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NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellites
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:30:08 -0400

NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellitesNASA has launched the last of its longtime tracking and communication satellites

NASA Is Sending Bacteria Into The Sky During The Total Solar Eclipse
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:28:00 -0400

NASA Is Sending Bacteria Into The Sky During The Total Solar EclipseNASA is using balloons to send bacteria into the stratosphere. The test will see how something that lives on Earth responds to the conditions.

These college students are vying to build Elon Musk's hyperloop
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:07:24 -0400

These college students are vying to build Elon Musk's hyperloopThis team of University of Maryland students is hoping to prove it can win SpaceX’s hyperloop capsule competition and bring in a new form of transportation to life. It may take years to see if Elon Musk’s dream of a hyperloop will lead to humans zipping between cities at hundreds of miles an hour aboard pods packed inside low-pressure tubes, but one team of college students is sure they can help lead the way there.

Wildfires trap 2,000 villagers in Portugal
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:19:39 -0400

Wildfires trap 2,000 villagers in PortugalForest fires cut off a village of 2,000 people in Portugal, as firefighters struggled Thursday to control two major blazes in the centre of the country, local officials said. Summer has seen a record number of fires and Portugal's Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa has blamed arsonists and human negligence for most of them.

Psychology of Hate: What Motivates White Supremacists?
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:06:00 -0400

Psychology of Hate: What Motivates White Supremacists?The sight of torch-wielding, chanting white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, jarred the country over the weekend, a national distress that only deepened when a counter-protester died and 19 others were wounded in a car attack there on Saturday. An alleged white supremacist, James Alex Fields Jr., has been charged in that attack. White supremacy — the view that white people are racially superior — and neo-Nazism are nothing new, of course.

Neuroscientist who studied Einstein's brain dies at 90
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:09:25 -0400

Neuroscientist who studied Einstein's brain dies at 90A founder of modern neuroscience who studied Einstein's brain has died

S. Africa opposes online rhino horn auction
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:41:44 -0400

S. Africa opposes online rhino horn auctionSouth Africa said Friday it would oppose an online auction of rhino horns due to start next week, as outraged conservationists said the sale would undermine the global ban on rhino trade. The three-day auction by South African John Hume, who runs the world's biggest rhino farm, comes after a ban on domestic trade in the country was lifted three months ago. The government said it would fight Hume's court application to be granted sale permits.

Lost Art: Babbitt Bearings
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:30:06 -0400

Lost Art: Babbitt BearingsThe lost art of babbitt bearings.

Solar Eclipse Glasses in Short Supply Just Days Before the Big Event
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:34:49 -0400

Solar Eclipse Glasses in Short Supply Just Days Before the Big EventWith the solar eclipse just three days away, there is growing concern about a shortage in the special glasses needed to view the event without damaging your eyes. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Asian carp found near Lake Michigan got past barriers
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:33:14 -0400

Asian carp found near Lake Michigan got past barriersTRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — An adult Asian carp found in a Chicago waterway near Lake Michigan this summer began its life far downstream and apparently got around a series of electric barriers intended to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes, officials said Friday.

White Supremacists Are Using Genetic Ancestry Tests For A Creepy Purpose
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:56:13 -0400

White Supremacists Are Using Genetic Ancestry Tests For A Creepy PurposeIt’s a marketing trope often repeated in viral, feel-good commercials for genetic ancestry tests: If we only knew just how related we all were, even distantly, then prejudice and racism would cease to exist.

Turkey bones may help trace fate of ancient cliff dwellers
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:53:35 -0400

Turkey bones may help trace fate of ancient cliff dwellersDENVER (AP) — Researchers say they have found a new clue into the mysterious exodus of ancient cliff-dwelling people from the Mesa Verde area of Colorado more than 700 years ago: DNA from the bones of domesticated turkeys.

Who are the white nationalists and Antifa: Part 1
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:39:12 -0400

Who are the white nationalists and Antifa: Part 1For the past six months, ABC News' "20/20" traveled the country tracking political violence and following extremists.

'Fatbergs' Are the Scourge of City Sewers
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:34:02 -0400

'Fatbergs' Are the Scourge of City SewersPlease stop pouring grease down the drain.

Mexico City fishermen fight to save Aztec floating gardens
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:43:11 -0400

Mexico City fishermen fight to save Aztec floating gardensRoberto Altamirano has the lake to himself as he casts his glistening net onto the still water in a perfect circle, lets it sink, then slowly pulls it in. It comes back bearing a large haul of tilapia and carp -- and that is exactly the problem. Altamirano is one of just 20 or so fishermen who remain in the floating gardens of Xochimilco, an idyllic network of lakes, canals and artificial islands improbably tucked into the urban sprawl of Mexico City.

How controversial science can make it harder to get an abortion
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:07:42 -0400

How controversial science can make it harder to get an abortionAn abortion can be an emotional experience that raises questions about a woman's relationships, past regrets, and future. She might want to confide in someone about these feelings in the following weeks, months, or years.  Abortion opponents have taken that complex reality to a disturbing extreme, with the hope of convincing the public and lawmakers that ending a pregnancy puts many women at significant risk for mental health problems like substance abuse, depression, and suicide.  SEE ALSO: Why 'Handmaid's Tale' costumes are the most powerful meme of the resistance yet To vividly and persuasively make their case, anti-abortion rights activists often point to scientific research that makes dubious connections between the medical procedure and long-term psychological turmoil or suffering. What politicians looking to restrict abortion don't tell the public is that not all research in this field is equal.  This strategy has found its way into statehouses across the country. A recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and advocacy organization, found that more than half of all women of reproductive age in the U.S. live in a state with at least two types of abortion restrictions that have no basis in scientific evidence, including counseling requirements and mandatory waiting periods.     Not all of these laws are explicitly premised on the notion that abortion causes lasting emotional or psychological damage, but many are routinely defended as measures to protect women's health.  "I don't think requirements are the solution to anything," said Melissa Madera, who has interviewed 288 people about their abortion experiences as founder and director of the podcast The Abortion Diary. "No one needs to tell us that we need to take time to think. People are doing it anyway." I've had an abortion & talked w/ over 200 people who've had abortions. This is what I have to say to Congress. — melissa.madera (@drmelissamadera) January 31, 2017 Meanwhile, a battle over the science of abortion and mental health continues to unfold: Reputable medical and professional organizations in the field have found that the procedure doesn't cause long-term psychological harm, but a group of researchers insist it's devastating. The losers in this fight? People who've had or may need an abortion and hear conflicting messages about the research, and who may face long waits to get care because of laws designed to slow the process.  While many women who've had abortions can share how the experience affected them, scientists can't rely on these anecdotes to draw conclusions about mental health for an entire population. Instead, the best scientific research minimizes bias and controls for variables. When randomized trials are possible, scientists can recruit volunteers who are then assigned different outcomes.  With abortion, however, that would mean randomly selecting whether a woman carries an unintended pregnancy to term or ends it — disturbing, unethical, and impossible. Instead, research on abortion and mental health outcomes must rely on what are known as observational studies. That means women choose whether to end or complete their pregnancy, and then scientists follow those two groups over time to observe and compare their mental health outcomes. Scientists can make inferences about what they find in observational studies, but it's more challenging to draw a straight line between cause and effect. Efforts to untangle the relationship between pregnancy and a specific mental health experience, particularly when abortion is involved, often fall short, said Julia Littell, a professor of social work at Bryn Mawr College who specializes in research design and synthesis but does not publish on abortion. Research shows, for example, that the experiences that make women more likely to have an unintended pregnancy or abortion — like poverty, childhood sexual and physical abuse, and domestic violence — also are associated with an increased risk of developing a mental health condition. If they experience depression or anxiety and have had an abortion, it's crucial for researchers to know which came first. In the past decade, two major U.S. and UK professional organizations, the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, conducted in-depth reviews and found that the best evidence indicated ending an unplanned pregnancy in the first trimester posed no greater risk for mental health problems than giving birth. That comparison helps to lay bare a political agenda that's often more obsessed with protecting women from the potential effects of abortion than supporting women with the various emotional and psychological challenges of motherhood. Politicians, for instance, aren't clamoring to pass laws making it harder for women to get pregnant because they might experience postpartum depression, anxiety, or psychosis.  More than 20 years ago, Mika Gissler, an epidemiologist and research professor of public health at The National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland, published a study that anti-abortion activists have cited as proof that abortion can lead to suicide.  He analyzed the mortality risk of more than 600,000 women in a national register who gave birth or had an abortion. In his 1996 BMJ study, those who ended a pregnancy were at a much higher risk of dying by suicide, and he found the same to be true again in a study published in the European Journal of Public Health, in May.  But Gissler, after studying this cohort for two decades, believes there's a more complex explanation for the association between abortion and suicide. First, his studies can't account for pre-existing mental health conditions because the register lacks detailed information about their experiences. Gissler also thinks that motherhood itself largely reduces risky behavior like self-harm. The Finnish healthcare system plays a critical role as well by giving teenage mothers, the subject of his latest study, intense support during and after pregnancy. Teens who have an abortion don't get the same reinforcements.  Though his 1996 study noted the possibility that abortion might negatively affect women, he holds no reservations now. "[I]t's quite clear it's not the abortions," he said. "It’s the complex situation of the women." Abortion and suicide, he noted, share the same risk factors, including economic instability and limited education.  Gissler said he's been courted by anti-abortion researchers, some of whom he characterizes as well-versed in statistics but lacking expertise in mental or reproductive health epidemiology.  "They are making wrong conclusions and really bad science, if you can even call it science," he said. Though it might surprise some to learn that peer-reviewed journals publish questionable research, Littell said it does happen. A journal editor, for example, may not fully understand a study's methodology and findings.  In 2008, a group of researchers published a review in Contraception suggesting that quality made a huge difference in abortion research. The highest quality studies did things like control for pre-existing mental health conditions and other important confounders, use the most appropriate comparison groups, and use widely accepted mental health measures. The review concluded that the highest quality studies don't indicate abortion leads to long-term mental health problems, whereas the low quality studies largely reported a relationship between the two experiences. The authors also acknowledged that a "minority" of women experience "lingering post-abortion feelings of sadness, guilt, regret, and depression."  "The goal of any such research should be to uncover the truth and share that with women and patients," said Chelsea B. Polis, co-author of the Contraception study and a senior research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute.  If that seems self-evident, consider that the debate over abortion and mental health is a lot like the controversy that has plagued research on climate change, evolution, or vaccines: A vocal group of researchers sees the scientific consensus as the product of bias, ethical misconduct, or even conspiracy and sows doubt at every possible turn. This isn't just professional disagreement — it quickly begins to look like an ideological struggle.  Take, for example, what happened in December when JAMA Psychiatry published the largest and longest prospective study in the U.S. comparing the mental health outcomes of women who had an abortion to those of women denied an abortion. It followed 956 women over the course of five years, compared four groups with different abortion outcomes, and found that ending a pregnancy did not appear to increase a woman's risk of developing mental health symptoms.  Those who had an abortion did not experience higher rates of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or low life satisfaction than those who were denied the procedure. In fact, women turned away from a clinic because they exceeded the facility's gestational limit initially had higher levels of anxiety, lower self-esteem and less life satisfaction than those who had the procedure. Between six and 12 months, however, all of the women had similar mental health outcomes throughout the remainder of the study.  #Women denied #abortion initially report more negative #psychological outcomes. — JAMAPsychiatry (@JAMAPsych) December 14, 2016 "I think that if the claim is to protect women’s mental health, what researchers are finding is that allowing women to make decisions and access care is more protective than denying them care," M. Antonia Biggs, the study's lead author, said.  The study garnered praise as providing "the best scientific evidence" on the mental health effects of abortion from a former director of reproductive health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  However, Priscilla K. Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University whose own body of work consistently demonstrates a relationship between abortion and increased risk for mental health problems, criticized the study as methodologically flawed in a self-published rebuttal, and suggested there was a broader conspiracy to publish fraudulent results that bolstered the case for abortion rights.  "If we really wanted to promote [an agenda], we would have wanted to find more negative outcomes for the women denied abortion," said Biggs, who is a social psychologist researcher with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a research group at the University of California at San Francisco.  Coleman said that she supports waiting periods and "sensitive, individualized pre-abortion counseling" and will oppose abortion until well-designed studies demonstrate it is beneficial to women. Coleman has served as a paid expert witness in abortion-related legal cases and for legislatures that considered restrictive measures, but her research has also been thoroughly critiqued.  A 2009 study Coleman published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, which did not account for whether women had pre-existing psychological conditions, became the subject of heated criticism, and elicited a critical note from one of the journal's editors. In 2012, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals cited her testimony when it upheld a South Dakota law that required physicians to tell patients they may be at greater risk of suicide if they have an abortion. The decision also cited Gissler's 1996 paper. The dissent noted, however fruitlessly, that Gissler disavowed a causal link between abortion and suicide.  "We have to promote sexual and reproductive health and mental health, and have a checkup after the abortion to avoid any suicide [risk] instead of restricting women's possibility to terminate pregnancy when they need it," Gissler recently said.  In 2011, Coleman published a controversial study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. It attracted some support, but also prompted several letters of concern from researchers across disciplines who said the meta-analysis was poorly designed and didn't account for the quality of the evidence it cited. Littell argued that it violated basic rules for synthesizing scientific research and called for its retraction. The editor declined to do so, a point Coleman raises in defense of her work.  Coleman said that she doesn't routinely include published criticism of her work in expert testimony, but does address them in rebuttals when necessary. "I know it's appropriate science," she said of her research. "I know I care about women. I just know what I'm doing is right." Whether women might need emotional or psychological support after an abortion is an important public health question. The National Abortion Federation advises clinics to provide patients with counseling referrals and resources, and all medical providers must abide by informed consent laws and present patients with information about the procedure, its risks, and alternatives.  Lawmakers opposed to abortion, however, just don't believe any of those measures go far enough.  Madera believes that counseling should be easily accessible for abortion patients. Her intimate knowledge of other people's abortion experiences, along with her own at the age of 17, has made her skeptical of competing social or political narratives that abortion is always traumatic or always simple.  "You can make the choice to have an abortion and still feel complicated feelings about it," she said. Instead of acknowledging that reality, though, politicians are using it to justify restricting a woman’s right to choose in the first place.  If you want to talk about your abortion experience and related feelings, call Exhale at 1-866-4-EXHALE. The after-abortion talkline is staffed by non-judgmental volunteer counselors.  WATCH: There may be a new solution to the ocean trash problem

How to Make a Pinhole Viewer for the Total Solar Eclipse, and What to Do While You Wait for Totality
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:50:48 -0400

How to Make a Pinhole Viewer for the Total Solar Eclipse, and What to Do While You Wait for TotalityTravel-friendly gadgets and game plans to entertain eclipse-chasers during the long partial phases on August 21.

Meet the man who invented the Super Soaker — one of the best-selling toys of all time
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 13:56:51 -0400

Meet the man who invented the Super Soaker — one of the best-selling toys of all timeThe Super Soaker was a game changer when came to squirt guns and summer fun. And you have Lonnie...

An error made in 1925 led to a crisis in modern science—now researchers are joining to fix it
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 07:00:56 -0400

An error made in 1925 led to a crisis in modern science—now researchers are joining to fix itIn 1908, the Guinness brewer William Gosset published a revolutionary paper titled “The Probable Error of the Mean.” Gosset, who published under the pseudonym “Student” at his employer’s request, often conducted experiments on the impact of new ingredients on the composition of his beer—such as the brew’s sugar levels. Constrained by the fact that he…

Harvard’s new self-healing rubber could mean the end of the road for flat tires
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:43:41 -0400

Harvard’s new self-healing rubber could mean the end of the road for flat tiresHarvard scientists have developed a new type of rubber which, in addition to being as tough as existing rubber, can self-heal in the event that it gets a puncture. Wave goodbye to flat tires!

Google Lunar XPrize: Would-be moon voyagers get extension in $30 million contest as millions more in prize money added
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 20:32:50 -0400

Google Lunar XPrize: Would-be moon voyagers get extension in $30 million contest as millions more in prize money addedOn top of extending the mission deadline and tweaking the goal, competition organizers have added nearly $5 million in prize money.

Stunning new view of Jupiter flips Great Red Spot on its side
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:55:15 -0400

Stunning new view of Jupiter flips Great Red Spot on its sideA new view of Jupiter takes the usual shot of the planet's Great Red Spot and flips it on its side. The captivating new perspective comes from an image created by two citizen scientists who used data from the JunoCam on NASA's Juno spacecraft that's been in orbit for more than a year studying the planet, according to NASA. The north end of the planet is shown on the left side of the new photo (above) and that's where the Great Red Spot rages. SEE ALSO: Perhaps staring at this photo of a storm on Jupiter will help us all relax after a hard week The image comes from the recent batch of photos and data from the Juno spacecraft's fly-by on July 10. The Great Red Spot, a 10,000 mile-wide storm, had quite a photo session when the spacecraft flew 5,600 miles above it. For this newer image, created by Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, the spacecraft was 10,274 miles above the planet and its clouds. The Great Red Spot is usually photographed on top, like this photo below, so the storm gets a different vantage point in this latest image. The Great Red Spot as we usually see it.Image: NASANo matter what angle, it's quite the sight. WATCH: NASA is looking for a planetary protection officer to keep space safe

New Magic Mushrooms Discovery Could Reveal How to Make Your Own Drugs
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:15:18 -0400

New Magic Mushrooms Discovery Could Reveal How to Make Your Own DrugsScientists have long wondered how and why magic mushrooms create psilocybin, a psychoactive chemical that causes hallucinations when ingested. Around 200 types of mushrooms produce psilocybin, and they’ve been used ceremonially for millennia. Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who synthesized LSD, identified psilocybin as the active ingredient in magic mushrooms and determined its structure in 1959.

White nationalist Richard Spencer, Antifa member Lacy MacAuley confront each other: Part 6
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:19:39 -0400

White nationalist Richard Spencer, Antifa member Lacy MacAuley confront each other: Part 6Spencer blames Antifa for most of the violence between the groups, while MacAuley refused to condemn that Spencer was punched in the face.

19 celestial school supplies for all the space cadets out there
Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:11:15 -0400

19 celestial school supplies for all the space cadets out thereAttention all stargazers and wannabe astronauts alike! It’s back-to-school season, and that means it’s time to come inside and get that homework…

US experimental attack planes show their might
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:35:41 -0400

US experimental attack planes show their mightFox Firepower: The U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment is a groundbreaking event where innovative aircraft undergo a series of trials to determine how they perform in attack roles

Migrating birds use a magnetic map to travel long distances
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:02:37 -0400

Migrating birds use a magnetic map to travel long distancesNew research reveals how birds navigate their way over thousands of miles.

Giant Sloth Fossil Discovered In Underwater Cave
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:47:11 -0400

Giant Sloth Fossil Discovered In Underwater CaveA giant sloth fell into a pit about 12,000 years ago and scientists have found its huge bones.

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Cosmic Marvel
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:58:40 -0400

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Cosmic Marvel“In that moment, everything that you take for granted is suddenly gone.” To hear Frank Close talk about why he chases totality is to wonder if you’ve ever felt a moment of real passion in your life, or if you ever will. The particle physicist was featured on the podcast Every Little Thing, in an April episode called “Rapture Chasers.” Close and the author and psychologist Kate Russo spoke—raved—about the highs they felt in their years of trekking across the planet to see total eclipses. The episode occupied most of my half-hour walk to work the morning it came out.

From the Moon Landing to Donald Trump’s Alternative Facts—Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories
Sat, 19 Aug 2017 09:00:03 -0400

From the Moon Landing to Donald Trump’s Alternative Facts—Why People Believe in Conspiracy TheoriesThis article was originally published on The Conversation. One picks up a discarded newspaper and chuckles derisively as she reads about the latest “alternative facts” peddled by Donald Trump. The others soon chip in with their thoughts on the U.S. president’s fondness for conspiracy theories.