NASA has launched the last of its longtime tracking and communication satellites. The end of the era came with Friday morning's liftoff of TDRS-M (T-driss-M), the 13th satellite that's part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network. An unmanned Atlas V rocket provided the lift from Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA has been launching TDRS satellites since 1983. The 22,300-mile-high constellation links ground controllers with the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and other low-orbiting craft. This newest satellite cost $408 million. The price tag jumps to $540 million with the rocket. The flight was delayed two weeks after a crane hit one of the satellite's antennas last
Solar glasses are a must for safe viewing of Monday's total solar eclipse, the first to span coast to U.S. coast in 99 years. And parents beware: Eye doctors urge strict adult supervision for eclipse watchers under 16 years old. There should be absolutely no peeking without eclipse glasses or other certified filters except during the two minutes or so when the moon completely blots out the sun, called totality. That's the only time it's safe to view the eclipse without protection. When totality is ending, then it's time to put them back on. Totality means 100 percent of the sun is covered. That will occur only along a narrow strip stretching from Oregon, through the Midwestern plains, down to
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.
Civilian researchers say they have located the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, the World War II heavy cruiser that played a critical role in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima before being struck by Japanese torpedoes. The sinking of the Indianapolis remains the Navy's single worst loss at sea. The expedition crew of Research Vessel Petrel, which is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, says it located the wreckage of the Indianapolis on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean, more than 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) below the surface, the U.S. Navy said in a news release Saturday.
Roberto 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.
Almost 20 years ago, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) vice-chairman Charlie Munger gave a talk called "The psychology of human misjudgment" at Harvard. He's given dozens of talks since, but I don't think any match its wisdom and usefulness. I recently came found the talk on video. You can listen to the whole thing here, and I highly encourage you to if you have an hour to spare. For the impatient, the talk discusses about 18 separate biases that cause people to fool themselves make bad decisions. I've summarized them here, along with a few comments from Munger. 1. Under-recognition of the power incentives. "I think I've been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power
As a researcher who works on fruit flies, I often get asked how to get them out of someone’s kitchen. This happens to fly researchers often enough that we sit around at fly conferences (these actually exist) and complain about getting asked this question. Meanwhile, we watch the same fruit flies buzz around our beers instead of discussing pithy and insightful questions about the research that we’re pursuing. But I get it: Fruit flies are annoying. So, fine, here’s how we get rid of them in my lab: We build a trap. It’s not perfect, but it’s okay. 1. Take a small jar (we use small canning jars) and pour in about three-quarters of an inch of cider vinegar. 2. Cap the jar with a funnel. You can
Gentoo penguins live in the islands around Antarctica and spend a lot of time in the water foraging for food, which makes them hard to access. So, scientists randomly captured 26 penguins and used waterproof tape to stick cameras on their heads and backs. Then the birds were sent back out to sea for two breeding seasons. The results were published this week in the journal Scientific Reports and give us more insight into the life of these animals. A gentoo penguin with a camera on its head The scientists ended up recording 598 calls from 10 penguins. Penguins make a variety of very different calls, some with great names. “Begging moan,” for instance, is the term for the sound hungry chicks make
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. Autopsy results and a scientific analysis showed the silver carp, which was caught June 22, was a 4-year-old male that originated in the Illinois/Middle Mississippi watershed, according to the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, a coalition of government agencies. It could have hatched anywhere along a roughly 200-mile (320-kilometer) stretch of the Illinois River before migrating northwest, said Charlie Wooley, the Midwest deputy regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The effort, led by physics professor Arnd Pralle, PhD, of the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, focused on a technique called “magneto-thermal stimulation.” It’s not exactly a simple process — it requires the implantation of specially built DNA strands and nanoparticles which attach to specific neurons — but once the minimally invasive procedure is over, the brain can be remotely controlled via an alternating magnetic field. When those magnetic inputs are applied, the particles heat up, causing the neurons to fire. Despite only being tested on mice, the research could have far-reaching implications in the realm of brain research. This groundbreaking research could very well be an important step towards that future.
Wonkblog | Analysis You can pinpoint the exact moment this summer that eclipse maps jumped the shark. At 4:43 p.m. Aug. 1, the Boston Globe tweeted out a map overlaying the path of the eclipse on a map of the 2016 county-level election results. “The path of viewing spots for this month’s solar eclipse cuts overwhelmingly through places that voted for Trump,” the Globe noted. The Globe's map prompted a torrent of ridicule. Aside from geographic coincidence, the eclipse's path of totality is not at all related to the results of the 2016 election. As the article dutifully noted, Trump won 84 percent of the country's 3,100+ counties — draw any arbitrary line across the country and you are virtually
A new research paper suggests Oklahoma’s earthquake hazard might not taper off as quickly or as significantly as scientists previously predicted. The energy industry practice of pumping toxic waste-fluid byproducts of oil and gas production into underground disposal wells is thought to be fueling Oklahoma’s earthquake surge. This activity peaked in 2015 and slowed due to regulations and low oil prices. A November 2016 study by Stanford University geophysicists predicted fewer earthquakes and less-damaging shaking would soon follow, but newly published research is less optimistic. In a newly published paper in the journal Science Advances, a team of scientists from University of California Santa
This 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.
NEW YORK -- If you learned your DNA made you more susceptible to getting a disease, wouldn't you work to stay healthy? You'd quit smoking, eat better, ramp up your exercise, or do whatever else it took to improve your odds of avoiding maladies like obesity, diabetes, heart disease or cancer, right? The scientific evidence says: Don't bet on it. DNA testing for disease risk has recently expanded in the U.S. The company 23andMe recently started selling the nation's first approved direct-to-consumer DNA tests that evaluate the buyer's genetic risk for certain disease or conditions. That go-ahead came in April, about three years after it was told to stop selling such kits until it got the OK from
Jeremy Hunt has taken on famous scientist Stephen Hawking, firing off tweets defending himself against the professor's earlier criticism. Mr Hunt has been mocked and questioned by social media users, who said he is "trying to school the world's most
For the past six months, ABC News' "20/20" traveled the country tracking political violence and following extremists.
JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri State Parks officials on Friday said they can't verify that solar eclipse glasses and viewers the agency sold across the state meet safety standards and are warning people not to use them when viewing Monday's eclipse. Renee Bungart, spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources, which oversees Missouri State Parks, said it's unclear how many of the PMS Promo Mart glasses and viewers were sold, but the agency purchased 25,000. Those who bought that type of eclipse eyewear from parks and historic sites can return them for a full refund. "Missouri State Parks apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause but we want to take all possible steps to make sure everyone
One of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's companies, the nonprofit start-up OpenAI, manufactures a device that last week was victorious in defeating some of the world's top gamers in an international video game (e-sport) tournament with a multi-million-dollar pot of prize money. We're getting very good, it seems, at making machines that can outplay us at our favorite pastimes. Machines dominate Go, Jeopardy, Chess and — as of now — at least some video games. Instead of crowing over the win, though, Musk is sounding the alarm. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, he argued last week, poses a far greater risk to us now than even North Korean warheads. No doubt Musk's latest pronouncements make for good advertising
Attention 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 done instead of laying out under the stars all night. But don’t fret. We’ve collected
While much of the country gawks at the solar eclipse, Bobbieann Baldwin will be inside with her children, shades drawn. In Navajo culture, the passing of the moon over the sun is an intimate moment in which the sun is reborn and tribal members take time out for themselves. "It's a time of renewal," said Baldwin, a Navajo woman from Fort Defiance, Arizona.
Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it's now the subject of serious investment — both intellectual and financial — by philosophers, scientists, and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be "cryopreserved" in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative "solutions" being mooted? Of course, we don't currently have the means of achieving human immortality, nor is it clear that we ever will. But two hypothetical options have so far attracted the most interest and attention: rejuvenation
A bizarre-looking dinosaur discovered by a young boy in Chile may be the missing link showing how members of one major dinosaur lineage evolved into a completely new dinosaur group, a new study finds. Researchers in the United Kingdom say the species, dubbed Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, explains how some theropods, mostly meat-eating, bipedal dinosaurs, evolved into the herbivorous, long-necked ornithischians. Previously, it was unclear how the "ornithischian group just suddenly appeared and became this well-adapted herbivorous group," said the study's co-lead researcher, Matthew Baron, a doctoral student of paleontology at the University of Cambridge in England.
For many people, adding anything to a single malt whisky is close to sacrilege, but it's generally acknowledged that adding a drop or two of water to lesser blends enhances the flavor. The question is, why? At Sweden's Linnaeus University, researchers Björn Karlsson and Ran Friedman have come up with an answer from a molecular perspective. When whisky is distilled, it has a strength of 70 percent alcohol per volume, but this is watered down to 40 percent to improve the flavor as well as protecting the drinker's stomach lining. To further improve the taste, many whisky drinkers will add a little more water before taking a sip. According to Karlsson and Friedman, why this works wasn't understood
Some eclipse watchers want to be so sure they'll see the August 21st solar blackout that they're willing to leave the surface of the Earth to get a good view. A spot high in the air is the only guarantee your view won't be obstructed by clouds. A special Alaska Airlines (ALK) flight will take off from Portland International Airport around 7:30 a.m. on Eclipse Day and will steer west, out over the Pacific Ocean. With clouds far below the Boeing 737-900ER, astronomers, media and airline employees on the flight will be among the first to get a look at the total eclipse as it passes from west to east across the continental United States. It will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous
You’ve been drawing the sun’s corona ever since you were in pre-K — and that’s probably the last time it made any sense. The sun is the 865,000-mile ball of gas that was the scribbly yellow circle in your drawing. The corona is the veil of luminous plasma streaming millions of miles into space, where you drew straight yellow rays.