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Showing posts from February 22, 2017

SpaceX’s self-landing rocket is a flying robot that’s great at math

What you’re seeing in the video above is a 40 meter tall SpaceX rocket booster, weighing more than 20 tons, fly itself back to Earth from space and land precisely on a target at Cape Canaveral. What you may be wondering is, how did it do that? The first thing to know is that a…


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DC-based for decades, Apollo 11 capsule to go on road trip

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) — The Apollo 11 command module, which traveled more than 950,000 miles to take Americans to the moon and back in 1969, is going on a road trip, leaving the Smithsonian for the first time in more than four decades.


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A Gigantic Extinct 'Monster Worm' With Snapping Jaws Has Been Discovered By Scientists

A gigantic worm with terrifying snapping jaws has been discovered by scientists in Canada. An international research team identified the remains of the ‘monster worm’ in fossils stored at the Royal Ontario Museum since the mid-1990s. The bristle worm is believed to have been more than a metre long and it’s jaw alone reached more than a centimetre in length.


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Overwatch's defining characteristic is its location

Blizzard has taken its players and fans to many strange players. Speaking at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas today, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan explained why the team wanted to make a game set on Earth, and why the prospect was so daunting. As previously chronicled on Polygon, Overwatch was born from the disaster of failed MMO project Titan.


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7 Earth-sized planets discovered with possible life

NASA announced the discovery of the most Earth-sized planets found in the habitable zone of a single star. The dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, was discovered in 2008.


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Hug a tree while you still can: U.S. forests are disappearing

The Amazon rainforest and Indonesia's peat swamps aren't the only places suffering from deforestation. On the mainland U.S., swaths of forests are steadily disappearing, too. It's not just that we're losing trees. The forests themselves are growing farther and farther apart, researchers say. A new study found that the average distance between forest patches increased by nearly 1,690 feet — or about 14 percent — between 1992 and 2001. SEE ALSO: Meet the architect behind China's smog-sucking 'vertical forests' That's bad news for biodiversity.  Think of each forest patch as a sanctuary or transit hub for migratory animals and other species. When forests are closely knit together, the wildlife, plants and soil can share nutrients and thrive. When trees are few and far between, these connections break down. "There are lots of studies that concentrate on how much forest is lost. We wanted to see how important is the forest that we're losing?" s…

An inside look at the differences between life at NASA and SpaceX

When Elon Musk sets his sights on an industry, he does so with purpose and with the intention of completely turning said industry on its head. While most people are readily familiar with Musk's efforts at Tesla, the groundbreaking work being done by SpaceX, Musk's other company, has only recently started to attract attention from the mainstream.To be sure, Elon Musk was bold for thinking that Tesla could revolutionize the auto industry. That said, Musk's plans to enter the aerospace industry with SpaceX and compete with and work alongside NASA wasn't just bold, it was downright crazy. And yet, both of Musk's ventures continue to amass greater success with each passing year.Earlier this month, we stumbled across a thread on Quora asking if it's better for engineers to work at NASA or SpaceX. Of course, the question itself was a bit misleading because it's not as if one company is superior to the other. Without question, some of the smartest minds on the plan…

Life expectancy to keep rising; S. Korean women could hit 91

LONDON (AP) — While most people born in rich countries will live longer by 2030 — with women in South Korea projected to reach nearly 91 — Americans will continue to have one of the lowest life expectancies of any developed country, a new study predicts.


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NASA News Conference Live Stream: NASA To Announce Exoplanet Discoveries

NASA experts are holding a press conference to unveil new information about exoplanets, which are planets that revolve around a star other than our Sun. Watch the NASA live stream here.


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EPA's Scott Pruitt enters a hotbed of anti-Trump resistance: his own agency

Usually, new administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are welcomed at headquarters without too much fanfare. That is, until today.  Scott Pruitt — the new EPA administrator nominated to the position by President Donald Trump — gave his welcome address to his agency Tuesday after garnering more "no" votes on the Senate floor than any other EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970.  SEE ALSO: One of the shortest bills ever was just introduced in Congress, it's basically just 'KILL THE EPA' In taking on the job, Pruitt is facing a daunting challenge: stiff resistance from within the agency itself, with current and former employees having protested his nomination, with some taking the nearly unheard of step of openly advocating for senators to vote "no" when it was brought to the Senate floor.  For some scientists in the agency, his first speech was probably the equivalent of Voldemort himself walking into Hogwarts and assuming th…

Seven Earth-sized planets orbit an alien star only 40 light-years away

A small, cool star in distant space plays host to something amazing.  Scientists have discovered that at least seven Earth-sized worlds circle the star TRAPPIST-1, a ultracool dwarf star only about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth.  The planetary haul — which includes at least six rocky planets total, three of which were first discovered last year — is detailed in a new study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.  SEE ALSO: Stop describing a planet as 'Earth-like' unless it really is This marks the first time so many Earth-sized worlds have been found orbiting the same star.  It's possible that some of those exoplanets (worlds orbiting stars outside of our solar system) could play host to liquid water on their surfaces, boosting the chance that alien life might be lurking there.  "We can expect that within a few years we will know a lot more about these planets," Amaury Triaud, a co-author of the new study said during a press conference, add…

Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent

Earth has eight continents, and world maps should reflect this, geologists say. The eighth, a lost continent called Zealandia, isn't a huge landmass that geographers have somehow missed. Rather, only small bits — including New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few other specks of land in the vast Pacific Ocean — are above sea level.


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Modern-Day ‘Hidden Figure’ Shares Her Inspiring Journey as a Female Rocket Scientist: ‘I Wanted to Own the Fact That I Was a Woman’

When Olympia LePoint was 6 years old, a school field trip altered her young life. The South Central, Los Angeles, native says she “became alive” as she viewed a mission control room and jet engines at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where her late grandfather was a janitor. “It was uplifting for me,” LePoint tells PEOPLE.


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One Small Step... One Giant Leap

Joseph, not a day passes without me contemplating your future and what life will ultimately hold for you. I know you need me to help you understand, what is very much an alien world to yours.Most days I set you small challenges, without you even knowing it. I have hope that these small tests will help you grow and give you the independence you will certainly need to live your life to its fullest. ...


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In hot water: Climate change harms hot spots of ocean life

WASHINGTON (AP) — The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds.


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Russian space craft lifts off for international space station

A Russian Progress cargo space craft blasted off for the International Space Station from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the first such mission since a failed launch in December. The space craft, carried by the same Soyuz booster rocket as used for manned launches, took off at 11:58 (0558 GMT) with the launch broadcast live by NASA TV. It is due to dock with the space station on Feb.24.


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7 potentially habitable exoplanets discovered

The planets have been nicknamed "Earth's seven sisters."


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Space buffs drool as NASA announces a major 'discovery beyond our solar system'

NASA will host a news conference on Wednesday to discuss recent discoveries of planets beyond our solar system. The even will begin at 1 p.m. ET. The public are invited to ask questions via Twitter with the hashtag #askNASA.


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A Gigantic Extinct 'Monster Worm' With Snapping Jaws Has Been Discovered By Scientists

A gigantic worm with terrifying snapping jaws has been discovered by scientists in Canada. An international research team identified the remains of the ‘monster worm’ in fossils stored at the Royal Ontario Museum since the mid-1990s. The bristle worm is believed to have been more than a metre long and it’s jaw alone reached more than a centimetre in length.


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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has plans for big expansion of Seattle-area HQ

Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has out-of-this-world ambitions – with expansion plans to match. Permit filings at the city of Kent, Wash., reveal plans for a 236,000-square-foot warehouse complex and 102,900 square feet of office space, southwest of Blue Origin’s current 300,000-square-foot headquarters and rocket production facility in an industrial area of the city. Last year, Blue Origin purchased a 120,000-square-foot warehouse building across the street from its headquarters to support the production of the company’s BE-3 and BE-4 rocket engines, as well as its New Shepard suborbital boosters and crew capsules. “When we go to the next step with… Read More


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DC-based for decades, Apollo 11 capsule to go on road trip

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) — The Apollo 11 command module, which traveled more than 950,000 miles to take Americans to the moon and back in 1969, is going on a road trip, leaving the Smithsonian for the first time in more than four decades.


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'Alarming' superbugs a risk to people, animals and food, EU warns

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Superbug bacteria found in people, animals and food across the European Union pose an "alarming" threat to public and animal health having evolved to resist widely used antibiotics, disease and safety experts warned on Wednesday. A report on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said some 25,000 people die from such superbugs in the European Union every year.


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Climate Change Could Have Wide-Ranging Effects on Mental Health

Climate change may have surprising and wide-ranging effects on mental health, experts say. That's because climate change is both a root cause of mental health crises and a "threat multiplier," meaning that it makes existing mental health problems worse, said Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist in private practice and an advisory board member for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Van Susteren spoke about the connection between climate change and mental health yesterday (Feb. 16) here 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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NASA discovered 7 Earth-sized planets and everyone made the same Trump jokes

Finally — some good news. NASA has found what pretty much appears to be a backup solar system a mere 40 light-years away. And not a moment too soon. SEE ALSO: NASA may put astronauts on the first flight of its new mega-rocket Scientists discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets circling a dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, and everyone on Earth is ready to sign up for a one-way ticket to the new system. (Using current technology, it would be nearly impossible for humans to get to the planetary system, however. #Thanks2017.) Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH Everyone also immediately made the scientific achievement about the 45th president. With seven new worlds suddenly available, the possibilities seemed endless. Earthlings could send Trump to the new system. He could mess up these exoplanets before destroying Earth. Or we could all flee to these new worlds and leave Trump behind. Twitter was filling up with Trump and TRAPPIST-1 jokes as soon as NASA made the announcement. Trump just announced that we'…

'Live chilling' replacing hanging out in person?

New video hangout apps being used by teens


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Cholera, Other Illnesses May Spread with Climate Change

Infectious-disease specialists are concerned that climate change is contributing to the spread of certain diseases, including the germs that cause cholera and other diarrheal illnesses. Data now suggest that the locations where certain pathogens are found have changed, said Dr. Glenn Morris, the director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. Morris gave a talk here today (Feb. 16) at the Climate & Health Meeting, a gathering of experts from public health organizations, universities and advocacy groups that addressed the health impacts of climate change.


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Opioids May Be Causing Increase in Cocaine Overdoses

The number of people dying from cocaine overdoses in the United States is on the rise, and a new study suggests why: People are using cocaine and opioids together. The study researchers analyzed information on people who died due to drug overdoses in the U.S. from 2000 to 2015, looking at deaths that involved just cocaine as well as those involving both cocaine and opioids. The researchers noticed another trend, too: The number of people who died after overdosing on both cocaine and opioids increased between 2006 and 2015, while the number of those who died from cocaine-only overdoses decreased during the same time period.


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Astronomers find seven Earth-size planets where life is possible

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, bolstering the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life, research published on Wednesday showed. It is located about 40 light years away from Earth, close by astronomical standards, but about 44 million years away at the average cruising speed of a commercial passenger jet.


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SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship just had to abort its supply run mission

SpaceX made headlines earlier this week when its Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched and then performed a perfect vertical landing. Today's SpaceX news isn't nearly as cheerful, as the Dragon cargo ship that was placed into orbit by the rocket has been forced to make an emergency abort before it reached the International Space Station, delaying the delivery of supplies to astronauts aboard the craft.https://twitter.com/NASA/status/834336113884012544The Dragon capsule, which is unmanned and guided entirely by remote commands, experienced a software glitch that produced a faulty value in its navigation calculations. The Dragon was less than a mile from the ISS when the capsule's software cried foul and, according to a NASA spokesperson, the SpaceX craft "did exactly what it was designed to do" by breaking off its approach. According to both SpaceX and NASA, the crew of the ISS was never in any real danger, and the capsule itself is said to be "in excellent s…

Here’s How the Disappearance of Bees Will Drastically Affect Our Food Supply

We may not be fond of our pollinating bug brethren, but bees are buzzing off at alarming rates, and we should be worried. A new study published by scientists at the University of Vermont maps the decline of the bee population and its potential to seriously impact agriculture-heavy regions of the...


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I.Coast hosting bid to save its last chimpanzees

Ivory Coast, which has seen a 90 percent decrease in its chimpanzees in just 20 years, is to host international talks in July in a bid to save the primates. Some 200 experts are due in the economic capital Abidjan from July 24 to 27 "to share experiences on chimpanzee conservation across Africa," Inza Kone, who heads a Swiss Scientific Research Centre (CSRS) in Ivory Coast, told AFP. The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, which works to safeguard chimpanzees in west Africa, says less than 2,000 chimpanzees are left in the country compared to 12,000 in 2002.


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Doomsday-proof vault in the Arctic receives a major deposit of seeds

A frozen tundra is perhaps the worst place in the world to grow crops. But that didn't stop people from bringing nearly 50,000 seeds of potatoes, lentils, wheat, barley and other food staples to the Arctic Circle this week. The seeds won't be sprinkled across frozen farmlands. Instead, they'll be stored indefinitely at a global seed vault on Norway's Svalbard archipelago.  SEE ALSO: This vault filled with seeds in Norway could help bring Earth back from an apocalypse The vault is designed to safeguard the world's food sources from any variety of doomsday scenarios: nuclear war, climate change, natural disasters or even an asteroid strike. This week's seed deposit includes samples from seed collections in Benin, India, Pakistan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belarus, the U.K., Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the United States and Mexico, Crop Trust announced on Wednesday. Marie Haga, executive director of Crop Trust, scans boxes of ICARDA's seeds at the Longy…

Intel Corporation Officially Announces Acquisition of Chip Start-Up

Chipzilla finally acknowledges that it picked up this small chip start-up and gives investors some insight into why it did so.


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Brain scans 'may spot teen drug problems'

Brain scans may help predict which teenagers go on to develop drug problems, a study suggests.


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Here's How Climate Change Can Cause More Air Pollution (All By Itself)

Air pollution is one human-made factor that is trapping sunlight and causing climate change, but the relationship also goes the other way: Climate change stands to increase levels of air pollution, experts say. Although climate change is multifaceted, and won't bring warmer temperatures to all parts of the globe, the average global temperatures will rise. Research shows that "a warming climate will lead to more severe air pollution," and that this holds true even if the only factor that changes is temperature, said Patrick Kinney, a professor of urban health and sustainability at the Boston University School of Public Health.


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Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent

Earth has eight continents, and world maps should reflect this, geologists say. The eighth, a lost continent called Zealandia, isn't a huge landmass that geographers have somehow missed. Rather, only small bits — including New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few other specks of land in the vast Pacific Ocean — are above sea level.


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GPS glitch delays SpaceX cargo ship docking at space station

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - SpaceX called off the docking of a Dragon cargo ship at the International Space Station on Wednesday due to a problem with the capsule’s GPS navigation system, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. The cargo ship, which blasted off on Sunday from a historic launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will make a second attempt to reach the station on Thursday. “The spacecraft is in excellent shape with no issues, and the crew aboard the space station is safe,” NASA wrote in a status report.


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NASA discovered 7 Earth-sized planets and everyone made the same Trump jokes

Finally — some good news. NASA has found what pretty much appears to be a backup solar system a mere 40 light-years away. And not a moment too soon. SEE ALSO: NASA may put astronauts on the first flight of its new mega-rocket Scientists discovered seven Earth-sized exoplanets circling a dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, and everyone on Earth is ready to sign up for a one-way ticket to the new system. (Using current technology, it would be nearly impossible for humans to get to the planetary system, however. #Thanks2017.) Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH Everyone also immediately made the scientific achievement about the 45th president. With seven new worlds suddenly available, the possibilities seemed endless. Earthlings could send Trump to the new system. He could mess up these exoplanets before destroying Earth. Or we could all flee to these new worlds and leave Trump behind. Twitter was filling up with Trump and TRAPPIST-1 jokes as soon as NASA made the announcement. Trump just announced that we'…

7 Earth-sized planets discovered with possible life

NASA announced the discovery of the most Earth-sized planets found in the habitable zone of a single star. The dwarf star, TREPPIST-1, was discovered in 2008.


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Saving Simba and Lula, last two survivors of Mosul zoo

Simba the lion and Lula the bear are the Mosul zoo's only survivors -- the other animals were killed by shelling, starved to death or ate each other during the fighting. Federal forces retook that side of Mosul last month from the Islamic State group after more than two years of tyrannical rule by the jihadist group and weeks of bitter combat. Until Amir Khalil, a kind of 'roving war zone veterinarian', and his team of volunteers from the Four Paws animal welfare charity visited on Tuesday, nobody had entered the cages in weeks.


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'Live chilling' replacing hanging out in person?

New video hangout apps being used by teens


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NASA News Conference Live Stream: NASA To Announce Exoplanet Discoveries

NASA experts are holding a press conference to unveil new information about exoplanets, which are planets that revolve around a star other than our Sun. Watch the NASA live stream here.


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India's space agency employees get treated with free pizza after setting world record last week

India’s space agency ISRO shattered world record last week when it launched a flock of 104 satellites into space with one rocket.  SEE ALSO: Fumed Indians continue to troll NYT over 2-year-old cartoon mocking their space agency The space agency has since won many hearts, and earned many fans including the billionaire Elon Musk. Amid all of this, it also won itself a lot of free pizzas.  Celebrating last week’s milestone, pizzeria chain Pizza Hut offered a free pan pizza treat all ISRO employees across India yesterday.  "It’s a moment of great pride for us as ISRO created history and this initiative is a small token of our appreciation to put cheerful smiles on the faces who made the nation proud by achieving such an amazing feat." Unnat Varma, Managing Director Pizza Hut was quoted as saying.  According to the report, Pizza Hut spent Rs 600,000 ($8,960) to treat over 2,000 ISRO employees, who were invited to visit select Pizza Hut stores.  Last week, ISRO surpassed Russia’s …

Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston’s Casebook is a watchable series about cutting-edge medical science: review

Quite a few of these featured in Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston’s Casebook (BBC Two), a very watchable series about cutting-edge medical science. Presented by surgeon and author Gabriel Weston, it was unusual in putting the focus primarily on the individuals whose unique physiologies and conditions have led to far-reaching medical breakthroughs. Why, for example, might isolating the one-in-six-billion genetic mutations responsible for an American woman’s ultra-rare connective tissue disorder provide a cure for more common conditions like osteoporosis?


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