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Showing posts from February 24, 2017

SpaceX Is Delaying Its Mars Mission Until 2020

With so much going on, SpaceX can't commit to a 2018 mission to the red planet.


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Solar-powered cinema opens in Burkina ahead of festival

A solar-powered cinema was unveiled in Burkina Faso Friday ahead of Ouagadougou's hosting of Africa's top film festival, even as movie theatres on the continent continue to disappear. Named Canal Olympia Yennenga, it is now the third-largest movie hall in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou. It is the brainchild of French businessman Vincent Bollore, whose company owns French premium TV and cinema group Canal Plus.


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Can Neural Nets Usher In A New Era Of Optical Astronomy?

A team of Swiss researchers describe a neural net-enabled system that can recognize and reconstruct astronomical features that telescopes could not resolve.


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New Jersey OKs gas pipeline through protected Pinelands

New Jersey environmental regulators on Friday approved a hotly contested plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines ...


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World View shows off its HQ and Stratollite platform for near-space balloon missions

World View Enterprises declared its Tucson headquarters and its hybrid balloon technology to be ready for prime time today, in the wake of a pathfinder mission that captured satellite-type imagery from a stratospheric height of nearly 77,000 feet. “This technology, sending high-altitude balloons up into the stratosphere, has essentially at this point, with the opening of this building, opened an entire new world of business and aviation,” said former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, World View’s director of flight crew operations. World View CEO Jane Poynter said the key to the technology is the ability to control the company’s uncrewed “Stratollites”… Read More


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NASA just made a huge announcement that changes everything we know about space

There might actually be life out there...


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Scientists turn to Chile's Atacama desert to study life on Mars

Astrobiologists seeking to understand where life might be found on Mars, and what form it might take, are finding that the Atacama desert in Chile, the driest in the world, may hold some important clues. Since a 2003 study that examined microbial life in the 'Mars-like soils' of the Atacama, astrobiological research - the study of life on Earth to understand how it may form elsewhere in the universe - in the desert has grown dramatically. "It is much cheaper than travelling to Mars," said Armando Azua, a Chilean astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Space Institute in the U.S., who grew up in one of the Atacama's few populated areas.


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Trump asks NASA to explore putting crew on rocket's debut flight

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The Trump administration has directed NASA to study whether it is feasible to fly astronauts on the debut flight of the agency’s heavy-lift rocket, a mission currently planned to be unmanned and targeted to launch in late 2018, officials said on Friday. The study marks President Donald Trump's first step in shaping a vision for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. space agency was working on the heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion deep-space capsule with the aim of sending astronauts to rendezvous with an asteroid in the mid-2020s, followed by a human expedition to Mars in the 2030s.


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NASA's Retro Travel Posters Imagine Exoplanet Life

One of NASA's newly discovered TRAPPIST-1 planets has been stylized along with over a dozen others in a colorful, creative space campaign.


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Pigs with edited genes show resistance to costly virus

A novel but controversial technique known as gene-editing has produced pigs that could be resilient to an often fatal virus that costs European farmers $1.6 billion per year, researchers said Thursday. Tests of the pigs' cells in lab dishes showed complete resistance to two major subtypes of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), a disease that can cause pneumonia in young pigs and fetal death in pregnant sows. "Laboratory tests of cells from the pigs with the modified CD163 gene have confirmed that this change in the pig's DNA blocks the virus from being able to cause infection," said the report, led by the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute.


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Seven Earth-like planets discovered around single star

Researchers have announced the stunning discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a small star in our galaxy, opening up the most promising hunting ground so far for life beyond the Solar System. All seven roughly match the size and mass of our own planet and are almost certainly rocky, and three are perfectly perched to harbour life-nurturing oceans of water, they reported in the journal Nature Wednesday. Most critically, their proximity to Earth and the dimness of their red dwarf star, called Trappist-1, will allow astronomers to analyse each one's atmosphere in search of chemical signatures of biological activity.


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Want to Know the Future? Most People Don't, Study Suggests

Just 1 percent of participants always said that they wanted to know what the future held for them. "In our study, we've found that people would rather decline the powers that made Cassandra famous, in an effort to forgo the suffering that knowing the future may cause, avoid regret and also maintain the enjoyment of suspense that pleasurable events provide," Gigerenzer said. Participants were asked whether, hypothetically, they would want to know about 10 future events, which ranged from serious to mundane.


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The Apollo 11 space capsule is being prepped for another mission

The Apollo 11 capsule, which transported the first astronauts to the moon and back, is about to embark on a road trip. The traveling exhibition will celebrate the approaching 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.


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Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage on Philippine miners

After two decades as a yoga missionary, Philippine Environment Secretary Regina Lopez is unleashing her inner rage on the mining industry while aiming for Bhutan-style gross national happiness. Lopez has in recent months moved global commodity markets with a campaign to close roughly two-thirds of the existing mines in the Philippines, which is the world's biggest supplier of nickel ore and a major source of copper. For the 63-year-old, her sudden elevation by firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte to government last year after a lifetime of spiritual and environmental pursuits has presented an unexpected chance to bring about radical change in society.


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Here’s why it's so frickin’ hot right now

There's something about a warm February day that reminds you that something just isn't right. It gives you that nagging feeling that maybe global warming is real after all.  February 2016 has featured prolonged warm weather the likes of which many areas have not seen before, or have only experienced on rare occasions.  Taken as a whole, the month-to-date in the U.S. has seen a ridiculously lopsided ratio of daily record highs to daily record lows, which is a key indicator of short-term weather variability and, over the longer term, human-caused climate change.  SEE ALSO: Seth Meyers interviews 'rogue' climate scientist worried about Trump For individual days' worth of warm weather, you mainly have the jet stream to thank. This current of fast-moving air at about 35,000 feet above the ground has been steering a never-ending series storms into the West Coast, where California's mountains have picked up a crazy 500 inches of snow so far, and then moved across the …

Scientists turn to Chile's Atacama desert to study life on Mars

Astrobiologists seeking to understand where life might be found on Mars, and what form it might take, are finding that the Atacama desert in Chile, the driest in the world, may hold some important clues. Since a 2003 study that examined microbial life in the 'Mars-like soils' of the Atacama, astrobiological research - the study of life on Earth to understand how it may form elsewhere in the universe - in the desert has grown dramatically. "It is much cheaper than traveling to Mars," said Armando Azua, a Chilean astrobiologist at the Bl Marble Space Institute in the U.S., who grew up in one of the Atacama's few populated areas.


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Seth Meyers interviews 'rogue' climate scientist worried about Trump

Climate scientists don't typically make the rounds on late-night talk shows. But thanks to President Donald Trump, they do now. Ben Santer, a prominent atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday night — a rare step for someone employed by a government-run lab. "These are strange and unusual times, and it seems kind of important to talk about the science that we do," Santer told Meyers, explaining he was there as a private citizen. SEE ALSO: The geekiest signs from the 'Stand up for Science' rally Trump previously claimed that human-caused climate change is "a hoax." More recently, he's said he is "open-minded" on climate science but that "nobody really knows" what's happening to the planet. Many of his top cabinet officials — including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — share Trump's skepticism toward the mainstream scientific consensus that global t…

Small satellites, big impact: Researchers use images to help end food insecurity

Using high-resolution images, researchers from Stanford University have been able to measure and estimate crop yields with the goal to improve agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.


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Life Expectancy in South Korea May Reach 90 by 2030

Life expectancy is expected to rise in many countries around the world, but in the United States, that increase is predicted to be smaller than in other countries, a new study finds. In the study, published today (Feb. 21) in the journal The Lancet, researchers predicted what the average life expectancies will be in 35 countries for people born in the year 2030. The greatest increases in life expectancies over their present levels were predicted for girls born in South Korea and boys born in Hungary, the researchers found.


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20 Years After Dolly the Sheep, What Have We Learned About Cloning?

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the announcement of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Researchers at the Roslin Institute in Scotland were finally able to produce Dolly — cloned from the udder cell of an adult sheep — after 276 attempts, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). "For a developmental biologist, the ability to clone an advanced mammal was thought to be impossible," Lawrence Brody, director of the Division of Genomics and Society at the NHGRI, told Live Science.


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Metallic Hydrogen: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The world's only sample of metallic hydrogen, a substance touted as the holy grail of condensed-matter physics, has reportedly “disappeared.”


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Explore the Amazon Rainforest with New Virtual-Reality Film

You can explore the Amazon rainforest's spectacular beauty and biodiversity right from the comfort of your home, thanks to a new 360-degree virtual-reality film from Conservation International. The film, called "Under the Canopy," brings viewers into the depths of the Amazon, with the region's diverse environment on full display. The annual forest loss due to deforestation in the Amazonia region is more than 1.5 times the size of Yellowstone National Park, according to Conservation International, the nonprofit environmental organization that developed the virtual-reality experience.


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Healthy Heart in Midlife May Lower Dementia Risk Later

Keeping your heart healthy could also benefit your brain, hints a new study suggesting that people who have risk factors for heart disease in middle age are also at increased risk for dementia later in life. During the study, about 1,500 participants developed dementia. People who had diabetes or high blood pressure at the start of the study, or who smoked at that time, were at increased risk for developing dementia about 25 years later.


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Dataiku's latest release has a DataOps slant

Like agile software development, data science works best when models can be tested and iterated rapidly. The latest release from data science collaboration tool Dataiku adds integrations with GitHub and HipChat that will not only bring developers and data scientists together, but hopefully, some of their DevOps discipline as well.


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Can Neural Nets Usher In A New Era Of Optical Astronomy?

A team of Swiss researchers describe a neural net-enabled system that can recognize and reconstruct astronomical features that telescopes could not resolve.


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New Jersey OKs gas pipeline through protected Pinelands

New Jersey environmental regulators on Friday approved a hotly contested plan to run a natural gas pipeline through a federally protected forest preserve amid raucous protests that included drums, tambourines ...


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Ancient Blob Of Glowing Gas Baffles Astronomers

In a protocluster of ancient galaxies far, far away, lies a glowing nebula. The problem is, no one knows why it glows.


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A Mysterious Blob Has Washed Up On A Beach In The Philippines

A giant, hairy blob has washed up on a beach in the Philippines, baffling local residents. The mysterious beast beached after a deadly earthquake struck the region on Sunday, causing a number of strange creatures to come ashore. Some suggested it looked like a huge Shitzu, or even an Appa, a fiction character from the animated TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender.


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NASA says there are at least 7 other Earthlike planets in our galaxy, and we’re trying to process this

Quick, get Agent Mulder on the phone because he’ll definitely want to be the first to know that NASA says there are…


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Trump asks NASA to explore putting crew on rocket's debut flight

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The Trump administration has directed NASA to study whether it is feasible to fly astronauts on the debut flight of the agency’s heavy-lift rocket, a mission currently unmanned and targeted to launch in late 2018, officials said on Friday. The study marks the Republican president’s first step in shaping a vision for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. space agency was working on the heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion deep-space capsule with the aim of sending astronauts to rendezvous with an asteroid in the mid-2020s, followed by a human expedition to Mars in the 2030s.


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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'…

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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Trove of Dazzling Bronze Age Weapons Unearthed in Scotland

Excavations during the construction of two soccer fields in Scotland have turned up a rare discovery — a Bronze-Age weapon hoard, including a notched bronze sword and a gold-decorated spearhead. All told, archaeologists discovered the remains of 12 Bronze Age buildings during the dig, as well as a much earlier Stone Age hall that probably dates back to the very beginnings of agriculture in Scotland. "There was no real indication of the wealth of archaeological remains" before the dig, said Ronan Toolis, the commercial director of GUARD Archaeology Limited, the firm that conducted the excavation.


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'For Honor': Choose your faction and prepare for battle

Fox Gamer: Matthew Curry gives his review of the difficult and gruesome battles between Vikings, Samurai and Knights in the new game 'For Honor'


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When Can I Reserve My Ticket?

We may yet have found a way out of this mess.


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Let Professor Einstein challenge your brain

Learn and test your brain with Professor Einstein.


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Study: Accuracy of voice biometrics can diminish as we age

Researchers at fraud-detection firm Pindrop presented new research at RSA last week that shows our voice’s speed and pitch changes enough over the years that it may cause voice biometrics systems to fail.


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A Mysterious Blob Has Washed Up On A Beach In The Philippines

A giant, hairy blob has washed up on a beach in the Philippines, baffling locals and prompting a worldwide race to identify it.


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Watch NASA’s big exoplanet announcement live at 1PM ET

NASA At 1PM ET, NASA will be announcing a new exciting discovery about planets that orbit stars outside our Solar System. The space agency will have a number of panelists on hand for the announcement, including Sean Carey — the manager of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at Caltech — and Sara Seager — a notable expert in the study of exoplanets from MIT.People are encouraged to ask questions to the panelists through Twitter, using the hashtag #askNASA, and if you have even more questions once the announcement is over, there will be a followup Reddit AMA at 3PM ET. ...


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Watch live as NASA reveals a new exoplanet discovery at 1PM

NASA's been finding all kind of cool things out in the depths of space recently, but today the agency is poised to announce something big. NASA will be presenting a new discovery live to the world at 1:00 PM EST, and they'll be live streaming the entire news conference online. You can watch the entire event right here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdmHHpAsMVwThere's only been small hints at exactly what the discovery is all about, but NASA has noted that it's related to a "discovery beyond our solar system." That means exoplanets — planets outside of our own little celestial neighborhood — are likely the main focus. Researchers have already made many exoplanet discoveries in recent months, finding "Super Earths" and "Hot Jupiters" by the handful, so if NASA thinks its new discovery is worthy of a press conference of its own, it must be pretty important.According to Space.com, the conference will feature a total of five speakers, all of w…

Gone but not forgotten: how ancient Neanderthal genes still affect modern people

Neanderthals died out a long time ago, but their genes may make us more susceptible to certain diseases. DNA inherited from Neanderthals affects which of our genes are turned on or off, according to a study published today in Cell. This phenomenon, called regulation of gene expression, means that traits such as height and susceptibility to diseases like schizophrenia or lupus may be affected in people with Neanderthal ancestry, say scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle.


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For only the second known time, a chimp has a disorder similar to Down Syndrome

A 24-year-old chimp in Japan has a genetic disorder similar to Down Syndrome in humans, researchers have found. Kanako is only the second chimpanzee known to have the chromosomal defect trisomy 22. The disorder has stunted her growth, left her blind and resulted in a congenital heart disease and underdeveloped teeth. SEE ALSO: Primates, our closest living relatives, are facing an extinction crisis But she's also lived a surprisingly long time.  The first chimp with a confirmed case of trisomy 22 — which scientists documented in 1969 — didn't live to see its second birthday. That makes Kanako the longest-living chimp with this chromosomal disorder, at least that scientists are aware of, according to a new study in the journal Primates. Kanako interacts with a familiar caretaker. Image: Kumamoto Sanctuary, Kyoto University Trisomy 22 occurs when a chimp's cells have a third copy of chromosome 22. Apes normally have 24 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 48.  Humans, by cont…