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Obama's BRAIN initiative awards $46 million in grants
U.S. President Obama announces his administration's BRAIN Initiative at the White House in WashingtonBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wearable brain scanners and lasers that can turn hundreds of cells on and off were among 58 projects awarded $46 million in federal grants as part of President Obama's $100 million initiative to unlock the secrets of the human brain. Launched in 2013, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is designed to give scientists greater insight into how the healthy brain works and a better understanding of what systems go awry in diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to schizophrenia. ...
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:59:23 -0400
China launches media campaign to back genetically modified crops
By Dominique Patton BEIJING (Reuters) - China's government has kicked off a media campaign in support of genetically modified crops, as it battles a wave of negative publicity over a technology it hopes will play a major role in boosting its food security. The agriculture ministry earlier this week announced it would try to educate the public on GMO via TV, newspapers and the Internet. It hopes to stifle anti-GMO sentiment that has gathered momentum in the wake of incidents such as reports that genetically-modified rice had been illegally sold at a supermarket in the center of the country. ... Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:19:29 -0400
Protest over contract award to delay work on NASA space taxi
News ImageBy Irene Klotz TORONTO (Reuters) - Work on a pair of U.S. commercial spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station will be delayed after a losing contender protested the NASA awards, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said on Monday. The U.S. space agency awarded contracts worth up to $6.8 billion to Boeing and privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to finish designs, build, test and ultimately fly crews to the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that orbits about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth. The awards, announced on Sept. ...
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:11:04 -0400
Global wildlife populations down by half since 1970: WWF
By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The world populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell overall by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, far faster than previously thought, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday. The conservation group's Living Planet Report, published every two years, said humankind's demands were now 50 percent more than nature can bear, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than Earth can recover. ... Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:33:13 -0400
Sierra Nevada challenges NASA 'space taxi' contracts to Boeing, SpaceX
News ImageWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) said it had filed a legal challenge to NASA's award of contracts totaling $6.8 billion to Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated "space taxis" to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA had considered a bid by privately owned Sierra Nevada, but U.S. officials said on Tuesday the U.S. space agency had opted to award long-time aerospace contractor Boeing and SpaceX with contracts to develop, certify and fly their seven-person capsules. ...
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:26:17 -0400
Rare Evolutionary Twist Morphed Dino Arms into Bird Wings
News ImageWhen dinosaurs evolved into birds, they had to adapt their arms into wings in order to take flight a process that altered their skeletal structure. The pisiform, a crumb of bone that helps keeps birds' wings rigid on the upstroke, had vanished in the birdlike dinosaurs that were modern birds' closest ancestors, the researchers report today (Sept. 30) in the journal PLOS Biology. "It is rare," study researcher Alexander Vargas, who leads the ontology and phylogeny lab at the University of Chile in Santiago, told Live Science. Of the few accepted cases of such a disappearing trick, the bird pisiform is among the clearest cases, Vargas said.
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:21:39 -0400
Higgs Music: What the Worlds Largest Atom Smasher Sounds Like
The discovery of the Higgs boson, the particle thought to explain how other particles get their mass, was music to scientists' ears. Scientists took data from the ALICE, ATLAS CMS and LHCb detectors in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, between 2011 and 2013, and turned it into a musical score that reveals what the Higgs boson would sound like. Composer and physicist Domenico Vicinanza created the music forCERN's 60th anniversary,and some of the lab's musically minded scientists performed the piece in the four experimental caverns that house the atom smasher's detectors and the CERN control center. On July 4, 2012, CERN scientists announced they had detected a particle that looked to be the so-called Higgs boson, whose existence was first hypothesized by British physicist Peter Higgs in the 1960s. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:18:10 -0400
Ebola Update: 1st Case Diagnosed in the US
A patient in Texas is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patient had previously traveled to West Africa, a region that is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of Ebola in history. The man flew out of Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in the United States on Sept. 20. He did not have symptoms during his flight or when he landed, but began showing symptoms around Sept. 24, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference today. Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:06:56 -0400
Trade You a Dragon? NASA's Private Crew Capsules Now Collectible Cards
News ImageNASA's newly-drafted picks for its private spacecraft team now have their own rookie cards. The agency this week debuted "collectible cards" featuring the space capsulesit chose on Sept. 16 to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station. "We have quick-reference collectible cards with highlights of Boeing's CST-100, SpaceX's Crew Dragonand NASA's Commercial Crew Program that you can print and share with your friends," NASA's website promotes. The three-card set, which the space agency is offering as free downloadable PDFs, include the "Launch America" art that was revealed during the announcement of $6.8 billion in awards to The Boeing Company and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to certify their capsules for crewed flights to the space station.
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:45:02 -0400
Neil Armstrong Biopics Take Small Steps Toward TV and Big Screen
News ImageThe life story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has taken not one, but two small steps towards landing on both the big and small screens. A newly-acclaimed director and a television network have each reportedly turned their attention to Neil Armstrong, the late Apollo 11 moonwalker, as the inspiration for a feature-length film and TV miniseries, respectively. Damien Chazelle, who directed the upcoming jazz drama "Whiplash," is in talks to direct "First Man," a biopic about Armstrong for Universal Studios. Meanwhile, the TV network TNT has dusted off its plans for "One Giant Leap," an almost 10-year-old project to adapt Armstrong's life as a four-hour miniseries.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:32:37 -0400
Weird 'Island' on Saturn Moon Titan Puzzles Scientists (Video, Photos)
News ImageSaturn's huge moon Titan just got a little more mysterious. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has spottedan odd islandlike feature in Ligeia Mare, one of Titan's largest hydrocarbon seas. "Science loves a mystery, and with this enigmatic feature, we have a thrilling example of ongoing change on Titan," Cassini radar team deputy leader Stephen Wall, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. Cassini team members are confident it's real rather than an artifact or data flaw, NASA officials said.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:32:31 -0400
Higgs Boson to the World Wide Web: 7 Big Discoveries Made at CERN
News ImageThe world's biggest atom smasher, where monumental discoveries such as the detection of the once-elusive Higgs boson particle and the creation of antimatter have occurred, is celebrating its 60th anniversary today (Sept. 29). The physics world erupted in excitement in July 2012, when scientists using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN announced they had detected a particle that looked to be the so-called Higgs boson. In the 1960s, British physicist Peter Higgs hypothesized the existence of a field through which all particles would be dragged like marbles moving through molasses giving the particles mass. This particle became known as the Higgs boson.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:32:11 -0400
Stanford scientists say greenhouse gases worsen California drought
News ImageBy Joaquin Palomino SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Californias catastrophic drought has most likely been made worse by man-made climate change, according to a report released Monday by Stanford University, but scientists are still hesitant to fully blame the lack of rain on climate change. The research, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as part of a collection of reports on extreme weather events in 2013, is one of the most comprehensive studies linking climate change and California's ongoing drought, which has caused billions of dollars in economic damage. ...
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 20:47:05 -0400
NASA Exoplanet Mission to Hunt Down Earth-sized Worlds
Set to launch in 2017, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will monitor more than half a million stars over its two-year mission, with a focus on the smallest, brightest stellar objects. "Bright host stars are the best ones for follow-up studies of their exoplanets to pin down planet masses, and to characterize planet atmospheres," said TESS principal investigator George Ricker, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics, in an email. "TESS should be able to find over 200 Earths and super-Earths defined as being twice the size of Earth," said Peter Sullivan, a physics doctoral student at MIT. Sullivan, who works with Ricker on TESS, led an analysis of the number of planets TESS would likely find based on the number and types of planets found by NASA's Kepler mission. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:25:06 -0400
Blind Cavefish Froze Its Internal Clock to Save Energy
News ImageThe blind Mexican tetra or cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) saves energy by forgoing circadian rhythms, according to researchers at Lund University in Sweden. Sometimes referred to as an internal clock, circadian rhythms help many organisms including animals, plants, fungi and even certain bacteria coordinate their behavior and physiology with the day-night cycle, according to study researcher Damian Moran, a postdoctoral student in the Lund University department of biology. Circadian rhythm helps ensure these reactions occur in advance of when an organism will most need energy, Moran told Live Science. But unlike most organisms, blind Mexican cavefish don't control their metabolism with a circadian clock, the researchers found.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:22:15 -0400
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