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Showing posts from February 10, 2016

Ripple effect: scientists await word on gravitational waves

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A century ago, Albert Einstein hypothesized the existence of gravitational waves, small ripples in space and time that dash across the universe at the speed of light. On Thursday, at a news conference called by the U.S. National Science Foundation, researchers may announce at long last direct observations of the elusive waves. Such a discovery would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.


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NASA delays space station cargo run due to mold on packing bags

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA's next cargo run to the International Space Station will be delayed for at least two weeks after black mold was found in two fabric bags used for packing clothing, food and other supplies, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday. The source of the mold, a common fungal growth in humid climates like Florida's, is under investigation by NASA and Lockheed Martin, which prepares NASA cargo for launch aboard two commercial carriers, Orbital ATK and privately owned SpaceX. An Orbital Cygnus cargo ship was more than halfway packed for the launch, scheduled for March 10, when the mold was found during routine inspections and microbial sampling, NASA spokesman Daniel Huot said.

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Ripple effect: scientists await word on gravitational waves

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A century ago, Albert Einstein hypothesized the existence of gravitational waves, small ripples in space and time that dash across the universe at the speed of light. On Thursday, at a news conference called by the U.S. National Science Foundation, researchers may announce at long last direct observations of the elusive waves. Such a discovery would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.


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Researchers find new Zika clues to birth defect in fetus study

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Researchers on Wednesday reported new evidence strengthening the association between Zika virus and a spike in birth defects, citing the presence of the virus in the brain of an aborted fetus of a European woman who became pregnant while living in Brazil. An autopsy of the fetus showed microcephaly or small head size, as well as severe brain injury and high levels of the Zika virus in fetal brain tissues, exceeding levels of the virus typically found in blood samples, researchers in Slovenia from the University Medical Center in Ljubljana reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings help "strengthen the biologic association" between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, wrote in an editorial that accompanied the paper.


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World's top scientists pledge to share all findings to fight Zika

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty of the world's leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders have pledged to share for free all data and expertise on Zika to speed up the fight against an outbreak of the viral disease spreading across the Americas. Specialists welcomed the initiative, saying it showed how the global health community had learned crucial lessons from West Africa's Ebola epidemic, which killed more than 11,300 people and saw scientists scrambling to conduct research to help in the development of potential treatments and vaccines. Zika, a viral disease carried by mosquitoes, is causing international alarm as an outbreak in Brazil has now spread through much of the Americas.


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World's top scientists pledge to share all findings to fight Zika

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty of the world's leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders pledged on Wednesday to share for free all data and expertise on the Zika virus as soon as they have it. "The arguments for sharing data and the consequences of not doing so (have been) ... thrown into stark relief by the Ebola and Zika outbreaks," the agreement by an unprecedented number of signatories in the Americas, Japan, Europe and elsewhere said. "In the context of a public health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis," the signatories wrote.


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World's top scientists pledge to share all findings to fight Zika

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty of the world's leading scientific research institutions, journals and funders pledged on Wednesday to share for free all data and expertise on the Zika virus as soon as they have it. "The arguments for sharing data and the consequences of not doing so (have been) ... thrown into stark relief by the Ebola and Zika outbreaks," the agreement by an unprecedented number of signatories in the Americas, Japan, Europe and elsewhere said. "In the context of a public health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis," the signatories wrote.


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Asian scientists race to make Zika test kit, but lack of live sample a challenge

By Aditya Kalra and Rujun Shen NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists in Asia are racing to put together detection kits for the Zika virus, with China on Thursday confirming its first case, but the researchers are challenged by the lack of a crucial element - a live sample of the virus. Zika, suspected of causing brain defects in more than 4,000 newborns in Brazil after spreading through much of the Americas, is a particular worry in South and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue fever are a constant threat. India is working on diagnostic kits for the virus, as there is no testing kit commercially available in the world's second populous country, but the lack of a live virus sample is hindering its efforts.


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Asian scientists race to make Zika test kit, but lack of live sample a challenge

By Aditya Kalra and Rujun Shen NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists in Asia are racing to put together detection kits for the Zika virus, with China on Thursday confirming its first case, but the researchers are challenged by the lack of a crucial element - a live sample of the virus. Zika, suspected of causing brain defects in more than 4,000 newborns in Brazil after spreading through much of the Americas, is a particular worry in South and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue fever are a constant threat. India is working on diagnostic kits for the virus, as there is no testing kit commercially available in the world's second populous country, but the lack of a live virus sample is hindering its efforts.


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Asian scientists race to make Zika test kit, but lack of live sample a challenge

By Aditya Kalra and Rujun Shen NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists in Asia are racing to put together detection kits for the Zika virus, with China on Thursday confirming its first case, but the researchers are challenged by the lack of a crucial element - a live sample of the virus. Zika, suspected of causing brain defects in more than 4,000 newborns in Brazil after spreading through much of the Americas, is a particular worry in South and Southeast Asia, where mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue fever are a constant threat. India is working on diagnostic kits for the virus, as there is no testing kit commercially available in the world's second populous country, but the lack of a live virus sample is hindering its efforts.


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What Caused This Weird Crack to Appear in Michigan?

A strange and sudden buckling of the earth in Michigan five years ago is now being explained as a limestone bulge, researchers reported today (Feb. 9). The upheaved rock and soil was discovered after a deep boom thundered through the forest near Birch Creek on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, north of Menominee.


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Maths link to future locust dispersal

A mathematical model of locust swarms could help in the development of new strategies to control their devastating migration, according to British researchers. Mathematicians at the universities of Bath, Warwick, and Manchester analyzed the movements of different group sizes of locusts that had been filmed by colleagues at the University of Adelaide. By studying the interactions between individual locusts they were able to create a mathematical model mimicking the pest's collective behavior.

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Indian scientists express doubt over meteorite death attribution

By Andrew MacAskill NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian scientists have expressed doubt that a man in the southern state of Tamil Nadu was the first person to have been confirmed killed by a meteorite strike, as the state's top official has declared. "It cannot be a meteorite," he said.

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