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Showing posts from September 6, 2016

U.S.-Russian crew leaves space station, speeds toward Earth

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A U.S. astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts on Tuesday strapped themselves inside a Russian Soyuz capsule and flew away from the International Space Station, aiming for a parachute landing at dawn in Kazakhstan, a NASA TV broadcast showed. Station commander Jeff Williams, with the U.S. space agency, and flight engineers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, both with Russia's Roscosmos agency, pulled away from the station at 5:51 p.m. EDT/2151 GMT as the ships sailed 258 miles (415 km) over eastern Mongolia, said NASA mission commentator Rob Navias.

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Duane Graveline, Scientist-Astronaut Who Resigned from NASA, Dies at 85

Duane Graveline, a medical doctor who was among NASA's first scientist-astronauts, but who resigned after just six months for "personal reasons," died on Monday (Sept. 5). Named in June 1965 as a member of NASA's fourth group of astronauts, Graveline joined five other scientists — Owen Garriott, Ed Gibson, Joe Kerwin, Curt Michel and Harrison Schmitt — as the space agency's first trainees recruited for their academic backgrounds, rather than flight experience. "Duane Graveline, one of the nation's scientist-astronauts, is the first to resign before making a space flight," reported the Associated Press in an article published on August 18, 1965.


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NASA asteroid probe may find clues to origins of life on Earth

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A U.S. space probe was cleared for launch on Thursday to collect and return samples from an asteroid in hopes of learning more about the origins of life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the solar system, NASA said on Tuesday. A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket was scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to dispatch the robot explorer Osiris-Rex on a seven-year mission. United Launch Alliance is a partnership of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.


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Spacecom CEO wants 'several safe flights' before using SpaceX again

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The chief executive of Israeli satellite operator Space Communication Ltd said on Tuesday he wants to see "several safe flights" from SpaceX before using Elon Musk's space firm again to launch one of his company's satellites. In an interview with Reuters, Spacecom CEO David Pollack also said he does not know what caused the explosion last Thursday that destroyed a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket along with his company's $200 million AMOS-6 communications satellite. The cause of the explosion is under investigation by SpaceX and agencies of the U.S. government overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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Tiny 'fitbits' to keep tabs on the body from within

By Ben Gruber BERKELEY, Calif. (Reuters) - Scientists are developing dust-sized wireless sensors implanted inside the body to track neural activity in real-time, offering a potential new way to monitor or treat a range of conditions including epilepsy and control next-generation prosthetics. "You can almost think of it as sort of an internal, deep-tissue Fitbit, where you would be collecting a lot of data that today we think of as hard to access," said Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. Current medical technologies employ a range of wired electrodes attached to different parts of the body to monitor and treat conditions ranging from heart arrhythmia to epilepsy.

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FDA Bans Antibacterial Chemicals in Soaps

Companies can no longer market hand soaps containing several common antibacterial compounds, the Food and Drug Administration announced today. The FDA instituted the soap ban, which includes the widely used antibacterial chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, citing questions about the antibacterials' safety for long-term use. "Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," Dr. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), said in a statementtoday (Sept. 2).

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Those chirps and chimes in your car have science behind them

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Whether it's the pleasant greeting when you slide into the driver's seat or a loud, annoying beep that warns you of an imminent crash, there's science behind the noises that your car makes.


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Does IQ Determine If You're Prejudiced? It's Complicated

There's a long-standing and somewhat uncomfortable finding in psychology: that low IQ, conservative social beliefs and prejudice — including anti-gay attitudes and racism — are all linked. Many studies have found this relationship — so much so that a 2015 meta-analysis of the research suggested that researchers who conduct studies of people's ideology and prejudice should take participants' cognitive ability into account.

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Triathlete Deaths Possibly Linked to Fluid in the Lungs

In the new research, scientists looked at a condition called immersion pulmonary edema (IPO). The researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the University of Iowa tracked triathlon deaths in the United States and Canada from October 2008 to November 2015.

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What Nerve: Different Nerve Cells Cause Hard Nipples, Goose Bumps

What causes your skin to get goose bumps in cold weather, or your palms to sweat when feeling anxious? Scientists have found the answer: specific nerve cells that are triggered in the body during times of emotional distress. The sympathetic nervous system — the biological processes that regulate locomotion, ingestion, body temperature and the fight-or-flight response — was previously thought to be nonspecific, meaning that it caused the body to produce the same response no matter what stimulated it.


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How Meat Labels Trick Your Mind

In the study, people reported that meat that carried a label saying it was from a factory farm tasted worse than meat labeled as "humanely raised," when the samples were actually identical. "You're always in an affective state that colors what you see and hear, and now, we know also [that it influences] what you taste and how much food you eat," said study co-author Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston and author of the forthcoming book "How Emotions Are Made" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). For example, the humanely farmed description of ham said, "This ham was raised on a farm that focused on animal welfare," and mentioned grassy pastures and the chance for pigs to socialize with other pigs. Meanwhile, the factory-farm version read, in part: "This ham was produced at a factory farm that focused on production." In this particular experiment, participants first ate unlabeled ham to…

Double Dogs: Identical Twin Puppies Confirmed

Two puppies born in October are in fact identical twins, a team of veterinarians reports. This is the first time that a genetically confirmed set of identical twin dogs has been reported in the scientific literature. "What happened in this case … would have been the same thing that happens in a woman when she has identical twins," Carolynne Joonè, a veterinarian and lecturer at James Cook University in Australia, and co-author of the report of the finding, told Live Science.That is, early during the mother dog's pregnancy, a fertilized egg split in two, creating two genetically identical embryos, Joonè said.

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New Snow-Making Tech Gives a Lift to Ski Resort in Summer

In early July at the Boreal Mountain Resort, temperatures reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), which is not uncharacteristically hot in California at the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Why not just use a conventional snowmaker?

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Indian scientist develops GM cotton after success with mustard

By Krishna N. Das NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian scientist whose team has developed a genetically modified (GM) mustard variety that is inching towards a possible commercial launch said he could soon hand to a state agency a GM cotton variety that can rival Monsanto's seeds. Deepak Pental and his colleagues at the Delhi University worked on GM mustard for around a decade, and a government committee said on Monday it found the seeds to be safe for "food/feed and environment". Reuters reported the technical clearance last month for what could be the country's first GM food crop.


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Gumby Bots! New Bendable Structures Could Make Origami Machines

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Singapore University of Technology and Design have devised a new fabrication process that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to print successive layers of polymers into 3D, Transformer-like structures that "remember" their shapes. The researchers also plan to develop even finer control of the printing process, and could be printing at scales 20 times smaller than they are currently within a year, he said.


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Alien Interpreters? How Linguists Would Talk to E.T.

In the film, a team of experts is assembled to investigate, and among the chosen individuals is a linguist, played by actress Amy Adams. The film is based on "Story of Your Life," a short story by Ted Chiang. "There's a long tradition of science fiction that deals with language and communication," Chiang told Live Science in an email.


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Alien Interpreters? How Linguists Would Talk to E.T.

In the film, a team of experts is assembled to investigate, and among the chosen individuals is a linguist, played by actress Amy Adams. The film is based on "Story of Your Life," a short story by Ted Chiang. "There's a long tradition of science fiction that deals with language and communication," Chiang told Live Science in an email.


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