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Showing posts from May 18, 2016

Send Astronauts to Mars to Find Evidence of Life, NASA's Top Scientist Says

The chances are good that microbial life existed on Mars long ago, and sending astronauts to the Red Planet is the best way to find the evidence, NASA's chief scientist said. Though Mars is cold and dry today, the planet hosted liquid water on its surface for extended periods more than 3 billion years ago, Ellen Stofan pointed out during a talk Tuesday (May 17) at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, D.C.


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Over a third of North American bird species in danger: scientists

More than a third of all North American bird species are at risk of becoming extinct unless significant action is taken, scientists who are part of a tri-nation initiative said on Wednesday, adding that ocean and tropical birds were in particular danger. The study, compiled by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the first of its kind to look at the vulnerability of bird populations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, said 37 percent of all 1,154 species on the continent needed urgent conservation action. The governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico created the North American Bird Conservation Initiative in 1999.

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Rare Tumor May Cause ADHD Symptoms in Some Kids

In rare cases, children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) actually have a tumor that appears to cause symptoms similar to those of ADHD, according to a small new study. The researchers evaluated 43 children with rare tumors of the adrenal gland, called pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. They found that nine of the children (21 percent) had been diagnosed with ADHD before doctors discovered their tumors.

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NASA fuel tank arrives at port ahead of trip through Los Angeles

By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A NASA fuel tank arrived at a port on Wednesday ahead of a planned mission this weekend to tow the giant apparatus through the streets of Los Angeles and display it with the space shuttle Endeavour at a science center. The California Science Center, the museum where the external tank known as ET-94 will be placed on exhibit, posted photos online of the 154-foot-long (47-metre) chamber fixed to a barge docking in Marina del Rey on the border with Los Angeles. The orange fuel tank, which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has donated to the center for display with Endeavour, was designed to carry propellants to thrust a space shuttle into orbit and then detach, mostly disintegrating as it fell to the ocean.


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Scientists, investors seek to identify financial risks of climate change

A Norwegian group of climate scientists will form an alliance on Thursday with investors including BlackRock Inc and the World Bank to try to assess the financial risks of rising global temperatures. The Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (CICERO) said it wanted to help investors judge risks from global warming such as more heatwaves, floods, downpours, the extinction of animals and plants and rising seas. The head of CICERO, Kristin Halvorsen, said the aim was to help investors and researchers to "understand each other more easily so that the financial sector can define climate risks".


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Potato-Heavy Diet Linked to High Blood Pressure

Packing potatoes into your diet may put you at higher risk for having high blood pressure, a new study finds, although the researchers acknowledged that the study presents an interesting paradox. People who reported eating four or more servings of potatoes per week were 11 percent more likely to have hypertension, compared with people who ate less than one serving of potatoes per month, according to the study. Moreover, the researchers found that replacing one daily serving of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes with one serving of nonstarchy vegetables was associated with a 7 percent decreased risk of hypertension.

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Magic-Mushroom Compound Shows Potential for Treating Depression

A hallucinogenic compound called psilocybin, found in so-called magic mushrooms, has the potential to help treat people with depression one day, a small new study suggests. However, experts caution that much more research is needed to prove psilocybin's effectiveness and safety for this purpose. In the study, 12 people with depression were given psilocybin along with supportive talk therapy.

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Penis Transplant: Why It's Done & What Can Go Wrong

The recent announcement of the first U.S. penile transplant is exciting news, and brings hope for many men, including injured combat veterans. On Monday (May 16), doctors announced that a 64-year-old man in Massachusetts had become the first person in the United States to receive a penile transplant. The patient, Thomas Manning, needed his penis removed in 2012 because of aggressive penile cancer.

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German to take command of International Space Station in 2018

Astronaut Alexander Gerst will become the first German and only the second European to take command of the International Space Station, the European Space Agency said on Wednesday. Gerst, 40, previously worked on the ISS in 2014. "When one looks down on the planet from space, that is a very special thing," Gerst told a news conference after being congratulated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


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Livestock firm Genus ramps up R&D spend in gene editing race

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - British animal genetics firm Genus is diving deeper into the hot area of gene editing, in a move Chief Executive Karim Bitar says will bring long-term gains at the cost of a hefty hike in research spending. The company, which sells pig and bull semen to farmers worldwide, has signed an exclusive global deal with privately owned Caribou Biosciences to use the U.S. firm's CRISPR/Cas9 technology to develop pig and cattle breeds. "The increase in investment will be substantial," Bitar said in an interview on Wednesday, after announcing the collaboration.

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'Magic' Mirror Reveals Body Changes As You Get Fit

The device, called Naked, is the first 3D body scanner and fitness tracker designed specifically for people to use in their homes, said Ed Sclater, co-founder of Naked Labs, the California-based company behind Naked. As you rotate on the scale, ideally wearing minimal, skin-tight, workout clothing, the sensors create 3D depth maps of your body at around 30 frames per second, Sclater told Live Science.


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Lessons from a Baby Bison's Death: Don't. Touch. Wildlife.

What began as a well-intentioned but ill-informed act ended with the death of a young wild animal recently at Yellowstone National Park. During the week of May 9, visitors to Yellowstone came across a solitary bison calf. Later, the newborn calf was released back into the wild, and the National Park Service (NPS) issued the visitors a citation, according to a statement from the NPS released May 16.


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Blazing meteor creates light show across New England sky

A meteor lit up the night sky over New England and eastern Canada early on Tuesday, startling people who saw it including police officers who captured the show on a dashcam. It was also captured on some security cameras. About 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles known as meteorites enter the Earth's atmosphere each day, though most are too small to be noticed, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


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Bringing the Past into the Future: VR Invades the Met

The Met showed off new technologies at an open house on Friday (May 13), to enhance how visitors experience and interpret art in its many forms. Virtual reality, social networking with mobile devices, and tabletop gaming were just a few of the methods employed in a number of media prototypes that museumgoers could use to interact with objects in the collection — and with each other. Players could explore the rooms and objects, and perform activities that drew from information provided during a tour of the actual spaces in the museum. The new media projects were created by the Met Digital Department and Met MediaLab, in collaboration with graduate students at the New York University Game Center.


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Bits of 3.5-Billion-Year-Old Asteroid Tell Story of Monster Impact

Now, for the first time, remnants of that impact have been uncovered in ancient sediments in Australia, and they're revealing more intriguing details about the Earth at that time. The mega asteroid that battered the primeval Earth was likely between 12 and 19 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) across, dwarfing the space rock that caused the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub impact, the research suggests.


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