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Showing posts from April 4, 2016

Orbital presses U.S. lawmakers to end ban on retired missiles

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Orbital ATK is pressing U.S. lawmakers to end a 20-year ban on using decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) for launching commercial satellites and the effort has raised concern among companies that have invested millions of dollars in potential rival rockets. Orbital Vice President Barron Beneski said in an interview on Friday that the company was pushing Washington to get the ban lifted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that sets defense policy for fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1. Virgin Galactic and other space startups said in interviews last week they worry that lifting the ban would give Orbital an unfair competitive advantage if it was allowed to use surplus government rocket motors in its commercial launch vehicles.

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Fever: Federal report says global warming making US sick

WASHINGTON (AP) — Man-made global warming is making America sicker, and it's only going to get worse, according to a new federal government report.


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If Hitomi is Lost, What Science is Lost With It? (Op-Ed)

Elizabeth received her doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Oxford and a Master in Science in theoretical physics from Durham University. At 4:40 p.m. JST (07:40 GMT) on Saturday, March 26, scientists at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) waited to communicate with the five-week-old X-ray space observatory Hitomi. Hitomi's name comes from the Japanese word for "eye pupil." But unlike our eyes that focus visible light, Hitomi's four telescopes focus X-ray radiation.


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Scientists bemoan SeaWorld decision to stop breeding orcas

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — There's one last orca birth to come at SeaWorld, and it will probably be the last chance for research biologist Dawn Noren to study up close how female killer whales pass toxins to their calves through their milk.


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Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching is 'Worst in its History'

Australia's Great Barrier Reef corals are in trouble. The northern part of the world's largest coral reef ecosystem is experiencing "the worst mass bleaching event in its history," according to a statement released Tuesday (March 29) by the Australian Research Council. Documented by the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce (NCBT) in aerial surveys, observations of more than 500 coral reefs spanning 2,485 miles (4,000 kilometers) showed that the majority of reefs were undergoing extensive and severe bleaching.


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Are You Ready for America's 1st Virtual-Reality Roller Coasters?

Buckle up, roller coaster enthusiasts! The amusement park Six Flags has joined forces with Samsung to bump up the thrill factor of rides with virtual-reality roller coasters that are set to be the first of their kind in North America. Virtual reality (VR) is already changing how people experience museum exhibits and conduct medical training, and now roller coasters that blend physical sensations with digital worlds can be added to the list. Park-goers will be able to experience these new rides at six different Six Flags locations, with another opening up next Friday (Apr 9) at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, and two more at Six Flags The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, and La Ronde in Montreal, Canada, later this spring.

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Strangely in Sync: Scientists Solve 350-Year-Old Pendulum Clock Mystery

The 350-year-old mystery of why pendulum clocks hanging from the same wall can influence each other and synchronize over time may hold even more secrets than previously thought, researchers say. In 1665, the inventor of the pendulum clock, Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, was lying in bed sick, watching two of his clocks, when he noticed something odd: No matter how the pendulums on these clocks started, they ended up swinging in exactly the opposite direction from each other within about a half-hour. Solving the puzzle could help shed light on the mysterious phenomenon of synchronization, scientists say.


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Giant Mammoth Skull Discovered by Bulldozer Operator

A bulldozer operator at a sand pit in northwestern Oklahoma got quite a surprise this month when he spotted a huge skull that belonged to a Columbian mammoth. These giants were plentiful across the plains of Oklahoma during the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from about 1.8 million to 11,700 years ago, said Leland Bement of the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey. The discovery was not unheard of, as the Survey typically receives about three "mammoth-sighting" calls a year, Bement said.


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Religious Reveal: Men Lag Behind Women in Devoutness

The new survey results represent six faith groups (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated) from 84 different countries, according to the Pew Research Center, which collected the data from 2008 to 2015.


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California's Extreme Droughts Blamed on 'Ridiculously Resilient Ridge'

The weird weather pattern that hatched California's ongoing drought is becoming more common, and could bring more extreme dry spells in the future, a new study finds. California is suffering its worst drought in 1,200 years because of a persistent atmospheric "high" parked just offshore. This high-pressure ridge — aptly named the "ridiculously resilient ridge" — deflects winter storms northward, away from California, according to the researchers.


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