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- Rosetta team picks spot for historic comet landing
By Victoria Bryan and Tim Hepher BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - A team of scientists identified on Monday the point on the surface of a comet, known as "Site J," where they aim to land a probe in what would be a historic breakthrough for their decade-long project. The probe or lander will be dispatched from the Rosetta spacecraft, which was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2004 and has been tracking comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on its trip around the sun. ...
- NASA's hunt for dangerous asteroids falls short, report shows By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - NASA won't meet a congressionally ordered goal to find 90 percent of nearby and potentially dangerous asteroids larger than 460 feet (140 meters) in diameter, the agency’s Inspector General said on Monday. The shortfall comes despite a 10-fold increase in NASA’s annual budget over the past five years – from $4 million in 2009 to $40 million in 2014 - to track and assess potentially dangerous asteroids and comets. So-called “Near-Earth Objects,” or NEOs, fly within about 28 million miles (45 million km) of Earth. ...
- Mice given human brain gene learned tasks faster : study By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Although it's far from the sort of brain transplant beloved by science fiction enthusiasts, scientists have taken one step in that direction: they have spliced a key human brain gene into mice. In the first study designed to assess how partially 'humanizing' brains of a different species affects key cognitive functions, scientists reported on Monday that mice carrying a human gene associated with language learned new ways to find food in mazes faster than normal mice. ...
- Fireball lights up night sky over eastern U.S WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A blazing meteor lit up the night sky like fireworks across a dozen eastern U.S. states and prompted almost 160 sighting reports, the American Meteor Society said on Monday. The meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere over central Pennsylvania late on Sunday and wowed observers from Virginia to Massachusetts in a "random fireball event," society spokesman Mike Hankey said. Most of those who reported the fireball on the American Meteor Society website said it began as a brilliant white color and then turned yellow, green and orange. ...
- Ocean algae can evolve fast to tackle climate change: study
By Alistair Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Tiny marine algae can evolve fast enough to cope with climate change in a sign that some ocean life may be more resilient than thought to rising temperatures and acidification, a study showed. Evolution is usually omitted in scientific projections of how global warming will affect the planet in coming decades because genetic changes happen too slowly to help larger creatures such as cod, tuna or whales. Sunday's study found that a type of microscopic algae that can produce 500 generations a year - or more than one a day - can still thrive when exposed to warmer temperatures and levels of ocean acidification predicted for the mid-2100s. The Emiliania huxleyi phytoplankton studied are a main source of food for fish and other ocean life and also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as they grow.
- Southwest's Earthquake Spike Linked to Injection Wells
A dramatic increase in earthquakes in a small region of New Mexico and Colorado was triggered by the underground disposal of wastewater, according to a new study from the U.S. The series of quakes includes Colorado's largest shaker since 1967 — the magnitude-5.3 earthquake that struck Trinidad, Colorado, on Aug. 22, 2011 — which cracked walls and toppled chimneys. "It's been a pretty remarkable increase in earthquakes," said lead study author Justin Rubinstein, a USGS geophysicist in Menlo Park, California. Just a handful of high-volume injection wells are responsible for the earthquakes in the region, known as the Raton Basin, according to the study published today (Sept. 15) in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
- Try Kegel Exercises for Urinary Incontinence, New Guidelines Say Kegel exercises, bladder training and, in some cases, weight loss are effective ways to treat urinary incontinence in women, and should be tried before the use of drug treatments, according to new recommendations. Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is a common problem that occurs in 44 to 57 percent of women ages 40 to 60, and 75 percent of women ages 75 and older, according to the guidelines, released by the American College of Physicians (ACP). The condition can cause embarrassment and emotional distress, and many women do not report their symptoms to their doctor, the ACP says. The new guidelines review the benefits and risks of treatments for two types of urinary incontinence (UI): stress UI, or loss of urine that happens when laughing, coughing or sneezing;
- Ancient People of Teotihuacan Drank Milky Alcohol, Pottery Suggests Ancient pottery confirms people made and drank a milky alcoholic concoction at one of the largest cities in prehistory, Teotihuacan in Mexico, researchers say. This liquor may have helped provide the people of this ancient metropolis with essential nutrients during frequent shortfalls in staple foods, scientists added. At its zenith, Teotihuacan encompassed about 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) and supported an estimated population of 100,000 people, who raised giant monuments such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Much about Teotihuacan remains unknown, including the origin and language of the people who lived there.
- Sagittarius: How to Spot a Cosmic Archer in the Night Sky
On these late-summer evenings after the sun has set, look low in the southern sky for the classical Archer: the constellation Sagittarius. Although the Archer is often depicted in allegorical star atlases as a centaur (half man, half horse), long ago, he was not a centaur at all but simply a standing Archer looking with some apprehension toward the Scorpion immediately to the west. It was he who educated many of the most famed heroes of antiquity: Jason of the Golden Fleece, Achilles, Hercules and Aesculapius. About 40 years ago, the late astronomy author George Lovi (1939-1993) pointed out that stargazers could even augment Sagittarius' tea service with a cosmic teaspoon and lemon as well.
- NASA Unveils World's Largest Welder to Build New Mega-Rocket
NASA has opened the largest spacecraft welding tool on Earth for business with a single mission: to build the most powerful rocket the world has ever seen. The agency's Vertical Assembly Center — a 170-foot-tall (51.8) welding tool — made its debut in New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday (Sept. 12) after a ribbon cutting ceremony. NASA will use the gigantic facility to weld together the more than 200-foot-tall (61 meters) core stage of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS), a mega rocket designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before. "This rocket is a game changer in terms of deep space exploration and will launch NASA astronauts to investigate asteroids and explore the surface of Mars while opening new possibilities for science missions, as well,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony today.
- NASA Defends Science Plan for Mars Rover Curiosity
NASA is staunchly defending the science plans for its flagship Mars rover Curiosity in the wake of a recent senior-level review that at times harshly criticized the mission's science operations. Curiosity had been driving toward the mountain since it landed on Mars in 2012. NASA officials lauded the success so far of Curiosity's $2.5 billion mission. Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, was quick to point out Curiosity's early success, citing the rover's discovery that Mars was once a habitable world in the ancient past — a key mission goal.
- Strong Solar Flares This Week a Rare Double Whammy, Scientists Say
Two powerful solar storms arriving at Earth today have captured the public's attention for their potential to spark amazing auroras, but scientists say there's another reason to watch. The solar double whammy is actually somewhat rare.
- Scientists 'reset' stem cells to study start of human development By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - British and Japanese scientists have managed to "reset" human stem cells to their earliest state, opening up a new realm of research into the start of human development and potentially life-saving regenerative medicines. In work described by one independent expert as "a major step forward", the scientists said they had successfully rebooted pluripotent stem cells so they were equivalent to those of a 7 to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb. By studying the reset cells, they said they hoped they would now be able to learn more about embryo development, and how it can go wrong and cause miscarriage and developmental disorders. "These cells may represent the real starting point for formation of tissues in the human embryo," said Austin Smith, director of the Britain's Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, who co-led the research published in the journal Cell on Thursday.
- Scientists: Strong solar storm heading to Earth WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong solar flare is blasting its way to Earth, but the worst of its power looks like it will barely skim above the planet and not cause many problems.
- Scientists say the ozone layer is recovering
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth's protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported Wednesday in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet.
- Planet of the apes: Gibbons are last ape to have genome revealed
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gibbons - the small, long-armed tree swingers that inhabit the dense tropical forests of Southeast Asia - have become the last of the planet's apes to have their genetic secrets revealed. "We now have whole genome sequences for all the great apes and, with this work, also the small apes - gibbons," said Jeffrey Rogers, a primate genetics researcher at the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "This provides new information and insight into the history of the human genome, in evolutionary terms," added Rogers, who participated in the study published in the journal Nature. Among the great apes, the chimpanzee genome was published in 2005, followed by the orangutan in 2011 and the gorilla and the bonobo in 2012.
- Zombie Fungus Enslaves Only Its Favorite Ant Brains
Instead, the microorganism is somehow able to recognize the brains of different ant species, and releases its mind-controlling chemical cocktail only when in its preferred host, new research shows. "Behavioral manipulation is such a complex [characteristic] that it only occurs when there's a very close coevolution between pathogen and host," said Charissa de Bekker, a molecular biologist at Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the new study, published in August in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. "The theory is that every species of ant has its own species of fungi that it gets infected by," de Bekker told Live Science.
- New Particle Detector Could Reveal Universe's Missing Antimatter
A new ultra-precise particle detector is being developed to investigate the bizarre properties and behaviors of tiny elementary particles that seem to defy the laws of traditional physics. Department of Energy recently awarded $1.2 million to a team of physicists from Indiana University's Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter to build the new particle detector. The Standard Model is thought to be the golden rule of particle physics. In particular, physicists think the Belle II detector could reveal more about the uneven distribution of matter and antimatter in the universe.
- Stephen Hawking Says 'God Particle' Could Wipe Out the Universe
Stephen Hawking bet Gordon Kane $100 that physicists would not discover the Higgs boson. After losing that bet when physicists detected the particle in 2012, Hawking lamented the discovery, saying it made physics less interesting. Now, in the preface to a new collection of essays and lectures called "Starmus," the famous theoretical physicist is warning that the particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe.
- Noel Hinners, former NASA scientist, dies at 78 LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — Noel Hinners, a former chief scientist for NASA who helped plan the scientific exploration of the moon for the Apollo program and later oversaw projects such as the Mars Surveyor Program, has died.
- Coffee Genome Reveals Why Your Java Smells So Good Not all caffeine is created equal. Researchers recently sequenced the genome of the coffee plant and found the caffeine in your morning cup evolved independently from caffeine found in other plants.
- Oversized Alien-Like 'Shrimp' Caught Off Florida Is ID'ed
It's not every day that an ordinary fishing trip turns into an encounter with an oversized alien-like sea creature, but that's what happened recently to one Florida fisherman. Steve Bargeron was fishing off a dock in Fort Pierce, Florida, last week when a couple fishing nearby pulled up what Bargeron jokingly described as an "alien creature." The couple wasn't interested in keeping the strange, lobster-like animal, which was flopping its tail wildly, Bargeron told Live Science. But Bargeron's close encounter with this strange-looking specimen isn't really that strange after all, according to Roy Caldwell, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Caldwell said he saw the photos online and instantly recognized the creature as a mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, a marine crustacean commonly found in the waters off Florida.
- Scientists: Quake directed its main force at Napa
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Emerging data on last month's 6.0 magnitude earthquake shows it directed most of its force north toward Napa and the Napa Valley, hitting hard enough to move one side of the West Napa Fault north by 18 inches, the head of the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center said Thursday.
- A hot cup of genome: Scientists percolate coffee's genetic secrets
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If you prefer your genetic research to be rich, bold, flavorful, steaming hot and with a bit of a kick, try a mug full of this: Scientists have deciphered the coffee genome and found genetic secrets that may make your cup of joe even better in the future. An international team of researchers on Thursday unveiled the newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant. They pinpointed genetic attributes that could help in the development of new coffee varieties better able to endure drought, disease and pests, with the added benefit of enhancing flavor and caffeine levels. It accounts for about 30 percent of the world's coffee production and is common in instant coffee.
- Scientists use E.coli bacteria to create fossil fuel alternative British and Finnish scientists have found a way of generating renewable propane using a bacterium widely found in the human intestine and say the finding is a step to commercial production of a fuel that could one day be an alternative to fossil fuel reserves. "Although we have only produced tiny amounts so far, the fuel we have produced is ready to be used in an engine straight away," said Patrik Jones of the department of life sciences at Imperial College London, who worked on the research. He said while work is at a very early stage, possibly 5-10 years from the point where commercial production would be possible, his team's findings were proof of concept for a way of producing renewable fuel now only accessible from fossil reserves. It is already produced as a by-product during natural gas processing and petrol refining, but both of these are fossil fuels that will one day run out.
- Can a Severed Snake Head Still Kill? It's Possible "Snakes in general are well known for retaining reflexes after death," said Steven Beaupré, a biology professor at the University of Arkansas. The bite reflex is stronger in venomous snakes than it is in some other carnivores because these snakes use their bite differently than other meat-eaters, Beaupré said.
- Scientists solve mystery of moving Death Valley rocks By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A solution to the longstanding mystery of why rocks move erratically across an isolated patch of California's Death Valley finally emerged on Thursday, when researchers published a study showing the driving force was sheets of wind-driven ice. Trails from the movement of the rocks, which show them changing direction suddenly in their movement across the so-called Racetrack Playa, have long befuddled scientists and the general public. Paleobiologist Richard Norris of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who led the study, saw the rare phenomenon first-hand last December while standing with his cousin, engineer James Norris, at the spot.
- Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone Began at a Funeral
An extensive look at the genome of the Ebola virus reveals its behavior, when it arrived in West Africa and how it spread in the region to cause the largest-ever recorded Ebola outbreak. Researchers sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone, one of the countries affected by the outbreak that started in the neighboring Guinea, and found that the virus' genome changes quickly, including parts of the genome that are crucial for diagnostic tests to work. "We've uncovered more than 300 genetic clues about what sets this outbreak apart from previous outbreaks," co-author Stephen Gire of Harvard said in a statement. The researchers studied the viruses isolated from the blood of these patients, as well as subsequent Ebola patients, to identify the genetic characteristics of the Ebola virus responsible for this outbreak.
- 'Jeopardy!'-Winning Computer Now Crunching Data for Science
Watch out, Sherlock, there's a new Dr. Watson in town. IBM's Watson, the computer that famously won the quiz show 'Jeopardy!', is now helping researchers make scientific discoveries. The new system, known as the Watson Discovery Advisor, could accelerate the scientific process by sifting through massive amounts of information and visualizing patterns in the data. But unlike when Watson was on 'Jeopardy!,' its new role as Discovery Advisor is "not about getting to an answer, but [rather] gaining insight into a large body of information," Merkel told Live Science.
- Brutal Winter? Almanac Could Be Wrong, Scientists Say The United States is in for another long, cold winter, according to the newest edition of the Farmers' Almanac. This winter will see "below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation," the Almanac reads. But the predictions included in the Farmers' Almanac are just that: predictions. While NOAA's official three-month outlook for the coming winter months isn't due out until around mid-October, Artusa said that meteorologists are not seeing the climate conditions that would indicate what the Almanac refers to as a "record breaking winter."
- Scientists find mild cases of MERS among patients' families
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fewer than half of Saudi Arabian patients in a study passed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to household members, and many of those who developed secondary infections contracted mild cases of MERS, global researchers reported on Wednesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed observations that the virus can cause mild disease, but overall transmission rates are low. "If less than half of infected patients transmit the virus to contacts, such as in this study, we can be pretty sure that this virus will not be able to start an epidemic in humans," co-author Christian Drosten of the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn Medical Center said in an email. MERS, thought to originate in camels, causes coughing, fever and pneumonia, and kills about a third of its victims.
- Schrödinger's Cat Comes into View with Strange Physics By sending green, red and yellow laser beams down a path to detector, researchers have shed light on the famous physics idea known as the "Schrödinger's cat" thought experiment. Over any given period there's a 50-50 chance the poison vial will open, and a person who opens the box after a given time and looks at the cat will then observe that it is either dead or alive.
- Lava flow from Hawaii volcano could threaten homes, scientists say By Malia Mattoch McManus HONOLULU (Reuters) - State scientists and officials are warning some residents of Hawaii's Big Island that their homes could be jeopardized by a lava flow from Kilauea Volcano that is moving through a forest preserve toward their neighborhood. Geological Survey scientist said that while the lava flow did not pose an imminent threat to residents of the Kaohe Homesteads of the island's Puna area, it was less than 2 miles (3 km) away and appeared to be advancing. "We are observing steam plumes," said Jim Kauahikaua, Scientist-in-Charge at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The Hawaii Volcano Observatory and Hawaii County Civil Defense are holding meetings throughout the week to update residents on the potential threat, and the county was conducting daily flights over the area to assess the danger. "It's very difficult to forecast what direction it could take," said Darryl Oliveira, Director of Hawaii County's Civil Defense, noting the flow has averaged a rate of travel of 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 meters) a day.
- UN panel: Global warming human-caused, dangerous
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous — and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.
- U.S. scientist pleads guilty to taking government laptop to China The scientist was fired in April 2012 from Sandia National Laboratories, a government-owned research facility operated by Sandia Corporation that is responsible in part for ensuring the safety of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. Huang also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a counterintelligence officer in June 2011, the U.S.
- Art, Science & Philosophy Behind Photos of Oldest Living Things What can a simple, unadorned photograph of a tree teach people about a heady concept like "deep time" or "year zero?" Quite a lot, actually, if the photographer in question is Rachel Sussman. The scientists immediately recused themselves and said, "I'm not qualified." But for myself as an artist, I was able to come in and say, "I just have this idea, and I'm just going to follow it whatever direction it takes." I don't have to be following rote scientific protocols when deciding I want to look at this clonal desert organism and this coral and these bacteria.
- Sickly Coral Reefs Fail the Smell Test
When looking for a place to settle down, these animals use chemical cues to avoid reefs that are littered with seaweed and flock to healthy habitats instead, according to a new study. Scientists have seen corals decline around the world over the past several decades, and the new findings help explain why some reefs aren't recovering or recruiting new corals, despite conservation efforts. "The reefs in Fiji have such a stark contrast between the healthy areas and the degraded areas," said Danielle Dixson, an assistant professor of biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who led the study. Dixson and colleagues studied the waters off of three villages along the southern side of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, which each managed a small marine protected area, or MPA, next to another area where fishing was allowed.
- Atomic Clock Will Fly to Space Station in 2016
A new atomic clock is due for installation on the International Space Station in 2016, ushering in a new age of physics experiments probing the relationship between space and time. Once there, the space station's robotic arm will install it on a payload platform outside the Columbus Laboratory, one of the station's research modules. Another atomic clock called SHM, or Space H-Maser will also be on the orbiting outpost. Together the two clocks will make up the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES), a device that will be so accurate that it will lose only one second every 300 million years.
- Scientists warn Florida governor of threat from climate change By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Five climate scientists warned Florida Governor Rick Scott in a meeting on Tuesday that a steadily rising ocean was a major threat to the state's future, urging it to become a leader in developing solar energy and other clean power sources. The Republican governor, who disputed the human impact on climate change in his 2010 campaign, agreed recently to meet with the scientists after his main Democratic challenger for re-election this year, former Governor Charlie Crist, proclaimed himself a firm believer in global warming. “I’m inherently an optimist,” said David Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd College on Florida's west coast. I’m concerned he might not do anything.” The scientists said they hoped Scott would respond to the Obama administration's proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 38 percent in Florida by 2030.
- Weirdest Worm Ever? Clawed Creature Finds Its Family Tree
When researchers first discovered the fossil worm Hallucigenia in the 1970s, they were so perplexed they identified its head as its tail and its legs as its spines. The finding is surprising because it rewrites the evolutionary history of spiders, insects and crustaceans, said study researcher Javier Ortega-Hernandez, a paleobiologist at the University of Cambridge. Most genetic studies have found that these arthropods are close relatives of today's velvet worms, Ortega-Hernandez said in a statement. "The peculiar claws of Hallucigenia are a smoking gun that solves a long and heated debate in evolutionary biology," said study researcher Martin Smith, an earth scientist at the University of Cambridge.
Geändert: 10.12.2010 19:40 Uhr