Growing human skin in a petri dish isn't the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the name L'Oréal (Euronext Paris: OR-FR). This is part of a larger, ongoing effort within the scientific community to reduce and replace the use of live rabbits, mice and other laboratory animals in tests and experiments.
Researchers in a New York cabbage patch are planning the first release on American soil of insects genetically engineered to die before they can reproduce. The work at Cornell University's test farm, 160 miles west of Albany in the Finger Lakes, is a pesticide-free attempt to control invasive diamondback moths. The insect's larval caterpillars devour crops in the crucifer family, including cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, and they're notoriously resistant to chemical controls. Cornell researcher Anthony Shelton is conducting tests of moths genetically engineered by biotech firm Oxitec. They reduce the wild population by producing female offspring that die before maturing. Shelton is awaiting
He was the American president who aimed an entire country at the moon, and for that NASA will always remember. President John F. Kennedy , born 100 years ago today (May 29), wasn't the first U.S. president to oversee NASA, but it was he who in 1961 — amid a space race with the Soviet Union — set the country firmly on a path to the moon for the next giant leap for human spaceflight. To honor Kennedy's vision and space legacy, NASA is celebrating with a special JFK centennial website: http://www.nasa.gov/specials/jfk100/ . The website features images of Kennedy's biggest moments with NASA and astronauts, as well as excerpts from " Ten Presidents and NASA " by space policy expert John Logsdon, which
BOLINAS, Calif. -- The body of an endangered, 79-foot-long blue whale that washed ashore in Marin County, California, had injuries consistent with being struck by a ship, according to an expert from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CBS San Francisco reports. "We found several broken ribs and, when that happens, we also want to look to see if there's evidence of hemorrhage. That means that it happened before death," Dr. Claire Simeone told CBS San Francisco. The whale was discovered off Agate Beach in Bolinas on Thursday. Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center described it as a subadult female. They collected skin and blubber samples on Friday and performed a necropsy Saturday. Blue whales
On Jan. 30, 2014, the moon moved between NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a lunar transit from space. SDO captures a lunar transit two to three times each year. Partial solar eclipses are also visible from Earth two to three times per year on average, but total solar eclipses are only visible from Earth about once every 18 months, and are visible over a much smaller area. This lunar transit lasted for 2.5 hours, which is the longest the spacecraft has ever recorded.
Not many people — and certainly not many government agencies — have the opportunity to say "no" to the president. However, NASA's acting director, Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., might be living your wildest fantasy: he just outright denied Donald Trump something he requested. According to The New York Times, Lightfoot and his team at NASA recently rejected Trump's desire to add more crew to its Space Launch System's first flight. Citing cost and time, Lightfoot conceded that the White House's request was "technically feasible," but it would set the mission back considerably: additional crew members would cost an extra $600 to $900 million. NASA's investigation into whether additional astronauts could
New York City is not known so much for the beauty of nature as for its imposing, man-made cityscape. The sinking sun creates “a radiant glow of light across Manhattan's brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid. A rare and beautiful sight,” writes Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
Remarkably, archaeologists have now unearthed bits of this rice at a site called Shangshan. The grains, of course, were eaten long ago and the plant stalks have long been rotten, but one tiny part of rice remains even thousands of years later: phytoliths, or hard, microscopic pieces of silica made by plant cells for self-defense. Rice leaves have fan-shaped phytoliths that don't burn, digest, or decompose.
Saturday evening stargazers were treated to one of the trippiest natural phenomenons Earth has to offer: a naked eye-visible aurora borealis. The "northern lights," as they are often called, originate with our sun. Solar storms that occur there emit streams
There's "Yard Work" going on at a former Navy installation not too far from here. Jim Axelrod gives us a tour: It's a familiar site across America: A once-booming industrial center now mired in decay. The Brooklyn Navy Yard knows the story well. Nothing boomed louder in the first half of the 20th century: its bustling docks were the backdrop for the opening of "On The Town." Established in 1801, the Yard churned out fleets of military ships over the next 150 years, providing 70,000 jobs during World War II. But when the war ended, business dried up. Within a few decades, the Brookyn Navy Yard had taken its place among the rusting and rotting, until it finally closed in 1966. David Belt had
Paleontologists have found the remains of an unknown type of pliosauroidea - an extinct marine reptile - that lived alongside the dinosaurs 130 million years ago on the bank of the Volga River in Russia.
When was the last time you looked up at the night sky and glimpsed the Milky Way? Last night? A year ago? Never? Some 80% of North Americans can no longer see the galaxy due to light pollution, or skyglow. Light pollution causes a profound ecological disruption that affects human health, alters animal migratory patterns and obstructs astronomical research. Recent findings even suggest higher breast cancer rates may result from artificial day conditions created by over-lighted cities and the consequent suppression of nocturnal melatonin production. It’s estimated that one third of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies, a situation worsening dramatically with aggressive urban
Few franchises embody this better than Star Wars, existing in a universe where magic, laser swords, and faster-than-light travel are considered run-of-the-mill. All the stories that exist within the Star Wars canon are really best enjoyed with minimal thought or concern paid to realism. Screenwriters can’t fill every gap in logic within Star Wars, so we’re going to attempt to do that for them.
Let’s hear it for the written word. Learning to read can have profound effects on the wiring of the adult brain, even in regions that aren’t usually associated with reading and writing. That’s what researchers found when they taught a group of illiterate adults in rural India to read and write. Michael Skeide and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science in Leipzig, Germany, wanted to study how culture changes the brain, so they focused on reading and writing. These cultural inventions have appeared only recently in our evolutionary history, so we haven’t had a chance to evolve specific genes for such skills. The team recruited 30 people whose average age was
A dead whale was found on the Agate Beach in Bolinas, California, on Friday, May 26. This video from May 27 shows the scene. The animal, which measured 79 feet long according to reports , was identified as a blue whale by scientists from the Marine Mammal Center. The center had collected samples of the female whale’s skin and blubber for a full necropsy. Credit: YouTube/brightpathvideo via Storyful
Quantum computers are still halfway mythical, but they are moving closer to reality step by tiny step. One of the most widely favoured structures for building viable quantum computers is a diamond surface dotted with irregularities only a couple of atoms wide. The problem researchers face, however, is making sure those irregularities – essentially atom-scale holes and accompanying bits of atom-wide foreign material – are drilled into the diamond substrate in exactly the right spot. A report by a team from MIT, Harvard University, and Sandia National Laboratories, in the US, covers a new method of doing so, creating the “defects” in the diamond crystal structure within 50 nanometres of their optimal
Exploration is so core to science fiction we might almost rename the genre “Exploration Fiction”. The genre is defined by, and packed with, stories of exploring space (“to boldly go” and all that), and of exploring time in the saddle of H G Wells’s time machine and its very many successors. Most of Jules Verne’s novels send characters exploring the world in balloons, submarines, trains and mega-boats. Occasionally, they explore the world beyond Earth aboard ballistic capsules, or even on a chunk of Earth knocked off by a comet. I’m old enough to remember Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (1980), recently remade with Neil deGrasse Tyson, which used the notion of flying through the universe in a strangely under-furnished
Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high." Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this
A group of scientists have slammed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) over underestimating the threat of a potential nuclear disaster and for not taking enough measures to ensure the safety of the American people. Scientists warned of a potential catastrophic nuclear-waste fire, which they said could occur at any US reactor facility and could likely cause more damage than the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan. Researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote an article titled "Nuclear safety regulation in the post-Fukushima era," which was published in Science magazine, detailing how the NRC's reliance on faulty analysis in justifying their refusal to adopt critical safety measures leaves Americans at risk from fires in spent-nuclear-fuel cooling pools at reactor sites.
NASA is set to release new details this week about the agency's "unprecedented" mission to "touch the sun." The mission, Solar Probe Plus, will launch in summer of 2018 and marks the agency's first mission to fly into the sun's atmosphere. Data collected during the mission is expected to improve forecasting of space weather events that impact life on Earth and the lives of astronauts, NASA said in a statement. "Placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun’s surface, and facing heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history, the spacecraft will explore the sun’s outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars
How do you farm surrounded by concrete and millions of people? What does urban sprawl mean for food safety and supply? Students from the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism report from Bangalore in southern India. In Ramagondanahalli village, Muniraju Hanumanthappa bends over his clay-coloured soil surrounded by bright green spinach leaves. He quickly prunes the plants, dwarfed by the apartment complex next to his small plot. Ramagondanahalli is an urban village being swallowed by the city. It lies on Varthur Lake, one of the biggest in Bangalore, which is known as the Silicon Valley of India. There are copper-tinted dirt roads, small-scale vegetable farms and a man who
What is it about a creative work such as a painting or piece of music that elicits our awe and admiration? Is it the thrill of being shown something new, something different, something the artist saw that we did not? As Pablo Picasso put it: "Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not." The idea that some people see more possibilities than others is central to the concept of creativity. Psychologists often measure creativity using divergent thinking tasks. These require you to generate as many uses as possible for mundane objects, such as a brick. People who can see numerous and diverse uses for a brick (say, a coffin for a Barbie doll funeral diorama)
Relationships can be complicated, and that's especially true of the relationship we have with our ecosystem. We're all in this together, after all, and that includes every creature and every plant. To keep a relationship healthy, we have to examine it from time to time. How do we examine the relationship that's shared by all walks of life? By using food webs. A food web is a map that lets us see connections and measure the stability between various food chains and environments, as well as the interactions between all the inhabitants. This allows us to learn how well we function together, and what it looks like if the relationship is a little rocky. For instance, we can see what an area would
To say that David Biello’s new book, The Unnatural World (Amazon US / Amazon UK), is not uplifting would be an understatement. Its upshot is that we have seriously f—ed up this planet, along with all of the organisms and ecosystems residing on it, and the situation is likely to get much, much worse. But that's hardly news at this point. Biello knows that something must be done to keep ourselves from putting yet more CO2 into the atmosphere and to counter or adapt to the effects of all the CO2 we’ve spewed thus far. His book is an attempt to explore our options for doing so. But the resulting book is rambling, disorganized, and disjointed, filled with belabored, needlessly complicated sentences
A coming astronomical event tested the priorities of astronomer and teacher Barbara Anthony-Twarog. In less than three months, a very rare event — a total solar eclipse — will occur a short drive from the home of the professor in the University of Kansas Department of Astronomy and Physics. Anthony-Twarog, however, has other plans for Aug. 21 and won’t be making a drive to Atchison, Leavenworth, Troy or eastern Kansas City, Mo., to see the moon totally block the sun. “I know people who are desperately anxious to see the totality, but it seems like a good opportunity for public education,” she said. “I’m content to stay here. It would be nice if totality was passing over us, but it isn’t, and