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Showing posts from March 17, 2016

Frigid Pluto is home to more diverse terrain than expected

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The most detailed look at Pluto's surface to date has revealed an unexpected range of mountains, glacial flows, smooth plains and other landscapes, according to studies released on Thursday. The interplanetary space probe made the first-ever visit to Pluto and its five moons last July. Another scientist described the diversity of landscapes as "astonishing." How the varied terrain came to be remains a mystery for the distant Pluto, which has an average surface temperature of minus 380 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 229 degrees Celsius).


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Russia slashes space funding by 30 percent as crisis weighs

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev agreed to slash funding for Russia's space program by 30 percent on Thursday, an effort to reign in state spending in the face of a deepening economic crisis. Approving a plan submitted by Russian space agency Roscosmos in January, Medvedev ordered Russia's space program budget for 2016-2025 to be cut from 2 trillion rubles ($29.24 billion) to 1.4 trillion rubles. "It is a large program, but we need such big programs, even in circumstances when all is not well with the economy," TASS news agency quoted Medvedev as saying.


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Blame Methane Blasts for Sea Craters, But Not for the Bermuda Triangle

A number of media outlets took that to mean that similar explosive methane activity in the Bermuda Triangle region of the Atlantic Ocean could be blamed for unexplained disappearances. Since the inexplicable 1945 disappearance of "Flight 19" — five U.S. military aircraft — a number of ships and airplanes containing hundreds of people have been reported missing after passing through or over waters in the Triangle, which is bounded by points in Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico. In an abstract published online March 2016 following its submission to the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, the scientists detailed a number of craters in the Barents Sea, an area in the Arctic Ocean with a basin shared by Norway and Russia.


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Here Are the US Cities at Highest Risk for Zika Transmission

Miami, Houston and Orlando, Florida, are the cities within the continental U.S. that have some of the highest risk of having "local transmission" of the Zika virus, meaning the virus will spread to people from mosquitoes in the local area, new research suggests. Overall, the southeast part of the country faces the highest risk, the Eastern Seaboard faces a moderate risk and the western U.S. has a lower risk. However, evidence from similar viruses suggests that if Zika does begin spreading locally, the spread even in the highest-risk cities will be limited, affecting dozens of people at most, said study co-author Andrew Monaghan, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.


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Brain Stimulation Could Speed Stroke Recovery

For people who've had a stroke, a treatment that involves applying an electric current to the brain may help boost recovery of their mobility, a small clinical trial found. Stroke is the most common cause of severe, long-term disability. Rehabilitation training, which helps patients re-learn how to use their bodies, can help some patients recover their ability to move.

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Real-Life 'Teddy Bear' Is No Longer Endangered

For more than two decades, the Louisiana black bear — the iconic beast that inspired the "teddy bear" — has been considered a threatened species. "This is a terrific comeback story," Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham said at a news conference about the announcement. "I'm excited that our beloved teddy bear will be here for the next generation of Louisianans to enjoy.


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Can Australia's Fairy Circles Settle an Ecological Mystery?

Fairy circles, mysterious barren patches once known only in Namibia, have been discovered in Australia. Fairy circles are regular patches of barren dirt arranged in a repeating hexagonal pattern. Researchers have even found that the pattern of Namibian fairy circles shares an uncanny resemblance to the pattern of skin cell organization.


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Monster Mystery: Scientists Solve Decades-Long Puzzle of Alienlike Creature

In 1958, amateur fossil collector Francis Tully found a prehistoric creature so strange that even scientists called it a monster. The beast has perplexed researchers ever since, with some calling the so-called "Tully monster" a worm and others classifying it as a shell-less snail. But now, an analysis of more than 1,200 Tully monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) fossils has uncovered the monster's true identity.


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