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Showing posts from August 17, 2016

Newfound Galapagos Bird Species Already Went Extinct

A newly discovered species of brilliant red songbird has almost certainly already vanished from its home in the Galápagos Islands, in what is the first known songbird extinction on the island chain in modern times. Using genetic techniques, researchers recently learned that the Galápagos vermilion flycatcher was once at least two species: Pyrocephalus nanus, which is still found across most of the island chain, and Pyrocephalus dubius, which hasn't been seen since 1987 but used to live only on San Cristóbal Island. Unfortunately, P. nanus, still known as the Galápagos vermilion flycatcher, is now also in decline, said study researcher Jack Dumbacher, the curator of ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences (Cal Academy) in San Francisco.


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What If We're Wrong? History Suggests Everything Will Be Disproved

Hindsight is 20/20, right? That's the premise of a new book that poses the question:  What if we were wrong?


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Search for Mythical Nazi Gold Train Resumes

Treasure hunters broke ground today in Poland, hoping to find a legendary train said to be filled with gold and hidden by Nazis near the end of World War II. "We're entering the sphere of almost urban myth," Tony Pollard, a battlefield archaeologist at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, told Live Science.

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New Medical Marijuana Policy Is a Catch-22, Researchers Say

Medical research on marijuana probably won't get any easier, experts say, despite a new government policy aimed at boosting the supply of the drug for medical studies. Marijuana's legal status as a "Schedule I" drug, which makes it an illegal drug on the federal level, "severely constrains the access and the number and type of people who can do research with cannabis," said Ryan Vandrey, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who studies marijuana. On Thursday (Aug. 11), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it will allow more universities to apply to grow marijuana intended for use in medical studies, with the hope of providing researchers with a "more varied and robust supply" of medical marijuana, the agency said in a statement.

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Political Psychology: The Presidents' Mental Health

In early August, California Rep. Karen Bass, a Democrat, launched the hashtag #DiagnoseTrump and started a change.org petition claiming the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, meets the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The candidates' verbal volley highlights a persistent stigma about mental illness in politics. In the past, an admission of mental health problems was a death knell to political careers.

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Ford Aims to Have Self-Driving Cars Take to Roads by 2021

Automaker Ford announced today that it plans to develop fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. The company is aiming to offer these self-driving cars to ride-sharing or ride-hailing services, according to Ford officials. "It's now clear that the next decade is going to be defined by the automation of the automobile," Ford CEO Mark Fields said in a statement broadcast onlineTuesday (Aug. 16).


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Googly-Eyed Purple Squid Sighting Delights Scientists

A purple squid with eyes so googly it could easily be mistaken for a character in the movie "Finding Nemo" was recently spotted by scientists off the coast of Southern California. The so-called stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) is a species of bobtail squid native to the northern Pacific Ocean. The stubby squid's giant eyes, that "look painted on," delighted the scientists aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus.


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