Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Seeds Have Sprouted on the Moon for the First Time

Seeds Have Sprouted on the Moon for the First Time

China’s miniature biosphere experiment has yielded sprouting cotton seeds, and they are the first plants to germinate on the Moon—an important first step in creating a viable, self-sustaining lunar colony. China’s Chang’e 4 lander arrived on the Moon’s far side on January 3, 2018. Among its cargo is a miniature lunar biosphere developed by scientists at Chongqing University. This experiment consists of a 7-inch-long, airtight container filled with soil, air, water, various seeds, yeast, and fruit fly eggs.

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Harvard Professor Doubles Down On Claim That 2017 Alien Probe Visited Earth

Harvard Professor Doubles Down On Claim That 2017 Alien Probe Visited Earth

The head of Harvard University's Astronomy Department is doubling down on his claim from November 2018 that the space rock Oumuamua, the first interstellar object to enter our solar system, which it did in 2017, was an alien probe. Dr. Avi Loeb was interviewed by Haaretz about his controversial claim, which was made in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Co-author and Harvard astrophysicist Shmuel Bialy had stated, “Currently there is an unexplained phenomena, namely, the excess acceleration of Oumuamua...

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There is no death, only a series of eternal ‘nows’

There is no death, only a series of eternal ‘nows’

Here we tell you what happens after you’re dead. Seriously. Okay, it’s not so serious, because you won’t actually die. To lay the groundwork, let’s recap the scientific view of death: essentially, you drop dead and that’s the end of everything. This is the view favoured by intellectuals who pride themselves on being stoic and realistic enough to avoid cowardly refuge in Karl Marx’s spiritual ‘opium’ – the belief in an afterlife. This modern view is not a cheerful one.

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Climate Concerns Are Pushing Oil Majors to Look beyond Fossil Fuels

Climate Concerns Are Pushing Oil Majors to Look beyond Fossil Fuels

Several companies are diversifying their businesses, from biofuels to electric vehicles

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Animals with 'night vision goggles'

Animals with 'night vision goggles'

Could you survive in pitch-black conditions? Meet the animals that not only survive but thrive. By Jonathan Amos.

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Earth's Magnetic Pole Is Wandering, Lurching Toward Siberia

Earth's Magnetic Pole Is Wandering, Lurching Toward Siberia

Earth's north magnetic pole is on the move, unpredictably lurching away from the Canadian Arctic and toward Siberia. It's wandered so much, that the current representation of the entire globe's magnetic field, just updated in 2015, is now out of date. And so, geologists have come up with a new model. This updated model, called the World Magnetic Model, was supposed to be published Jan. 15, but it's now been delayed to Jan. 30, on account of the government shutdown.

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Cern plans for even larger hadron collider

Cern plans for even larger hadron collider

Cern has published its ideas for a £20bn successor to the Large Hadron Collider, given the working name of Future Circular Collider (FCC). The Geneva based particle physics research centre is proposing an accelerator that is almost four times longer and ten times more powerful. The aim is to have the FCC hunting for new sub-atomic particles by 2050. Critics say that the money could be better spent on other research areas such as combating climate change.

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DNA of wolf declared extinct in wild lives on in Texas pack

DNA of wolf declared extinct in wild lives on in Texas pack

Researchers say a pack of wild canines found frolicking near the beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast carries a substantial amount of red wolf genes, a surprising discovery because the animal was declared extinct in the wild nearly 40 years ago. By David Warren.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Dangerous minds: the writers hounded by the FBI

Dangerous minds: the writers hounded by the FBI

From James Baldwin to Susan Sontag: the American authors labelled enemies of the state. By Douglas Kennedy.

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This tiny Bluetooth chip doesn’t need a battery because it harvests energy from the air

This tiny Bluetooth chip doesn’t need a battery because it harvests energy from the air

The Internet of Things promises to connect billions of otherwise ordinary devices to the internet, but when each one needs to have its own battery, there’s a limit to how small or cheap they can become. A new paper-thin Bluetooth chip that’s able to operate entirely without a battery could be about to solve this problem. The postage stamp-sized chip from Wiliot is able to harvest energy from the ambient radio frequencies around us, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals, and use them to power a Bluetooth-equipped ARM processor that can be connected to a variety of sensors.

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From Pompeii to Victorian erotica, pubic hair was considered sexy, healthy and youthful

From Pompeii to Victorian erotica, pubic hair was considered sexy, healthy and youthful

Yet whenever I post an image of a woman with a full bush, tempers flare. How did we get here? By Kate Lister.

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Ancient civilizations can show us how to protect the Amazon rainforest

Ancient civilizations can show us how to protect the Amazon rainforest

Lessons from long-lost civilizations. By Hannah Yi.

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Can China grow a flower on the moon? The countdown begins

Can China grow a flower on the moon? The countdown begins

In the 2015 blockbuster The Martian, Matt Damon plays an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and survives by growing potatoes, producing enough food to last months. China’s lunar mission could bring that piece of science fiction a step closer to reality if it succeeds in growing the first flower on the moon in less than a hundred days’ time, an experiment that the China National Space Administration said it would soon broadcast.

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Longevity primarily hereditary in extremely long-living families

Longevity primarily hereditary in extremely long-living families

Longevity is heritable, but that primarily applies to persons from families where multiple members are among the top 10 percent survivors of their birth cohort. The key to a long life can probably be found in the genes of these families. These are the conclusions of researchers at Leiden University Medical Center, together with their colleagues from Nijmegen and the United States, in an article in Nature Communications.

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China's cotton seeds sprout on Moon

China's cotton seeds sprout on Moon

The seeds, inside a sealed container, are the first plants ever grown on the Moon's surface.

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UCI/JPL: Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago

UCI/JPL: Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago

Climate change-induced melting will raise global sea levels for decades to come

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How to Convince a Conservative That Climate Change Is Real

How to Convince a Conservative That Climate Change Is Real

More Americans are taking climate change seriously. A new report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication reveals that 8 percent of participants in three separate surveys said they had changed their mind on the topic over the previous year—and of those, 84 percent said their level of concern had increased. While this shift cut across party lines, many conservatives remain resistant to acknowledge the reality of the phenomenon, and its potentially catastrophic consequences.

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Study suggests posture -- not revealing clothing -- is what causes objectification at a basic cognitive level

Study suggests posture -- not revealing clothing -- is what causes objectification at a basic cognitive level

New research suggests that the brain does not objectify people who are in revealing clothing if they’re not posed in a provocative way. The findings, which appear in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, indicates that objectification is mostly related to suggestive postures. “Sexualization is widely present in mass media with women (and to a lesser extent men) often depicted in sexualized ways. Objectification Theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) posits sexualization in the mass media is among the main vehicle of objectification of others...

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Monday, 14 January 2019

Pancreatic Cancer Immune Checkpoint Target Identified

Pancreatic Cancer Immune Checkpoint Target Identified

While current immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies are largely ineffective against pancreatic cancer, scientists in the U.S. have now identified an immune checkpoint molecule that could represent a promising immunotherapeutic target for this tumor type. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center-led team found that V-domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) is preferentially expressed at high levels in pancreatic cancer, when compared with melanoma tumors.

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'Your disease is real': Breakthrough in diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome

'Your disease is real': Breakthrough in diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome

Researchers have discovered that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a calcium ion channel impairment condition and are working on a diagnostic blood test for the disease.

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Crowdfunding research flips science’s traditional reward model

Crowdfunding research flips science’s traditional reward model

Students and junior investigators are more likely than senior scientists to secure crowdfunding for their research.

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Study: Bias Drops Dramatically For Sexual Orientation And Race — But Not Weight

Study: Bias Drops Dramatically For Sexual Orientation And Race — But Not Weight

New research from Harvard University finds that Americans' unconscious bias on the basis of sexual orientation and race dropped dramatically over a decade. The study in the journal Psychological Science looks at more than 4 million online tests for implicit bias — bias people aren't aware of — taken from 2007 to the end of 2016.

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The politics of fear: How fear goes tribal, allowing us to be manipulated

The politics of fear: How fear goes tribal, allowing us to be manipulated

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion.

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Elon Musk Is Giving My Generation Its Future Back. Let's Not Lose It Again

Elon Musk Is Giving My Generation Its Future Back. Let's Not Lose It Again

Like many, I’ve been watching the developments in Boca Chica, Texas, with great interest. SpaceX, one of Elon Musk’s companies, is building the “Starship Hopper,” a shorter and simpler version of a spacecraft that could revolutionize space travel. Seeing images of the mostly complete test vehicle, clad in shiny stainless steel, makes me feel like a kid again. These are exciting times to be alive. We are at the beginning stages of the electric car revolution. We have access to much of the knowledge of our species at our fingertips. Rockets are being launched, and they mostly return to the ground for the next adventure.

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DNA pioneer loses honours over race claims

DNA pioneer loses honours over race claims

Nobel Prize-winning American scientist James Watson has been stripped of his honorary titles after repeating comments about race and intelligence. In a TV programme, the pioneer in DNA studies made a reference to a view that genes cause a difference on average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said the 90-year-old scientist's remarks were "unsubstantiated and reckless".

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Genetic engineering could create spicy tomatoes

Genetic engineering could create spicy tomatoes

Tweaks to the tomato’s genes could turn it into a spicy one-stop shop for the salsa of the future, Popular Science reports. Shared ancestry with hot peppers, such as the jalapeno, gives the mild-mannered tomato all the genetic tools needed to set the human mouth ablaze. Scientists outline two genetic pathways to turn tomatoes spicy in new research published this week in Trends in Plant Science. The motivation for turning up the heat on the tomato isn’t just culinary.

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Fructose and the Toxic Effects of Sugar -

Fructose and the Toxic Effects of Sugar -

In 2009, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco delivered a ninety minute lecture entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. It was posted on YouTube as part of the university’s medical education series. Then a funny thing happened.

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More Than Half of People Taking Cannabis for Chronic Pain Report Driving While High

More Than Half of People Taking Cannabis for Chronic Pain Report Driving While High

More than half of people who take medical cannabis for chronic pain say they’ve driven under the influence of cannabis within two hours of using it, at least once in the last six months, according to a new study. One in five of them said they’d driven while ‘very high’ in the past six months, researchers from the University of Michigan Addiction Center report in the journal Drug & Alcohol Dependence .

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‘It’s a dream come true’: Genetic test leads to emotional father-daughter reunion

‘It’s a dream come true’: Genetic test leads to emotional father-daughter reunion

A Montreal woman who spent more than 40 years searching for her father flew to Kelowna to be reunited with him on Saturday. As she waited outside the hospital, Sandra Tirone said she couldn’t believe it was happening.

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Advancement of artificial intelligence opens health data privacy to attack

Advancement of artificial intelligence opens health data privacy to attack

Advances in artificial intelligence have created new threats to the privacy of health data, a new UC Berkeley study shows. The study, led by professor Anil Aswani of the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Department (IEOR) in the College of Engineering and his team, suggests current laws and regulations are nowhere near sufficient to keep an individual’s health status private in the face of AI development. The research was released today on JAMA Network Open.

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Here Is The Breathtaking First Panorama Of The Far Side Of The Moon

Here Is The Breathtaking First Panorama Of The Far Side Of The Moon

NASA astronaut David Scott, the seventh person to walk on the Moon and, funnily enough, the first to drive around on it, is one of four people still left alive that can describe such an experience. Per BBC, he said that he’s often asked about what it was like. “I describe the majesty of the lunar mountains, the layers of volcanic lava or the beauty of the sparkling crystals in the rocks,” he wrote in his book, Two Sides of the Moon. “Only an artist or poet could convey the true beauty of space.”

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Sunday, 13 January 2019

A frozen history of climate change – in pictures

A frozen history of climate change – in pictures

Buried deep under the Greenland ice sheet is a unique archive of life on Earth 40,000 years ago. Scientists are using this information to try to predict future changes to the planet...

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Time Travel & the Bootstrap Paradox Explained -

Time Travel & the Bootstrap Paradox Explained -

The Bootstrap Paradox is a theoretical paradox of time travel that occurs when an object or piece of information sent back in time becomes trapped within an infinite cause-effect loop in which the item no [...]

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How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

The extravagant splendor of the animal kingdom can’t be explained by natural selection alone — so how did it come to be?

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How we know the oldest person who ever lived wasn’t faking her age

How we know the oldest person who ever lived wasn’t faking her age

A researcher claims that identity theft was at play in the case of Jeanne Calment, the world’s oldest person, but experts say that evidence is weak.

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Do You Have a Sixth Sense That Feels the Weight of a Stare?

Do You Have a Sixth Sense That Feels the Weight of a Stare?

New research explores invisible, force-carrying beams projecting from the eyes. Princeton University researchers recently published a whimsical study that explores why people subconsciously treat the focus of someone’s gaze as a force-carrying beam projected by the eyes. It’s not a coincidence that this sounds like the stuff of sci-fi or Marvel Comics.

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A Third of All Galaxy Clusters Have Gone Unnoticed Until Now

A Third of All Galaxy Clusters Have Gone Unnoticed Until Now

The universe is far from homogenous. Rather, stars, and the galaxies that contain them, clump together in some places, brought together by their shared gravitational attraction. Astronomers have historically found clusters of galaxies in the sky to be relatively easy to spot, as they’re extremely large and bright. But one new study suggests that a third of all galaxy clusters have been hiding undiscovered out in the cosmos.

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Hares are cannibals and eat meat, surprising photos reveal

Hares are cannibals and eat meat, surprising photos reveal

In an ironic twist, the mammals also dine on carcasses of their main predator, the Canada lynx, a new study says.

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SpaceX cutting 10 percent of its staff to become a leaner company

SpaceX cutting 10 percent of its staff to become a leaner company

SpaceX will lay off up to 10 percent of its work force, the company said Friday evening. The company characterized the job cuts as "a strategic realignment," designed to ensure it is positioned to succeed for the long term. They were announced to employees Friday in an e-mail from company president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell. The company has a work force of more than 6,000 employees.

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The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health

The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health

Current guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggests—and quite possibly even racist. How did we get it so wrong?

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AI Created in DNA-Based Artificial Neural Networks

AI Created in DNA-Based Artificial Neural Networks

Mention artificial intelligence (AI) or artificial neural networks, and images of computers may come to mind. AI-based pattern recognition has a wide variety of real-world uses, such as medical diagnostics, navigation systems, voice-based authentication, image classification, handwriting recognition, speech programs, and text-based processing.

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Good News From Mars: The InSight Lander Is on Track to Start Collecting Data Next Month

Good News From Mars: The InSight Lander Is on Track to Start Collecting Data Next Month

The U.S. government may be in partial shutdown mode, but operations to configure instruments critical to NASA’s InSight mission on Mars are right on schedule—and things are going swimmingly, as the latest mission update attests. Our last update from the InSight mission came on December 20 following the probe’s successful deployment of the SEIS instrument, or Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, onto the Martian surface. The configuration of this hexagonal-shaped device is still ongoing, but an update from the SEIS team shows things are proceeding as planned.

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Millions of College Students Are Going Hungry

Millions of College Students Are Going Hungry

A new government report highlights just how pervasive the problem is.

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Arborists are bringing the “dinosaur of trees” back to life

Arborists are bringing the “dinosaur of trees” back to life

Saplings from clones of the world's largest and longest-lived trees, felled for timber more than a century ago, could be key to fighting climate change.

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Dark Stars, Nazis and the Manhattan Project—A Brief History of Black Holes

Dark Stars, Nazis and the Manhattan Project—A Brief History of Black Holes

Late in 2018, the gravitational wave observatory, LIGO, announced that they had detected the most distant and massive source of ripples of spacetime ever monitored: Waves triggered by pairs of black holes colliding in deep space. Only since 2015 have we been able to observe these invisible astronomical bodies, which can be detected only by their gravitational attraction.

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The Geopolitics of 2069 Are Crazier Than You Can Imagine

The Geopolitics of 2069 Are Crazier Than You Can Imagine

People say we’re about to enter the “Asian century.” That would be true if the world still did centuries. But it doesn’t; change driven by technological advancements now comes so rapidly and with such force that it’s challenging to know what the next year of geopolitics will look like, let alone the next 50.

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Life might exist on the new planet discovered around Barnard's star

Life might exist on the new planet discovered around Barnard's star

Late last year, astronomers announced that they’d found a super-Earth around Barnard’s star – one of the closest suns to our own. The discovery of a planet just six light-years away was enough to excite astronomers and the public alike. However, the researchers who found the planet said that they suspected the icy world couldn’t support life. But now, a group of astronomers are saying such pessimism may be premature. On Earth, geothermal vents produce heat and create unique environments where life thrives in places otherwise difficult to eke out a living – like the frigid, dark deep of the oceans.

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What are the effects of total isolation? An expert explains

What are the effects of total isolation? An expert explains

Imagine being confined to a small, dark room, with no social interaction whatsoever for 30 days. Not many people would jump at this opportunity. But, in November 2018, a professional US poker player Rich Alati bet US$100,000 that he could survive 30 days alone and in total darkness. He was kept in a small, completely dark room with nothing but a bed, fridge and bathroom. Even with all the resources he needed to survive, Alati couldn’t last the month. After 20 days he negotiated his release, taking a payout of US$62,400.

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Friday, 11 January 2019

Ancient Humans Had Sex With More Than Just Neanderthals, Scientists Find

Ancient Humans Had Sex With More Than Just Neanderthals, Scientists Find

We rarely portray Neanderthals, our close relatives, as telegenic. Museum exhibits give them wild tangles of hair, and Hollywood reduces them to grunting unsophisticates. Their skulls suggest broad faces, tiny chins and jutting brows.

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Small Weasel-Like Animals Are Taking Down Big Cats

Small Weasel-Like Animals Are Taking Down Big Cats

Two elusive predators, the lynx and the fisher, battle to the death in the snowstorms of New England. By Joshua Rapp Learn.

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