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Showing posts from January, 2017

Paralyzed patients communicate thoughts via brain-computer interface

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have developed a brain-computer interface that reads the brain's blood oxygen levels and enables communication by deciphering the thoughts of patients who are totally paralyzed and unable to talk. In a trial of the system in four patients with complete locked-in syndrome - incapable of moving even their eyes to communicate - it helped them use their thought waves to respond yes or no to spoken questions. If all eye movements are lost, the condition is referred to as complete locked-in syndrome.


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How Winter Weather May Affect Hospital Admissions

Winter weather can come with a slew of health risks, ranging from heart problems to injuries from slips and falls, but those slick and snowy days can also keep people from getting to the hospital. In a new study from Boston hospitals, researchers found that hospitals admissions vary on snowy days, decreasing for certain conditions, such as heart problems, while increasing for others, such as frostbite. "With global climate change, major snowstorms may become more frequent and severe," lead study author Jennifer Bobb, a biostatistician at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, said in a statement.


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Brain-Stimulating Activities May Keep Seniors Sharp

Elderly adults who use a computer or engage in other brain-stimulating activities may reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems later in life, a new study suggests. The study found that U.S. adults ages 70 or older who engaged in mentally stimulating activities at least once or twice a week were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment four years later, compared with those who did not engage in mentally stimulating activities as frequently. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition in which people experience noticeable declines in their memory and thinking skills, but are still able to perform everyday activities.


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LSD May Help Reveal What Makes Music Meaningful

There's a good chance that there's a song that is particularly meaningful to you, and a new small study from Switzerland may explain what makes things we experience, including music, meaningful. In the study, researchers asked people to take the drug lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, and then were able to pinpoint how people's brains ascribed meaning to specific factors, such as songs, in their environment. It turns out that this connection to meaning may involve certain areas of the brain that previous research has tied to how people experience their sense of self, the researchers said.


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NASA unveils spaceship hatch 50 years after fatal Apollo 1 fire

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA on Friday marked the 50th anniversary of its moon program's fatal Apollo launchpad fire with the first public display of the scorched hatch that trapped three astronauts inside their spaceship during a routine pre-launch test. NASA astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee died when thick smoke filled the crew module of the Apollo 1 capsule on Jan. 27, 1967, in what was the first deadly accident in the space agency's early days. Emergency rescue teams rushed to battle the fire at the launchpad, located at what is now Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but were too late.


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Your oldest ancestor was really weird and had a big mouth

Scientists on Monday said a tiny marine creature from China that wriggled in the seabed mud about 540 million years ago may be the earliest-known animal in the lengthy evolutionary path that eventually led to humans. University of Cambridge paleontologist Simon Conway Morris noted that humans, who appeared a relatively recent 200,000 years ago, have a series of "evolutionarily deeper ancestors" than monkeys and apes. "And is not beauty in the eye of the beholder?" Conway Morris asked.


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100-Mile-Long Crack in Antarctic Ice Shelf Keeps Growing

A massive iceberg the size of Delaware is now even closer to breaking free from Antarctica, due to a widening crack in the ice shelf, scientists report. The Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica is cut through by a growing rift, which stretches nearly 109 miles (175 kilometers) long, new satellite data has revealed. Already in 2017, the rift has grown by 6.2 miles (10 km), and now only 12.4 miles (20 km) of ice are anchoring the massive iceberg to the ice shelf, according to Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom.


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Doomsday Clock Ticks Half-Minute Closer to Midnight in Historic Move

For the first time in its history, the Doomsday Clock, an imaginary timepiece that represents humanity's proximity to annihilation through mechanisms of our own design, has moved 30 seconds closer to calamity, with the minute hand now at 2 and a half minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced this morning (Jan. 26). The minute hand's new position for 2017 was determined by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with a team of experts including 15 Nobel laureates. They last reset the clock on Jan. 22, 2015, at 3 minutes to midnight, with midnight representing global calamity. Members of the Science and Security Board consider a number of factors when deciding which direction the clock will turn: nuclear threats, such as the total number of nuclear warheads in the world and the security of nuclear materials, as well as threats related to climate change, such as sea level rise and amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide.


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Pilgrim's Burial: Medieval Man with Leprosy Honored at Death

A young man who made a religious pilgrimage in England sometime during the late 11th or early 12th century ultimately died of leprosy and was buried in a hospital cemetery. "The wider implication of our research, ultimately, is that it can help challenge long-held and false notions of leprosy sufferers being traditionally outcast," lead researcher Simon Roffey, a lecturer in archaeology the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. The excavated man received a pilgrim's burial – meaning he was interred with a scallop shell, a symbol of a pilgrim who has made the journey to the shrine of St. James in Spain.


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Extended Trip: Why LSD's Effects Last So Long

LSD is an extremely potent, long-lasting psychedelic drug: A dose of just 100 micrograms is enough to send someone on a hallucinatory trip that can last a whole day. Now, scientists report that the way the drug molecule binds to brain receptors could explain LSD's long-lasting effects. LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, has a similar chemical structure to the "feel-good" brain chemical serotonin.


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Grand Illusion: Enter the World of 'The Magicians' at NYC Exhibit

In the magical world of the Syfy TV series "The Magicians," millennial mages-in-training hone their craft and confront deadly mystical peril at a secret school — Brakebills University — which is hidden from non-magicians' eyes. But here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, visitors can try their hand at performing magical illusions in the interactive exhibit "Hall of Magic," which opened Jan. 20 and runs until Sunday (Jan. 29). Installations in an array of rooms recreate the otherworldly atmosphere of the TV show, and allow visitors to sample experiences that mimic magical powers — pulling sounds out of books, shaping the flow of constellations on a starry ceiling, and commanding objects with a single gesture.


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Secret Room in UK Mansion Tied to King James I Assassination Attempt

Agile scientists equipped with 3D laser scanners have revealed the secrets of a hidden room, known as a "priest hole," in the tower of an English Tudor mansion linked to the failed "Gunpowder Plot" to assassinate King James I in 1605. A new study reveals how the secret double room was constructed in the tower of a gatehouse at Coughton Court in Warwickshire, as a hiding place for priests during the anti-Catholic persecutions of the 16th and 17th centuries. Catholic priests faced execution as traitors under the English laws of the time, and they were often tortured to reveal their accomplices, according to Christopher King, an assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and one of the lead researchers of the study.


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Pests in South Africa maize "strongly suspected" to be armyworms: scientist

By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A larvae outbreak which has damaged maize in South Africa's Limpopo and North West provinces is "strongly suspected" to be the invasive armyworm that has attacked crops in neighbouring countries, a scientist said on Monday. The infestation of fall armyworms - an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart - has erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi and follows a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year. Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on their agricultural products because the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest.


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Pests in South Africa maize "strongly suspected" to be armyworms: scientist

By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A larvae outbreak which has damaged maize in South Africa's Limpopo and North West provinces is "strongly suspected" to be the invasive armyworm that has attacked crops in neighboring countries, a scientist said on Monday. The infestation of fall armyworms - an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart - has erupted in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi and follows a crippling El Nino-triggered drought which scorched much of the region last year. Countries with confirmed outbreaks can face import bans on their agricultural products because the armyworm is classified as a quarantine pest.


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Human-Pig Chimeras Created, Could One Day Aid in Organ Transplants

In experiments aimed at finding ways to grow new human organs inside animals, researchers recently succeeded in making embryos that contained both pig and human and pig cells. These so-called human-pig chimeras (which contained only a small number of human cells) were allowed to develop for several weeks in female pigs before the pregnancies were terminated, according to a new study. "The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that," study researcher Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies' Gene Expression Laboratory in La Jolla, California, said in a statement.


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Mary Tyler Moore's Life Offers Hope for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Mary Tyler Moore's death on Wednesday at age 80 may highlight the long-term effects that type 1 diabetes can have on the body. Moore had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was in her 30s. With new advances in medicine, type 1 diabetes no longer means a certain premature death, but it still has a significant impact on the body over time.


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Drugmaker Novo Nordisk bets $145 million on post-Brexit UK science

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk, the world's top maker of diabetes drugs, is investing 115 million pounds ($145 million) in a new research centre in Britain, undeterred by Brexit. The Danish company said on Monday it would invest the money over 10 years in the centre based at the University of Oxford, which will employ 100 scientists hunting for new ways to treat type 2 diabetes. The decision is likely to be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who last week highlighted life sciences when she laid out a new industrial strategy designed to rebalance Britain's heavily services-based economy after it leaves the EU.


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Drugmaker Novo Nordisk bets $145 million on post-Brexit UK science

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk, the world's top maker of diabetes drugs, is investing 115 million pounds ($145 million) in a new research center in Britain, undeterred by Brexit. The Danish company said on Monday it would invest the money over 10 years in the center based at the University of Oxford, which will employ 100 scientists hunting for new ways to treat type 2 diabetes. The decision is likely to be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who last week highlighted life sciences when she laid out a new industrial strategy designed to rebalance Britain's heavily services-based economy after it leaves the EU.

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Drugmaker Novo Nordisk bets $145 million on post-Brexit UK science

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Novo Nordisk , the world's top maker of diabetes drugs, is investing 115 million pounds ($145 million) in a new research centre in Britain, undeterred by Brexit. The Danish company said on Monday it would invest the money over 10 years in the centre based at the University of Oxford, which will employ 100 scientists hunting for new ways to treat type 2 diabetes. The decision is likely to be welcomed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who last week highlighted life sciences when she laid out a new industrial strategy designed to rebalance Britain's heavily services-based economy after it leaves the EU.

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Lab-Made 'Metallic Hydrogen' Could Revolutionize Rocket Fuel

Metallic hydrogen, a bizarre form of the element that conducts electricity even at low temperatures, has finally been made in the lab, 80 years after physicists predicted its existence. "No one has ever encountered metallic hydrogen because it's never existed on Earth before," Isaac Silvera, a condensed matter physicist at Harvard University, told Live Science. In theory, it's possible that metallic hydrogen could be used as an ultralight, extremely powerful rocket fuel, Silvera added.

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'Crypt-Keeper Wasp' Turns Its Host into a Self-Sacrificing Zombie

The amber-colored victims are known as "crypt gall wasps" (Bassettia pallida). This is because the wasps are being manipulated by another crypt-residing wasp that capitalizes on the gall wasps’ ability to chew a hole for its own exit. When the crypt-keeper wasp had to get through the extra bark, it was three times more likely to get trapped in the crypt and die than a wasp that had to get through only the head and no bark, said lead study author Kelly Weinersmith, a parasitologist at Rice University in Houston.


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NASA unveils spaceship hatch 50 years after fatal Apollo 1 fire

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA on Friday marked the 50th anniversary of Apollo 1's fatal launchpad fire with the first public display of the scorched hatch that trapped three astronauts in the spaceship during a routine pre-launch test. NASA astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee died when thick smoke filled the crew module of the Apollo 1 capsule on Jan. 27, 1967. Emergency rescue teams rushed to battle the fire at the launchpad, located at what is now Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but were too late.


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Paris and Michael Jackson: Does Depression Run in Families?

Paris Jackson recently spoke about struggling with both depression and anxiety. When family members have the same mental health condition, is it a coincidence, the result of sharing the same household environment or evidence that the condition is heritable? Depression is "in the same class as many other complex disorders, like diabetes," in terms of its heritability, Myrna M. Weissman, a professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, told Live Science.


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Scientists Grow Mouse Pancreas Inside a Rat

In a recent experiment to help out mice that were missing their pancreases, scientists grew new pancreases from mouse stem cells in the bodies of rats, and then transplanted those pancreases into the mice. The work holds promise for alleviating the severe shortage of donated human organs, they said. "However, there is a much greater evolutionary distance between humans and pigs or sheep than there is between mice and rats, and this could create challenges," said the study's senior author, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, a stem cell biologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.


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Why Fancy Baby Monitors Aren't Needed for Healthy Babies

Today's high-end baby monitors do far more than just show video of a little one — some offer to measure babies' vital signs, including their breathing and heart rate, and let parents track all this info on their smartphones. There is currently no evidence that such monitors are accurate, the researchers said.Moreover, using these devices may lead to false alarms about babies'  health and safety that do not actually mean that there is something is going wrong, the researchers said. For their report, the researchers examined the features of five infant monitors that had been introduced over the past two years and had accompanying smartphone apps.


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Can a Roommate's Genes Influence Your Health?

In a new study, researchers found that the genetics of a mouse's cage mate can affect its own health in a multitude of ways. "The take-away message here is that we need to pay attention to the genetic makeup of social partners, since in some cases it affects health more than the individual's own genes," said Amelie Baud, a postdoctoral fellow at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, England, and first author on the study. "This is something we did not know before," Baud told Live Science.


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Early Menopause Linked to a Woman's Reproductive History

The age at which women get their first period, along with the number of children they have, may influence when they enter menopause, a new study from Australia finds. Women in the study who got their first period before age 12 and had no children were five times more likely to experience premature menopause, and twice as likely to experience early menopause, than were women who got their first period at age 12 or later, and who had two or more children. A woman’s age at her first period and age at menopause are both markers of reproductive health, and while it's not clear what the link between the two may mean for women's overall health, a better understanding of the possible link between them "will provide us with the opportunity to monitor and intervene as early as possible," to prepare women for the possibility of things like ovarian failure or early menopause, said Gita Mishra, the lead author of the paper and an epidemiology professor at The University of Queens…

Britain plan to leave Euratom could delay new nuclear build

By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - British plans to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) when it exits the European Union could raise costs, delay new nuclear power projects and complicate research and international cooperation agreements, experts said on Friday. On Thursday, Britain published the legislation it will use to seek parliamentary approval for triggering the process for leaving the European Union, saying the Prime Minister has the power to notify the European Council of withdrawal. Britain plans to build new nuclear reactors as it faces an electricity supply gap in the coming decade, the biggest of which is the $24 billion Hinkley Point C project being built by French utility EDF.

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U.S. scientists create metallic hydrogen, a possible superconductor, ending quest

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have succeeded in squeezing hydrogen so intensely that it has turned into a metal, creating an entirely new material that might be used as a highly efficient electricity conductor at room temperatures. The discovery, published in the journal Science on Thursday, provides the first confirmation of a theory proposed in 1935 by physicists Hillard Bell Huntington and Eugene Wigner that hydrogen, normally a gas, could occur in a metallic state if exposed to extreme pressure. Several teams have been racing to develop metallic hydrogen, which is highly prized because of its potential as a superconductor, a material that is extremely efficient at conducting electricity.


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U.S. scientists create metallic hydrogen, a possible superconductor, ending quest

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have succeeded in squeezing hydrogen so intensely that it has turned into a metal, creating an entirely new material that might be used as a highly efficient electricity conductor at room temperatures. The discovery, published in the journal Science on Thursday, provides the first confirmation of a theory proposed in 1935 by physicists Hillard Bell Huntington and Eugene Wigner that hydrogen, normally a gas, could occur in a metallic state if exposed to extreme pressure. Several teams have been racing to develop metallic hydrogen, which is highly prized because of its potential as a superconductor, a material that is extremely efficient at conducting electricity.


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U.S. scientists create metallic hydrogen, a possible superconductor, ending quest

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have succeeded in squeezing hydrogen so intensely that it has turned into a metal, creating an entirely new material that might be used as a highly efficient electricity conductor at room temperatures. The discovery, published in the journal Science on Thursday, provides the first confirmation of a theory proposed in 1935 by physicists Hillard Bell Huntington and Eugene Wigner that hydrogen, normally a gas, could occur in a metallic state if exposed to extreme pressure. ...


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Nuclear 'Doomsday Clock' ticks closest to midnight in 64 years

By John Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Atomic scientists reset their symbolic "Doomsday Clock" to its closest time to midnight in 64 years on Thursday, saying the world was closer to catastrophe due to threats such as nuclear weapons, climate change and Donald Trump's election as U.S. president. The timepiece, devised by the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and displayed on its website, is widely viewed as an indicator of the world's vulnerability to disaster. "The Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than it's ever been in the lifetime of almost everyone in this room," Lawrence Krauss, the bulletin's chair, told a news conference in Washington.


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Scientists take first steps to growing human organs in pigs

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have grown human cells inside pig embryos, a very early step toward the goal of growing livers and other human organs inside animals to transplant into people.


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Meditation Really Does Lower Body's Stress Signals

Meditation may help the body respond to stressful situations, according to a new study that took a rigorous look at how the practice affects people's physiology when they're under pressure. In the study, people with anxiety disorder took an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation, in which they learned to focus on the present moment and accept difficult thoughts or feelings. The researchers found that, after completing the course, these participants showed reduced levels of stress hormones and markers of inflammation during a stressful event, compared with how their bodies reacted before the course.


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Log On, Sleep Better? Online Therapy for Insomnia Shows Promise

For people with insomnia, help falling asleep may soon be available online: A recent clinical trial found that a web-based course of treatment for insomnia was effective at helping people get more sleep. Compared with people in the study who received no therapy, those who participated in the online treatment group fell asleep faster, woke up fewer times during the night and reported less severe insomnia after completing the treatment, according to the study. The type of therapy, called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (or CBT-I), is considered to be a "first-line" recommendation for people with chronic insomnia — that is, insomnia that lasts longer than one month.


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Fake News 'Vaccine' Could Stop Spread of False Information

It might be possible to prevent people from falling prey to fake news by "inoculating" them with warnings that false information is out there, new research suggests. In an online study, scientists warned people about the type of misinformation they might encounter in a subsequent statement. This warning prevented the false information from taking hold in a way that wasn't possible by simply providing people with the correct facts after giving them a false statement, the researchers reported Jan. 23 in the journal Global Challenges.


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NASA's Aurora-Watching Rocket Campaign Blasts Off

NASA is known for its awe-inspiring missions to explore the far reaches of the cosmos, but this month, the space agency is preparing for very different kinds of rocket launches: ones to explore the mysteries of Earth's auroras. Over three missions and five launches, NASA will launch rockets into the Earth's upper atmosphere to help scientists better understand the planet's magnetic environment. From auroras to solar winds, the rockets will examine what's known as near-Earth space, NASA researchers said.


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New Exosuit Fabric Could Boost Mobility in People with Disabilities

Knitting and weaving artificial muscles could help create soft exoskeletons that people with disabilities could wear under their clothes to help them walk, according to new research. Textile processing is one of humanity's oldest technologies, but in recent years there has been renewed interest in using it to create "smart" textiles that can do everything from harvest power from the environment to monitor our health. Now, Swedish researchers have created actuators — devices that convert energy into motion — from cellulose yarn coated with a polymer that reacts to electricity.


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British astronaut Peake to make second space flight

British astronaut Tim Peake is to return to the International Space Station to carry out more research, the government said on Thursday. The announcement was made at London's Science Museum, where the capsule which carried Peake on his previous 186-day 'Principia' mission to the space station was unveiled for display. "Tim Peake's Principia mission inspired a generation, and showed just how far science can take you," said business secretary Greg Clark.


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U.S. government scientists go 'rogue' in defiance of Trump

Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial "rogue" Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science. Seizing on Trump's favorite mode of discourse, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other bureaus have privately launched Twitter accounts - borrowing names and logos of their agencies - to protest restrictions they view as censorship and provide unfettered platforms for information the new administration has curtailed. "Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS," one anonymous National Park Service employee posted on the newly opened Twitter account @AltNatParkService.

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U.S. government scientists go 'rogue' in defiance of Trump

Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial "rogue" Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science. Seizing on Trump's favorite mode of discourse, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other bureaus have privately launched Twitter accounts - borrowing names and logos of their agencies - to protest restrictions they view as censorship and provide unfettered platforms for information the new administration has curtailed. "Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS," one anonymous National Park Service employee posted on the newly opened Twitter account @AltNatParkService.

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U.S. government scientists go 'rogue' in defiance of Trump

Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial "rogue" Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science. Seizing on Trump's favourite mode of discourse, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other bureaus have privately launched Twitter accounts - borrowing names and logos of their agencies - to protest restrictions they view as censorship and provide unfettered platforms for information the new administration has curtailed. "Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS," one anonymous National Park Service employee posted on the newly opened Twitter account @AltNatParkService.

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EPA science under scrutiny by Trump political staff

The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. The ...


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Russia says technical checks may delay some space rocket launches

Russia's space agency said on Wednesday it had ordered extra checks to be made on its Proton-M rockets, meaning it might be forced to delay some satellite launches this year. Roscosmos, the Russian equivalent of NASA, made the announcement after the Kommersant daily reported that manufacturing problems had been detected in some Proton-M rockets and that some launches were likely to be delayed by several months "in a best case scenario." European, U.S. and Asian firms rely heavily on Russia to launch their commercial satellites, and a Roscosmos source told Kommersant that Moscow planned to launch 27 rockets this year, eight of which were Proton-Ms. "Additional tests (on the Proton-M) are being carried out. Igor Burenkov, a spokesman for the corporation, said it would become clear after the tests if there would definitely be delays and for how long.


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Gene-edited cells keep cancer babies well more than one year on

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Two babies rescued from previously incurable leukemia after receiving infusions of gene-edited immune cells are doing well at home more than a year after initial treatment, scientists said on Wednesday. Layla Richards became the first person in the world to get the "off-the-shelf" cell therapy developed by French biotech firm Cellectis at Britain's Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2015. Waseem Qasim, a consultant immunologist at the London hospital, said the two cases showed the gene-edited cells were working, although long term monitoring was still required.

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Trump administration likely to review EPA scientists' work - NPR

Scientific findings by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff will likely face a case-by-case review by the Trump administration before being released, a spokesman for President Donald Trump's transition team told NPR in an interview published on Wednesday. Doug Ericksen, who oversees communications for the administration's EPA team, said agency scientists were expected to undergo an internal vetting process but did not give specifics.


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Sportscaster's Surprise Cancer Reveal: 5 Cervical Cancer Facts

Sportscaster Erin Andrews has revealed she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, and went back to work just days after undergoing surgery to treat the condition. In an interview with the sports news website MMQB, the 38-year-old Andrews said that a routine checkup last June led her doctors to run some follow-up tests for cervical cancer. A few days after her operation, Andrews flew from Los Angeles to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to cover a National Football League (NFL) game.


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Speedy TB Treatment Could Combat Drug Resistance

Tuberculosis in mice can be cured much faster than normal by simply tweaking the standard regimen of antibiotics, new research shows. The finding may lead to a markedly shorter course of treatment for tuberculosis in humans and may reduce the risk of the infection becoming resistant to the antibiotics.


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Is Burnt Toast Bad for You? The Science of Cancer and Acrylamide

A new warning about the health risks of eating browned potatoes and burnt toast draws a link between a chemical called acrylamide and an increased risk of cancer. The warning comes from the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency, which launched a campaign on Jan. 23 called "Go for Gold" that's aimed at reducing the amount of acrylamide that people eat. The name refers to the golden color people should aim for when cooking starchy foods, instead of cooking further, to the point of reaching a darker brown color.


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Hidden Heart Risks? Masked Hypertension May Affect 17 Million

Nearly one in eight Americans who think that they have normal blood pressure may have a type of high blood pressure that doesn't show up at the doctor's office, a new study finds. The phenomenon, called "masked hypertension," refers to a condition in which a person's blood pressure measurements are normal when taken in a doctor's office but elevated outside the office, during the individual's day-to-day activities, the study said. People with masked hypertension may be at increased risk for heart disease, according to the study, published Jan. 18 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


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Tiny, Underwater Robots Offer Unprecedented View of World's Oceans

For their initial deployments, the Mini-Autonomous Underwater Explorers (M-AUEs) were able to record the 3D movements of the ocean's internal waves — a feat that traditional instruments cannot achieve. Study lead author Jules Jaffe, a research oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said current ocean measurements are akin to sticking a finger in a specific region of the water. The swarm's first mission was to investigate how the ocean's internal waves moved.


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Five teams vying for Google prize to land spacecraft on the moon

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Five teams have qualified to compete in a $30 million Google-backed competition to land and operate robotic spacecraft on the surface of the moon, the XPrize Foundation said on Tuesday. Previously, competitors needed to complete activities on the lunar surface, such as having their vehicles travel 1,640 feet (500 meters) and broadcast high-definition video, by the end of the year. Since the contest was announced in 2007, interest in the Google Lunar XPrize has been high, with 33 teams originally signing up to compete for the $20 million first prize.


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Evolution, Climate and Vaccines: Why Americans Deny Science

Those numbers, all gleaned from recent Pew and Gallup research polls, might suggest that Americans are an anti-science bunch. "The whole discussion around scientific denial has become very, very simplified," said Troy Campbell, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. The presentations are occurring today (Jan. 21) at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in San Antonio.


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Ultrafast Camera Captures 'Sonic Booms' of Light for First Time

Just as aircraft flying at supersonic speeds create cone-shaped sonic booms, pulses of light can leave behind cone-shaped wakes of light. When an object moves through air, it propels the air in front of it away, creating pressure waves that move at the speed of sound in all directions. If the object is moving at speeds equal to or greater than sound, it outruns those pressure waves.


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Fossils of utterly huge otter unearthed in China

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists have unearthed fossils of an intriguingly large otter as big as a wolf that frolicked in rivers and lakes in a lush, warm and humid wetlands region in southwestern China about 6.2 million years ago. Who would have imagined a wolf-size otter?" said Denise Su, Cleveland Museum of Natural History curator of paleobotany and paleoecology. "I think it used its powerful jaws to crush hard clams for food, somewhat like modern sea otters, although the latter use stone tools to smash shells," said Xiaoming Wang, head of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.


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Later Gator! Video of Giant 'Humpback' Alligator Goes Viral

A viral video of a massive, and monstrous alligator known unofficially as "Humpback" has just been posted on the Facebook page of a natural reserve in Florida. The giant alligator was caught trekking slowly across a trail at the Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland, Florida. Though a face-to-face with "Humpback" would be terrifying, he is not an unusually large creature for his kind.


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Pendant Just Like Anne Frank's Discovered at Nazi Death Camp

Archaeologists have discovered a German Jewish girl's pendant — nearly identical to the one that belonged to Anne Frank — in the ruins of a Nazi death camp in eastern Poland. The discovery has sent researchers looking for more information about the young girl who once owned the medallion and her possible links to the Frank family. The silver pendant was unearthed at the Sobib√≥r extermination camp, where some 200,000 people were killed between 1942 and 1943.


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Ketchup Bottle Physics: Scientist Unlocks Key to Splat-Free Sauce

As such, the common method of tapping or whacking a ketchup bottle to encourage the sauce to come out is necessary, but what's the best way to keep the splatter at bay? The answer lies in understanding rheology, which is the study of these soft solids, said Anthony Stickland, a senior lecturer in the University of Melbourne's School of Engineering. There are three simple steps to getting ketchup out of the bottle without the mess, Stickland said in a statement.


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Adorable Terror: Wolf-Size Otter Hunted Ancient China

A fearsome, wolf-size otter with a large head and a powerful jaw once swam around the shallow, swampy waters of ancient China, likely hunting for clams and other shellfish, a new study finds. At 110 lbs. (50 kilograms), the animal would have been about twice the size of the modern-day South American giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) and about four times the size of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the researchers said. "This extinct otter is larger than all living otters," said study lead researcher Xiaoming Wang, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California.


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