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Showing posts from February 25, 2017

Our Last Hope: Inter-Stellar Migration

Political debate is conducted in accordance with legally-defined parameters: all statements made must be capable of scientific proof, and any insults aimed at those holding differing views render the insulting individual ineligible for public office. Now, with Donald Trump in the White House, and Britain trying to find a way to extricate itself from the European Union, we face a future of deep uncertainty and great danger.


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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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The Neanderthal In You May Be Controlling Your Gene Expression

According to a study, Neanderthal DNA sequences present in the modern human genome are, even now, influencing gene expression — especially those related to traits such as height and susceptibility to schizophrenia.


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Malaysia says airport safe, autopsy shows nerve agent effect

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's health minister said Sunday autopsy results suggested a nerve agent caused "very serious paralysis" that killed the exiled half brother of North Korea's leader, as police completed a sweep of the budget terminal where he was poisoned and declared it safe of any toxin.


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Unleashing The Hidden Figures In Your Organisation To Inspire The Next Generation Of STEM Professionals

On 17th February, 20th Century Fox released the award-winning film, Hidden Figures, in the UK. The film recounts the true story of three African-American women who worked at NASA during the 1960s 'space race'. It was their calculations that put men into space and brought them safely back to earth, and yet their significant contributions to these ground breaking achievements have largely been hidden from history.


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Unleashing The Hidden Figures In Your Organisation To Inspire The Next Generation Of STEM Professionals

On 17th February, 20th Century Fox released the award-winning film, Hidden Figures, in the UK. The film recounts the true story of three African-American women who worked at NASA during the 1960s 'space race'. It was their calculations that put men into space and brought them safely back to earth, and yet their significant contributions to these ground breaking achievements have largely been hidden from history.


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AP Explains: What chemical weapons N. Korea possesses

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea may have found a new use for its large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, which are meant to attack South Korean and U.S. troops in case of another war.


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Thorny skate will not be added to endangered species list

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The thorny skate's population may have declined, but not by enough to justify listing it under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government has ruled.


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‘They want to be literally machines’ : Writer Mark O’Connell on the rise of transhumanists

The strangest place writer Mark O’Connell has ever been to is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation — where dead bodies are preserved in tanks filled with nitrogen, in case they can be revived with future technology. The nonfiction book delves into the world of transhumanists, or people who want to transcend the limits of the human body using technology. Transhumanists have been around since at least the 1980s, but have become more visible in the past decade as technology advances have made these ideas seem more feasible and less like sci-fi.


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Scientists buzzing with goal-scoring exploits of soccer bees

Using sweet treats and months of patient coaching, scientists in England have taught a group of bumblebees how to play soccer. The 18 month study at Queen Mary University of London saw scientists train 50 bees to move a small yellow ball to a circled location in order to score a goal and receive a sugary food reward. "The bees solved the task in a different way than what was demonstrated, suggesting that observer bees did not simply copy what they saw, but improved on it," said Olli J. Loukola, who co-led the study.


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These bees successfully taught their friends to play bee soccer 99% of the time

Not all athletes are born human. In a study published in Science today (Feb. 24), researchers at Queen Mary University of London showed that bumble bees might have what it takes to get in the game—the game here being a peculiar version of soccer, where the insects win sugary rewards by pulling a ball backwards…


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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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Tiny Company That Bought Google's Satellites Becomes a Rising Star

Satellite imaging start-up Planet Labs is growing by leaps and bounds as it covers the Earth in tiny spy satellites.


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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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Science is already political. Get over it and start marching.

As the March for Science in Washington, D.C., grows, so does its criticism.  This should be expected. Scientists are encouraged to look at even the most widely accepted statistic or finding and question it. So of course, as soon as the march, scheduled for April 22, was announced, people began to critically examine its message, mission and goals. SEE ALSO: The D.C. march for science will be the most wonderfully nerdy demonstration ever This critical examination has led to a better, more inclusive diversity statement and a clearer focus for the organizers who have seen their grassroots mission explode on social media.  But other critiques of the march — which asks scientists and those who support science to stand up and say that scientific facts aren't partisan and that science should be considered when enacting policy — haven't been so constructive. The main argument against the march hinges on the idea that "science isn't political."  These naysayers argue that …

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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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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You may soon be able to shell out for snail-based pain medicine

Scientists at the University of Utah and other research labs have developed long-lasting, opioid-free pain medication, based on the venom of a tiny, red-shelled marine snail.


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Welcome To Pluto, The Underworld Of The Solar System

On Thursday, the International Astronomical Union approved themes for naming surface features on Pluto and its moons. For the dwarf planet, most of the naming themes relate to the underworld.


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Boom Is Another Step Closer to Bringing Back Supersonic Jet Travel

A handful of aviation companies are working to bring back supersonic passenger travel—which has been elusive since the Concorde fleet retired—and one of the newer contenders, Boom, recently completed the first round of wind-tunnel testing, a critical step in the development of a prototype. A scale model, inside a wind tunnel at Wichita State University in Kansas, was used to verify the team’s expectations for low-speed aerodynamics, stability, and control. The company’s next step is to start assembly of the XB-1 Demonstrator, a technologically representative one-third-scale version of the production Boom airliner, which will ultimately seat up to 45.


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Fox Firepower: Revolutionary foam pulverizes bullets to dust

Tech Take: Defense Specialist Allison Barrie on the new foam that doesn't just stop bullets, it destroys them


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SpaceX Successfully Executes ISS Delivery

After some delays, the mission is complete.


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Inside World View, the company that wants to take you into the stratosphere with a balloon

It’s an organization known as World View Enterprises, and its business model is simple: design high-altitude balloons that can take scientific instruments — and people — into the planet’s stratosphere. World View was officially founded in 2012, but this week the organization is celebrating the opening of its new headquarters in Tucson, Arizona. The new building spans more than 135,000 square feet, and the company claims it’s the world’s first building designed solely for developing stratospheric flight.


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GoPro Launches Fundraising Campaign For Global Seed Vault

The seed bank, located between mainland Norway and the North Pole, can store over 4 million samples from around the world to protect Earth’s crop diversity.


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Study: Global warming is shrinking river vital to 40M people

DENVER (AP) — Global warming is already shrinking the Colorado River, the most important waterway in the American Southwest, and it could reduce the flow by more than a third by the end of the century, two scientists say.


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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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Nigerian kidnappers demand $200,000 for German scientists

KADUNA, Nigeria (AP) — Kidnappers are demanding a ransom of 60 million naira (about $200,000) for a German archaeologist and his associate abducted this week from a northern Nigerian village, a worker at the excavation site said. Two villagers were shot and killed in the kidnapping, police confirmed Friday.


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Newly discovered 400-million-year-old giant worm had killer jaws

Scientists have discovered a new species of extinct, marine worms that had snapping jaws and grew to an estimated 3 feet in length. The species, called Websteroprion armstrongi, lived some 400 million years ago — and is believed to be Earth’s oldest “Bobbit worm.” The species is described in a study published this week in the journal Scientific Reports. The bobbit worm gets its name from its scissor-like mouth.


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NASA mulls putting astronauts on deep space test flight

The US space agency said it is considering putting astronauts on an upcoming test flight of the deep space capsule Orion as it aims to orbit the Moon. Orion is being built with an eye to one day ferrying astronauts to Earth's neighboring planet, Mars, perhaps by the 2030s. Until now, the Orion test flight known as Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) was scheduled for 2018 and was expected to be unmanned.


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Cannibal Corpse Worm: 3-Foot-Long Creature Had Monster Jaws

A newly discovered ancient worm that would have grown to more than 3 feet (1 meter) long is the oldest "Bobbit worm" ever discovered. Bobbit worm is the colloquial term for giant eunicids, marine worms that still exist today. It is known only from its jaws, which reached more than 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in length.


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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 …

Saturn Transit In Sagittarius: Insights About Retrograde Saturn and Saturn-Jupiter-Ketu Conjunction

Saturn Transit In Sagittarius will be one of the most crucial transits in the coming years. This transit will collide with Jupiter Transit In Sagittarius and Ketu Transit In Sagittarius and will thus have a huge say in various matters.


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

There might actually be life out there...


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Canada conservationist warns of 'cyber poaching'

Photographers, poachers and eco-tour operators are in the crosshairs of a Canadian conservationist who warns that tracking tags are being hacked and misused to harass and hunt endangered animals. Steven Cooke, a biology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, says that the very tools used by scientists to study and protect animals and fish are being hijacked to do just the opposite. Cooke, the Canada research chair of environmental science and biology, is the lead author of a paper published this week in the journal Conservation Biology.


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IAU and New Horizons science team make peace over the names on Pluto’s map

It’s taken a year and a half, but the International Astronomical Union and the science team behind NASA’s New Horizons mission have finally struck a deal for naming the features on Pluto and its moons. The agreement, announced today, will open the way for the already well-known “informal” names for places on Pluto, such as Tombaugh Regio and Sputnik Planum, to become formal. It also allows for features on Charon, Pluto’s biggest moon, to be officially associated with fictional characters and locales – including Mordor from “Lord of the Rings,” Mr. Spock from “Star Trek” and Princess Leia from “Star… Read More


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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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Welcome, New Cosmic Neighbors!

Never has the search for alien life looked quite so promising.


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Our Last Hope: Inter-Stellar Migration

I think -- into just 234,000,000,000,000 miles (I've rounded up to the nearest trillion). Now, with Donald Trump in the White House, and Britain trying to find a way to extricate itself from the European Union, we face a future of deep uncertainty and great danger.


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Science is already political. Get over it and start marching.

As the March for Science in Washington, D.C., grows, so does its criticism.  This should be expected. Scientists are encouraged to look at even the most widely accepted statistic or finding and question it. So of course, as soon as the march, scheduled for April 22, was announced, people began to critically examine its message, mission and goals. SEE ALSO: The D.C. march for science will be the most wonderfully nerdy demonstration ever This critical examination has led to a better, more inclusive diversity statement and a clearer focus for the organizers who have seen their grassroots mission explode on social media.  But other critiques of the march — which asks scientists and those who support science to stand up and say that scientific facts aren't partisan and that science should be considered when enacting policy — haven't been so constructive. The main argument against the march hinges on the idea that "science isn't political."  These naysayers argue that …

Here's what dolphins do underwater when people are watching

Custom-made cameras have shown what dolphins do when humans aren’t around. From playing with kelp to rubbing each others flippers, the footage is the first time these behaviors have been captured away from direct human contact.


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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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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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NASA Studying Manned Trip Around the Moon After Prod From Trump

The U.S. is studying a possible manned mission around the moon as early as next year, marking the first such trip since the Apollo era ended in the early 1970s.


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Bees can learn to roll a ball for food: study

Entice them with a sweet reward and bumblebees can be trained to roll a ball into a goal, revealing unexpectedly complex learning abilities for an insect, researchers said Thursday. "Our study puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that small brains constrain insects to have limited behavioral flexibility and only simple learning abilities," said co-author Lars Chittka, a professor at Queen Mary University of London's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. "We wanted to explore the cognitive limits of bumblebees by testing whether they could use a non-natural object in a task likely never encountered before by any individual in the evolutionary history of bees," said joint lead author Clint Perry, also of the QMUL School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.


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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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Earth discovers its friendly new neighbors in this Google doodle

NASA’s discovery of seven Earth-sized planets in a solar system not too far away has space enthusiasts buzzing with excitement. Google has joined in on the celebration with a new animated doodle featured on its homepage. SEE ALSO: Seven Earth-sized planets orbit an alien star only 40 light-years away In the Google Doodle, Earth and its moon discover their friendly space neighbors through a telescope. Image: GOOGLE The solar system called TRAPPIST-1 consists of at least seven planets similar to the size of Earth. Three of them reside in the "habitable zone" — the area in orbit around the star where planets could conceivably host water on their surfaces given the right atmospheric conditions. The question on everyone's mind is whether these planets can support life. Scientists have significant studying to do before they can say "yes" or "no" with any certainty, but the potential has us at the edge of our seats. BONUS: Harvard scientists have created the…

Straight Out of Sci-Fi: Hoverbike 'Surfs' Through the Air in Test

The hoverbike prototype, dubbed Scorpion-3, is capable of lifting itself and a driver into the air. Think of it as half drone, half motorcycle: A new hoverbike prototype aims to make flying as simple as riding a bike. Hoversurf, a Russian drone startup, recently unveiled its Scorpion-3 hoverbike in a test- flight video — making it the first manned quadcopter that has undergone testing, reported Futurism, a science and technology news website.


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