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Science News Headlines - Yahoo News

Science News Headlines - Yahoo News

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  • U.S. proposes effort to analyze DNA from 1 million people

    A DNA double helix in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute to ReutersBy Toni Clarke and Sharon Begley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers as part of a new initiative to understand human disease and develop medicines targeted to an individual's genetic make-up. At the heart of the "precision medicine" initiative, announced on Friday by President Barack Obama, is the creation of a pool of people - healthy and ill, men and women, old and young - who would be studied to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. "Precision medicine gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new medical breakthroughs we've ever seen," Obama said, promising that it would "lay a foundation for a new era of life-saving discoveries." The near-term goal is to create more and better treatments for cancer, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.

  • NASA satellite to map soil moisture poised for launch An unmanned Delta 2 rocket is being prepared for launch on Saturday to put a NASA satellite into orbit that is expected to improve drought monitoring and flooding forecasts. The 127-foot-tall (39-metre) rocket, built and flown by United Launch Alliance, is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 6:20 a.m. PST (1420 GMT). Launch originally was planned for Thursday but was delayed 24 hours due to high winds, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, postponed the flight for one more day so that technicians could repair insulation on the rocket that had become detached during Thursday’s launch attempt.
  • Poll finds gaping chasm in views between U.S. public, scientists

    File photo of an employee stocking produce near a sign supporting a ballot initiative that would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified crops at the Central Co-op in SeattleBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American scientists and the general public hold vastly different views on key scientific issues including the role of people in causing climate change, the safety of genetically modified food, and evolution, a poll released on Thursday showed. Eighty-seven percent of scientists questioned by the Pew Research Center said human activity was the main cause of global climate change, compared with 50 percent of the public. The issue has become increasing divisive, with some leading conservatives expressing doubt that human activity like the burning of fossils fuels that release greenhouse gases is driving a global warming trend. There was an even bigger chasm over genetically modified foods, with 88 percent of the scientists saying they were safe to eat, compared with 37 percent of the public.

  • Laser's co-inventor, Nobel laureate Charles Townes, dead at 99

    Charles Townes, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, speaks at a forum in DohaCharles Townes, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for invention of the laser, a feat that revolutionized science, medicine, telecommunications and entertainment, has died at age 99, the University of California at Berkeley reported. A professor emeritus at Berkeley, he was a member of the university's physics department and Space Sciences Laboratory for nearly five decades.

  • Prehistoric skull a key 'piece of the puzzle' in story of humanity

    Researchers work inside Manot Cave in Israel's Western GalileeBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A partial skull retrieved from a cave in northern Israel is shedding light on a pivotal juncture in early human history when our species was trekking out of Africa to populate other parts of the world and encountered our close cousins the Neanderthals. The researchers said characteristics of the skull, dating from a time period when members of our species were thought to have been marching out of Africa, suggest the individual was closely related to the first Homo sapiens populations that later colonized Europe. They also said the skull provides the first evidence that Homo sapiens inhabited that region at the same time as Neanderthals, our closest extinct human relative. Tel Aviv University anthropologist Israel Hershkovitz, who led the study published in the journal Nature, called the skull "an important piece of the puzzle of the big story of human evolution." Previous genetic evidence suggests our species and Neanderthals interbred during roughly the time period represented by the skull, with all people of Eurasian ancestry still retaining a small amount of Neanderthal DNA as a result.

  • Fugitive Shipwreck Hunter Captured After 2 Years on the Lam

    Fugitive Shipwreck Hunter Captured After 2 Years on the LamTommy Thompson — a famous shipwreck hunter who located a Gold Rush-era wreck, and then became embroiled in a long legal drama over the spoils — has been captured in Florida after more than two years in hiding. "I haven't been out of Florida since 2005 because I'm sensitive to materials that are north," Thompson said, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

  • Who's Who? Centuries-Old Owl Mix-Up Fixed

    Who's Who? Centuries-Old Owl Mix-Up FixedOnce mistaken for another species of owl, the golden-eyed "desert tawny owl" is now finally getting its due. In a new report, researchers examined the plumage and body shape of owl specimens from museums around the world that had previously been thought to be members of a species called Hume's owl. The researchers also analyzed the owls' mitochondrial DNA, and found it was about 10 percent different from that of the Hume's owl, which is properly known as species Strix butleri. "We reinvestigated it using all techniques available to us, and realized — especially based on the fact that there were massive genetic differences between Hume's type and specimens from elsewhere — that it was pretty obvious that there were two species involved," said Guy Kirwan, a research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and co-author of the new report.

  • Quantum Experiment Helps Prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity Building a quantum computer can sometimes yield unexpected benefits — like providing the right environment to demonstrate that Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity is, in fact, correct. The experiment used partially entangled atoms that were a byproduct of an attempt to build quantum computers. Special relativity is a cornerstone of modern physics, and was formulated by Einstein in 1905. Since relativity says the speed of light in a vacuum is constant, space should look the same in every direction, no matter what.
  • Mars Fossils? Curiosity Rover Team Questions Report on Potential Microbe Traces

    Mars Fossils? Curiosity Rover Team Questions Report on Potential Microbe TracesScientists on the Curiosity team have brought into question a recent report about potential trace fossils in the NASA Mars rover's images of the Gillespie rock outcrop. Astrobiology Magazine reached out to the team and to the study's author for further comments. In a paper published last month in the journal Astrobiology, geobiologist Nora Noffke drew attention to features in Martian rocks that she suggested bore striking resemblance to trace fossils of microbial mats on Earth. As Curiosity's project scientist Ashwin Vasavada explained to other news outlets (including Space.com), the team had evaluated the features as non-biological, likely having been shaped by erosion or the transport of sand in water.

  • Super Bowl in Space: Astronauts May Watch the Big Game in Orbit

    Super Bowl in Space: Astronauts May Watch the Big Game in OrbitWhen more than 100 million people on Earth tune in for the Super Bowl kick-off this Sunday, NASA's astronauts in space will probably be sleeping. But two the American astronauts living and working on the International Space Station are football fans, and at least one of them says he hopes to wake up in time to see the end of the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots or the Seattle Seahawks. "Regrettably, our bedtime, or at least my bed time is quite early," the station's commander, NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore, said in an interview with reporters earlier this week. There are no microwaves or ovens on the space station, and definitely no grills.

  • Scientists abandon highly publicized claim about cosmic find NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists who made headlines last March by announcing that they'd found long-sought evidence about the early universe are now abandoning that claim.
  • Could Super Bowl Outcome Be Influenced By Biological Clocks? Football fans, take note: The outcome of this weekend's Super Bowl, along with other major sporting events, may depend on whether the players are night owls or early birds, a new study suggests. "Even 1 percent makes the difference between winning a race and losing it," said Roland Brandstaetter, a biologist at the University of Birmingham in England and co-author of the study published today (Jan. 29) in the journal Current Biology. The findings could have big implications for the timing of major sporting events, and how athletes train for them, the researchers said. Previous studies have always found that athletes perform their personal best in the evening, but nobody considered body-clock types properly, Brandstaetter told Live Science.
  • UK to launch 100,000 genomes project as Obama backs DNA drive By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Gene research is getting a boost on both sides of the Atlantic, with scientists in England set to launch a project on Feb. 2 to analyze 100,000 entire human genomes and U.S. President Barack Obama backing a big new DNA data drive. Obama will announce the U.S. plan to analyze genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers on Friday as a central part of an initiative to promote so-called precision medicine, officials said. The 100,000 genomes project in England, meanwhile, was first unveiled by the British government two years ago -- but the 11 centers charged with collecting samples will only begin full-scale recruitment from next week. Such large-scale genomic research has become possible because the cost of genome sequencing has plummeted in recent years to around $1,000 per genome.
  • Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think

    Three Mile IslandWASHINGTON (AP) — The American public and U.S. scientists are light-years apart on science issues. And 98 percent of surveyed scientists say it's a problem that we don't know what they're talking about.

  • Scientist-Artist Ed Belbruno Stars in Award-Winning Film

    Scientist-Artist Ed Belbruno Stars in Award-Winning FilmThis story is a central part of the new documentary, and it's a good example of the ways that art and science intertwine in Belbruno's life – a life that is both unexpected and sometimes unexplainable. Director Jacob Okada, along with producers Adam Morrow and Carylanna Taylor, say they are planning a public release of the film in April. "Painting the Way to the Moon" features interviews with leading astrophysicists who speak highly of Ed Belbruno's scientific work on ballistic orbits (meaning those that use only gravity, rather than fuel, to move around the solar system). From 1985 to 1990, Ed Belbruno was a mathematician working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

  • Evolution Deniers Believe in 'Smorgasbord' of Science Well-educated religious people are just as scientifically literate as their more secular counterparts — yet most still overwhelmingly reject theories of human evolution and the Big Bang, new research finds. These well-educated believers have positive views of science, in general, and understand the scientific method, but selectively reject certain theories that conflict with their religious beliefs, said study lead author Timothy O'Brien, a sociologist at the University of Evansville in Indiana. "Folks are taking almost like a cafeteria approach or a smorgasbord approach," O'Brien told Live Science.
  • From GMOs to Climate, Public Disagrees with Scientists There are wide opinion gaps between scientists and the public on a number of big issues, from the safety of genetically modified foods to the cause of climate change, a new survey suggests. "There is a disconnect between the way in which the public perceives the state of science and science's position on a variety of issues," said Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), in a press conference on Wednesday (Jan. 28).
  • Stoppard's new play lifts the lid on brain science

    British playwright Stoppard speaks as British director Hare watches during the annual Literature Festival in JaipurBy Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Stoppard, the grand old man of British theatre, is back with his first new stage play in nine years, tackling typically big ideas: consciousness, science and God. "The Hard Problem" is a 100-minute gallop, with no interval, through neurobiology, religion and improbable "black swan" events in financial markets that is both contemporary and timeless. While the play fizzes with ideas it is arguably less successful as a human drama, and reviews of the production at the National Theatre's intimate Dorfman venue in London were mixed on Thursday. The audience gets fair warning it is in for an intellectual workout this time, from a programme that features letters between Stoppard and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on Cartesian dualism, or the separation of mind and matter.

  • AstraZeneca bets on 'genetic scissors' for range of new drugs

    A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in MacclesfieldBy Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca said on Thursday it had struck four research agreements in the hot area of genome editing as it bets on a new "genetic scissors" technology to deliver better and more precise drugs for a range of diseases. The academic and commercial tie-ups will allow British-based AstraZeneca to use so-called CRISPR technology across its entire drug discovery platform in areas such as oncology, cardiovascular, respiratory and immune system medicine. CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, allows scientists to edit the genes of selected cells accurately and efficiently. The collaborations with Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Innovative Genomics Initiative in California, the Broad Institute and Whitehead Institute in Massachusetts, and Thermo Fisher Scientific build on an in-house CRISPR programme at AstraZeneca that has been running for over a year.

  • Laser's co-inventor, Nobel laureate Charles Townes, dead at 99

    Charles Townes, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, speaks at a forum in DohaCharles Townes, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for invention of the laser, a feat that revolutionized science, medicine, telecommunications and entertainment, has died at age 99, the University of California at Berkeley reported. A professor emeritus at Berkeley, he was a member of the university's physics department and Space Sciences Laboratory for nearly five decades.

  • Tape: Scientist offers to build nuke bomb targeting New York

    FILE - This Oct. 22, 2009, file photo shows former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni on his back deck in Los Alamos, N.M. Mascheroni pleaded guilty to trying to help Venezuela develop a nuclear weapon was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, to five years in prison and three years of supervised release. Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, had pleaded guilty in 2013 to offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the socialist South American country. (AP Photo/Heather Clark, File)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela in 10 years and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for "money and power," according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday.

  • Charles Townes, co-inventor of the laser and a Nobel laureate in physics, has died at 99 Charles Townes, co-inventor of the laser and a Nobel laureate in physics, has died at 99.
  • Ex-Los Alamos scientist gets 5 years in nuclear espionage case (Reuters) - A former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday for passing secret U.S. nuclear weapons data to a person he believed to be a Venezuelan government official, the FBI said. Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, 79, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina, pleaded guilty in June 2013 to several espionage-related offenses stemming from an undercover sting operation, according to the FBI and court records. His wife, who is 71, was previously sentenced to a year in prison and three years of supervised release for her role in the same case, the FBI said. Mascheroni, a physicist, worked from 1979 to 1988 at Los Alamos, a U.S. government facility where the first atomic bomb was developed and which still conducts nuclear weapons research.
  • Ex-Los Alamos scientist gets 5 years in nuke spy sting ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who pleaded guilty to trying to help Venezuela develop a nuclear weapon was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison and three years of supervised release
  • No Yolk! Scientists Unboil an Egg Without Defying Physics

    No Yolk! Scientists Unboil an Egg Without Defying PhysicsThe finding could dramatically reduce the cost of cancer treatments and food production, the scientists reported yesterday (Jan. 27) in the journal ChemBioChem. "Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg," study co-author Gregory Weiss, a biochemist at the University of California, Irvine, said in a statement. In their experiment, Weiss and his colleagues started with an egg white that had been boiled for 20 minutes at 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius), until its proteins became tangled clumps. Next, they used a machine called a vortex fluid device, designed by Weiss' colleagues at Flinders University in Australia, which used the shearing forces  in thin, microfluidic films to shape the egg white proteins back into their untangled form.

  • Ex-Los Alamos scientist to be sentenced in nuke spy sting ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who pleaded guilty to trying to help Venezuela develop a nuclear weapon is set to be sentenced.
  • Insects Wear Tiny Spacesuits, for Science

    Insects Wear Tiny Spacesuits, for ScienceScanning electron microscopes (SEM) provide incredibly detailed images of biological specimens, but the instruments have not been able to image living organisms because of the powerful vacuum environment required. But now, a team of researchers has developed a way to image mosquitoes and other insects in an SEM, by wrapping them in a substance that keeps the organisms alive, without interfering with the imaging process.

  • Obama's 'precision medicine' plan to boost research, but faces hurdles By Sharon Begley and Toni Clarke NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's plan to put the United States at the forefront of individually tailored medical treatment should give a much-needed boost to research in the field but experts say it won't work without reforms to healthcare, including drug testing and insurance. The administration is expected to give the first details this week on the "precision medicine" initiative that Obama announced in his Jan. 20 State of the Union address. Obama said he wanted the United States to "lead a new era of medicine, one that delivers the right treatment at the right time." Precision medicine seeks to identify and treat the exact form of disease in patients based on their genome - the precise order of molecules in their DNA - as well as other factors such as the interaction of genes and environment, and the microbes in their body. We are very, very far from doing that, but the payoff would be fantastic," said biologist Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco, medical school.
  • New-generation solar panels far cheaper, more efficient - scientists

    Workers walk among newly installed solar panels at a plant in Zhouquan township of TongxiangBy Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new generation of solar panels made from a mineral called perovskite has the potential to convert solar energy into household electricity more cheaply than ever before, according to a study from Briain's Exeter University. Super-thin, custom-coloured panels attached to a building's windows may become a "holy grail" for India and African countries, Senthilarasu Sundaram, one of the authors of the study, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. With a thickness measured in billionths of a metre, solar panels made of perovskite will be more than 40 percent cheaper and 50 percent more efficient than those commercially produced today, Sundaram said.

  • Scientists ask if Ebola immunises as well as kills

    Ebola survivor Alimamy Kanu poses for a picture at Devil Hole"The virus may be bumping into people it can't infect any more."     Latest World Health Organization data show new cases of infection in West Africa's unprecedented Ebola epidemic dropping dramatically in Guinea, Sierra Leone and particularly in Liberia.     Most experts are sure the main driver is better control measures reducing direct contact with contagious patients and corpses, but there may also be other factors at work.     So-called herd immunity is a feature of many infectious diseases and can, in some cases, dampen an outbreak if enough people get asymptomatic, or "sub-clinical" cases and acquire protective antibodies. After a while, the virus - be it flu, measles, polio - can't find non-immune people to be its hosts.     But some specialists with wide experience of disease outbreaks are highly sceptical about whether this phenomenon happens in Ebola, or whether it could affect an epidemic.     "There is some suggestion there may be cases that are less severe... and there may even be some that are asymptomatic," said David Heymann, an infectious disease expert and head of global health security at Chatham House.     "But herd immunity is just the wrong term.

  • Scientists ask if Ebola immunizes as well as kills

    A health worker disinfects a road in the Paynesville neighborhood of MonroviaBy Kate Kelland and Emma Farge LONDON/DAKAR (Reuters) - A recent sharp drop in new Ebola infections in West Africa is prompting scientists to wonder whether the virus may be silently immunizing some people at the same time as brutally killing their neighbors. So-called "asymptomatic" Ebola cases - in which someone is exposed to the virus, develops antibodies, but doesn't get sick or suffer symptoms - are hotly disputed among scientists, with some saying their existence is little more than a pipe dream. "We wonder whether 'herd immunity' is secretly coming up - when you get a critical mass of people who are protected, because if they are asymptomatic they are then immune," Philippe Maughan, senior operations administrator for the humanitarian branch of the European Commission, told Reuters. "The virus may be bumping into people it can't infect any more." Latest World Health Organization data show new cases of infection in West Africa's unprecedented Ebola epidemic dropping dramatically in Guinea, Sierra Leone and particularly in Liberia.

  • Venomous Cone Snails Weaponize Insulin to Stun Prey

    Venomous Cone Snails Weaponize Insulin to Stun PreyAt least two species of cone snailhave turned insulin into an underwater weapon, a new study finds. When these stealthy aquatic snails approach their prey, they release insulin, a hormone that can cause blood sugar levels to plummet. The sudden influx of insulin can enter their gills and get into their bloodstream. "The snail has a very large mouth, and it kind of catches the fish within the large mouth," said the study's lead researcher, Helena Safavi, a research assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah.

  • Football Physics: Why Deflated Balls Are Easier to Catch After an inspection revealed that some of the footballs used during Sunday's NFL playoff game were slightly deflated, many people are asking whether the balls gave the New England Patriots an unfair advantage over the Indianapolis Colts. Last Sunday (Jan. 18), the Patriots landed a spot at the Super Bowl after beating the Colts 45 to 7. A ball that is less inflated is easier to deform and grip, said Miguel Morales, an associate professor of physics at the University of Washington. "Ideally, the way people are taught to catch it is to put their hands around the nose of the ball," Morales told Live Science.
  • In a first, sea otter pup conceived in wild born in California lab A baby sea otter has made history as the first pup born in captivity to a mother impregnated in the wild, and is healthy and developing normally, researchers in California said on Friday. The bundle of joy was born in November at the Long Marine Laboratory on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz, said Nicole Thometz, a researcher in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. To better the otter's chance of survival off the Central California shoreline, researchers are limiting their interaction with the pup, who was not named and whose sex is not known, she said.
  • Art embraces science in new British play 'Oppenheimer'

    Tom Morton-Smith, playwright of new play 'Oppenheimer' sits on a graphic of a 'bomb', at a rehearsal studio in London, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. The Royal Shakespeare Company is doing Tom Morton-Smith's play about the physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who led the team that developed the first nuclear weapon.. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON (AP) — Suddenly, science is sexy. With Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for multiple trophies as Alan Turing and Eddie Redmayne turning heads as Stephen Hawking, young British actors playing scientists are all the rage this awards season.

  • NASA's New Curiosity Rover Science Chief Takes Charge On Mars

    NASA's New Curiosity Rover Science Chief Takes Charge On MarsAshwin Vasavada knows he has some pretty big shoes to fill. Vasavada is the newly appointed project scientist for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, in charge of a team of nearly 500 researchers spread around the globe. He succeeds John Grotzinger, who steered Curiosity to some big finds over the past few years — including the discovery that Mars could have supported microbial life in the ancient past.

  • The smoke around e-cig science

    File photo of a customer puffing on an e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in New York CityBy Sara Ledwith LONDON (Reuters) - From Apple Pie to Bubbly Bubble Gum, Irish Car Bomb or Martian bar – from Mars!, the flavors of electronic cigarette offer something for every taste.

  • Lake Tahoe's tiny creatures dying off at dramatic rate: scientist

    Plowed snow forms a frame for Lake Tahoe near RenoThe smallest critters who occupy the bottom of the cold, clear waters of Lake Tahoe are dying off at an alarming rate and scientists are trying to find the cause to protect the fragile ecosystem of the lake high in the Sierra Nevada range. Scuba divers completed a first-ever circumnavigation of the shallow areas and certain deep spots last fall, collecting data that showed population drops in eight kinds of invertebrates that are only thumbnail-sized and smaller, including some only found in Lake Tahoe. "Our laboratory group was very surprised to see such a dramatic decline over a short period of time," University of Nevada, Reno scientist and associate professor Sudeep Chandra said in an email on Wednesday. Sitting at the base of a world-class ski area, Lake Tahoe is a tourist draw for its breathtaking beauty and outdoor activities, but has long faced environmental damage from development, boats and invasive species.

Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr

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