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- Great Red Spot storm heating Jupiter's atmosphere, study shows
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Scientists have long wondered why Jupiter's upper atmosphere has temperatures similar to those of Earth, even though the biggest planet in the solar system is five times farther away from the sun. The answer may be The Great Red Spot, an enormous storm big enough to swallow three Earths that has been raging on Jupiter for at least three centuries, a study showed on Wednesday. Using an infrared telescope at Hawaii's Mauna Kea Observatory, scientists discovered that the upper atmosphere above the Great Red Spot – the largest storm in the solar system - is hundreds of degrees hotter than anywhere else on the planet.
- New crop of robots to vie for space in the operating room
By Susan Kelly CHICAGO (Reuters) - Even though many doctors see need for improvement, surgical robots are poised for big gains in operating rooms around the world. Within five years, one in three U.S. surgeries - more than double current levels – is expected to be performed with robotic systems, with surgeons sitting at computer consoles guiding mechanical arms. Robotic surgery has been long dominated by pioneer Intuitive Surgical Inc, which has more than 3,600 of its da Vinci machines in hospitals worldwide and said last week the number of procedures that used them jumped by 16 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier.
- Scientist Brian Cox holds summer master class in London for kids
British physics professor Brian Cox taught students at St. Paul's Way Trust School in London on Tuesday how to create fire with methane gas. The school is hosting a science summer school and invited the celebrity physicist, who says he hopes the project will bring in those from different backgrounds. "There is no shortage of enthusiasm for students and young people when you talk about science and engineering," Cox said.
- Healthy clones: Dolly the sheep's heirs reach ripe old age
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - The heirs of Dolly the sheep are enjoying a healthy old age, proving cloned animals can live normal lives and offering reassurance to scientists hoping to use cloned cells in medicine. Dolly, cloning's poster child, was born in Scotland in 1996. Now researchers have allayed those fears by reporting that 13 cloned sheep, including four genomic copies of Dolly, are still in good shape at between seven and nine years of age, or the equivalent of 60 to 70 in human years.
- Meter-wide dinosaur print, one of largest ever, found in Bolivia
A footprint measuring over a meter wide that was made by a meat-eating predator some 80 million years ago has been discovered in Bolivia, one of the largest of its kind ever found. The print, which measures 1.2 meters (1.3 yards) across, probably belonged to the abelisaurus, a biped dinosaur that once roamed South America, said Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, who is studying the find. The print was found some 64 kilometers (40 miles) outside the city of Sucre in central Bolivia by a tourist guide earlier this month.
- 'Game of Thrones' Ant Has Dragon-Like Spikes A dragon from "Game of Thrones" has come to life — sort of. A new ant species' dragon-like appearance inspired scientists to name it for the fire-breathing star of the popular fantasy series. The Pheidole drogon's large and distinctive spine reminded researchers of Drogon, one of the dragons on the "Game of Thrones" TV show, adapted from the novels written by George R. R. Martin.
- Transgender Identity Is Not a Mental Health Disorder, Study Finds People who identify as transgender should not be considered to have a mental health disorder, according to a new study from Mexico. The World Health Organization currently lists transgender identity as a mental health disorder, and the new study is the first in a series of research aimed at finding out whether this categorization is apt. In the new study, published today (July 26) in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, the researchers investigated whether the distress and dysfunction associated with transgender identity were the result of social rejection and stigmatization or an inherent part of being transgender.
- Dolly the Sheep's Clone 'Sisters' Are Healthy in Old Age
Four cloned sheep that are genetically identical to Dolly, the first cloned mammal, are still healthy even in old age, a new study found. The four sheep, which were derived from the same batch of cells as Dolly and could be considered her clone "sisters," have just reached their 9th birthday, which is equivalent to age 70 in human years, researchers who have been studying the sheep said. All of the sheep were free from many diseases commonly found in older sheep, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, the study showed.
- Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos
Early Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.
- Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space
Thanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground — minus the gravity, of course. Like most Americans, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren have Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) off, and they'll spend the day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) watching football and enjoying a turkey-centric feast, agency officials said. Kelly and Lindgren gave viewers a look at that feast in a special Thanksgiving video this week, breaking out bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.
- Belgian scientists make novel water-from-urine machine
A team of scientists at a Belgian university say they have created a machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, a technique which could be applied in rural areas and developing countries. While there are other options for treating waste water, the system applied at the University of Ghent uses a special membrane, is said to be energy-efficient and to be applicable in areas off the electricity grid. "We're able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy," said University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese.
- Scientists find potential new antibiotic, right under their noses By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Germany have discovered a bacteria hiding out in peoples' noses that produces an antibiotic compound that can kill several dangerous pathogens, including the superbug MRSA. The early-stage finding, reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, could one day lead to a whole new class of antibiotic medicines being developed to fight drug-resistant bacterial infections, the researchers said. As well as being a focal point for many viral infections, the nasal cavity is also a rich ecosystem of 50 or so different species of bacteria, lead researcher Andreas Peschel of the University of Tuebingen told reporters in a telephone briefing.
- Washington scientist launches effort to digitize all fish
SEATTLE (AP) — University of Washington biology professor Adam Summers no longer has to coax hospital staff to use their CT scanners so he can visualize the inner structures of stingray and other fish.
- 'Grow' Your Own Glowing Flowers: The Science of Fluorescence
If you're looking for a gift to dazzle a special someone, and regular flowers just don't seem like enough to do the trick, how about creating a beautiful bouquet that can "glow" in the dark? The American Chemical Society (ACS) recently released a new video showing a fun, at-home science experiment that lets you "grow" fluorescent flowers that glow under black light. It turns out, flowers aren't picky when it comes to their water.
- Scientists caught off-guard by record temperatures linked to climate change
By Zoe Tabary LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Record temperatures in the first half of 2016 have taken scientists by surprise despite widespread recognition that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, the director of the World Climate Research Programme said. The earth is on track for its hottest year on record with June marking the 14th straight month of record heat, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week. Temperatures recorded mainly in the northern hemisphere in the first six months of the year, coupled with an early and fast Arctic sea ice melt and "new highs" in heat-trapping carbon dioxide levels, point to quickening climate change, it said.
- Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand
By Alan Baldwin LONDON (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.
- Swimming-Fast swimmers make fast pools, but science lends a hand By Alan Baldwin LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - To those who dip into swimming only when the Olympic Games come around, it may seem odd to hear a pool described as 'fast' when it looks much like any other large rectangle filled with water. In 2013, after British swimmers had flopped at the London Games and that year's world championships, head coach Bill Furniss suggested Sheffield's Ponds Forge Olympic standard pool was hampering their development because it was too fast. Rio's new 50-metre Olympic pool, where records may be set as dreams and duels play out, should stand out like a gleaming Ferrari among functional family runabouts.
- Parasite Evolution: Here's How Some Animals Became Moochers
Nobody likes a mooch, but new research finds that grifting off others is a sound evolutionary strategy. Parasitism — a survival strategy that involves hijacking a host's nutrients for one's own benefit — has emerged in the animal kingdom at least 223 times, according to a study published July 19 in the journal Biology Letters. The estimate of 223 independent origins of parasitism is nearly four times higher than the previous estimate of around 60.
- Scientists hunt 'anti-evolution' drugs in new cancer fight By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists are opening a new front in the war on cancer with plans to develop "anti-evolution" drugs to stop tumour cells from developing resistance to treatment. Britain's Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), one of the world's top cancer centres, said on Friday its initiative was the first to have at its heart the target of overcoming cancer evolution and drug resistance. In the same way that bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, cancer cells also change to evade the medicines used to fight them, leading to "survival of the nastiest".
- Brazil scientists find Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes in wild
Brazilian researchers on Thursday said they found signs of the Zika virus in a common mosquito that is a separate species from the insect known to be the primary means of transmission. The scientists, from a leading Brazilian research institute known as the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, discovered the Zika traces in Culex mosquitoes captured in and around the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, capital of the state that was hit hardest by the Zika outbreak since last year. In March, the same researchers said they had successfully transmitted the Zika virus to Culex mosquitoes in the lab, but were not yet sure at the time whether the species could carry the virus naturally.
- Scientists looking for invisible dark matter can't find any
- Kickstarter Project Aims to 'Back Up Humanity' in Cosmic Cloud
"We sometimes use the phrase, 'We want to back up humanity,' which is not a joke — we want to do this," project co-founder Philip Lubin, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Space.com. Indeed, Lubin, co-founder Travis Brashears (a physics undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley) and their colleagues are looking to the masses for funding, via a Kickstarter campaign that launched today (July 18). This money will be used to launch a "humanity chip" full of images and other data provided by Kickstarter contributors to low-Earth orbit, likely in mid-2017, project team members said.
- Weird Science on SpaceX Dragon Is Tiny, Melty, Beating and Radioactive
SpaceX's ninth commercial cargo mission, launching early Monday (July 18), is lugging a selection of strange science to the International Space Station — living, beating heart cells, microbes from a nuclear disaster, a tiny DNA sequencer and more. The six crewmembers on the station have been preparing for the supply ship's arrival early on Wednesday, July 20, when NASA astronaut (and current space station commander) Jeff Williams will grapple the craft with the space station's 57.7-foot (17.6-meter) robotic arm. Then, once the craft is berthed to the space station, the real work will begin: Over the next five weeks, the station crew will unload its provisions, including more than 2,2000 lbs. (1,000 kilograms) of research supplies and science experiments.
- Zika Outbreak Could Be Over in 3 Years, Study Predicts The current Zika outbreak taking place in much of South and Central America will be largely over in three years' time, a new study predicts. "The current explosive epidemic will burn itself out due to a phenomenon called herd immunity," Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London's School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Because the virus is unable to infect the same person twice — thanks to the immune system generating antibodies to kill it — the epidemic reaches a stage where there are too few people left to infect for transmission to be sustained," Ferguson said.
- Female doctors, scientists, welders among 11 new emojis MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Female professionals will soon be better represented in emoji form.
- For the first time, scientists to sequence genes in space
By Irene Klotz and Julie Steenhuysen CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Given her background in researching some of the deadliest pathogens on Earth, including Ebola, colleagues of newly arrived astronaut Kate Rubins had expected her to want to do "crazy science fiction" on the International Space Station. Instead, Rubins pushed for carefully controlled experiments with a mix of a bacteria, a common virus and mouse cells, all already repeatedly sequenced and safe for testing in the space station's closed-loop environment. Rubins, a trained microbiologist who arrived at the space station on Saturday, will be using the samples to put Oxford Nanopore's MinION sequencer - a pocket-sized DNA sequencer - through its paces. The tests are intended to prove whether the technology can be used to understand microbes in the space station, to scan fellow astronauts for genetic changes that could diagnose illness, and in future missions, potentially to test samples from Mars and elsewhere for signs of DNA-based life.
- Science group warns of shortcomings in U.S. missile defense By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. missile defense system to counter attacks from rogue states like North Korea has no proven capability to protect the United States and is not on a credible path to achieve that goal, a science advocacy group said on Thursday. The ground-based midcourse missile defense system, which has deployed 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, has been tested under highly scripted conditions only nine times since being deployed in 2004, and failed to destroy its target two-thirds of the time, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report. "After nearly 15 years of effort to build the GMD homeland missile defense system, it still has no demonstrated real-world capability to defend the United States," said Laura Grego, a UCS physicist who co-authored the report.
- Science group warns of shortcomings in U.S. missile defence
By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. missile defence system to counter attacks from rogue states like North Korea has no proven capability to protect the United States and is not on a credible path to achieve that goal, a science advocacy group said on Thursday. The ground-based midcourse missile defence system, which has deployed 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, has been tested under highly scripted conditions only nine times since being deployed in 2004, and failed to destroy its target two-thirds of the time, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report. "After nearly 15 years of effort to build the GMD homeland missile defence system, it still has no demonstrated real-world capability to defend the United States," said Laura Grego, a UCS physicist who co-authored the report.
- In Cosmic First, Scientists Spy a Star's Snow Line
For the first time, astronomers have caught a glimpse of the water snow line around a star — the point in the young star's orbiting disk of debris where snow and ice first appear. Normally, that boundary huddles too close to the star for astronomers to see it, but this particular star had a sudden burst of brightness that superheated its disk, obliterating ice further out than usual. Researchers are excited to spot their first stellar snow line because of the vital part it plays in the formation of planets around young stars: The rocky section forms planets like Earth and Mars, while the snowy outskirts sprout gaseous worlds like Jupiter and Saturn.
- Why It's Harder to Recover from Jet Lag When You Fly East If you've ever found that recovery from jet lag took even longer than you expected it to, physicists have answers: A new mathematical model helps explain why flying east is tougher on jet-lag recovery. The model takes into account how certain cells in the human brain respond to crossing time zones, according to the study, published today (July 12) in the journal Chaos. These cells, called "neuronal oscillator cells," regulate people's circadian rhythm, or biological clock, by syncing up with one another and also linking up with external cues, said Michelle Girvan, an associate professor of physics at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study.
- Trump's denial of climate science at odds with world leaders
- Blaming the Victim: Science Examines Why It Happens In contrast, people who adhere more closely to values like loyalty, purity and obedience to authority are more likely to blame the victims. This difference holds after accounting for politics and demographic factors, said study researcher Laura Niemi, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at Harvard University in Massachusetts. It's also equally true both for sex crimes, in which problems in securing convictions are often traced to victim blaming, and for crimes of a nonsexual nature.
- In first, scientists use phones to track dengue outbreaks in poor nations By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Researchers have developed a new method to pinpoint outbreaks of dengue fever by tracking phone calls to public health hotlines, a team of scientists said on Friday. Analyzing patterns of calls in Pakistan's Punjab region, the researchers forecast suspected dengue cases up to two weeks ahead of time with block-by-block accuracy, the researchers said in a study published in the journal Science Advances. Dengue infections have increased dramatically over recent decades, making the virus the world's fastest-spreading tropical disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Wakey Wakey! Juno Spacecraft Turns on Science Gear at Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft is opening its eyes to prepare for its first good look at Jupiter. Juno's nine science instruments were off when the probe entered orbit around the solar system's largest planet Monday (July 4), to reduce complications during that night's make-or-break orbit-insertion engine burn. The mission team powered up five of those instruments Wednesday (July 6) and plans to turn on the other four before the end of the month, NASA officials said.
- California city's curb fix disappoints earthquake scientists
HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) — A faulty curb that perfectly illustrated the seismic forces at work underneath a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood has been fixed, stunning scientists, who say a curbside laboratory for studying earthquakes was destroyed.
- Massive 'Lava Lamp' Blobs Deep Inside Earth Have Scientists Puzzled
"To me, the big unanswered question is, what is it, and how did it form?" said the paper's lead author Edward Garnero, a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. The blobs are characterized by slower wave speeds, which suggests they are a different temperature from the rest of the Earth's mantle, the researchers said. Because they're big and characterized by the slower wave speeds, the blobs have been called large low velocity provinces (LLVPs).
- Physics prepares to feast on collider data, seeking dark universe
By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - Scientists at Europe's physics research centre CERN are preparing to unwrap the biggest trove of data yet from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), three years after they confirmed the existence of the elusive Higgs boson. "In the life of accelerator physics there are few moments like the one we are living through," said Tiziano Camporesi, leader of the CMS experiment at CERN. "This is the time when the probability of finding something new is highest." The Higgs boson, whose discovery secured the Nobel prize for physics in 2013, answered fundamental questions about how elementary matter attained mass.
- Court rules against White House science office in email case WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that work-related emails from a private account used by the White House's top science adviser are subject to disclosure under federal open records laws.
- Science Finds a Way to Overcome Life's Regrets The people in the study who practiced self-compassion, or being kind to oneself, were more likely to overcome regrets than the people who did not do so, according to the study, published in February in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Although regrets are often painful, previous studies have suggested that some people can overcome them and feel stronger afterward, said Jia Wei Zhang, a graduate student in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers wanted to better understand why some people report feeling improvement from regrets but others don't, Zhang said.