Science

  • Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site
    CNBC.com

    Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site

    "The Electron is now capable of carrying of over 60 percent of all the satellites that were launched in 2015," he said, noting that the shrinking size of modern satellites allows for the Electron's high capacity. The model appears to be environmentally friendly too. One launch on the Electron is expected to consume the same amount of fuel as a 737 jet aircraft going from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Beck said. The Mahia Peninsula offered the ideal conditions for trial space launches, he noted. "We needed an island-nation that was in the middle of the Pacific to reach all the launch angles we needed, somewhere where we could build our own private range." Because most U.S. launch sites are federally-owned,

  • NASA's "Spinoff" is the Coolest Magazine You've Never Read
    The Drive

    NASA's "Spinoff" is the Coolest Magazine You've Never Read

    Since it was founded in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s goals have been civilian. The agency’s main objective, to explore outside our orbit, was part of a larger mission to provide "the most effective utilization of the scientific and engineering resources of the United States." Consider that a success: Each year, thousands of consumer products benefit from “spin-offs,” integration of technologies and processes originally developed for and by NASA. Aptly titled Spinoff, each issue is 100-plus pages of essential nerd material and trivia fodder, charting the diaspora of space technology.

  • French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran
    AFP

    French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran

    France's environment minister signed Sunday a plan for French firms to help tackle Iran's environmental problems, but criticised the refusal of her country's banks to work with the Islamic republic. Segolene Royal met in Tehran with the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and a group of ministers, agreeing to work together on the water shortage, energy efficiency and pollution problems facing Iran.

  • This animated map shows why animals can't survive climate change without our help
    Quartz

    This animated map shows why animals can't survive climate change without our help

    As the global climate gets hotter both people and animals will have to adapt to changes in their local environments. However, while people can shed clothes or turn up the A/C, animals have fewer options to maintain the conditions they need to survive. If their home habitats change too much, they’ll be forced to migrate in search of new territory. “Migration” sounds like a simple fix, and in some cases it might be, if not for one big problem: There are, literally, a lot of things in the way. Nearly every path that animals would naturally travel is blocked by roads, fences, houses and other man-made barriers. According to research published earlier this year in PNAS (paywall), “only 41% of natural

  • Mock Mars Crew Will Return to Civilization Today, After 1 Year in Isolation
    SPACE.com

    Mock Mars Crew Will Return to Civilization Today, After 1 Year in Isolation

    After a year living in isolation, six crew members on a mock mission to Mars are returning home today (Aug. 28).  The crew members have been living in an isolated habitat on the bare, rocky slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, as part of the HI-SEAS program (Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation), based out of the University of Hawaii. The program is helping scientists to understand how the isolation of a deep space mission would impact human participants. The mission participants have lived together for 12 months, with limited contact with friends, family and the outside world. The crew is schedule to exit the habitat at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). This is the fourth and longest

  • Dead Sea Transforms Deathly Dress Into Gorgeous Salt-Encrusted Jewel
    LiveScience.com

    Dead Sea Transforms Deathly Dress Into Gorgeous Salt-Encrusted Jewel

    A gorgeous new exhibit reveals just how salty the Dead Sea is. Artist Sigalit Landau submerged a 1920s-style long, black dress in Israel's Dead Sea for two months in 2014. Landau has been inspired by the Dead Sea's unique environment for past artwork, including salt-crystal-encrusted lamps, a salty hangman's noose and a crystalline island made of shoes, according to the artist's website.

  • Science says this is why you hate coffee
    Hello Giggles

    Science says this is why you hate coffee

    According to a study published in the August 2016 issue of Scientific Reports, researchers conducted a genome-wide association study where they aimed to look at markets in people’s DNA, then identify a gene called PDSS2, which may play a role in the way people metabolize caffeine differently. To conduct this study, researchers compared the genes and how much caffeine people drank of two controlled populations: One of about 1,200 people in Italy, and one of about 1,700 people in the Netherlands. Likely because their bodies metabolized the caffeine more evenly (instead of saying, metabolizing it too quickly and then leaving you “needing” more to function) and therein required them to drink it less.

  • Stop describing a planet as 'Earth-like' unless it really is
    Mashable

    Stop describing a planet as 'Earth-like' unless it really is

    The discovery of a new, possibly habitable alien planet is always met by media coverage marked by sweeping pronouncements about our place in the universe, and even *gasp* alien life. Publications declared it what could be the finding of the century, speculating on possible alien life just on our doorstep, circling Proxima Centauri, the dim red star closest to our sun. This artist’s impression shows the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Minnesota sets broadest U.S. limits on chemicals blamed for bee declines

    Minnesota's governor on Friday ordered the broadest restrictions yet in a U.S. state on the use of agricultural pesticides that have been blamed for hurting bees, fueling concerns that farmers there will not be able to protect crops from insects. Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order that requires farmers to verify that they face "an imminent threat of significant crop loss" before using the chemicals, called neonicotinoids. Details of how farmers would prove their need have not yet been determined. Minnesota, the country's third-largest soybean producer, carried out a special review of neonicotinoids that prompted the new limits, the first U.S. state to do so. Honey bees have been in serious

  • One Scientist’s Crazy Bet to Save the Bees: Join Monsanto
    Wired News

    One Scientist’s Crazy Bet to Save the Bees: Join Monsanto

    In May 2013, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 300 cities participated in a March Against Monsanto. “We recognized that our reputation can’t get any worse,” Monsanto’s Brennan says. That summer, the company revamped its communications efforts. Where once executives carefully vetted everything their rank and file said in public, they now encourage staff to be less closed off and to share personal stories. I heard a few (remarkably similar) about farmers in India and Africa who were able to send their kids to school because of Monsanto-engineered crops. Employees engage on social media, talk to local skeptics’ groups, do AMAs on Reddit and panels at conferences like SXSW. The company

  • The connected cow business is about to jump over the moo-n
    Digital Trends

    The connected cow business is about to jump over the moo-n

    Connected cows are already a thing, but recently the intersection of barnyards and bits has been breeding a whole herd of applications. The current $1.27 billion “Connected Cow and Farm” business is slated to grow eight-fold to $10.75 billion by 2021, says research firm Arcluster, as reported in The Register. Arun Nirmal is Arcluster’s research director.

  • Science briefs: Oetzi the Iceman, whiskey vs. coffee
    The Columbus Dispatch

    Science briefs: Oetzi the Iceman, whiskey vs. coffee

    Oetzi the Iceman was dapper dresser About 5,300 years ago, Oetzi the Iceman sported a fur hat made from a brown bear, a sheepskin loincloth, leggings and a coat made of goat hide, shoelaces from wild cows and a quiver made from deer leather. Scientists from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Research Academy in Bolzano, Italy, used genetic testing to identify the animals that made up the frozen mummy’s fur and leather ensemble. Their findings recently were published in the journal Scientific Reports. Oetzi, as he became known, was found face down in a thawing glacier in the Oetztal Alps, which border Austria and Italy, nearly 25 years ago. One way that whiskey beats coffee

  • One of the most famous living philosophers says much of philosophy today is “self-indulgent”
    Quartz

    One of the most famous living philosophers says much of philosophy today is “self-indulgent”

    Daniel Dennett’s philosophical achievements cannot be neatly summarized. To some, he’s familiar as one of the four horsemen of new atheism, alongside Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. He’s known for his focus on Darwinism, and applying the evolutionary theory to ideas and cultural development. And he’s one of the greatest living philosophers of the mind, arguing that consciousness requires no magic other than the physical mechanics of the brain, that similarly complex robots would be equally conscious, and that the “self,” or ego, does not exist. But Dennett, who spoke at this year’s Association of the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Buenos Aires, is unimpressed

  • How ancient solar storms etched 'secret clocks' in tree rings
    The Week

    How ancient solar storms etched 'secret clocks' in tree rings

    Astronomers and archaeologists seldom work alongside one another — when scientists study the stars they're exploring the future, while ancient potsherds are firmly grounded in the past. But a recent study in the Royal Society Journal Proceedings describes a mathematical method that could help archeologists date ancient events and civilizations down to the precise year. And its key ingredient? Solar flares. Researchers found that intense solar flares in the years 775 and 994 AD caused spikes in atmospheric carbon around the world, leaving their traces in tree rings, reeds, and papyri. Under the right conditions — and with little mathematical elbow grease — these radiocarbon spikes can be used

  • It's the End of the World — How Do You Feel?
    Ozy

    It's the End of the World — How Do You Feel?

    Terry Root often goes to sleep at night wondering how she’ll be able to get up the next morning and do it all over again. A senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, Root has spent the past two decades unraveling the thread between climate change and the eventual mass extinctions of countless species of plants, animals — and, yes, humans. “That’s a tough, tough thing to cope with,” Root says in a weary, jagged voice. Stanford University built a non-secular spiritual center on campus called Windhover, where students and faculty can go to meditate and reflect.

  • Science just found a “ghost galaxy” and it sounds incredibly cool
    Hello Giggles

    Science just found a “ghost galaxy” and it sounds incredibly cool

    Scientists have found a “ghost galaxy” that is 99.99% made up of dark matter. It’s located inside of the Coma galaxy and has probably already spawned hundreds of new sci-fi scripts being sent to the desks of Hollywood producers’ assistants. Its discovery is another win for the scientific community, which has identified the ghost galaxy’s location even though dark matter doesn’t reflect light and can’t be seen.

  • The Economist

    Round and round the mulberry bush

    A PLANET orbiting a star tugs it gently this way and that, so it oscillates between moving towards Earth and away from it. The velocities involved are tiny: for Proxima Centauri about two metres per second, a brisk walk. Nevertheless, the effect on the star’s spectrum can be measured from the ground. When a star is approaching Earth, its light is slightly bluer; when away, slightly redder. For this method, the plane of the planet’s orbit need not be aligned with Earth. The transit technique, by contrast, requires that it is, so that the planet passes between Earth and its parent star every orbit. When that happens, the parent star’s light will dim accordingly. Transiting was used with great success

  • For those in love with the FULL FRAME look which system gets closest in 4K?
    EOSHD

    For those in love with the FULL FRAME look which system gets closest in 4K?

    The video crop factors of the current 4K cameras, and an easy way to calculate crop factors… Although there’s many full frame cameras that give a full frame image in 1080p, there’s only two that give us glorious full frame look in 4K – the Sony A7S II and Sony A7R II. But that isn’t the whole story… Crop factors can be calculated two ways. Photographic full frame and APS-C sensors have 3:2 aspect ratios – they are taller than the video standard of 16:9. Therefore 16:9 video is a cropped letterbox view of 3:2. However we don’t talk about this crop when we refer to full frame video, we only take into account the horizontal crop and take the different aspect ratio for granted. If you made a full

  • A neuroscientist injected monkeys with rabies to study stress, and the results convinced him to start doing pilates
    Business Insider

    A neuroscientist injected monkeys with rabies to study stress, and the results convinced him to start doing pilates

    Elite tennis players have an uncanny ability to clear their heads after making errors. They constantly move on and start fresh for the next point. They can’t afford to dwell on mistakes. Peter Strick is not a professional tennis player. He’s a distinguished professor and chair of the department of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute. He’s the sort of person to dwell on mistakes, however small. “My kids would tell me, dad, you ought to take up pilates. Do some yoga,” he said. “But I’d say, as far as I’m concerned, there's no scientific evidence that this is going to help me.” Still, the meticulous skeptic espoused more of a tennis approach to dealing with stressful situations:

  • How bacteria, rust dust, and a murdered star may explain Earth’s Ice Age
    Digital Trends

    How bacteria, rust dust, and a murdered star may explain Earth’s Ice Age

    Then, about 2.6 million years ago, evidence began to land on Earth. Heavy atoms ejected from the supernova broke through the planet’s atmosphere and settled on its surface as isotopes. Soon after the aftermath arrived on Earth, our planet fell into a major ice age — leading many investigators to see the supernova as both victim and accomplice.

  • ABC News

    Feds Turn to Space Experts NASA for Small-Drone Traffic Plan

    As the unmanned aircraft industry continues to evolve, the United States is depending on its space agency to help manage small drone traffic close to the Earth. NASA is currently entering the second phase of a four-step plan to draw up rules of the skies for drones that weigh 55 pounds or less and fly no higher than 500 feet. The project is meant to develop performance standards for drones that would be used for commercial purposes by companies such as Amazon and Google. The agency is hoping to present its research to the Federal Aviation Administration before 2020, John Cavolowsky, director of NASA's Airspace Operations and Safety Program, told attendees at a drone summit in North Dakota last week.

  • The case for a Material Dark culture on Android
    Android Central

    The case for a Material Dark culture on Android

    I love hex black and a dark UI! You Nougat-lovers can't deny, That when an app installs in an itty, bitty space, With a dark theme in your face, You get sprung! Google and Android are filled with white, white, white UIs. It wasn't always that way, but it is now. The only real dark system UIs available right now are downloadable TouchWiz themes, and Google's apps are whiter than my jean-365-days-a-year legs. Night modes have been toyed with in Developer Previews the last two years but have never amounted to much of anything. And really, even if they had stuck around, it wouldn't've been the dark theme we wanted anyway. Let's get some terminology straight first, because we keep interchanging some

  • NPR.org

    A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields

    Typically superheroes spend their summertime helming big budget franchises for movie studios. This year, with blockbuster season winding down and schools opening their doors, Marvel's following up its summer at the multiplex by giving its superheroes a new assignment. Last week, the publisher unveiled the last of five special covers featuring disciplines that guide school curricula nationwide — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, also known as STEAM. It's part of an effort, the company says, to encourage young readers to double-down on their studies and explore fields said to lead to better jobs. "We plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of

  • The Daily Beast

    Does a Major Discovery Show the Greeks Secretly Sacrificed a Teenage Boy to Zeus?

    On a mountain top in southern Greece, in a nearly 3000 year old religious site, archeologists have made a macabre discovery: human remains nestled inside an altar dedicated to Zeus. The burial is unprecedented. How did the bones of this adolescent boy end up in an altar made of sheep bones? Potentially, the discovery is evidence that the Greeks, like many other ancient societies, engaged in human sacrifice. This is shocking news for those who think of ancient Greece as the birthplace of civilization and culture. The discovery was made on Mount Lykaion in southwestern Arcadia. We know from ancient authors like Thucydides and Plato that the site was associated with Zeus, the most illustrious of

  • 'Dark twin' of Milky Way galaxy discovered
    CNN

    'Dark twin' of Milky Way galaxy discovered

    A classical nova occurs when a white dwarf star gains matter from its secondary star (a red dwarf) over a period of time, causing a thermonuclear reaction on the surface that eventually erupts in a single visible outburst. This creates a 10,000-fold increase in brightness, depicted here in an artist's rendering.