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Showing posts from June 9, 2016

Private company wants U.S. clearance to fly to the moon

By Irene Klotz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government agencies are working on temporary rules to allow a private company to land a spacecraft on the moon next year, while Congress weighs a more permanent legal framework to govern future commercial missions to the moon, Mars and other destinations beyond Earth's orbit, officials said. Plans by private companies to land spacecraft on the moon or launch them out of Earth's orbit face legal obstacles because the United States has not put in place regulations to govern space activities, industry and government officials said. A 1967 international treaty obliges the United States and other signatories to authorize and supervise space activities by its non-government entities.


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Scientists turn chief global warming gas into harmless stone

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have a found a quick way — but not a cheap one — to turn heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas into harmless rock.


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European ruling on olive tree cull sparks fear in Italy

European countries can be forced to cull olive trees to stop the spread of a deadly bacterium, the European Union ruled on Thursday, sparking concern in a grove-dotted region of Italy. The EU court rejected an appeal from an Italian tribunal over a European Commission order to destroy all olive trees potentially infected with the Xylella fastidiosa pathogen, called "olive tree leprosy". The controversial cull order came into force last year in the Puglia region in Italy's "heel", but the regional Italian court suspended it and questioned the Commission directive.

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How Accurate Are Fertility Tracking Apps?

Researchers analyzed more than 50 popular websites and smartphone apps that offer to predict a woman's "fertility window," or the days during a woman's menstrual cycle when she can become pregnant. They found that the fertility windows predicted by the apps and websites varied widely, and that many of these windows included days after ovulation, when the chances that sexual intercourse will result in pregnancy are close to zero. "Because there is no rigorous screening process in effect to vet these websites and apps, we recommend caution in their use to assist with fertility," they said.

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Child's Rare Injury: What Is Internal Decapitation?

A boy in Idaho who was recently in a high-speed car crash has survived a rare injury called an "internal decapitation," which is typically fatal, and is more common in children than in adults. The 4-year-old boy, named Killian, and his mother, were driving home from a birthday party when a hailstorm hit, and their car skidded into oncoming traffic and collided with another car, according to the New York Times. During the crash, the ligaments in Killian's neck that attach his skull to his spine were severed, which is referred to as internal decapitation.


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Working Together? Male and Female Brains Just Aren't in Sync

When men and women work together, their brains may not take the same approach to cooperating, a new study suggests. In the new study, the areas of the brain that lit up were synchronized when two guys worked together to do a task, and when two women did, although the areas were different in men and women. In pairs where there was one man and one woman, the brain activity didn’t sync up.

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Silver Shekel Stash: 2,000-Year-old Coins Uncovered in Israel

A hidden hoard of silver coins buried more than 2,000 years ago was recently discovered tucked inside a rock crevice, during an excavation in Modi'in, Israel, southeast of Tel Aviv. The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) described the cache of 16 coins in a statement released yesterday (June 7), dating them to 126 B.C. The site where the coins were found is thought to be an ancient agricultural estate that belonged to a Jewish family. Called shekels and half-shekels, the coins in the remarkable collection appeared to have been deliberately selected, with each of the nine consecutive years between 135 B.C. and 126 B.C. represented by one or two coins, Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the IAA, said in the statement.


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Flash Mob! Glowing in Fishes More Widespread Than Thought

And since the first of these creatures lit up the seas about 150 million years ago, the ability to produce light — known as bioluminescence — evolved across fish species far more often than scientists suspected, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed lineages of glowing fishes, tracing them back to their origins in the early Cretaceous period (145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago). And there are likely many more instances of evolving bioluminescence radiating throughout the entire tree of life, study co-author John Sparks told Live Science.


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Fish Can Recognize and Remember Human Faces

A wee-brained tropical fish can distinguish between human faces in a lineup, researchers have found. Recognizing human faces is a difficult task. Because nearly all human faces have the same basic attributes, recognizing a face requires distinguishing subtle differences in facial features, said Cait Newport, a zoologist and Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Oxford.


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Sex-Reversed Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs, Act Like Males

Bearded dragon babies that are genetically male but have the physical and reproductive traits of females have hatched in a lab in Australia. In some kinds of lizards, an individual's sex is determined by sex chromosomes, just as it usually is in humans. In other types of lizards, the temperature at which an egg develops determines sex.


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Miniature 'Hobbit' Humans Had Even Smaller Ancestors

Ancestors of the mysterious extinct human lineage nicknamed "hobbits" may have been discovered, a new study finds. The newfound individuals may have been even littler than the hobbits, and date much further back in time (from some 700,000 years ago), scientists added. This suggests these ancestors may have shrunk rapidly after reaching the islands where the hobbits lived, the scientists said.


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First element discovered in Asia named 'nihonium', after Japan

Japanese scientists behind the discovery of element 113, the first atomic element found in Asia - indeed, the first found outside Europe or the United States - have dubbed it "nihonium" after the Japanese-language name for their country. "I believe the fact that we, in Japan, found one of only 118 known atomic elements gives this discovery great meaning," said Kosuke Morita, a university professor who led the discovery team from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science. "Another important meaning is that until now, all the elements in the periodic table have been discovered in Europe and the United States," he told a news conference on Thursday.

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