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Russia test launches first new space rocket since Soviet era
News ImageRussia launched its first new design of space rocket since the Soviet era from the northern military space port of Plesetsk on Wednesday, aiming to break its reliance on foreign suppliers as well as the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Angara rocket's quiet debut was in marked contrast to the live broadcast of an embarrassing aborted first launch attempt, watched by President Vladimir Putin via video link from the Kremlin. "The first test launch of the light-class Angara-1.2PP space rocket was conducted by the Air and Space Defence Forces," Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement, cited by Russian news agencies.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:05:59 -0400
Celgene's spondylitis drug misses main goal in trial
(Reuters) - Celgene Corp said a drug being tested to treat a type of arthritis that affects the spine failed to meet the main goal in a late-stage trial, sending the company's shares down 3 percent premarket. The drug, Otezla, failed to show improvement of at least 20 percent at week 16 when tested on patients with ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis of the spine, compared to those on a placebo, the company said. Celgene said it would continue the study unchanged based on a recommendation by an independent data monitoring committee. Otezla is already approved by U.S. health regulators for treatment of adults with active psoriatic arthritis and is being studied for use in psoriasis and other indications including Behcet's disease and Crohn's disease. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:06:26 -0400
Study paves way for simple blood test to predict Alzheimer's
News ImageBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have identified a set of 10 proteins in the blood that can predict the onset of Alzheimer's and call this an important step towards developing a test for the incurable brain-wasting disease. Such a test could initially be used to select patients for clinical trials of experimental treatments being developed to try to halt progression of Alzheimer's, the researchers said, and may one day move into routine use in doctors' clinics. "Alzheimer's begins to affect the brain many years before patients are diagnosed (and) many of our drug trials fail because by the time patients are given the drugs the brain has already been too severely affected," said Simon Lovestone of Oxford University, who led this work from King's College London. "A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments," he said.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:46:49 -0400
Fossil of world's smallest hedgehog unearthed in Canada
News ImageBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of Sonic the Hedgehog, the video game character. Scientists on Tuesday described fossils from Canada of a hedgehog the size of a shrew about 2 inches (5 cm) long - that lived 52 million years ago in a rainforest in northern British Columbia during an especially warm time on Earth. The creature, Silvacola acares, lived roughly 13 million years after an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs and left the mammals as the dominant land animals. "We were surprised by its tiny size, and frankly it threw me for a while and made it difficult to identify," said University of Colorado paleontologist Jaelyn Eberle, one of the researchers in the study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:11:39 -0400
Smallpox vials from 1950s found in U.S. lab storage room
By Julie Steenhuysen and David Beasley CHICAGO/ATLANTA (Reuters) - Stray vials of the deadly smallpox virus from the 1950s have been discovered at a federal lab near Washington, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday, the second lapse discovered in a month involving a deadly pathogen at a government facility. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that workers discovered the vials in a cardboard box on July 1 while clearing out an old lab on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The six glass vials contained freeze-dried smallpox virus and were sealed with melted glass. The vials appeared intact and there is no evidence that lab workers or the general public are at risk, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:21:27 -0400
'Sonic Boom' Earthquake Shatters Expectations
News ImageOne of the world's deepest earthquakes was also a rare supersonic quake, upending ideas about where these unusual earthquakes strike. Only six supersonic (or supershear) earthquakes have ever been identified, all in the last 15 years. "This was very surprising," said Zhongwen Zhan, lead author of the study, published today (July 10) in the journalScience. "It's not only deep, it's supershear, and it's also quite small."
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:03:04 -0400
Why Some Chimps Are Smarter Than Others
News ImageChimpanzees don't just get their smarts by aping others chimps, like humans, inherit a significant amount of their intelligence from their parents, new research reveals. Researchers measured how well 99 captive chimpanzees performed on a series of cognitive tests, finding that genes determined as much as 50 percent of the animals' performance. "Genes matter," said William Hopkins, a neuroscientist at Georgia State University in Atlanta and co-author of the study published today (July 10) in the journal Current Biology. "We have what we would call a smart chimp, and chimps we'd call not so smart," Hopkins told Live Science, and "we were able to explain a lot of that variability by who was related to each other."
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:01:37 -0400
Americans Feel Most Attractive at This Age
News ImageThough they might dread wrinkles and gray hair, Americans tend to feel most confident in their looks when they hit retirement age, a new Gallup survey found. Among Americans age 65 and older, 66 percent said they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that they always feel good about their physical appearance, while 61 percent of young adults ages 18 to 34 said the same. Confidence tends to sink in middle age: Among 35- to 64-year-old Americans, 54 percent reported feeling good about their physical appearance, according to the Gallup poll.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:52:52 -0400
Found! Most Distant Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy
News ImageThe two objects known as ULAS J0744+25 and ULAS J0015+01 are about 775,000 and 900,000 light-years from Earth, respectively, making them both about five times more distant than a satellite galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. "The distances to these two stars are almost too large to comprehend," study lead author John Bochanski, of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, said in a statement. "To put it in perspective, when the light from ULAS J0015+01 left the star, our early human ancestors were just starting to make fires here on Earth." [Our Milky Way Galaxy: A Traveler's Guide (Infographic)] The Milky Way extends far beyond its familiar disk, which is just 100,000 light-years or so wide.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:41:08 -0400
Vintage NASA Spacecraft May Be Out of Gas, Private Team Says
News ImageAttempts to move a vintage NASA spacecraft into a new orbit 36 years after the probe's launch are in flux, with controllers fearing the spacecraft may have run out of fuel while performing maneuvers on Tuesday (July 9). We do not think any of the valves are malfunctioning," Keith Cowing with the ISEE-3 Reboot Project wrote in a statement Wednesday (July 9).
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:40:54 -0400
Research shows Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused lesions in fish: scientists
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - Oil that matches the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been found in the bodies of sickened fish, according to a team of Florida scientists who studied the oil's chemical composition. "We matched up the oil in the livers and flesh with Deepwater Horizon like a fingerprint," lead researcher Steven Murawski, a professor at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science in Tampa, told Reuters. BP, whose oil rig caused the spill, rejected the research, stating in an emailed response that it was "not possible to accurately identify the source of oil based on chemical traces found in fish livers or tissue." BP's statement added, "vertebrates such as fish very quickly metabolize and eliminate oil compounds. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:45:55 -0400
Science As Art: Soundscapes, Light Boxes and Microscopes (Op-Ed)
News ImageThese questions lie at the heart of the work of visual artist Patricia Olynyk. I had some interest in science, but I didn't really have access to labs or to teaching art and science until I got a full-time position at the University of Michigan in 1999.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:43:45 -0400
The Three Policies That Can Counter Global Warming (Op-Ed)
News ImageFor example, one such policy is to convert heavy-duty trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) rather than diesel fuel.Ramn Alvarez and his colleaguesat the Environmental Defense Fund, Princeton University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Duke Universitystudied this option and found that it is "not a viable mitigation strategy for climate change," as it would be nearly 300 years after the fuel switch before net climate benefits are achieved. Policies that are effective at reducing emissions generally come in three types: economic signals, performance standards and policies to support innovation. Economic signals are policies that change the price of goods or activities in order to influence the choices made by people and businesses. Economic signals counter a key failure of markets: they do not properly value "externalities" (the positive and negative effects of an activity on society). These effects are not limited to climate change.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:37:27 -0400
Global warming requires more frequent rethink of 'normal' weather: U.N.
The baseline for "normal" weather used by everyone from farmers to governments to plan ahead needs to be updated more frequently to account for the big shifts caused by global warming, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday. The WMO's Commission for Climatology believes rising temperatures and more heatwaves and heavy rains mean the existing baseline, based on the climate averages of 1961-90, is out of date as a guide, the WMO said in a statement. "For water resources, agriculture and energy, the old averages no longer reflect the current realities," Omar Baddour, head of the data management applications at the WMO, told Reuters. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:37:24 -0400
Giant Ancient Sea Scorpions Had Bad Eyesight
News Image"These things were almost certainly still predators of some kind, but the imagined notion that they were swimming around terrorizing anything that looked edible is probably an exaggeration," said Derek Briggs, a paleontologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and co-author of the new study, published today (July 8) in the journal Biology Letters. Pterygotids were a type of eurypterid, an extinct type of sea scorpion related to arachnids. Their closest living relatives are horseshoe crabs or modern sea scorpions, he said. Previously, these spooky sea monsters were thought to be fearsome predators, devouring armored fishes and giant cephalopods (related to modern squids and nautiluses).
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:44:14 -0400
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