Mode: How Smartphones Disrupt Sleep

Apple's forthcoming iOS update promises to incorporate a feature called Night Shift that could help people sleep better. There is a growing body of research showing that exposure to bright blue light can disrupt people's sleep patterns, and this is exactly the kind of light produced by modern LCD displays such as those on smartphones and tablets. But Apple is hoping to help users preserve their beauty sleep.


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Record hot years almost certainly caused by man-made warming

By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - A record-breaking string of hot years since 2000 is almost certainly a sign of man-made global warming, with vanishingly small chances that it was caused by random, natural swings, a study showed on Monday. Last year was the hottest since records began in the 19th century in a trend that almost all scientists blame on greenhouse gases from burning of fossil fuels, stoking heat waves, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels. "Recent observed runs of record temperatures are extremely unlikely to have occurred in the absence of human-caused global warming," a U.S.-led team of experts wrote in the journal Scientific Reports.


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Metal 'Snow' May Power Earth's Magnetic Field

The power source for Earth's magnetic field may be magnesium that has been trapped in the core since our planet's violent birth, a new model suggests. Magnesium is the fourth most common element in the Earth's outer layers, but previously, scientists thought there was almost no magnesium in the core. Iron and magnesium don't easily mix, and researchers thought that the Earth's core was mostly iron.

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Booze Buzz: Insect Guts Serve as Love Nests for Brewer's Yeast

The yeast behind wine, beer and bread has sex in wasp intestines, researchers say. Bread, wine and beer depend on a single species of of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae — bread gets its spongy texture from bubbles of carbon dioxide released by this yeast, while wine and beer depend on this yeast for their intoxicating qualities. Despite the importance of S. cerevisiae, much remains unknown about how it behaves in the wild, such as how and where it breeds.


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Ligers and Tigons, Oh My! Cat Lineage Littered with Interbreeding

Different species of cats mated with each other at several points in history, a new genetic study of felines reveals. The new cat family tree could also help explain many of the mysteries of cat evolution that have emerged in recent years, scientists added. When creating family trees of species, researchers can discover how closely related two species are by looking at the level of similarity between their DNA.

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