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Showing posts from March 3, 2016

U.S. loses control of weather satellite, assigns backup: Air Force

U.S. officials have lost control over one of a series of satellites used to provide weather data to military aircraft, but the use of a backup satellite means there will be no change to service, the Air Force said on Thursday. Control was lost on Feb. 11, and officials are unsure whether it can be regained, the Air Force said in a statement. The military weather satellite program is jointly run in Suitland, Maryland, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Air Force.


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Aurora Flight Sciences wins $89 million contract for X-plane

Aurora Flight Sciences has been awarded a contract for more than $89 million for the vertical take off and landing X-plane, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The contract is for the second and third phase of the X-plane research portfolio, the Department of Defense said in its daily digest of major contract awards. Aurora Flight beat out Sikorsky, now with Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Karem Aircraft.

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Hubble telescope's latest find pushes back clock on galaxy formation

Located a record 13.4 billion light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, the galaxy, named GN-z11, was first spotted two years ago in a Hubble Space Telescope deep-sky visible light survey. At the time, astronomers knew they were seeing something very far away, possibly as distant as 13.2 billion light-years from Earth. Being able to use Hubble to peg the galaxy's distance was a surprise, said astronomers who will publish their research in next week's issue of The Astrophysical Journal.


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Aurora Flight Sciences wins $89 million contract for X-plane

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aurora Flight Sciences has been awarded a contract for more than $89 million for the vertical take off and landing X-plane, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The contract is for the second and third phase of the X-plane research portfolio, the Department of Defense said in its daily digest of major contract awards. Aurora Flight beat out Sikorsky, now with Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Karem Aircraft. The work is expected to be completed by September 2018. (Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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What the Deepest Spot in the Ocean Sounds Like

It turns out the ocean is one noisy, riotous place, teeming with the sound of seismic temblors, whale songs and ship propellers — even at the deepest ocean trench.


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Nanotechnology makes cheap, improved, water filters

By Ben Gruber BERKELEY, CA (Reuters) - Researchers have developed nano-scaled membranes that could potentially filter contaminants out of water faster and cheaper than current methods.      Baoxia Mi, an assistant professor of environmental engineering at the university of California, Berkeley, is developing a water filter comprised of membranes made up of layers of graphene 100,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair.     "We made it from graphite, which is a material that we use in pencils for example, so it's cheap and relatively abundant. The water enters the maze and passes through a series of layers separated by spaces specifically designed to remove different types of contaminants.      "In order to remove different targeted molecules, the most direct way of thinking about it is to control the spacing that we have between the layers," added Mi.      Another advantage to these graphene oxide filters is the rate at which water can pass through them, which…

Happy Events Can Spur 'Broken Heart Syndrome'

A rare condition known as "broken heart syndrome" is usually brought on by an emotionally devastating or stressful event. This is the first time researchers have linked pleasant experiences with broken heart syndrome, which causes a sudden but temporary weakness in the heart muscle, according to the findings, published on Thursday (March 3) in the European Heart Journal. Broken heart syndrome can be easily confused with a heart attack because people who experience the syndrome have symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, the study said.

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Many Melanoma Patients May Have Few Moles

Checking out the moles on your skin is a common way to look for the deadly skin cancer melanoma, but a new study shows that many people with melanoma may have few moles. In the study, researchers looked at about 560 people with melanoma and found that 66 percent of them had 20 or fewer moles. The new results show that all people, including those who have few moles, "should be paying attention to their moles, should be looking at their skin really carefully and should be asking their doctors for regular skin checks," said study author Alan C. Geller, a senior lecturer at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.


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Sex Tied to Better Brain Power in Older Age

People over age 50 who are more sexually active also have better memory and cognitive skills than people who get busy less often, a new study from England suggests. Sex appeared to give men's brains a bigger boost than women's: Men who were more sexually active showed higher scores on tests of memory skills and executive function — the mental processes involved in planning, solving problems and paying attention — whereas women who were more sexually active saw only a higher score in their memory skills, according to the findings, published online Jan. 28 in the journal Age and Ageing. The study shows that there is a significant association between sexual activity and cognitive function in adults over 50, said study author Hayley Wright, a researcher in cognitive aging at the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behavior and Achievement at Coventry University in England.

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Google Self-Driving Car at Fault for Bus Crash

One of Google's self-driving cars crashed into a bus last month, marking the first time a vehicle in the company's robotic fleet caused a collision, according to an accident report filed to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


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Robotic arm allows 'cyborg drumming'

A wearable robotic limb that allows drummers to play their kit with three arms has been invented by U.S.-based researchers.     The two-foot long 'smart arm' can be attached to a musician's shoulder and was invented by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, overseen by Professor Gil Weinberg.     An inventor of various experimental musical instruments, Weinberg said the aim of the technology was to maximize a drummer's potential, while pushing the limits of human-technology interaction.     "We believe that if you augment humans with technology humans should be able to do much more, and we thought that music is a great medium to try that," said Weinberg. It's also very spatial, you need to go to the right places, so what better medium than to try the concept of a third arm that would augment you and allow you to do things that you couldn't before in music."      The arm has been programmed to respond both to human gestures and the music …

Electrifying Drone Race Tests Pilots' Sky-High Skills

The Drone Racing League's semifinals for its first race of the season took place yesterday (Feb. 29) in Miami, where drone pilots from around the world gathered to test their chops on an aerial course that includes navigating tight turns, maneuvering through glowing gates and dodging objects throughout the stadium. Racing at speeds that exceed 80 miles per hour (129 km/h) at times, the skilled pilots don first-person view (FPV) goggles (that show a video feed of what the drones are seeing) to race custom-built drones through a course that weaves in and out of Sun Life Stadium, home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins. The racecourse required pilots to navigate around the stadium, zooming around bleachers, through concession areas, up a spiraling staircase, and then back around the bleachers again, according to a Drone Racing League (DRL) video about the event.


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How Much Ice Can Antarctica Afford to Lose?

Over the past 20 years, ice shelves in Antarctica that normally support the rest of the continent's glaciers have been shrinking, and some have disappeared entirely. A recent study led by researchers at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, in Germany, has mapped out which Antarctic ice shelves are buttressing the most ice and which are more "passive" and thus can stand to lose a large area without any immediate effect on the rest of the ice shelf. Ice shelves are slabs of ice several hundred meters thick that extend from the edges of the mainland and float on the surface of the sea.

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Ancient Mini Kangaroos Had No Hop, They Scurried

In a recent study, researchers described a new kangaroo genus, Cookeroo, and two new species: Cookeroo bulwidarri, dated to about 23 million years ago,and Cookeroo hortusensis, which lived between 18 million and 20 million years ago. Both species were found at the Riversleigh World Heritage area in northwestern Queensland, Australia, a location recognized as one of the richest fossil deposits in the world, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Center. According to Kaylene Butler, the study's lead author, the new genus occupies a position near the base of the kangaroo family tree that includes all modern kangaroos and wallabies, their close relatives.


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Wondrous fungus: fossils are oldest of any land-dwelling organism

A study published on Wednesday described microfossils of a subterranean fungus called Tortotubus that was an early landlubber at a time when life was largely confined to the seas, including samples from Libya and Chad that were 440 to 445 million years old. The fossils represented the root-like filaments that fungi use to extract nutrients from soil. Tortotubus helped set the stage for complex land plants and later animals by triggering the process of rot and soil formation.


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