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On the Calendar:  Saturday, 10/17/2015
CIVIL WAR BOOK AUTHOR: One of the most surprising and humiliating defeats in the United States' military history, the Red River Campaign narrowly missed turning the tide of the entire Civil War. This pictorial volume, written in an engaging tone, relays the full story of the conflict. Led by the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Union Army invaded the Southern Red River Valley with 32,000 men. They anticipated little trouble from the Confederates-whom they outnumbered nearly four to one-and even painted names of the towns they planned to conquer on their wagons, such as San Antonio, Houston, and Galveston. The men in blue did not expect a battle until they reached Shreveport, the Confederate capital of Louisiana. On April 8, 1864, the Confederate Patton, Gen. Richard Taylor, launched a devastating attack near Mansfield with 8,800 men. By nightfall, the Yankee soldiers were no longer discussing victories in Houston, Dallas, or even Shreveport-they were running for their lives. Complete with maps, period photographs, and firsthand accounts from soldiers, Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864 serves as a definitive resource for historians or anyone seeking knowledge on this daring operation. Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., is the author of more than forty history books, which have received praise from Publishers Weekly and British Army Review. In addition to writing articles for the Journal of Soviet Military Studies, he has appeared on the History Channel, CBS, National Public Radio, and the British Broadcasting Network. Mitcham has lectured at West Point, Air War College, and the General Staff College of the Marine Corps. He also taught geography and military history at Henderson State University, Georgia Southern University, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where the freshman honor society named him professor of the year. Mitcham received his BA in journalism from Northeast Louisiana University and later earned his MS and PhD. He lives in Monroe, Louisiana. Calendar

Science News
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Nestle spends $70 million on U.S. health science hub

A logo is pictured outside the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences at the EPFL in Ecublens near LausanneNestle's health science division is investing $70 million in a product technology center that will become the unit's new U.S. headquarters and research hub, the division said on Friday. The Bridgewater, New Jersey center will further Nestle's healthcare push as the Swiss company delves deeper into nutritional therapy and the high-margin medicines arena. Opening in 2016, the hub will relocate the unit's current research and development activities from Minneapolis and its current headquarters from nearby Florham Park.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:58:32 -0400
SpaceX raps ULA bid to get U.S. waiver for Russian engines

SpaceX CEO Musk speaks after unveiling the Dragon V2 spacecraft in HawthorneBy Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has slammed a bid by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, to get a waiver from a U.S. ban on Russian rocket engines for military use. Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla Motors and chief executive of SpaceX, told Defense Secretary Ash Carter that federal law already allowed ULA to use "a substantial number" of engines.

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:44:13 -0400
Experts caution on study citing method to predict sexual orientation

U.S. researchers on Thursday said they had found a way to predict male sexual orientation based on molecular markers that control DNA function, but genetics experts warned that the research has important limitations and will not provide definitive answers to a potential biological basis for sexual preference. Findings from the study, which has yet to be published or reviewed in detail by other scientists, were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Baltimore.

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:28:57 -0400
Ancient Ethiopian man's genome illuminates ancestry of Africans

Handout photo of the entrance to the Mota cave where the remains containing the ancient genome were found in EthiopiaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA extracted from the skull of a man buried 4,500 years ago in an Ethiopian cave is providing new clarity on the ancestry of modern Africans as well as shedding light on an influx of people from the ancient Middle East into the Horn of Africa. Until now, genome sequencing efforts on ancient people have focused on remains from cooler, drier climes that tend to better preserve DNA. The cave, sitting 6,440 feet (1,963 meters) above sea level in southwestern Ethiopia's Gamo highlands, was discovered in 2011, University of Cambridge geneticist Andrea Manica said.

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:54:40 -0400
NASA Mars rover finds clear evidence for ancient, long-lived lakes

NASA handout of a low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover vehicleBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Three years after landing in a giant Martian crater, NASA's Curiosity rover has found what scientists call proof that the basin had repeatedly filled with water, bolstering chances for life on Mars, a study published on Thursday showed. The research offered the most comprehensive picture of how Gale Crater, an ancient, 87-mile (140-km) wide impact basin, formed and left a 3-mile (5-km) mound of sediment standing on the crater floor. Early in its mission, Curiosity discovered the gravel remnants of streams and deposits from a shallow lake.

Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:33:23 -0400
The Origins of Religion: How Supernatural Beliefs Evolved

The vast majority of the U.S. population does not belong to the Catholic Church, and a growing percentage of Americans are not affiliated with any organized religion at all, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centers. This understanding of how the world worked facilitated the rapid decision-making process that humans had to go through when they heard a rustling in the grass.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 13:34:54 -0400
Myth Busted: Conspiracy Theorists Do Believe Stuff 'Just Happens'

Myth Busted: Conspiracy Theorists Do Believe Stuff 'Just Happens'The sheriff of Douglas County in Oregon where a mass shooting occurred on Oct. 2 is in hot water after the discovery that he posted a "Sandy Hook truther" video to Facebook in 2013. Contrary to popular opinion, the research finds, people who think conspiratorially aren't more likely to assume everything happens for a reason, rejecting the likelihood of random chance, than people who don't hold conspiracy beliefs. "What we show is that the psychology of conspiracy theories is located in a rather high level of cognition, perhaps at the level of beliefs and ideology and not at the level of a deeper personality or perception mode," said study researcher Sebastian Dieguez, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 07:27:21 -0400
Selena Gomez's Diagnosis: What Is Lupus?

The pop star Selena Gomez recently announced that she was diagnosed with lupus and underwent chemotherapy for the condition in 2013. "I was diagnosed with lupus, and I've been through chemotherapy. This may be the first time that Gomez fans have heard of the disease.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 07:24:23 -0400
Putting Astronauts on Mars: NASA Lays Out Three-Phase Plan

Putting Astronauts on Mars: NASA Lays Out Three-Phase PlanNASA aims to putboots on Mars in the 2030s after first gathering human-spaceflight experience and expertise in low Earth orbit and the "proving ground" of cis-lunar space near the moon. NASA has been working on this three-stage path to the Red Planet for some time, and the space agency lays out the basic plan in a 36-page report called "Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration," which was released Thursday (Oct. 8). "This strategy charts a course toward horizon goals while delivering near-term benefits and defining a resilient architecture that can accommodate budgetary changes, political priorities, new scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs and evolving partnerships," William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 10:51:30 -0400
Secrets, Sci-Fi & Uncertainty: Jeff Bezos and the Future of Private Spaceflight

Secrets, Sci-Fi & Uncertainty: Jeff Bezos and the Future of Private SpaceflightIn September, billionaire Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos announced that Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company he founded, would build a facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, kicking off a new phase for the company as it pursues the construction of an orbital space vehicle. The move to Florida's Space Coast, however, may force the company to step into the spotlight. Following the announcement ceremony at Cape Canaveral last month, Bezos talked with the media about his childhood obsession with the space program and science fiction books, and how that passion has motivated his business pursuits and shaped his ultimate goal to eventually put "millions of people" into space.

Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:31:12 -0400
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