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Showing posts from June 7, 2016

In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria

By Katy Migiro ARUSHA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama. The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease. Six innovations scientists are working on are: * New insecticides: Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides used to spray inside homes and in bed nets.


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In the lab: six innovations scientists hope will end malaria

By Katy Migiro ARUSHA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After being abandoned as too ambitious in 1969, global plans to eliminate malaria are back on the agenda, with financial backing from the world's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, and U.S. President Barack Obama. The Gateses aim to eradicate malaria by 2040 by doubling funding over the next decade to support the roll out of new products to tackle rising drug resistance against the disease. Six innovations scientists are working on are: * New insecticides: Mosquitoes are becoming resistant to insecticides used to spray inside homes and in bed nets.


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India's colonial-era monsoon forecasting to get high-tech makeover

By Mayank Bhardwaj NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's forecasting of the monsoon - the crop-nourishing seasonal rains that are the lifeblood for farmers in the country of 1.3 billion people - is getting a high-tech makeover. Jettisoning a statistical method introduced under British colonial rule in the 1920s, India's meteorology office is spending $60 million on a new supercomputer to improve the accuracy of one of the world's most vital weather forecasts in time for next year's rains. The new system, based on a U.S. model tweaked for India, requires immense computing power to generate three-dimensional models to help predict how the monsoon is likely to develop.


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Electric eels can kill horses, new research confirms

By Ben Gruber MIAMI (Reuters) - Experiments at Vanderbilt University have proven a 200-year-old observation that electric eels can leap out of water and shock animals to death, a claim originally made by 19th century biologist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. During a field trip to the Amazon basin in 1800, Humboldt said he saw electric eels leaping out of the water and delivering enough voltage to kill a horse. A biologist who has been studying eels for several years, Catania said he not only validated the original account but found evidence that leaping eels were far more terrifying than even von Humboldt realized.

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Science Gear Installed on NASA's Next Big Space Telescope

The successor to NASA's iconic Hubble Space Telescope is now a big step closer to its anticipated 2018 launch. Technicians have installed the science instruments on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an $8.8 billion observatory that will study some of the most distant objects in the universe and scan the atmospheres of alien planets for signs of life, among other tasks. The installation required a crane and about two dozen engineers and technicians, who attached the science package in a huge clean-room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.


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Supreme Insect! Praying Mantis Named After Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A new praying mantis has been identified, and like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it has a fondness for prominent neckwear. The new leaf-dwelling species was discovered in the wilds of Madagascar and named Ilomantis ginsburgae, after Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "This species description of Ilomantis ginsburgae is novel since it relied heavily on the features of the female genitalia," lead author Sydney Brannoch, a Case Western Reserve University doctoral candidate, said in a statement.


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Tiny Dancers: Meet 7 New Peacock Spider Species

They're fuzzy. They're colorful. And they wave their legs in the air like they just don't care.


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Eating Fat Doesn't Make You Fat, Study Finds

It seems logical to think that eating a high-fat diet would tip the scale upward, but a new study suggests that might not be the case. Men and women in the study who followed a high-fat, Mediterranean diet that was rich in either olive oil or nuts lost more weight and reduced their waist circumference more than the people in the study who were simply instructed to reduce their fat intake, according to the study. The Mediterranean diet, rich in healthy fats and plant proteins, has been linked in previous studies to a wide range of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes — two conditions that are also linked to obesity.

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Muhammad Ali's Death: Can Head Injuries Cause Parkinson's?

Boxing champion Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson's disease for three decades before his death on Friday (June 3) at the age of 74, and many have wondered whether Ali's boxing career caused him to develop the neurological disorder. Although it's likely that frequent head injuries played a role in the boxer's Parkinson's disease, certain genes may have also increased his susceptibility to the disease, experts said. "[It's] likely his repeated head injuries contributed to his Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Barbara Changizi, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved with Ali's treatment.

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Bacteria Are Everywhere, Even in Ovaries

Women's fallopian tubes and ovaries were once thought to be free of bacteria, but a small new study finds that these microorganisms do live naturally in this part of the reproductive tract. What's more, the findings suggest that women with ovarian cancer may have different, more harmful bacteria in their fallopian tubes and ovaries, but much more research is needed to confirm this idea, the researchers said. In the study, the researchers analyzed tissue samples from 25 women who had been through menopause and were undergoing surgery to have their uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries removed.

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Russia delays launch to space station to ensure safety of new spaceship

The flight of the next crew to the International Space Station has been postponed until July 7 from June 24 in order to ensure the safety of the first launch of their new "Soyuz-MS" spaceship, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Monday. A series of additional tests of the spaceship's software is required, Roscosmos said, citing the decision of a state commission which met earlier on Monday. Russian Commander Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Japan's Takuya Onishi are due to take off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the "Soyuz-MS".

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New research finds low risk of Zika virus at Olympics

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - New research attempting to calculate the risk of the Zika virus at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro may reassure organizers and many of the more than 500,000 athletes and fans expected to travel to the epicenter of the epidemic. The World Health Organization, acknowledging the concern, has called a meeting of its Zika experts to evaluate the transmission risk posed by the Olympics. The debate has played out largely in the absence of models calculating the risk to tourists attending the Olympics. New projections obtained by Reuters suggest the risk is small.


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Astronauts get first look inside space station's new inflatable module

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday floated inside an experimental inflatable module that will test a less expensive and potentially safer option for housing crews during long stays in space, NASA said. Station flight engineers Jeff Williams and Oleg Skripochka opened the hatch to the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, at 4:47 a.m. EDT (0847 GMT) on Monday. Designed and built by privately-owned Bigelow Aerospace, BEAM is the first inflatable habitat to be tested with astronauts in space.


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