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Showing posts from March 2, 2017

Scientists create first artificial mouse 'embryo' from stem cells

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Britain have for the first time created a structure that resembles a mouse embryo using a 3D scaffold and two types of stem cells - research which deepens understanding of the earliest stages of mammalian development. Publishing their results in the journal Science on Thursday, the team based at Cambridge University said that while the artificial embryo closely resembled the real thing, it would be unlikely to develop further into a healthy mouse fetus. For research purposes, however, the scientists were able to show how the artificial embryo followed the same pattern of development as a normal embryo - with the stem cells organizing themselves in the same way.


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Woolly mammoths suffered genetic 'meltdown' before extinction

Before woolly mammoths went extinct thousands of years ago, their dwindling population suffered a series of genetic mutations that hampered their ability to survive, researchers said Thursday. Woolly mammoths were once among the most common herbivores in North America and Siberia, but came under threat from increased hunting pressure and a warming climate. Experts analyzed the genome of one of the last known woolly mammoths ever found -- a 4,300-year-old specimen from Wrangel Island, off the northern coast of Siberia.


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This Psychologist's Strawberry Optical Illusion Will Blow Your Mind

Believe it or not, this photo doesn't contain a single red pixel.


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NASA Considers Magnetic Shield to Help Mars Grow Its Atmosphere

NASA Planetary Science Division Director, Jim Green, says launching a magnetic shield could help warm Mars and possibly allow it to become habitable.


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Ancient human tree cultivation shaped Amazon landscape

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ancient indigenous peoples had a far more profound impact on the composition of the vast Amazon rainforest than previously known, according to a study showing how tree species domesticated by humans long ago still dominate big swathes of the wilderness. Researchers said on Thursday many tree species populating the Amazon region appear to be abundant because they were cultivated by people who populated the area before Europeans arrived more than five centuries ago. "So the Amazon is not nearly as untouched as it may seem," said study researcher Hans ter Steege, a forest community ecologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands and Free University of Amsterdam.


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Hidden figures no more: Lego honors 'Women of NASA'

Lego sets have long celebrated superheroes like Batman and Superman. The proposal for the set, submitted on Lego's community and ideas page by MIT News editor Maia Weinstock, has been approved, beating out 11 other projects examined by the Lego Review Board. "Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the US space program, aka NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration," Weinstock wrote in her proposal.


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A Sweet Way to Test for Pee in the Pool?

That is, the researchers turned to an artificial sweetener called aspartame potassium, which is the compound in Equal. Aspartame potassium isn’t broken down in the body and is excreted in urine, according to the study. Many compounds in urine can react with compounds in swimming pools, such as disinfectants, and form “disinfection byproducts.” Some studies suggest that these byproducts may be harmful to human health, though it’s unclear if coming into contact with them in a swimming pool is dangerous, the researchers wrote.


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An Anti-Trump Incantation: What's in a Magic Spell?

In Shakespeare's "Macbeth," the titular character must contend with a trio of witches who predict his ascent and then his downfall. Donald Trump may want to read up. A loosely formed group calling itself the Magical Resistance has emerged on Facebook and Twitter, where members shared photos of their "binding spell" setups in a mass demonstration of magic on Friday night (Feb. 24).


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A bright orange star will vanish behind the moon this weekend, and you don't need a telescope to watch

Make a date with the moon on Saturday, March 4. If you live in the United States and the weather...


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Why we pretend to know things, explained by a cognitive scientist

Steven Sloman, a professor of cognitive science at Brown University, has some compelling answers to these questions. One danger is that if I think I understand because the people around me think they understand, and the people around me all think they understand because the people around them all think they understand, then it turns out we can all have this strong sense of understanding even though no one really has any idea what they're talking about.


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Amazon's fulfillment centers will soon run on solar energy

Our president might not believe in climate change, but Amazon does.  The tech giant on Thursday announced a new commitment to clean energy. Amazon will install solar panels on 15 of its U.S. fulfillment centers this year, and 50 worldwide by 2020.  Amazon's solar panels at centers in California, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and New Jersey could power up to 80 percent of the energy needed at each fulfillment center.  Amazon has other renewable energy projects in the works, too. The tech company operates wind and solar farms in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia to power its Amazon Web Services data centers. Smaller rooftops on regular office buildings have also been converted to green energy.  Amazon's solar panel installations. Image: amazon “As our fulfillment network continues to expand, we want to help generate more renewable energy at both existing and new facilities around the world in partnership with community and business leaders,” Dave Clark, Amazon's…

New Technique Could Allow for Cryopreserved Organs

First step to help preserved organs survive the deep freeze.


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New minerals back idea of man-made epoch for Earth: study

By Alister Doyle OSLO, (Reuters) - Scientists have identified more than 200 minerals created as side-effects of human industries in a sign that mankind's imprint on the Earth is so deep that it marks a new geological epoch, a study said on Wednesday. Rare chemical combinations such as those found in mines, ore dumps or smelters have triggered the formation of new minerals, it said. The scientists listed 208 items in the first global catalog of minerals caused exclusively or mainly by human activities, compared to about 5,000 formed by purely natural processes including iron, silicon, gold or silver.


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Wild Elephants Sleep Just Two Hours a Night

In April 2014, Nadine Gravett tranquilized two female elephants and fitted them with actiwatches. These small devices—the scientific version of Fitbits—record movement, and researchers can use them to measure how well volunteers are sleeping. They’re usually worn around the wrist, but that’s not an option when your subjects’ limbs are literally elephantine. So Gravett had to implant them in the females’ most mobile appendages—their trunks.


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The new Interior secretary rode a horse to work because why not

Most people might don a sharp suit or an ironed shirt for their first day on a new job. But Ryan Zinke is not most people. He prefers a horse. SEE ALSO: There's a serious danger to the soft climate denial pedaled by Trump's cabinet picks On Thursday morning, the newly confirmed U.S. Interior secretary arrived to his office on horseback. The Montana politician, who also sported a cowboy hat, trotted toward the Interior Department building alongside officers from the U.S. Park Police.  Honored to stand with the brave officers of @USParkPolice - these professionals put their lives on the line for us http://pic.twitter.com/QbtojcfvLV — Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) March 2, 2017 Congrats @RyanZinke! Our new Secretary riding to his first day in the office with @usparkpolicepio #lesm http://pic.twitter.com/sdeBNroJcx — USPPNEWS (@usparkpolicepio) March 2, 2017 "As a Montanan, the new Secretary is excited to highlight the Department's rich and diverse cultural herit…

Scientists are firing lasers at dinosaur fossils, and the result is awesome

Scientists are one step closer to figuring out what dinosaurs actually looked like—and they're doing it by pointing laser beams at dinosaur fossils to show previously unknown features and details, including the actual fleshy outlines of prehistoric creatures. In a new study, researchers focused the technique on the Anchiornis, a small feathered dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic period. SEE ALSO: A dinosaur-era reptile popped out babies, not eggs Due to the animal's drumstick-shaped legs and bird-like arms, revealed by the lasers, researchers think the Anchiornis might have been able to fly. The discovery offers another link in how modern-day birds may have evolved from their predecessors, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.  Image: Julius T. Csotonyi The Anchiornis, whose name means "near bird," was the size of a raven and lived about a 160 million years ago. By laser-scanning nine of the Anchiornis's fossil fragm…

The Industrial Strategy And Support For Disruptive Innovation

The government has a tricky challenge ahead with their new Industrial Strategy. Fusion energy, previously just in the domain of government funded research, but now attracting private investment in technology development - provides an ideal microcosm of the wider technology industry, offering insight that can answer this tricky question. Part of the answer to the government's conundrum is to build on existing clusters of expertise.


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Toy company Lego to produce Women of Nasa set

They include scientist Katherine Johnson, who was portrayed in the film Hidden Figures.


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Your eyes are liars: These strawberries aren't red

Sure, this pie looks like it's decorated with red strawberries, but it's all an illusion. They're actually blue-grey.


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US approves 3 types of genetically engineered potatoes

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Three types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat, federal officials announced.


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The Industrial Strategy And Support For Disruptive Innovation

The government has a tricky challenge ahead with their new Industrial Strategy. Fusion energy, previously just in the domain of government funded research, but now attracting private investment in technology development - provides an ideal microcosm of the wider technology industry, offering insight that can answer this tricky question. Part of the answer to the government's conundrum is to build on existing clusters of expertise.


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Your Kids’ Next Favorite Legos Will Honor the Women of NASA

After decades of having their story overlooked, the women of NASA have finally solidified their place in history. The world learned about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson when Hidden Figures hit theaters, and now these powerful women will be making an appearance in your children's toy box. Lego announced on Tuesday that it will honor the Women of NASA with a new set, which was created by a fan designer, Maia Weinstock. The new product features Johnson as well as NASA emplo


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New Technique Could Allow for Cryopreserved Organs

First step to help preserved organs survive the deep freeze.


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Amateur Treasure Hunters Find 2,000-Year-Old Gold Jewelry

Two amateurs using metal detectors have discovered four gold torques from more than 2,000 years ago in a field near the town of Leek in central England. The jewelry, which would have been worn as a necklace or bracelet, "dates to around 400 to 250 B.C., and is probably the earliest Iron Age goldwork ever discovered in Britain," Julia Farley, curator of British and European Iron Age collections at the British Museum in London, said in a statement. After the jewelry was found, a professional archaeological team from the Stoke-on-Trent City Council investigated the field but didn't find any more jewelry or signs of an ancient town or tomb, leaving the question of why the gold jewelry was buried in the field unsolved.


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In New Territory, Good Froggy Dads Go Cannibal

Now that's an unreliable babysitter: Male poison frogs (Allobates femoralis) take care of egg clutches, even those that aren't theirs, in their own territories. "We have seen in poison frogs that a simple trigger is sufficient to switch from very destructive actions to parental care," Ringler said in a statement.


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SpaceX Announces Plan to Send Two People Around the Moon

The two private citizens want to fly around the moon in a Dragon 2 in 2018.


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Global warming made Australia's record-breaking, sizzling summer 50 times more likely

Millions of Australians just endured a sizzlingly hot summer, with three blistering heat waves enveloping much of southeastern Australia during January and February sending temperatures soaring as high as 48.2 degrees Celsius, or 118.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  New South Wales, located in southeastern Australia, had its warmest summer on record, with numerous temperature milestones shattered in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, among other locations.  SEE ALSO: The atmosphere has forgotten what season it is in the U.S. Now a new quick-turnaround analysis from an international group of climate researchers found direct ties between global warming and this summer's heat. In completing the study, the researchers utilized the computing power of hundreds of volunteers' laptops and desktops worldwide, through a project known as weather@home. January 2017 saw the highest monthly mean temperatures on record for Sydney and Brisbane, and the highest daytime temperatures on record in Canberra, th…

There's Not a Single Red Pixel in This Image

Color constancy can really mess with your eyes.


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First step to help preserved organs survive the deep freeze

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-freezing donated organs might one day help improve the transplant supply but scientists must first figure out how to thaw the delicate tissue without it cracking. Now researchers are taking a first step toward that goal, using nanotechnology to create super heaters for preserved tissue.


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How Hedge Funds Can Trade on Data Constantly Collected From the Sky

This article was originally published on International Business Times. Delegates at Newsweek and International Business Times' data science in capital markets event were mesmerised by a video of shoe box-sized satellites, known as "cube sats" being released into the earth's atmosphere. Professor David Hand, chief scientific advisor, Winton, introducing the event, pointed out that the current AI summer is characterised by what he called "automatic data capture".


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Surviving Russia's winter a grim triumph for homeless

As the fierce winter drags towards an end in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg, Eduard Okuniyev is counting himself lucky to still be alive. Some die of hypothermia, while others suffer complications from existing conditions.


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Snapchat goes public: Was it the right move for the company?

Tech Take: Business Insider's Steve Kovach and Market Watch's Jennifer Booton on Snapchat's IPO and how it could impact the future of the platform


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Real life ’Star Wars’ planetary system discovered

Scientists discover planetary system resembling Star Wars' Jedi Luke Skywalker's home of 'Tatooine,' orbiting two stars in the universe


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This Psychologist's Strawberry Optical Illusion Will Blow Your Mind

Believe it or not, this photo doesn't contain a single red pixel.


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Check Out An Interactive Map Of Every Dinosaur Fossil Found On Earth

The map lets you search by period, taxonomy and strata


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The Industrial Strategy And Support For Disruptive Innovation

The government has a tricky challenge ahead with their new Industrial Strategy. Fusion energy, previously just in the domain of government funded research, but now attracting private investment in technology development - provides an ideal microcosm of the wider technology industry, offering insight that can answer this tricky question. Part of the answer to the government's conundrum is to build on existing clusters of expertise.


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Gene therapy lets a French teen dodge sickle cell disease

A French teen who was given gene therapy for sickle cell disease more than two years ago now has enough properly working red blood cells to dodge the effects of the disorder, researchers report.


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Why we pretend to know things, explained by a cognitive scientist

Steven Sloman, a professor of cognitive science at Brown University, has some compelling answers to these questions. One danger is that if I think I understand because the people around me think they understand, and the people around me all think they understand because the people around them all think they understand, then it turns out we can all have this strong sense of understanding even though no one really has any idea what they're talking about.


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Your name could shape your face, new study suggests

Long before anyone knows what we'll really look like, we're given the label we will probably carry for the rest of our lives — our name. But what if your appearance, particularly your face, somehow reflected the name you were given at birth? A new study suggests that each person's face, insanely enough, could actually be shaped by his or her name. So that would mean, yes, that Sarah really does look like a Sarah, and that Fred really does look like a Fred. Basically, the new findings could finally give some credence to all those weird, usually seemingly baseless assumptions you might have the first time you hear a new name, as NPR reports. SEE ALSO: Twitter helps brands become more than faceless monoliths to their customers "We Look Like Our Names: The Manifestation of Name Stereotypes in Facial Appearance" is the name of the the psychology experiment led by researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and published Monday in the Journal of Personality and S…

Antarctica Officially Reached Record High Temperatures

The continent of Antarctica hit record high temperatures says the World Meteorological Organization.


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Bigger Data Isn’t Always Better Data

With computers as with humans, abundant information can reinforce prejudice.


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South Africa in talks with Airbus, Boeing to print 3D parts

By Wendell Roelf JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African researchers developing the world’s largest machine for producing aircraft parts using lasers to melt powdered titanium are in talks with Airbus and Boeing, with the first commercial application expected in 2019. Officially launched in 2011 and backed by government, the Aeroswift research project last year produced its first three demonstrator parts – a pilot’s throttle lever, a condition lever grip which is part of the throttle assembly, and a fuel tank pylon bracket, in a digital process known as 3D printing, or additive layer manufacturing. Increasingly adopted by the automotive, aerospace and military industries as a cheaper way of making complex parts, the new manufacturing process could save millions of dollars on fuel and production costs as aircraft makers replace aluminum bodies with lighter materials such as titanium alloys.


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Scientists are firing lasers at dinosaur fossils, and the result is awesome

Scientists are one step closer to figuring out what dinosaurs actually looked like—and they're doing it by pointing laser beams at dinosaur fossils to show previously unknown features and details, including the actual fleshy outlines of prehistoric creatures. In a new study, researchers focused the technique on the Anchiornis, a small feathered dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic period. SEE ALSO: A dinosaur-era reptile popped out babies, not eggs Due to the animal's drumstick-shaped legs and bird-like arms, revealed by the lasers, researchers think the Anchiornis might have been able to fly. The discovery offers another link in how modern-day birds may have evolved from their predecessors, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.  Image: Julius T. Csotonyi The Anchiornis, whose name means "near bird," was the size of a raven and lived about a 160 million years ago. By laser-scanning nine of the Anchiornis's fossil fragm…