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Showing posts from May 26, 2016

Radar images reveal Mars is coming out of an ice age

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An analysis of radar images that peered inside the polar ice caps of Mars shows that Earth's neighbor is coming out of an ice age that is part of an ongoing cycle of climate change, scientists said on Thursday. The Martian ice began its retreat about 370,000 years ago, marking the end of the last ice age, according to the research published in the journal Science. Using images taken by satellites orbiting Mars, the researchers determined that about 20,872 cubic miles (87,000 cubic km) of ice has accumulated at its poles since the end of the ice age, mostly in the northern polar cap.


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Brightest laser blows up water in cinematic and scientific first

Scientists have recorded the first ever microscopic movies of water being vaporized by the world's brightest X-ray laser. As each individual X-ray pulse hit the water, a single image was recorded, timed from five billionths of a second to one ten-thousandth of a second after the pulse.

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Why Some Flies Have Mega Sperm

Tiny fruit flies have record-breaking sperm cells. Researchers have long known that the peculiarities of the female fruit fly's reproductive tract are responsible for these enormous sperm, which take a huge amount of energy to produce. Female fruit flies have a sperm-storage organ in which they hold sperm from multiple matings.


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School-Bus-Size Giant Squid May Be Lurking Deep in the Sea

Steeped in mystery, the elusive, deep-sea-dwelling giant squid, with eyes the size of basketballs, may be larger than it has gotten credit for. Specimens recognizable as giant squid (Architeuthis dux) have been found washed up onshore since at least 1639. Ever since giant squid were discovered, there has been considerable speculation as to how large they can get.


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Scientists: Underground stone rings made by Neanderthals

BERLIN (AP) — Two mysterious stone rings found deep inside a French cave were probably built by Neanderthals about 176,500 years ago, proving that the ancient cousins of humans were capable of more complex behavior than previously thought, scientists say.


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Expandable space habitat fails to inflate in NASA's first test

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA called off an attempt to inflate an experimental habitat attached to the International Space Station after the fabric module failed to expand as planned on Thursday. Station crew member Jeff Williams spent more than two hours opening a valve to allow spurts of air to inflate the 3,100-pound (1,400 kg) module, the first expandable habitat to be tested with astronauts in space. “We’ll hope for better luck tomorrow,” astronaut Jessica Meir radioed to Williams from Mission Control in Houston.


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Gluten-Free Diets Are Not Necessarily Healthier, Doctors Warn

Some kids are following a gluten-free diet even though they do not have a medical condition that requires avoiding gluten, and this is worrying some doctors. In fact, they can be higher in calories, and may not be enriched with vitamins and minerals that are important for children, said study co-author Dr. Eyad Almallouhi, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Many people think that a gluten-free diet is healthier than the usual diet, which is not always true," said Almallouhi, who presented the findings here Sunday (May 22) at Digestive Disease Week, a scientific meeting focused on digestive diseases.

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These 7 Foods Cause the Most Pet Deaths

In a new review of studies, two animal health researchers in Italy drew up a list of the foods that are the most common culprits in pet poisonings worldwide. "Several foods that are perfectly suitable for human consumption can be toxic to dogs and cats," the researchers wrote in their review, published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Sometimes, owners give these harmful foods to their dogs and cats, but a lot of times, pets accidentally ingest these foods, which happen to be commonplace in homes.

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Woman Sprouts Thousands of Tiny Moles, and Doctors Aren't Sure Why

Indeed, the sheer number of moles was "unprecedented," said Dr. Hensin Tsao, a dermatologist who treated the woman and the senior author of the case report. Although an explosion of moles — called eruptive nevi — is uncommon, it's not unheard of, Tsao told Live Science.

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Missing for 72 Years: WWII Aircraft Finally Located in Pacific

An American, World War II-era aircraft that had been missing in action (MIA) since July 1944 was recently located in the waters surrounding the Pacific Island nation of Palau. The TBM-1C Avenger is one of several dozen U.S. aircraft scattered in the coral reefs or concealed within dense mangrove forests along Palau's island chain. This latest find adds to the growing list of wrecks discovered by Project Recover, an effort dedicated to the ongoing search for MIA aircraft and associated Americans since World War II.


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Blazing-Fast Hypersonic Jet on Track for 2018 Launch

A hypersonic jet engine that could be used to fly people from Sydney to London in just 2 hours is on track to make its first flight in 2018, according to the Australian scientists and engineers working on the project. Last week, the researchers conducted an experimental rocket launch at the Woomera Test Range, located about 310 miles (500 kilometers) northwest of Adelaide, in the South Australian outback. A test vehicle, designed to gather data about hypersonic flight in the upper atmosphere, launched from Woomera to an altitude of 173 miles (278 km) and reached its target speed of Mach 7.5 — seven and a half times the speed of sound, or about 5,700 mph (9,200 km/h).


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From hardy pigs to super-crops, gene editing poses new EU dilemma

It poses a thorny problem for European policymakers wary of new molecular manipulation in agriculture after a quarter century of conflict over genetically modified food. In a research lab in Norwich, 100 miles northeast of London, Wendy Harwood is making exact DNA tweaks in barley plants to produce better-germinating grain, with higher yield and quality. "We've never been able to go in and make such a precise change as we can now with gene editing," said the John Innes Centre scientist.


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