Science

  • Massive wildfire near Los Angeles kills one person, forces thousands to flee
    Mashable

    Massive wildfire near Los Angeles kills one person, forces thousands to flee

    What began as a brush fire last Friday rapidly morphed into a raging blaze over the weekend, burning more than 33,000 acres and destroying at least 18 homes in Los Angeles County. Only about 10 percent of the wildfire was contained by Sunday night, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported. “All the experience we’ve had with fires is out the window,” John Tripp, the county’s deputy fire chief, told the Associated Press.

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  • Associated Press

    Up there: Netherlands, Latvia lead world for people's height

    If you want to see a tall population of men, go to the Netherlands. National height averages are useful as an indicator of nutrition, health care, environment and general health that people have experienced from the womb through adolescence, said Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, who led the research. The tallest men in the new analysis were Dutch, with an average height of about 6 feet (182.5 centimeters).

  • Bloody Leaves from King Albert's Deadly Fall Are Authentic, DNA Shows
    LiveScience.com

    Bloody Leaves from King Albert's Deadly Fall Are Authentic, DNA Shows

    Using DNA tests, scientists have confirmed the authenticity of a morbid souvenir: bloodstained leaves that were taken from the death site of Belgium's King Albert I more than 80 years ago. Albert, who ruled from 1909 until his death, was celebrated for his role in World War I, as he refused to let German troops through Belgium to attack France. An avid mountaineer, he died on Feb. 17, 1934, when he was climbing alone near the village of Marche-les-Dames, southeast of Brussels.

  • Reuters

    'Brain training' cut dementia risk in healthy adults -U.S. study

    By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - A computerized brain training program cut the risk of dementia among healthy people by 48 percent, U.S. researchers said on Sunday in reporting an analysis of the results of a 10-year study. The preliminary findings, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto, are the first to show that any kind of intervention could delay the development of dementia in normal, healthy adults. To date, cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have largely rejected evidence that computer-based cognitive-training software or "brain games" have any effect on cognitive function.

  • Coming Soon: A Commuter’s Dream in Manassas, VA

    Coming Soon: A Commuter’s Dream in Manassas, VA

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  • This is what would happen if a comet smacked into Earth
    Business Insider

    This is what would happen if a comet smacked into Earth

    With the Delta Aquarid meteor shower going on right now, and the crowd-favorite Perseid meteor shower hot on its heels, the next few weeks are going to be the prime-time to watch some shooting stars light up the night sky. NASA is on the lookout for any cosmic objects on a crash course with our planet, and it's found that the chances of us colliding with a comet or asteroid anytime soon are pretty low. If a comet of this size struck Earth, then the energy of the impact would be about as much as 300 times that of the asteroid that scientists believed wiped out the dinosaurs, Donald Yeomans, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told LiveScience.

  • Associated Press

    Hollywood stars hold climate rally ahead of DNC

    More than 1,000 people joined Hollywood stars including Shailene Woodley, Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover in Philadelphia last night on the eve of the Democratic National Convention and vowed to keep fighting for climate and environmental justice issues, even though their preferred presidential candidate would not be driving the party's agenda. Sarandon, who like the other stars in attendance campaigned on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders, said the rally's turnout was proof that theirs was a movement and not a cult of personality as some critics alleged.

  • Manatees head to Caribbean in first ever repopulation scheme
    AFP

    Manatees head to Caribbean in first ever repopulation scheme

    Singapore's zoo said Monday it will send two manatees to Guadeloupe as part of the world's first repopulation programme for the animal, which became extinct on the French Caribbean island in the early 20th century. Males Kai, seven, and Junior, six, will be the first manatees -- which are also known as sea cows -- on the island since the species died out. Another 13 manatees of both genders from zoos around the world will follow the pair to the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin, a 15,000 hectare (37,000 acre) protected bay, the Asian city-state's zoo operator said.

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  • 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.

  • That's Insane! Daring Skydiver 'Surfs' on Storm Clouds
    LiveScience.com

    That's Insane! Daring Skydiver 'Surfs' on Storm Clouds

    Earlier this month, MacCormac, a member of the Red Bull Air Force's collection of skydivers and pilots, strapped a board to his feet and "surfed" down the edge of a storm cloud over central Florida. "It's one of those things that's so wrong," MacCormac told Live Science. What may be even more unreasonable is that this wasn't MacCormac's first jump into a thunderstorm.

  • Mars Curiosity Rover Can Now Decide Where to Fire its Laser
    Popular Mechanics

    Mars Curiosity Rover Can Now Decide Where to Fire its Laser

    The Mars rover Curiosity has begun choosing some of its own targets for its ChemCam, the laser it uses to pulverize rocks and analyze their chemical makeup. This new autonomous capability will be useful for the many times NASA scientists on Earth are out of sync with the rover's schedule on the Red Planet. When it can't talk to Earth, Curiosity will make its own decisions.

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  • Mexico finds water tunnel under Pakal tomb in Palenque
    Associated Press

    Mexico finds water tunnel under Pakal tomb in Palenque

    Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal. Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. The tunnel led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

  • LiveScience.com

    Bartender, Beware: Squeezing Limes Can Cause 'Margarita Burn'

    Just ask Justin Fehntrich, who developed second-degree burns on his hand after spending a sunny afternoon squeezing limes for margaritas last month. The "margarita burn" phenomenon, known as phytophotodermatitis, occurs when a person gets a compound called psoralen on his or her skin, said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Once activated, it makes the skin "exquisitely sensitive" to light, she told Live Science.

  • Reuters

    Solar-powered plane circles globe, returns to UAE

    By Stanley Carvalho ABU DHABI (Reuters) - A solar-powered aircraft successfully completed the first fuel-free flight around the world on Tuesday, returning to Abu Dhabi after an epic 16-month voyage and demonstrating the potential of renewable energy. The plane, Solar Impulse 2, touched down in the United Arab Emirates capital at 0005 GMT (0405 local time) on Tuesday. It first took off from Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015, beginning a landmark journey of about 40,000 km (24,500 miles) around the globe and nearly 500 hours of flying.

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  • We talked to a Harvard geneticist who thinks this unlikely ingredient could end one of the longest-raging food wars once and for all
    Business Insider

    We talked to a Harvard geneticist who thinks this unlikely ingredient could end one of the longest-raging food wars once and for all

    The next genetically modified food you eat probably won't be a GMO. At least not in the conventional sense of the term, which means genetically modified organism. Harvard geneticist George Church thinks crops like these might be our best hope for ending the war against GMOs, which he and dozens of other experts call misguided, once and for all.

  • Associated Press

    Wyoming Vet Lab getting biohazard facility to test wildlife

    Work is underway at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory to add a biohazard facility that will focus on the nasty diseases found in some Wyoming wildlife, like the plague and rabies. Director William Laegreid said the upgraded "biosafety level 3" laboratory will allow veterinarians to keep the main facility open when an animal shows up with a serious disease. The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, operated under the University of Wyoming, focuses on diagnosing diseases present in Wyoming wildlife, the Laramie Boomerang reported (http://bit.ly/29TDubl).

  • LiveScience.com

    Depressed Patients Do Well with Cheaper Treatment

    Many people with depression struggle to get treatment for the condition, in part because "talk therapy" can be expensive, and there aren't enough qualified therapists to deliver it. But now, a new study suggests that a simple and relatively cheap type of talk therapy may work just as well at treating depression as the current "gold standard" treatment. The findings suggest that using this simpler therapy — called behavioral activation — on a wide scale could improve access to treatment for depression and reduce health care costs, the researchers said.

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  • The Debate Over Time's Place in the Universe
    The Atlantic

    The Debate Over Time's Place in the Universe

    Many physicists argue that Einstein’s position is implied by the two pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s masterpiece, the general theory of relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics. The resulting timeless cosmos is sometimes called a “block universe”—a static block of space-time in which any flow of time, or passage through it, must presumably be a mental construct or other illusion. Many physicists have made peace with the idea of a block universe, arguing that the task of the physicist is to describe how the universe appears from the point of view of individual observers.

  • LiveScience.com

    How Your Sandwich Could Be Hurting Your Diet

    The study found that on the days that people ate sandwiches, they consumed nearly 100 more calories, as well as more sodium, fat and sugar, compared to the days when they didn't eat sandwiches. The sandwiches that Americans typically consume tend to be high in calories, fat and sodium, and low in produce, study co-author Ruopeng An, an assistant professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Live Science. The finding suggests that people should pay attention to the nutrition content of their sandwiches.

  • City Noise Is Forcing Birds To Sing Off Key
    Popular Mechanics

    City Noise Is Forcing Birds To Sing Off Key

    Living in the city in a noisy experience, but though the ruckus may irritate humans, research is showing that it could have way worse effects on a variety of birds and other animals who use sound to attract mates. Many animals are attracted to males with deep voices, usually in the range of about 1 kilohertz to 10 kilohertz (the measure of the number of times a sound oscillates per second). Studies are now showing that birds, crickets, frogs and other animals living in these environments are pitching up their voices to be heard over the din.

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  • Climb Inside Apollo 11 in Virtual Reality and 3D
    Time

    Climb Inside Apollo 11 in Virtual Reality and 3D

    There wasn’t much glamour in an Apollo command module. The ship was little more than an 11-ft (3.3 m) tall conical capsule that served as home to a trio of astronauts for most of their trip to and from the moon. It had a habitable volume of just 210 cubic

  • LiveScience.com

    Do Your Ears Ring? How to Deal with Tinnitus

    About one in 10 American adults has a persistent ringing or roaring in the ears or head, a condition called chronic tinnitus, a new study suggests. The study also found that the rates of tinnitus are higher among Americans who are regularly exposed to noisy environments, either at work or during their free time. But the study's estimated prevalence of tinnitus may be on the low side because "other similar studies have reported even higher rates of tinnitus," said lead author Dr. Harrison Lin, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the University of California, Irvine.

  • One of the fastest growing fields in science still makes a lot of people very uncomfortable
    Quartz

    One of the fastest growing fields in science still makes a lot of people very uncomfortable

    Think of someone whose political ideology leads them to ignore and groundlessly reject science. Typically, this often describes those on the right of the political spectrum, where climate change, women’s reproductive health, and even evolution are routinely dismissed. But a massive and fast growing field in science—behavioral genetics—has a huge body of conclusive evidence that, at first reading, seems at odds with left-wing ideology. This week, Robert Plomin, professor of behavioral genetics at King’s College London, published a paper showing that a child’s educational success can be predicted by their genes. Genetic data from 20,000 DNA variants across several genes collectively account for

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  • 'No Man's Sky': PlayStation Plus requirement lifted
    AFP Relax News

    'No Man's Sky': PlayStation Plus requirement lifted

    Ahead of its release the week of August 9, the studio behind sprawling space exploration game "No Man's Sky" has revealed that players won't need a PlayStation Plus subscription to benefit from its online features. A surprise announcement in December 2013 and hotly anticipated since, "No Man's Sky" sees players set off across the universe on a journey of discovery and adventure. In theory, it's possible for players to meet, but UK-based studio Hello Games and its publisher, Sony Interactive Entertainment, estimate the likelihood as being so low that players will not be required to have active PlayStation Plus subscriptions -- the usual precondition for multiplayer access on PlayStation 4.

  • Nectartini? This Little Lemur Has a Taste for Alcohol
    LiveScience.com

    Nectartini? This Little Lemur Has a Taste for Alcohol

    In the new study, the researchers wanted to investigate whether alcohol was part of the aye-ayes' regular diet. But aye-ayes also use this finger to probe for nectar in a plant called the traveler's tree, also native to Madagascar. Previous observations of aye-ayes showed that they spend as much as 20 percent of their feeding time during the rainy season searching for and devouring the liquid treat.