Sunday, 19 November 2017

NASA Satellites Watch Earth 'Breathe' in Awesome Time-Lapse Video

NASA Satellites Watch Earth 'Breathe' in Awesome Time-Lapse Video

A time-lapse video of Earth seen from space reveals how vegetation on our planet has changed over the last two decades.

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Precise dating of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Murcia (Spain) supports late Neandertal persistence in Iberia

Precise dating of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Murcia (Spain) supports late Neandertal persistence in Iberia

The late persistence in Southern Iberia of a Neandertal-associated Middle Paleolithic is supported by the archeological stratigraphy and the radiocarbon and luminescence dating of three newly excavated localities in the Mula basin of Murcia (Spain).

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The United Nations Met to Discuss a Possible Ban on "Killer Robots"

The United Nations Met to Discuss a Possible Ban on "Killer Robots"

Do we have the courage to act now?

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‘Gene Drives’ Are Too Risky for Field Trials, Scientists Say

‘Gene Drives’ Are Too Risky for Field Trials, Scientists Say

New research casts doubt on a gene-editing strategy that scientists had hoped to use against invasive species and epidemic diseases.

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Homeland Security team remotely hacked a Boeing 757

Homeland Security team remotely hacked a Boeing 757

A Department of Homeland Security official admitted that a team of experts remotely hacked a Boeing 757 parked at an airport.

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Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age

Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age

The research may help archaeologists discover ruins of cities from the ancient world. By Christopher Ingraham.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Cheapest electricity on the planet is Mexican solar power at 1.77¢/kWh – record 1¢/kWh coming in 2019, sooner

Cheapest electricity on the planet is Mexican solar power at 1.77¢/kWh – record 1¢/kWh coming in 2019, sooner

Per a press release from the Centro Nacional de Control de EnergĂ­a (Cenace) of Mexico, the department received bids for 3TWh of solar electricity, with the lowest bids being 1.77¢/kWh coming from Italian multinational ENEL Green Power. This record low price of electricity on earth, just beats out the 1.79¢/kWh from Saudi Arabia, and is part of a pattern marching toward 1¢/kWh bids that are coming in 2019 (or sooner).

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The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

The surprising forces influencing the complexity of the language we speak and write. By Julie Sedivy.

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Nurseries ban glitter in pre-Christmas drive for cleaner seas

Nurseries ban glitter in pre-Christmas drive for cleaner seas

Glitter, as anyone who has ever worn it knows, has a habit of turning up in unexpected places days later, even after a good scrub. However, a new peril has emerged from the sparkly substance: it is adding to the plastic pollution in our seas. A group of nurseries in southern England has banned the use of glitter among its 2,500 children to reduce the amount of microplastics entering the seas. Harriet Pacey, the business development director at Tops Day Nurseries, a 19-strong chain, said: “We want to do something we have control over.”

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Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before domestication

Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before domestication

Bet you've never seen fruits and veggies that look like these before.

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The firm that can 3D print human body parts

The firm that can 3D print human body parts

The Swedish hi-tech firm at the forefront of using 3D printing to create human ears, noses and other body parts.

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Using artificial intelligence for 'extreme vetting'? Not on our watch, 50 scientists say

Using artificial intelligence for 'extreme vetting'? Not on our watch, 50 scientists say

Leading researchers castigated a federal plan that would use artificial intelligence (AI) methods to scrutinise immigrants and visa applicants, saying it is unworkable as written.

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Surgeons just performed the first successful human head transplant on a dead person

Surgeons just performed the first successful human head transplant on a dead person

Scientists have successfully performed a head transplant on a corpse, and are ready to do it on a living person, according to the man famous for promising it. Surgeon Sergio Canavero has become famous for claiming to be working on the first human head transplant. And he says that the successful test shows that his plans will work. The successful transplant on the corpse shows that his newly developed techniques for re-connecting the spine, nerves and blood vessels to allow the two bodies to live together will work, he said.

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MIT Just Won an Award for Its Mars City Design and We See Why

MIT Just Won an Award for Its Mars City Design and We See Why

There’s been serious talk of late about sending people to Mars, the goal of which is to establish a permanent colony on the Red Planet, perhaps within the next decade. Assuming astronauts can survive the six-month-long journey in one piece, human life in the lethal Martian environment presents its own challenges. Sustainable habitation requires shelter, water, food and recreation, none of which exist on Mars in any usable form...

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One small backflip for a robot is one giant leaping backflip for humankind

One small backflip for a robot is one giant leaping backflip for humankind

Something that often bothers me about sci-fi is the loner inventor trope. A guy in a garage builds a robot, or AI, or frequently both that are somehow decades beyond the technology of his day, and all the wild implications of his vast technological leap are the fuel for the next two and a half hours of popcorn entertainment.

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‘Maybe you’ll be going to Mars,’ Buzz Aldrin tells a 6-year-old Shiloh boy

‘Maybe you’ll be going to Mars,’ Buzz Aldrin tells a 6-year-old Shiloh boy

Lukas Pilkey was so excited last week he could have leaped over the moon. The Shiloh 6-year-old got to meet one of his heroes — retired Air Force Col. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. “It was really cool,” Lukas said with an ear-to-ear smile while donning a T-shirt with an astronaut on it. Lukas, his parents, Greg and Aerica Pilkey, and Aerica’s dad, Mike Dreps, stood in line for over three hours on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to get into the Center for Global Citizenship at St. Louis University to hear the famous astronaut speak.

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These Photos From the Hubble Space Telescope Show Two Galaxies Colliding in Spectacular Fashion

These Photos From the Hubble Space Telescope Show Two Galaxies Colliding in Spectacular Fashion

Even after more than 27 years in space, the Hubble Space Telescope can still take one heck of a photo. The image above was taken earlier this year and shows two galaxies merging into one. Described by the European Space Agency and NASA as a "twisted cosmic knot" in the constellation Cancer, it's about 250 million light-years from earth.

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Aircraft and helicopter in mid-air crash

Aircraft and helicopter in mid-air crash

An aircraft and a helicopter have crashed in mid-air over Buckinghamshire, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said. Emergency services were called to the site near Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury, at 12:06 GMT. The AAIB said it was sending a team to investigate. Ambulance crews said there had been a number of casualties. A Wycombe Air Park spokesman said both aircraft involved came from the airfield near High Wycombe.

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New pulsar result supports particle dark matter

New pulsar result supports particle dark matter

New results from an unconventional observatory in Mexico are bringing scientists one step closer to solving the dark matter mystery. They lend credence to the idea that some strange non-light-emitting particle is responsible for about 85% of the universe’s mass. This new observation casts serious doubt on the more conventional of two favored theories for the enigmatic excess of antimatter particles in space, leaving dark matter particles as the most likely explanation.

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Friday, 17 November 2017

A broken heart can cause as much damage as a heart attack

A broken heart can cause as much damage as a heart attack

Severe emotional stress can prompt a sudden heart condition that poses the same sort of long-term damage as a heart attack, new research has found. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy – or “broken heart syndrome” - affects at least 3,000 people in the UK and is typically triggered by traumatic life events such as bereavement. During an attack, the heart muscle weakens to the point where it can no longer function as effectively.

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Kill switches for engineered microbes gone rogue

Kill switches for engineered microbes gone rogue

Synthetic biologists are fitting the genomes of microorganisms with synthetic gene circuits to break down polluting plastics, non-invasively diagnose and treat infections in the human gut, and generate chemicals and nutrition on long haul space flights. Although showing great promise in the laboratory, these technologies require control and safety measures that make sure the engineered microorganisms keep their functional gene circuits intact over many cell divisions, and that they are contained to the specific environments they are designed for.

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NASA Snaps Amazing Close-up Shot Of Antarctica’s Massive Iceberg

NASA Snaps Amazing Close-up Shot Of Antarctica’s Massive Iceberg

Last July, the world saw the amazing satellite images that showed an iceberg bigger than the state of Delaware drifting away from Antarctica’s ice shelf. Now it’s summertime in Antarctica, which is allowing scientists to view the massive ice structure up close. According to Gizmodo, the ice behemoth is known as “iceberg A-68” and weighs “about a trillion tons and features a surface area of 2,240 square miles (5,800 square kilometers).”

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Ethical Concerns for Cutting-Edge Neurotechnologies

Ethical Concerns for Cutting-Edge Neurotechnologies

Although it may be years before brain-computer interface (BCI) technology becomes part of daily life, a team of experts is calling for conversation on the ethics of the field to begin. The demand comes from a group of neuroscientists, neurotechnicians, clinicians, ethicists, and engineers called the Morningside Group. Their concerns about the technology range from data privacy minutiae to science-fiction nightmare. They say existing ethical guidelines are insufficient.

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Orcas vs great white sharks: in a battle of the apex predators who wins?

Orcas vs great white sharks: in a battle of the apex predators who wins?

It’s difficult to imagine the voracious great white shark as prey. Could orcas really be overpowering them and removing their livers?

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Microsoft's Bill Gates to Genetically Engineer Laser Lit Mosquitos

Microsoft's Bill Gates to Genetically Engineer Laser Lit Mosquitos

Gene drive raises hopes and fears as scientists are using it to wipe out the mosquitoes that carry malaria, to eradicate the disease.

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New Zealand’s War on Rats Could Change the World

New Zealand’s War on Rats Could Change the World

The nation wants to eradicate all invasive mammal predators by 2050. Gene-editing technology could help—or it could trigger an ecological disaster of global proportions.

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What If You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?

What If You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?

Simple blood tests may soon be able to deliver alarming news about your cognitive health.

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UK and Canada lead alliance against coal

UK and Canada lead alliance against coal

The UK and Canada have launched a global alliance of 20 countries committed to phasing out coal for energy production. Members including France, Finland and Mexico, say they will end the use of coal before 2030. Ministers hope to have 50 countries signed up by the time of the next major UN conference in Poland next year.

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How a Wild Rocket Misfire Created Cape Canaveral

How a Wild Rocket Misfire Created Cape Canaveral

In an excerpt from Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight, author Joe Pappalardo explores how one errant rocket helped create the U.S.'s most important spaceport.

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A Photo Trip to Antarctica

A Photo Trip to Antarctica

Images from the past few years of the Antarctic landscape, wildlife, research facilities, and some of the scientific work taking place there. By Lan Taylor.

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Gene Therapy Creates Replacement Skin to Save a Dying Boy

Gene Therapy Creates Replacement Skin to Save a Dying Boy

Doctors in Europe used gene therapy to grow sheets of healthy skin that saved the life of a boy with a genetic disease that had destroyed most of his skin, the team reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature. This was not the first use of the treatment, which adds gene therapy to a technique developed to grow skin grafts for burn victims. But it was by far the most body surface ever covered in a patient with a genetic disorder: nine square feet.

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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Antarctica Was Once Covered in Forests. We Just Found One That Fossilized.

Antarctica Was Once Covered in Forests. We Just Found One That Fossilized.

It was summer in Antarctica, and Erik Gulbranson and John Isbell were on the hunt. Bundled up in parkas to brave negative temperatures, fierce winds, and blinding days of 24-hour sunlight, Gulbranson, Isbell, and an international team of researchers searched for fossil fragments. Between November 2016 and January 2017, they scaled the snow-capped slopes of the McIntyre Promontory high above the ice fields and glaciers, sifting through the Transantarctic Mountain's gray sedimentary rocks for clues.

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Beauty in Blackwater

Beauty in Blackwater

While most photographers are tucked in bed, this sharpshooter dons dive gear and searches for his subjects at the ocean’s surface, in the black of night. By Michael Patrick O’Neill.

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Climate's magic rabbit: Pulling CO2 out of thin air

Climate's magic rabbit: Pulling CO2 out of thin air

UN climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn amid a welter of reports indicating that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have broken records, while international attempts to curb greenhouse gases are not doing enough to avoid dangerous levels of warming. Our environment correspondent Matt McGrath has travelled to Switzerland to see if technology to remove CO2 from the air could be the answer to this ongoing carbon conundrum.

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Agricultural genomics: Feeding a growing, hungry world

Agricultural genomics: Feeding a growing, hungry world

Next-generation agriculture requires immense computing power. Learn how supercomputing and bioinformatics help scientists adapt agricultural practices to feed 9 billion people.

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3-year-old girl survives Russia plane crash that kills 6

3-year-old girl survives Russia plane crash that kills 6

A 3-year-old girl was the only survivor of a plane crash in far eastern Russia, which killed six people Wednesday, officials said. An L-410 twin-engine turboprop crashed while trying to land at a small airport near the village of Nelkan. The aircraft, which belonged to regional carrier Khabarovsk Airlines, was on a regular flight to Nelkan from Khabarovsk, the regional center which is near a border with China.

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Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

Animals from the deepest places on Earth have been found with plastic in their stomachs, confirming fears that manmade fibres have contaminated the most remote places on the planet. The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes.

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Giving birth on due date 'less risky'

Giving birth on due date 'less risky'

Stillbirth and newborn death risk could be reduced by offering more pregnant women the chance to give birth on their due date, experts believe. Currently, women who are overdue but well are often given a couple of extra weeks to see if labour will happen spontaneously before doctors intervene. New research suggests bringing forward induction to 40 weeks' gestation may be a safer option for mothers and babies.

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To think critically, you have to be both analytical and motivated

To think critically, you have to be both analytical and motivated

You need more than just critical analysis skills—you need to value using them.

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High cognitive ability not a safeguard from conspiracies, paranormal beliefs

High cognitive ability not a safeguard from conspiracies, paranormal beliefs

The moon landing and global warming are hoaxes. The U.S. government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. A UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. Is skepticism toward these kinds of unfounded beliefs just a matter of cognitive ability?

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How Fuzzballs Solve the Black Hole Firewall Paradox

How Fuzzballs Solve the Black Hole Firewall Paradox

By replacing black holes with fuzzballs — dense, star-like objects from string theory — researchers think they can avoid some knotty paradoxes at the edge of physics. By Jennifer Ouellette.

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Your Daughter Could Develop "Daddy Issues" Even If You're A (Mostly) Good Dad

Your Daughter Could Develop "Daddy Issues" Even If You're A (Mostly) Good Dad

Daughters who grow up with fathers who disappointed them are more likely to interpret the intentions of other men as sexual when they grow up, new research suggests. The study is the latest installment from a team of researchers who have previously studied how fathers impact their daughters’ odds of risky sexual behaviors and the particulars of so called “daddy issues”. But this is the first time scientists have demonstrated that...

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The Ancient Roman Cult That Continues to Vex Scholars

The Ancient Roman Cult That Continues to Vex Scholars

The Mithraic Mysteries worshipped a pagan god from subterranean temples buried throughout the empire. By Kerry Wolfe.

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Many older Americans are living a desperate, nomadic life

Many older Americans are living a desperate, nomadic life

The book “Nomadland” reveals the dark, depressing life of driving from one low-wage job to another. By Richard Eisenberg.

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The Hidden Science and Tech of the Byzantine Empire

The Hidden Science and Tech of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine civilization, the eastern Roman empire whose capital was at Constantinople, is mostly known today for its spirituality and eccentricities. In reality, Byzantium was also a pragmatic and down-to-earth culture, and it also exhibited prowess in science and technology. By Anthony Kaldellis.

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Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

CO₂ could soon reach levels that, it’s widely agreed, will lead to catastrophe. By Elizabeth Kolbert.

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Study Finds SpaceX Investment Saved NASA Hundreds of Millions

Study Finds SpaceX Investment Saved NASA Hundreds of Millions

When a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft connected with the International Space Station on May 25, 2012, it made history as the first privately-built spacecraft to reach the ISS. The Dragon was the result of a decision 6 years prior—in 2006, NASA made an "unprecedented" investment in SpaceX technology. A new financial analysis shows that the investment has paid off, and the government found one of the true bargains of the 21st century when it invested in SpaceX.

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Orion Nebula M42

Orion Nebula M42

by Dimitri Goderdzishvili

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This Incredible Footage Shows CRISPR Editing DNA in Real Time

This Incredible Footage Shows CRISPR Editing DNA in Real Time

Want to see something that makes scientists gasp? Feast your eyes on this video, showing a direct observation of CRISPR-Cas9 munching up a piece of DNA.

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Why the Anti-Corruption Drive in Saudi Arabia is Doomed to Fail

Why the Anti-Corruption Drive in Saudi Arabia is Doomed to Fail

The problem in resource-rich states is that corruption is not marginal to political power, but central to acquiring it and keeping it. By Patrick Cockburn.

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