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Skin-eating Asian fungus imperils world's salamanders
News ImageBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A skin-eating fungus that infiltrated Europe through the global wildlife trade is threatening to inflict massive losses on the continent's native salamanders including extinction of whole species and could do the same in North America, scientists say. An international research team said on Thursday the fungus, first detected in Europe last year, has killed salamanders in the Netherlands and Belgium and is expected soon to reach other European nations. They said it is closely related to another fungus that already has wiped out some amphibian species. ...
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:59:47 -0400
Individual genetic differences may affect Ebola survival: study
News ImageBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists have been puzzling for years over why some people survive Ebola while many others perish. A new study provides strong evidence that individual genetic differences play a major role in whether people die from the disease. Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle reported their findings on Thursday in the journal Science. ...
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:02:03 -0400
Probe of Virginia rocket blast begins; space station supplied
News ImageBy Ian Simpson and Irene Klotz WALLOPS Va./CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - Authorities on Wednesday started investigating what caused an unmanned U.S. supply rocket to explode in a fireball moments after liftoff from a Virginia launch pad, destroying cargo and equipment bound for the International Space Station. The 14-story Antares rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp, blasted off from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island at 6:22 p.m. (2222 GMT) on Tuesday but burst into flames moments later. ...
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:24:48 -0400
Unmanned U.S. Atlas rocket blasts off with GPS satellite
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - An unmanned Atlas rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday to deliver a Global Positioning System navigation satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force. The 189-foot-tall (58-meter) rocket, built and launched by a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, lifted off at 1:21 p.m.. Perched on top of the rocket was a $245 million Boeing-built GPS satellite, the eighth in the militarys new Block 2F series. ... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:00:02 -0400
Ancient Stone Circles in Mideast Baffle Archaeologists
News ImageHuge stone circles in the Middle East have been imaged from above, revealing details of structures that have been shrouded in mystery for decades. Archaeologists in Jordan have taken high-resolution aerial images of 11 ancient "Big Circles," all but one of which are around 400 meters (1,312 feet) in diameter. Why they are so similar is unknown but the similarity seems too close to be a coincidence" said researcher David Kennedy. The Big Circles (as archaeologists call them) were built with low stone walls that are no more than a few feet high.
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:17:17 -0400
Vlad the Impaler: The Real Dracula's Dark Secrets
News ImageCount Dracula might be a fictional character who makes the blood curdle on Halloween, but his historical namesake is not. Vlad III, known in his heyday as Dracula or Dr?culea, in old Romanian was a medieval prince with a figurative thirst for blood. As his other nickname, "Vlad the Impaler," suggests, Vlad had a penchant for brutally punishing his enemies. Was Vlad III a monster, or a medieval ruler like any other?
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:15:33 -0400
Racist Costumes to Egging Hazards: The Science of Halloween
News ImageHalloween isn't just an occasion to put on zombie makeup and binge-eat candy. From an analysis of racist costumes to an assessment of the hazards of egg throwing, here are a few strange chapters from the annals of Halloween science. They made her watch clips from "The Ring," "The Shining," "The Silence of the Lambs" and other horror movies.
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:14:02 -0400
Earth's Water Existed 135 Million Years Earlier than Thought
Earth's Water Existed 135 Million Years Earlier than ThoughtThe new findings suggest that there was water in the inner solar system 135 million years earlier than previous evidence had shown. "Our findings show the earliest evidence of water in the inner solar system," said Adam Sarafian, a Ph.D. student at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and lead author of the new study. The smoking gun appears inside meteorites that once belonged to the asteroid Vesta, one of the largest members of the asteroid belt that sits between Jupiter and Mars. More than 4.5 billion years ago or about 15 million years after solid bodies began to form around the young sun water existed in the outer, cooler parts of the solar system, previous studies have shown.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:02:48 -0400
NASA Surveys Damage from Antares Rocket Explosion (Photos)
News ImageNASA and the private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp. have started surveying the damage left behind after Orbital's Antares rocket exploded on Tuesday evening (Oct. 28). While the fiery Antares rocket explosiondid not destroy the launch pad or fuel tanks at the launch complex at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, "some repairs will be necessary," according to Orbital representatives. NASA officials have found that some support buildings at Wallops have blown-out windows and doors, and a sounding rocket launcher and other buildings near the pad have severe damage. The initial assessment also showed that the transporter erector launcher and lightning suppression rods at the pad sustained the most damage, according to NASA.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:03:10 -0400
Arizona school board votes to remove pages from biology textbook
By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - An Arizona school board has voted to remove information about contraception methods from a biology textbook after a conservative majority decided it fell afoul of a state law that says materials should give a preference to childbirth or adoption over abortion. The members of the Gilbert Public Schools board, which covers at least 38 schools and 39,000 students mostly in Chandler and Mesa, voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to excise two pages from "Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections. ... Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:56:09 -0400
RIP, Drain Brain: Science Experiments Lost in Antares Rocket Explosion
News ImageWhen a private rocket exploded just after launch Tuesday (Oct. 28), science experiments developed by students, professional researchers and private companies went up in smoke. The private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket was expected to launch the company's unmanned cargo-carrying Cygnus spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday evening. "We do want to express our disappointment that we were not able to fulfill our obligation to the International Space Station program and deliver this load of cargo, especially to the researchers who had science on board and the people that were counting on the various hardware and components that were going to the station," Orbital Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson said during a news conference after the rocket failure.
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:47:53 -0400
NASA's Asteroid-Capture Mission Won't Help Astronauts Reach Mars: Scientist
News ImageNASA's bold asteroid-capture mission is an expensive distraction that does little to advance the agency's overarching goal of getting humans to Mars, one prominent researcher argues. For the past 18 months, NASA has been working on a plan to drag an entire near-Earth asteroid, or a boulder plucked from a large space rock, into lunar orbit using a robotic probe. NASA officials say this "Asteroid Redirect Mission," or ARM, will help develop the technologies and know-how required to send astronauts to Mars, which the space agency hopes to accomplish by the mid-2030s. "The principal reason that ARM makes no sense is that it is a misstep off the path to Mars," Binzel told Space.com.
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:33:00 -0400
Tiny Human Stomachs Grown in Lab
News ImageThey may be small, but new lab-grown miniature human stomachs could one day help researchers better understand how the stomach develops, as well as the diseases that can strike it. Using human stem cells and a series of chemical switches, researchers grew stomachs measuring 0.1 inches (3 millimeters) in diameter, in lab dishes, according to a report published today (Oct. 29) in the journal Nature. "It was really remarkable to us how much it looked like a stomach," said researcher Jim Wells, a professor of developmental biology at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center. Growing a miniature stomach had its hurdles.
Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:32:22 -0400
Giant tortoises rally from near extinction on Galapagos island
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservationists said on Tuesday they have brought giant tortoises found on the Galapagos island of Espanola back from the brink of extinction, gaining a foothold strong enough to allow humans to leave the reptiles alone. The tortoises can care for themselves," said James Gibbs, a vertebrate conservation biology professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry who led the study. Located in the Pacific about 600 miles (1,000 km) west of Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago is home to an array of unusual creatures that helped inspire Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection following his 1835 visit. Espaola giant Galapagos tortoises, their scientific name is Chelonoidis hoodensis, measure 3 feet (1 meter) long with a saddle-backed shell. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:57:01 -0400
'Interstellar' Science: The Movie's Black Hole Explained (Video)
News Image"Interstellar" may be a work of fiction, but the upcoming film gives viewers an amazingly accurate view of a black hole, its creators say. Renowned theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, an "Interstellar" executive producer, worked closely with the movie's visual-effects crew to come up with an unprecedentedly realistic portrait of "Gargantua," the monstrous black hole at the movie's core. "Neither wormholes nor black holes have been depicted in any Hollywood movie in the way that they actually would appear," Thorne said in a new explainer video produced byWired magazine, which you can watch above. "I saw this disk wrap up over the black hole, and under the black hole," he said.
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:10:56 -0400
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