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Deregulation at heart of Japan's new robotics revolution
News ImageBy Sophie Knight and Kaori Kaneko TOKYO (Reuters) - Neurosurgeon Tetsuya Goto had just begun testing a robot to perform brain surgery when he discovered Japan was moving to tighten regulations that would shut down his seven-year project. Over the next dozen years he watched in frustration as the da Vinci, a rival endoscopic robot that U.S. regulators had already approved, became a commercial success while his and other Japanese prototypes languished in laboratories. ...
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:20:46 -0500
'Star-gazing' shrimp discovered in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A tiny shrimp equipped with large, candy-striped eyes to ward off predators has been discovered in South African waters, the University of Cape Town said on Friday. The 10-15 mm-long crustacean has been christened the "star-gazer mysid" as its eyes seem to gaze permanently upwards. Similar to insects' eyes, they each look in a different direction. "The vivid ringed patterns are thought to be there to make the eyes appear to belong to a much bigger creature, and hence to scare off predators," the university said. ... Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:00:33 -0500
Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - - A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study. Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role. ... Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:20:13 -0500
Want to live on the 'roof of the world'? Grow barley
News ImageBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Tibetan Plateau, the harsh Asian domain known as the 'roof of the world,' would not seem an ideal place for people to call home thanks to its extreme altitude, frigid temperatures, relentless winds and low-oxygen conditions. When people did succeed in colonizing this remote land, it was only after they discovered how to feed themselves year-round with cold-hardy crops like barley brought to the region from far away, scientists said on Thursday. ...
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:08:37 -0500
HIV drugs show promise in treating common eye disease
News ImageBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A class of drugs used for three decades by people infected with the virus that causes AIDS may be effective in treating a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. HIV drugs called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), including AZT and three others, blocked age-related macular degeneration in mice and worked well in experiments involving human retinal cells in the laboratory, researchers said on Thursday. In HIV-infected people, NRTIs block an enzyme the virus uses to create more copies of itself. ...
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:08:37 -0500
Early-Life Trauma May Help with Managing Stress Later
Stress in one generation can lead to problems in that generation's offspring, but it may also pass certain benefits on to future generations, new research in mice suggests. "We've been interested in the effects of traumatic stress for several years, and showed that the effects are multiple but mostly negative," said study co-author Isabelle Mansuy, a researcher at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:33:58 -0500
Expensive Baby Monitors Give False Reassurance, Researcher Says
"They just don't work," said David King, a lecturer in pediatrics at the University of Sheffield in England who authored the new article. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:29:10 -0500
Rare Stegosaurus Skeleton to Debut at London Museum
News ImageA rare skeleton of a nearly 10-foot-tall (3 meters), 150-million-year-old Stegosaurus will be unveiled at the Natural History Museum in London next month. The skeleton is the museum's first complete dinosaur to go on display in almost 100 years, and is the only Stegosaurus skeleton in a public collection outside the United States. The dinosaur (Stegosaurus stenops) was an herbivore that lived about 155 million to 150 million years ago, during the late Jurassic Period. Stegosaurus, known for the two rows of bony plates along its back, primarily lived in western North America.
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:30:00 -0500
Planet Hunting to Sky Surveys, Astronomy and Statistics Realign (Op-Ed)
News ImageG. Jogesh Babu is director of the Center for Astrostatistics at Penn State, and Eric Feigelson is the center's associate director and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. After a century hiatus, astronomy and statistics recently reconnected, giving rise to the new field of astrostatistics. NASA's Kepler mission has detected several thousand planets orbiting other stars, but it was through statistics that astronomers inferred that most stars have planetary systems and hundreds of millions of Earth-like planets probably exist in the galaxy. Such insights followed a long gap in the relationship between astrostatistics a term coined by us in our book of the same title published in 1996 and the broader field of astronomy.
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:07:41 -0500
Binary Earth-Size Planets Possible Around Distant Stars
Binary Earth-Size Planets Possible Around Distant StarsTwo Earth-size planets that orbit each other might exist around distant stars, researchers say. Ryan and his colleagues Miki Nakajima and David Stevenson detailed their findings Nov. 11 at the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson, Arizona.
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:39:56 -0500
Small Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming
News ImageSmall volcanic eruptions account for part of the global warming slowdown since 2000, a new study suggests. Until now, the climate impacts of small volcanic blasts were overlooked because their planet-cooling particles cluster below the reach of satellites, scientists reported Oct. 31 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The stratosphere is the second layer of Earth's atmosphere, above the one in which humans live (the troposphere). Closer to the polar regions, the boundary drops to about 6 miles (10 km), said lead study author David Ridley, an atmospheric scientist at MIT.
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:24:58 -0500
Obama plugs science, math education at ceremony
News ImageWASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama said Thursday that 19 scientists, researchers and innovators who received the country's highest honor for their life-changing work embody the spirit of the nation and its "sense that we push against limits and that we're not afraid to ask questions."
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:55:05 -0500
Parallel Worlds Could Explain Wacky Quantum Physics
News ImageThe idea that an infinite number of parallel worlds could exist alongside our own is hard to wrap the mind around, but a version of this so-called Many Worlds theory could provide an answer to the controversial idea of quantum mechanics and its many different interpretations. Bill Poirier, a professor of physics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, proposed a theory that not only assumes parallel worlds exist, but also says their interaction can explain all the quantum mechanics "weirdness" in the observable universe. Poirier first published the idea four years ago, but other physicists have recently started building on the idea and have demonstrated that it is mathematically possible. Quantum mechanics is the branch of physics that describes the rules that govern the universe on the microscopic scale.
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:04:03 -0500
CERN scientists discover 2 new subatomic particles
GENEVA (AP) Scientists at the world's largest smasher said Wednesday they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe. Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:20:06 -0500
Israeli XPrize Mission Science Twist: Map Lunar Magnetism (Op-Ed)
News ImageWith the goal of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, nonprofit SpaceIL is competing for theGoogle Lunar XPrize: a modern race to the moon. First, instead of developing a rover to drive 500 m like most other teams, SpaceIL engineers are pursuing a "hop" using the spacecraft's propulsion system first to land, and second to take off again and land 500 m away. Second, we are using the mission not only to stimulate technological advancement, but also to investigate the lunar magnetic field: To that aim, SpaceIL will be carrying a scientific experiment that will advance humanity's shared understanding of the moon. Although magnetized rocks were discovered decades ago, and astronauts returned some samples to Earth for research, the origin of the magnetic field presents an enigma and an opportunity.
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:06:05 -0500
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