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Agency takes tectonics study to earthquake-prone Alaska
Wed, 24 May 2017 14:03:49 -0400

Agency takes tectonics study to earthquake-prone AlaskaAlaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, with more large quakes than the other 49 states combined, and it's about to have its ground examined like never before

Pope Francis just threw some serious papal shade at Donald Trump
Wed, 24 May 2017 11:54:50 -0400

Pope Francis just threw some serious papal shade at Donald TrumpIt's well known that Pope Francis and President Donald Trump don't exactly see eye-to-eye on global climate change.  The pope recognizes the issue as a moral and religious challenge that must be addressed in order to make progress in alleviating poverty and other global goals.  And Trump, well, he doesn't think global warming exists in the first place.  SEE ALSO: Pope Francis convenes world's mayors to discuss global warming In other words, there is a chasm between them on this issue. If anything, the differences sharpened in the days leading up to Trump's visit to the Vatican on Wednesday, with Trump still dithering on whether to keep the U.S. within the Paris Climate Agreement, which Francis supports.  In addition, Trump proposed a budget on Tuesday that would decimate climate science research across the federal government, making it harder for scientists to keep tabs on the changing planet.  It's against this backdrop that Pope Francis handed Trump a copy of his 2015 climate change letter, "Laudato Si: On the Care of the Common Home." This was as awkward as it looks.Image: Pool/AGF/REX/ShutterstockFrancis also gave Trump copies of his other official writings, and signed a message of peace that he had issued. "Well I'll be reading them," the president said, according to a White House pool report. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew from Rome to Brussels, said it's unclear if climate change came up during Trump's audience with the pope.  However, it did come up in a meeting between Trump and the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. “I don’t know in the meeting with the pope, but it did come up with Cardinal Parolin," Tillerson said. "We did have a good exchange on the climate change issue.”  “The cardinal was expressing their view that they think it's an important issue. I think they were encouraging continued participation in the Paris accord," Tillerson said.  "But we had a good exchange [about] the difficulty of balancing addressing climate change, responses to climate change, and ensuring that you still have a thriving economy and you can still offer people jobs so they can feed their families and have a prosperous economy. And that’s a difficult balancing act to take, and so I think we had a good exchange there, and we look forward to having further talks with them on climate policy.”  WATCH: NASA timelapse shows just how quickly our Arctic sea ice is disappearing

A Company's Plan to Fix Fisheries Has Scientists Feeling Skeptical
Wed, 24 May 2017 17:27:00 -0400

A Company's Plan to Fix Fisheries Has Scientists Feeling SkepticalOceaneos wants to dump iron dust into water to catalyze phytoplankton growth. The effects of "ocean seeding" haven't been proven to work.

New Zealand test rocket makes it to space but not to orbit
Thu, 25 May 2017 03:36:34 -0400

New Zealand test rocket makes it to space but not to orbitCalifornia-based company Rocket Lab says it has launched a test rocket into space from its New Zealand launch pad, although the rocket didn't reach orbit as hoped

Everest rescuers retrieve bodies of two Indian climbers
Thu, 25 May 2017 07:15:55 -0400

Everest rescuers retrieve bodies of two Indian climbersRescuers have retrieved the bodies of two Indian climbers who died on Mount Everest last year but whose remains could not be moved due to bad weather, an official said Thursday. A team of Nepali climbers retrieved the bodies of Goutam Ghosh and Paresh Nath from the balcony, an area just below the summit of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain. Ghosh's remains were only located this year by other climbers on the mountain.

Correction: Snowy Plover Chick story
Thu, 25 May 2017 18:52:15 -0400

Correction: Snowy Plover Chick storyPORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — In a story May 24 about the Western snowy plover, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Oregon requires dogs to be kept on leash in snowy plover nesting areas. The state bans dogs from all active nesting areas.

How obsessive gamers can quit playing
Wed, 24 May 2017 21:19:04 -0400

How obsessive gamers can quit playingCam Adair, founder of "Game Quitters," says finding alternate activities is key for people hoping to stop playing video games.

First results from Juno mission show surprisingly strong magnetic field and huge polar cyclones
Thu, 25 May 2017 16:15:00 -0400

First results from Juno mission show surprisingly strong magnetic field and huge polar cyclonesThe first scientific results from NASA's mission to Jupiter are already stunning scientists.

Scientists balanced a dead flamingo on one leg to unlock the bird's standing secret
Wed, 24 May 2017 07:49:38 -0400

Scientists balanced a dead flamingo on one leg to unlock the bird's standing secretNew research reveals how flamingos can stand – and even sleep – on one leg for so long.

Bag containing moon dust from Apollo 11 expected to sell for millions at auction
Wed, 24 May 2017 15:53:42 -0400

Bag containing moon dust from Apollo 11 expected to sell for millions at auctionNearly 50 years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong famously made his mark on the moon. When Armstrong returned from the Apollo 11 mission, he had a bag containing rock fragments and dust he collected from the moon's surface. Cassandra Hatton, a vice president at Sotheby's, explained that NASA unknowingly lost track of the bag, which protected the Earth and space craft from lunar pathogens, while clearing out items in the Johnson Space Center in Texas.

How the Zika virus stealthily swept the Americas
Wed, 24 May 2017 15:17:42 -0400

How the Zika virus stealthily swept the AmericasNearly a year since the Zika virus outbreak arrived in Miami, scientists say they've learned new details about how the mosquito-born virus emerged and spread throughout the Americas. Researchers sequenced nearly 200 Zika virus genomes to see how the virus mutated and traveled over time. These genetic blueprints shed new light on a poorly understood epidemic that's affected thousands of people in recent years. "We used [genomes] to investigate the timing and path of how Zika spread in a way that had not yet been possible, until now," Browyn Macinnis, an associate director at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said this week on a press call. SEE ALSO: This frog's slime can destroy flu viruses Macinnis is the lead author of one of three Zika-related papers published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. All studies found the virus spread unnoticed for many months before transmission was detected. Aedes aegypti mosquito is seen through a microscope in Recife, Brazil.Image: mario tama/Getty ImagesZika is an RNA virus that mutates and evolves at a fairly high rate, which makes its genetic data like a trail of bread crumbs that scientists can follow. For the studies, researchers collected Zika virus genomes from infected patients and Aedes aegypti mosquitos in 10 countries.  The studies detailed where the Zika outbreak began and how it moved across the region. The virus likely began circulating in northeast Brazil around late 2013 or early 2014 – months before it was detected and an outbreak established. Soon, local mosquitos began transmitting the virus to Brazilians, including pregnant women. That likely spurred a rise in newborns with microcephaly, or an unusually small skull. From northeast Brazil, Zika traveled south to major population centers, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and spread throughout South America, Central America, and Caribbean countries. The Caribbean was Zika's main pathway to the continental United States, where the virus also circulated undetected for several months. A woman hugs her 5-month-old son, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil.Image: mario tama/Getty ImagesZika likely arrived in Florida in the spring of 2016, though the first cases of local mosquito-born transmission weren't reported until July, said Kristian Andersen, a lead author on one of the Nature studies and an assistant professor at the Scripps Research Institute.  The leap from Caribbean to continental U.S. likely happened around 30 to 40 times, meaning it wasn't a lone mosquito that sparked the outbreak. "It's not a one-off event. This is something that keeps happening over and over again," Andersen said on the press call. In Florida, 218 cases of Zika were acquired through local mosquito-born transmission last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six additional cases were acquired locally in Brownsville, Texas. Another 4,830 cases were reported across the U.S. last year, but all of those were travel-related infections, meaning people acquired the virus while visiting another country, the CDC reported. Forty-six more cases were acquired through sexual transmission. A Dec. 2, 2016, map of South Florida.Image: CDCAndersen said the Miami and Brownsville areas face the highest risk of a Zika outbreak, while remaining swaths of the continental U.S. are unlikely to see a significant outbreak. That's because southern Florida and parts of southern Texas have a year-round population of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, the main species that transmits Zika and other viruses like dengue and chikungunya. In the rest of the country, the mosquitos only appear during certain months, giving them fewer opportunities to spread the virus. Miami is also a major destination for people living in Caribbean countries, where the Zika virus thrived. Local officials in the U.S. and throughout the Americas have since taken drastic steps to limit the Zika outbreak, including by spraying insecticides and issuing travel warnings for pregnant women in affected areas. Scientists are still working to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, although the new genome sequences reported on Wednesday may help advance that research. The sequences reveal parts of the virus likely to mutate and resist the vaccine, Andersen said. "We need to know what the virus looks like so we can target the vaccine against that," he told reporters. "Sequencing gives you the blueprint of the virus." WATCH: These worms may solve the plastic waste problem

Russia's Gigantic New Submarine Has Enormous "Wings"
Wed, 24 May 2017 12:53:12 -0400

Russia's Gigantic New Submarine Has Enormous "Wings"The submarine will be twice as long as a jumbo jet.

Jaxon Identifies High Conductivity Anomaly Under High-Grade Silver in Massive Sulphide
Wed, 24 May 2017 09:30:00 -0400

Jaxon Identifies High Conductivity Anomaly Under High-Grade Silver in Massive SulphideVancouver, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - May 24, 2017) - Jaxon Minerals Inc. (TSXV: JAX) (FSE: 0U3) ("Jaxon" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has purchased and received data from the 2012 Geotech VTEM resistivity/conductivity and magnetics airborne survey (464 line kilometre) flown at the company's Hazelton VMS target, 50 kms northwest of Smithers, British Columbia. Previous operators at the property had commissioned the survey but failed to complete final payment. Jaxon has ...

Plasma Jet Engines: Is Flying At 20Km Per Second Possible?
Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:00 -0400

Plasma Jet Engines: Is Flying At 20Km Per Second Possible?Plasma engines have long been a staple of sci-fi movies, from Star Wars to The Space Between Us, but a recent breakthrough may soon make them a reality

Electric vehicles are now the cleanest cars in America
Wed, 24 May 2017 18:36:25 -0400

Electric vehicles are now the cleanest cars in AmericaElectric vehicles have been billed as the sustainable alternative to gas-guzzling cars. But that hasn't always been the case, particularly when coal-fired electricity is used to recharge the battery. Yet with solar and wind power booming in the U.S., and natural gas supplanting coal, the low-carbon EV dream is finally becoming a reality, a new analysis says. Automakers are also unveiling new and better electric car models, making it easier to ditch gasoline-fueled cars. Electric vehicles are now "unequivocally" the cleanest cars in the country, based on a national average, the research and journalism group Climate Central reported on Wednesday. SEE ALSO: Tesla plans to double its charging network by the end of the year That's an improvement over the group's previous analysis, which found that a fully gas-powered hybrid car was better for the environment than an electric car, based on the national average, over 100,000 miles of driving. "In more and more of the country, new electric cars are becoming the greenest option on the market, even when you consider the source of the electricity they use," Eric Larson, an energy systems analyst at Climate Central and the report's lead author, said in a press release. Image: climate central"More electric car choices are coming online, and the country has been gradually reducing the carbon intensity of electrical grids in recent years," he said. "That means Americans now have many more options if they want to drive cleaner cars." The analysis updates previous reports and is posted on a new interactive website, Climate-Friendly Cars. Visitors can search by U.S. state to see how all-electric, plug-in hybrids, and conventional battery hybrids compare from an environmental standpoint. The climate-friendliness of a particular model varies from state to state, since the best types of car are still determined by the local electric grid. In 37 states, an all-electric car emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car, over the first 100,000 miles driven. But in 13 fossil fuel-dependent states, a gas-powered car is still the cleanest choice for car owners, the Climate Central analysis found. The climate-friendliest cars in New York, for the current model year only.Image: Climate centralEV drivers aren't limited to the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model X, two early popular models of all-electric cars. For instance, in a state like New York, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, BMW i3 BEV 60 ah, Fiat 500e and VW e-Golf also rank among the climate-friendliest options. Thanks to the growing variety, at least five all-electric car models are more climate friendly in 28 states compared to the "greenest" gas-powered car in that state, the report found. Within 24 states, plug-in hybrids, which can run on either gasoline or an electric charge, are also among the top environmentally friendly options. States where electric cars are by far the best option for the climate include California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. Among the states where gas-powered cars are still the lowest-emissions options, thanks to their big base of coal-fired power plants, are Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.  WATCH: Watch a Tesla Model X drive itself to the office

You Can Buy a Replica of Carl Sagan's Famous Pioneer Plaque
Wed, 24 May 2017 12:53:15 -0400

You Can Buy a Replica of Carl Sagan's Famous Pioneer PlaqueA piece of human history explaining humans worth celebrating.

How Regular Exercise May Make Your Body 'Younger'
Wed, 24 May 2017 18:33:00 -0400

How Regular Exercise May Make Your Body 'Younger'Getting regular exercise may help slow the aging of your body's cells, a new study finds. Compared with the people in the study who didn't exercise at all, the highly active people had a "biological age" that was about nine years younger, said study author Larry Tucker, a professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University in Utah. To reap these benefits of exercise, you'd need to spend 30 to 40 minutes running, five days a week, according to the study.

Nasa 2018 budget highlights: Human spaceflight takes priority as education misses out
Wed, 24 May 2017 07:30:50 -0400

Nasa 2018 budget highlights: Human spaceflight takes priority as education misses outNasa's budget proposal for 2018 has been released by the space agency revealing what's in store for future missions and what projects could be stalled. In terms of its missions, Nasa has chosen to prioritise human spaceflight and exploration of the solar system over Earth sciences and educational outreach programmes. In simple terms, Nasa is pushing for an aggressive space outreach programme where it wants a successful manned mission to anything beyond what humankind has achieved as soon as possible.

Saturn’s stunning north pole actually changed colors
Thu, 25 May 2017 18:01:32 -0400

Saturn’s stunning north pole actually changed colors

NASA's Cassini orbiter was the first to deliver a really clear look at the eye-catching, hexagonal storm swirling on Saturn's north pole, so it's only fitting that the craft has now delivered a photo of the peculiar phenomenon that adds a new layer of awe. As part of Cassini's recent photo sweep, the orbiter took a nice long look at Saturn's northernmost point once more and discovered that it has almost completely changed color. How's that for a surprise?

Saturn's seasons are really, really long. A single trip around the sun — what we think of as a year here on Earth — takes nearly thirty times as long for Saturn. Like many planets, Saturn's surface undergoes changes as seasons progress and change, and since Cassini has been orbiting the planet since way back in 2004, the craft has had the opportunity to observe a full season, and all the dramatic changes that came with it.

One of those changes was the increase in what NASA refers to as "springtime hazes." That haze is what makes the planet look a giant ball of blurry clouds, and an increase in haze at the north pole has caused the bluish-green hue of the massive hexagon to transition into a mix of dull brown and tan, with just a hint of green remaining in the very center of its eye.

It's a fantastic observation, and a great example of the kind of amazing material we'll be missing out on when Cassini ends its mission later this year.

Ancient Bizarre Sea Monster the Size of a Bus Discovered in Russia
Thu, 25 May 2017 12:30:59 -0400

Ancient Bizarre Sea Monster the Size of a Bus Discovered in RussiaThe well-preserved 5 foot-long skull of an extinct reptile was first discovered on the bank of the Volga River in 2002, but until now had not been identified as a new species. The fossil belongs to a group of marine reptiles called plesiosaur.

Science Says: What's known and not known about marijuana
Wed, 24 May 2017 17:42:39 -0400

Science Says: What's known and not known about marijuanaNEW YORK (AP) — A new marijuana study joins a limited record of scientific knowledge about the harms and benefits of pot.

Artifacts From Ancient Americans Show Advanced Culture
Wed, 24 May 2017 16:56:51 -0400

Artifacts From Ancient Americans Show Advanced CultureArtifacts recovered from an ancient American civilization show people who lived 15,000 years ago were more advanced than we’ve given them credit for.

Scientists prove that our brains have a little bit of Jedi in them
Thu, 25 May 2017 13:25:08 -0400

Scientists prove that our brains have a little bit of Jedi in them

Have you ever wished you had Jedi powers? You might think you'll never reach the level of wisdom, power, and grace as those noble warriors from a galaxy far, far away, but a new study suggests that we all have at least one Jedi trait built right into our brains. A group of researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands just published a paper proving that humans have the ability to predict the movement of objects thanks to high-speed visualization techniques that simulate the outcome in our own minds before the movement actually happens. Woah.

The study, which was published in Nature Communications, used a simple test consisting of a white dot moving across a black screen. The team used an fMRI to track brain activity, painting a clear picture of the areas of the brain which were observing and learning the pattern.

Then, after a short break, the more than two dozen volunteers were hooked back up and shown a similar animation, though this time only the first half of the dot's movement was displayed. However, fMRI data revealed that the brain was actually simulating the dot's full path, having learned it earlier, and it was processing that information twice as fast as when shown the full animation. In short, the brains of the test subjects were running their own visual simulation of what it expected to see, predicting the outcome as though it was watching it actually happen.

Scientists believe it's this predictive cognition that aids us in both large and small aspects of everyday life, like catching a dropped set of keys out of midair or knowing exactly when and where a car will pass on the street. Essentially, our brains are predicting these things will happen before they happen, and we're reacting in sync with that prediction, rather than relying solely on our own concrete observation. If "seeing things before they happen" is indeed a Jedi trait, our brains are clearly big Star Wars fans.

How the Media Has Failed -- The Invitae (NVTA) Story is Strong
Thu, 25 May 2017 16:12:02 -0400

How the Media Has Failed -- The Invitae (NVTA) Story is StrongSpotlight Top Pick InVitae Corp (NYSE:NVTA) has seen its stock decline and one culprit was a recently published article “How a cancer test maker started by former Twitter, Google execs hopes to change the world” that has caught the market off guard. Friends, what has happened with Invitae relative to this news story is a wonderful example of all of this. With its $249 test to screen for 30 genes linked to eight hereditary cancers, Color Genomics Inc. has pushed to detect cancer earlier but also take price away as a barrier.

Nerd Nite meets NASA, sparking memories for an astronaut with deep Northwest roots
Wed, 24 May 2017 16:06:53 -0400

Nerd Nite meets NASA, sparking memories for an astronaut with deep Northwest rootsThe High Dive is known for drawing crowds into the local music scene, but this week, music wasn’t what drew nearly 200 people to the venue – it was NASA. Nerd Nite Seattle is a monthly gathering at the bar in the city’s Fremont neighborhood, featuring beer, tasty Mexican food, science talks and, of course, nerdy Seattleites. Tuesday night’s event drew in plenty of the regulars, plus an assortment of first-timers. One of the first-timers was NASA astronaut Anne McClain. She mingled with the crowd, and then got on stage to speak about her rigorous astronaut training, share hilarious stories about… Read More

Poorly understood Mars landing conditions led to probe’s demise: report
Wed, 24 May 2017 14:28:07 -0400

Poorly understood Mars landing conditions led to probe’s demise: reportBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Europe's Schiaparelli spacecraft came very close to a successful landing on Mars last year, but engineers failed to realize how jarring the probe's parachute descent could be, dooming the touchdown, a report released on Wednesday said. Schiaparelli flew to Mars with the Trace Gas Orbiter, which is studying gases in the planet’s atmosphere from orbit. Its parachute worked as designed, but atmospheric forces at supersonic speed were not well understood, the report, commissioned by the European Space Agency, said.

Obesity Cure? Scientists Discover Antibody That Reduces Body Fat in Mice
Wed, 24 May 2017 13:26:58 -0400

Obesity Cure? Scientists Discover Antibody That Reduces Body Fat in MiceA treatment for obesity could be on the horizon as scientists have discovered an antibody that reduces body fat. In trials on mice, the antibody was found to increase bone mass and reduce adipose tissue (fat)—and while human studies are some way off, the findings could lead to new treatments for weight loss and osteoporosis. The antibody discovered targets follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) found in the pituitary gland.

Peru: Ancient pyramid excavation reveals extremely complex society 15,000 years ago
Wed, 24 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400

Peru: Ancient pyramid excavation reveals extremely complex society 15,000 years agoThe ancient civilisation that populated the coasts of Peru some 15,000 years ago was more advanced than archaeologists had previously imagined. Ancient artefacts suggest that these people had developed efficient techniques to extract resources from the sea early on. The site of Huaca Prieta in coastal Peru is home to the earliest pyramid in Latin America.

A science-backed trick to reduce fear and anxiety takes just 30 seconds and a pen
Wed, 24 May 2017 12:48:25 -0400

A science-backed trick to reduce fear and anxiety takes just 30 seconds and a penThe next time painful or stressful feelings threaten to overwhelm you, here is what you do: get something to write with. Get something to write on. Write down a word that describes the emotion you’re experiencing. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive. Just a word or two will do. Affect labeling—the act of naming one’s…

Teraphysics to Present at the 7th Annual LD Micro Invitational
Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:00 -0400

Teraphysics to Present at the 7th Annual LD Micro InvitationalBeyond Fiber Optics: Teraphysics Set to Enable the Future of 5G With Wireless High-Speed Data Delivery Technology LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / May 24, 201 7 / Teraphysics, developer of ultrahigh-speed ...