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Showing posts from February 17, 2017

A new 'continent's' been found under the magical land of New Zealand

New Zealand, the land of Hobbits, ridiculously beautiful landscapes and, uh, The Feebles, has just become a little bit more magical. An entire flipping continent might be hiding beneath New Zealand, geologists say. The area, named Zealandia, is massive. SEE ALSO: New 'world's longest flight' travellers endure 16 hours of just sitting there At 4.9-million square kilometers, or nearly 1.9-million square miles, it's bigger than all of India. Yet most of it — about 94 percent — is submerged in the ocean, according to a new study in the Geological Society of America's journal, GSA Today.  A map of Earth's tectonic plates and continents, including Zealandia. Image: Mortimer et AL, GSA Today (2017) Geologists haven't officially declared Zealandia a new continent. Instead, the study's authors make the case that it should be in the continent club with Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, North America and South America. Zealandia was once part of Gondwana, th…

NASA Needs Your Help To Find Planet 9 And Other Hidden Solar System Objects

Live out those astronaut dreams and help NASA find Planet 9.


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Can Woolly Mammoths Be Brought Back To Life?

A team of scientists from Harvard is attempting to create a “mammophant” — essentially an elephant with mammoth-like features.


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Body of tortoise 'Lonesome George' returned to Galapagos Islands

The embalmed body of the giant tortoise known as Lonesome George -- the last known member of a species that was wiped out with his death in 2012 -- returned home to the Ecuadoran Galapagos Islands. The body arrived in Puerto Ayora, the capital of the archipelago's Santa Cruz Island, on an Ecuadoran military plane after undergoing taxidermy work at New York's American Museum of Natural History, the Galapagos National Park said. The giant tortoise -- thought to be around a century old when he died in June 2012 -- was the last known member of the subspecies Geochelone nigra abingdoni.


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AP FACT CHECK: Trump's iffy grasp of autism research

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has weighed in on child autism, apparently without a complete grasp of the research.


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SpaceX is pushing back the target launch date for its first Mars mission

Last year, SpaceX announced a bold plan to launch its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018 — in what would be the first ever private mission to the Red Planet. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell confirmed today that SpaceX is now targeting the year 2020 for the Mars trip, a move that will allow the company to better focus on its other ambitious projects.


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Lost Winston Churchill Essay Argues That Aliens Exist

The unpublished article lays out a prescient case for extraterrestrial life.


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N. Zealand part of sunken 'lost continent': scientists

New Zealand sits atop a previously unknown continent -- mostly submerged beneath the South Pacific -- that should be recognised with the name Zealandia, scientists said Friday. Researchers said Zealandia was a distinct geological entity and met all the criteria applied to Earth's seven other continents -- elevation above the surrounding area, distinctive geology, a well-defined area and a crust much thicker than that found on the ocean floor. In a paper published in the Geological Society of America's Journal, GSA Today, they said Zealandia measured five million square kilometre (1.9 million square miles) and was 94 percent underwater.


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Sorry, y'all. SpaceX isn't going to Mars in 2018

In April 2016, SpaceX made the bold proclamation that it will send a robotic mission to Mars by 2018.  Today, the Elon Musk-founded company is singing a different tune.  Instead of aiming for the 2018 deadline, SpaceX will now try to launch a robotic mission to Mars — known as its Red Dragon mission — two years later, in 2020, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said during a press conference Friday.  SEE ALSO: SpaceX's historic rocket launch Saturday could end in another dramatic landing This delay will allow the company to refocus on other more, earthly ambitions in the near term before setting its sights on Mars down the road. "We were focused on 2018, but we felt like we needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program, so we’re looking more in the 2020 time frame for that," Shotwell said.  Artist's illustration of a Mars landing. Image: spacex The 2020 mission should involve sending a Dragon spacecraft to Mars usi…

No thanks to the new science thing

It often seems a parade of researchers are trying to foist new things I don’t want on me: a new organ, a new planet, a new dwarf planet, a new continent. No, thank you, I have quite enough continents already. The landmass, which would be called Zealandia if it were a continent, which it isn’t, contains two above-water parts: New Zealand and New Caledonia.


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NASA's Next Frontier Is Washington

Only one president’s name came up during the new Congress’s first hearing about NASA this week: John F. Kennedy. This makes sense. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology gathered on Thursday to discuss the “past, present, and future” of NASA, as the name of the hearing suggested, and no president was more instrumental in shaping that past than Kennedy. There was no surprise when one congressman from Colorado reminded the panelists at the hearing that Kennedy chose “to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”


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Under Trump, NASA Could Add Astronauts To Unmanned Moon Missions

NASA is studying the possibility of adding a crew to an unmanned mission and moving up a scheduled moon landing.


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Biologists find weird cave life that may be 50,000 years old

BOSTON (AP) — In a Mexican cave system so beautiful and hot that it is called both Fairyland and hell, scientists have discovered life trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old.


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Why Exercise Is Not Enough to Prevent Weight Gain

Exercise on its own — without also following a healthy diet — isn't enough to help people lose or even just maintain their weight, a recent study suggests. The new results run counter to the idea that the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is caused by a lack of physical activity, said lead study author Lara Dugas, an assistant professor of public health sciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. When it comes to figuring out the causes of obesity, "what we really need to look at is what people are eating," Dugas told Live Science.


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There’s An Eighth Continent That’s Been Hiding From Us This Whole Time

And it was right under our noses.


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NASA’s Youngest Researcher Poised To Be First Mexican On Mars

"[It] fills me with pride to be able to carry the flag of Mexico on such an important mission."


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Lost Winston Churchill Essay Argues That Aliens Exist

The unpublished article lays out a prescient case for extraterrestrial life.


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Elon Musk is a SpaceX truther

What are you trying to hide SpaceX? Over the past two years, SpaceX has been working to make its rockets reusable by landing the vehicles upright after they launch to space. Some simply argue that landing videos are clips of rockets taking off played in reverse.


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Chill out, woolly mammoths aren't coming back just yet

Woolly mammoths won't be trouncing through the Arctic tundra anytime soon. Contrary to recent headlines, which herald the extinct beast's coming resurrection, scientists are still a long way from figuring out how to revive the elephant ancestor. SEE ALSO: Humans will drive polar bears to extinction without climate action, feds say Woolly mammoths roamed the planet for hundreds of thousands of years before they vanished about 4,000 years ago. Paleontologists say the culprit for the die-off was possibly overhunting, or changes in mammoth's food supply after the last Ice Age. A camp of scientists — known as "revivalists" — are dedicated to bringing mammoths back in the modern era for environmental and biological reasons. Some researchers have made important early progress, although nothing is close to leaving the lab. A frozen mammoth discovered in the permafrost zone in Siberia is displayed in Nagakute, Japan. Image: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images At Harvard Univers…

Antarctica just shed a Manhattan-sized iceberg, and a bigger one is coming soon

An iceberg the size of Manhattan has cleaved off of Antarctica's rapidly melting Pine Island Glacier on the southwest coast of the continent. NASA released the new data showing the iceberg's birth on Feb. 15, though the imagery was acquired between Jan. 26 and Jan. 31.  The agency says "about a kilometer or two of ice" broke off the glacier's floating ice shelf during this period, making it a large iceberg but comparitively small in the recent history of this particular area.  SEE ALSO: This 'GOT' star teamed up with Google to capture Greenland's melting ice According to Ian Howat, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, the event was about 10 times smaller than the chunk of ice that broke off the same glacier in July 2015, when a 20-mile, or 30-kilometer, rift developed and calved an iceberg spanning 225 square miles. “I think this event is the calving equivalent of an ‘aftershock’ following the much bigger event,” Howat said in a press release.  “A…

Get your Sagan on with these 30 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. These 30 photographs show the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and far corners of the universe -- just in case you need to bring out your inner Carl Sagan.


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Biologists find weird cave life that may be 50,000 years old

BOSTON (AP) — In a Mexican cave system so beautiful and hot that it is called both Fairyland and hell, scientists have discovered life trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old.


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More Than 200 Baldness-Linked Genetic Markers Found

More than 200 new genetic markers linked with male pattern baldness have been identified, according to a new study from the United Kingdom. The researchers in the new study were also able to use their set of genetic markers to predict men's chances of severe hair loss, although the scientists noted that their results apply more to large populations of people than to any given individual. "We are still a long way from making an accurate prediction for an individual's hair-loss pattern.


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Broad Institute wins gene-editing patent case

What many have described as the biotechnology trial of the century came to a close Wednesday, with the Broad Institute winning the patent to a popular gene-editing process known as CRISPR/Cas-9. The legal battle over who really invented the technology pitted Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute -- a research facility affiliated with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- against French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley. Charpentier and Doudna have won multiple prizes in the past four years and were widely considered to have discovered this gene-editing technique.


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Resurrected hybrid wolly mammoth could walk the earth within two years, scientists say

After 4,000 years of extinction, the woolly mammoth could soon walk the earth again, as scientists reveal the huge beast could be resurrected within two years. Scientists believe they will have the technology to create an elephant and mammoth hybrid embryo through groundbreaking genetic engineering, by programming mammoth genes into an Asian elephant. In comments ahead of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston (16 to 20 February) experts discussed the so-called "de-extinction" effort.


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GMOs and engineered biology

Randal Kirk, Intrexon CEO chairman & CEO, discusses the biotech company's advances in genetic engineering.


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A new 'continent's' been found under the magical land of New Zealand

New Zealand, the land of Hobbits, ridiculously beautiful landscapes and, uh, The Feebles, has just become a little bit more magical. An entire flipping continent might be hiding beneath New Zealand, geologists say. The area, named Zealandia, is massive. SEE ALSO: New 'world's longest flight' travellers endure 16 hours of just sitting there At 4.9-million square kilometers, or nearly 1.9-million square miles, it's bigger than all of India. Yet most of it — about 94 percent — is submerged in the ocean, according to a new study in the Geological Society of America's journal, GSA Today.  A map of Earth's tectonic plates and continents, including Zealandia. Image: Mortimer et AL, GSA Today (2017) Geologists haven't officially declared Zealandia a new continent. Instead, the study's authors make the case that it should be in the continent club with Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, North America and South America. Zealandia was once part of Gondwana, th…

In study, brain scans help predict autism in babies

Researchers say the experimental findings could lead to a new method to diagnose infants earlier, when intervention is key


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NASA's Next Frontier Is Washington

Only one president’s name came up during the new Congress’s first hearing about NASA this week: John F. Kennedy. This makes sense. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology gathered on Thursday to discuss the “past, present, and future” of NASA, as the name of the hearing suggested, and no president was more instrumental in shaping that past than Kennedy. There was no surprise when one congressman from Colorado reminded the panelists at the hearing that Kennedy chose “to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”


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How Our Changing Environment Requires a New Definition of Citizenship

It was also the year scientists advised that Earth’s citizens were now living in the Anthropocene, the name proposed for an epoch in which humans influence geology and environment on a global scale. The concept of citizenship originally described inhabitants of (probably walled) towns. Alberto Seveso’s cover illustration for a 2015 edition of Nature dedicated to the Anthropocene highlights some of the key factors that turned humanity into a geophysical force, including nuclear technology, the evolution of agriculture, and the industrial revolution.


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New supercomputer aids climate research in top coal state

A new supercomputer in the top coal-mining state has begun critical climate-change research with support from even some global warming doubters, but scientists worry President Donald Trump could cut funding ...


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There’s An Eighth Continent That’s Been Hiding From Us This Whole Time

And it was right under our noses.


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Enjoy this live-streamed expedition to the ocean floor

Camera two on the expeditionNOAA Okeanos Explorer ProgramAh yes, the ocean: a place where most living things appear to have conjured themselves directly from my nightmares. We know very little about the sea floor, which we have barely observed. In the hopes of expanding our knowledge, the Okeanos Explorer — a project from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — will head to the sea mounts 250 to 6,000 meters deep near American Samoa. What horrors lurk there?Well there was that adorable octopod, likely a new species, that the Okeanos Explorer found last year. ...


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Lost Essay Suggests Winston Churchill Believed In Aliens

He also predicted space travel


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Rare Leptospirosis Cases in NYC: 5 Things to Know

Three people in New York City recently became sick with a rare bacterial disease called leptospirosis that they might have contracted from rats, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). All three cases occurred in a one-block section of a neighborhood in the Bronx called the  Concourse over the past two months, the DOHMH said in a statement. Although New York City typically sees about one to three cases of leptospirosis per year, this is the first time that health officials have identified a cluster of leptospirosis cases (meaning more than a single case occurring in the same place around the same time) in the city, the DOHMH said.


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Winston Churchill Essay On Aliens Rediscovered

Churchill wrote the essay on the eve of World War II.


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Lost Winston Churchill Essay Argues That Aliens Exist

The unpublished article lays out a prescient case for extraterrestrial life.


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Al Gore: 'Horrific' Health Risks from Climate, But 'We Have Solutions'

The climate crisis will have significant effects on health, but "we do have solutions at hand," former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said today. Some of the health risks that Gore, an environmental expert, a book author and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, highlighted in his speech included the spread of infectious disease, the dangers of extreme heat and the health effects of air pollution. These health risks, and their potential solutions, were discussed here today (Feb. 16) at the Climate & Health Meeting, a gathering of experts from public health organizations, universities and advocacy groups that focused on the health impacts of climate change.


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How Unlearning Makes You Smarter

Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” That piece of advice is particularly valuable in today’s professional environment where large, too-big-to-fail organizations are regularly disrupted by scrappy, think-outside-the-box startups. Groupthink is a rationally justified consensus that rewards conformity. Perhaps you’ve experienced an environment where groupthink has stifled originality.


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Depression Can Affect New Fathers, Too

Men who are expecting a child or whose partner has recently had a baby may experience depression just as women sometimes do, according to a new study. In recent years, much attention has been focused on recognizing and treating maternal depression, and this treatment has had positive effects on the health of moms and babies, the research team said. The new study of fathers — one of the largest studies on both prenatal and postnatal paternal depression — included more than 3,500 men and was part of the ongoing "Growing Up in New Zealand" project.


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TV Review: ‘Planet Earth II’

Simply put, “Planet Earth” is the most important program of our generation. It makes writing about it almost beside the point; the program, whose second installment “Planet Earth II” is debuting on BBC America this Saturday, is an exquisitely rendered documentary of the natural world. It’s a uniquely dichotomous achievement, one that combines our expanding technologies... Read more »


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