Science

  • Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested
    Associated Press

    Professor fatally stabbed on USC campus, student arrested

    A graduate student arrested on suspicion of stabbing to death the professor who oversaw his work at the University of Southern California was being held on $1 million bail Saturday as their shocked colleagues began processing the news. David Jonathan Brown, a 28-year-old brain and cognitive science student, was arrested in the Friday afternoon attack in the heart of the Los Angeles campus. Brown was among just five students who worked in Tjan's lab that studied vision loss.

  • Buzz Aldrin: Altitude Sickness Forced South Pole Evacuation
    ABC News

    Buzz Aldrin: Altitude Sickness Forced South Pole Evacuation

    Buzz Aldrin said he was evacuated from the South Pole last week because he became short of breath and began showing signs of altitude sickness. The 86-year-old adventurer, who was the second man to walk on the moon, released details on Sunday of his dramatic medical evacuation from Antarctica. He is continuing to recuperate in a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand. Because of the thick ice that blankets Antarctica, the South Pole sits at an elevation of 2,835 meters (9,300 feet). Aldrin said in a statement he still has some congestion in his lungs and so has been advised to rest in New Zealand until it clears up and to avoid the long flight back to the U.S. for now. Aldrin, his son Andrew and

  • Killing Castro: Poisoned cigars, explosive seashells
    AFP

    Killing Castro: Poisoned cigars, explosive seashells

    Mobsters, poisoned cigars, exploding seashells, a contaminated diving suit: The CIA's imagination ran wild in its plots to assassinate Fidel Castro. As the late Cuban leader's ashes are laid to rest in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, his cause of death remains a closely-guarded state secret.

  • A 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco is sinking — here's why it probably won't fall
    Business Insider

    A 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco is sinking — here's why it probably won't fall

    On November 25, new satellite images revealed that San Francisco's Millennium Tower can be seen sinking from space. Recent data provided by the European Space Agency suggests the building will continue to sink at a rate of two inches per year. The building's developers, Millennium Partners, hired engineers to drill holes around the building in order to test soil samples and figure out why the tower is sinking and what can be done to prevent it from sinking further.

  • Good Sports: Longer Lives Linked to Swimming, Racquetball
    LiveScience.com

    Good Sports: Longer Lives Linked to Swimming, Racquetball

    Many types of exercise are linked to a lower risk of premature death, but activities like racquet sports, swimming and aerobics seem best at improving people's chances of staving off an early demise, according to a new study. Researchers found that people in the study who regularly played racquet sports had a 47 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the nine-year study than people who did not regularly engage in such sports.

  • peakoil.com

    Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

    At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further. In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades. It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases. “Our analysis provides empirical support for the long-held concern that rising temperatures stimulate the loss of soil C to the atmosphere, driving a positive land C–climate feedback that could accelerate planetary warming over the twenty-first century,” the paper reports.

  • NASA photo reveals a startling 300-foot-wide rift in Antarctic Ice Shelf
    Mashable

    NASA photo reveals a startling 300-foot-wide rift in Antarctic Ice Shelf

    The breakup of the massive Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica is getting closer and will eventually produce an iceberg the size of Delaware prowling the Southern Ocean, according to new NASA data.  On Friday, NASA released an astonishing new image taken

  • The Columbus Dispatch

    Editorial: Crime labs needs oversight

    Police and prosecutors call it “the CSI effect”: The unrealistic portrayal of forensic science in television dramas has conditioned jurors to expect — and give great credence to — crime-scene evidence tied to the accused through high-tech analysis. Sometimes, the key to identifying a murderer — and sending him to prison or death — is only few fibers, or maybe a single hair, blood patterns, a trace of poison, a boot mark or a tire track. “Wow,” says the viewer. “That’s unbelievable.” And, in real life, it might be: Forensic science is under attack as highly flawed, according to a recent Dispatch article. A lack of standards, training and verification of results is partly to blame. Other times,

  • Will AI built by a ‘sea of dudes’ understand women? AI’s inclusivity problem
    Digital Trends

    Will AI built by a ‘sea of dudes’ understand women? AI’s inclusivity problem

    Only 26 percent of computer professionals were women in 2013, according to a recent review by the American Association of University Women. Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but it’s poised to become the most disruptive technology since the Internet. Last year, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that far fewer women than men were shown Google ads for high paying jobs.

  • The Periodic Table's Seventh Row Is Now Officially Complete
    International Business Times

    The Periodic Table's Seventh Row Is Now Officially Complete

    Ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, and ununoctium — these were the temporary names given to four new super-heavy elements by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) back in December. Now, a year later, these elements have been bestowed official names and have earned their spots in the periodic table. Earlier this week, the IUPAC — the organization in charge of naming and categorizing elements, among other things — revealed the official names of the four elements — nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og).

  • Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to stay in New Zealand until lungs clear
    Reuters

    Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to stay in New Zealand until lungs clear

    Former U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, has been advised by doctors to stay in New Zealand until fluid from his lungs clears, days after he was evacuated from the South Pole as his condition worsened. The 86-year-old adventurer who was visiting the pole as part of a tourist group, was flown to Christchurch, New Zealand, early on Friday because of congestion in his lungs. "I am being very well looked after in Christchurch.

  • WTO seeks trade deal on 'green' products
    AFP

    WTO seeks trade deal on 'green' products

    The heavyweights of world trade, including the United States, China and Japan, meet in Geneva this weekend to establish a list of environmentally friendly products for which tariffs can be eliminated or reduced. The green products include solar panels, wind turbines and air quality monitors "that can help achieve environmental and climate protection goals," the World Trade Organization said. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem is expected at the WTO talks on Saturday along with senior officials of 17 countries, including US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

  • The Cheat Sheet

    7 Ways That 'Star Trek' Changed the World

    The idea that Star Trek has changed the world might sound as farfetched as some of the USS Enterprise’s spacefaring missions, but the truth is that the science fiction series has directly or indirectly impacted both our present and future. It seems like an absurd statement — when creator Gene Roddenberry was first kicking around the idea in 1964, he probably never imagined that Star Trek would still be around in 2016 with reboots in the pipeline. Here are seven ways that Star Trek changed the world. 1.

  • These science superstars just won the 2017 Breakthrough Prize
    TechCrunch

    These science superstars just won the 2017 Breakthrough Prize

    Today at the 5th annual Breakthrough Prize, some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names will award more than $25 million to scientific research in departments across the globe. The event splices together research scientists far more accustomed to red tape than red carpets with tech’s deepest-pocketed and most idealistic upper echelons. The result is a flashy, hopeful hybrid event serving scientific good and valley ego alike. Did we mention that it’s hosted by Morgan Freeman? Like last year, the main awards honor veteran researchers in three categories: life sciences, fundamental physics, and mathematics. Here are this year’s winners: Life Sciences winners (individual $3 million prizes) Stephen J.

  • Human ancestor "Lucy" was a tree climber, evidence suggests
    CBS News

    Human ancestor "Lucy" was a tree climber, evidence suggests

    She was discovered 42 years ago, but the 3-million-year-old human ancestor dubbed “Lucy” is still providing new insights on the human origin story. Now, new research suggests this predecessor to modern humans was an adept tree climber.  The evidence of Lucy’s tree-climbing habits was found in high-resolution CT scans of her fossilized bones, according to scientists from the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas at Austin. Those CT scans were intricately 3D printed, allowing for direct comparisons to the bones of early hominids, modern humans, and modern chimpanzees. The researchers’ work was published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.  Lucy’s arms were heavily toned, supporting

  • ABC News

    Plans to Restore NASA Mission Control Room Remain in Limbo

    Plans to restore the NASA mission control room that served as the nerve center when man first reached the moon have been discussed for more than 20 years, but its restoration and preservation remain in limbo. Officials at Johnson Space Center in Houston say the restoration of Mission Operation Control Room 2 is a priority, but note that NASA has other priorities too. The room was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and retired seven years later. The Houston Chronicle ( http://bit.ly/2g87794 ) reports that last month, Gene Kranz, a flight director during NASA's Gemini and Apollo missions, told a group of preservationists touring the room that it has been "worn of its heart and soul."

  • The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
    LiveScience.com

    The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

    Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles around, here are 10 of the coolest stories in Science this week. 1,000-Year-Old Viking Toolbox Found at Mysterious Danish Fortress: A Viking toolbox found in Denmark has been opened

  • MNN - Mother Nature Network

    World's first polluted river flowed through Jordan 7,000 years ago

    Pollution today exists on a global-industrial scale, but a site in Jordan might be where it all began approximately 7,000 years ago, before the dawn of the Bronze Age, reports Phys.org. Researchers have uncovered evidence of what might have been history's first polluted river, a now-dry riverbed in the Wadi Faynan region of southern Jordan that appears to have flowed with slag, a waste product from smelting. "These populations were experimenting with fire, experimenting with pottery and experimenting with copper ores, and all three of these components are part of the early production of copper metals from ores," explained Russell Adams, from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo.

  • Let’s Fight Back Against Poachers with a Robotic Rhino
    Wired News

    Let’s Fight Back Against Poachers with a Robotic Rhino

    Since 2010, poachers in South Africa have killed more than 5,000 rhinos. In Asia, two rhino species—Javan and Sumatran—are critically endangered. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, poachers eager to reap their horns use helicopters and veterinary drugs to track and attack the animals. To save these animals’ lives, I propose the Ramakera: a robotic rhinoceros designed to monitor and protect the herd from poachers. I recently met with Canadian photographer and filmmaker Gregory Colbert, who gave me the idea of creating a biomimetic robot capable of protecting animals in the wild. The Ramakera would run on a long-lasting hydrogen fuel cell, and use hydraulics and servomotors to move its

  • Three bizarre (and potentially brilliant) ideas about music and health from TEDMED
    Washington Post

    Three bizarre (and potentially brilliant) ideas about music and health from TEDMED

    As it turns out, the theme of this year's TEDMED conference, an offshoot of the famous TED Talks, is “what if,” and all the attendees were walking around with name tags where they were asked to complete the question with their potentially world-changing thoughts. On stage at the conference, Jay Walker, chairman of TEDMED, delivered an absolutely fascinating walk-through of some of the rare manuscripts and books that he has in his personal Library of the History of Human Imagination. Through one of those artifacts — a journal containing data tables of deaths at a hospital in the 1840s — Walker told the tale of Ignaz Semmelweis, the guy who first imagined that caregivers at hospitals were spreading invisible germs to each other and other patients, leading to more disease.

  • Why seabirds can’t stop eating plastic
    BostonGlobe.com

    Why seabirds can’t stop eating plastic

    Photos of dead albatrosses filled to bursting with bright-colored bottle caps and knickknacks have become iconic in recent years, and one study even projected that nearly 99 percent of all seabirds will have eaten plastic by 2050. New research from the University of California Davis’s Bodega Marine Lab gives an explanation: Some seabird species may be gobbling up ocean plastics because they smell appetizing. “Before this, we sort of assumed that it was accidental ingestion,” said Lindsay Young, a wildlife biologist in Honolulu and the executive director of Pacific Rim Conservation. In a natural scenario, DMS gets released into the water when zooplankton or other forces break down microscopic marine plants, called phytoplankton.

  • The Cheat Sheet

    Can Spending Money Really Make You a Better Person?

    The satisfaction that comes with a new iPhone or 4K TV will wear off quickly, according to Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, who’s studied the connection between spending money and happiness. Splurging on a vacation or other experience, on the other hand, may provide lasting happiness. Gilovich and his co-researchers, Amit Kumar and Jesse Walker, conducted several experiments to better understand how spending money in different ways affected a person’s emotions and behavior toward others.

  • NPR.org

    Women Astronomers Shine In 'The Glass Universe'

    How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars Hardcover, 320 pages | Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How? Dava Sobel is as adept at spotting promising subject matter as the extraordinary women astronomers she writes about in The Glass Universe were at spotting variable stars. By translating complex information into manageable bites sweetened with human interest stories, Sobel makes hard science palatable for the general audience. Even more than her 1999 book Galileo's Daughter, this new work highlights women's often under-appreciated role in the history of science. The ladies who worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

  • The Death Star would cost $7.8 octillion a day to run
    VentureBeat

    The Death Star would cost $7.8 octillion a day to run

    The British energy supplier Ovo has put some very well-spent hours into a comprehensive calculation of the operating costs of the Death Star, which will return to the spotlight in the December 16th movie Rogue One. To put that absurdly large number in perspective, $7.8 octillion is more than 100 trillion times the $70 trillion annual global economic activity of Earth, or 30 trillion times the roughly $200 trillion in wealth on our little blue planet. Ovo’s analysis, conducted in collaboration with physics blogger Stephen Skolnick and Dartmouth mathematics Professor Alexander Barnett, approaches the granularity of a good business model (if your business is blowing up planets to intimidate a rebellious populace).

  • WTF is AI?
    TechCrunch

    WTF is AI?

    Cogito, ergo sum. We’ve all heard that famous assertion, foundation for a modern philosophy of self, consciousness, and individualism. But Descartes had it easy: for him, thought was self-evident — he didn’t have to define it. What is thought? What is intelligence? And can a machine be said to possess either? The field of artificial intelligence, it turns out, is as much about the questions as it is about the answers, and as much about how we think as whether the machine does. By way of illustration and introduction, consider this brief thought experiment. The Chinese Room Picture a locked room. Inside the room sit many people at desks. At one end of the room, a slip of paper is put through a