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Showing posts from January 30, 2017

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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