Biologist Colleen Handel saw her first black-capped chickadee with the heartrending disorder in 1998. The tiny birds showed up at birdfeeders in Alaska's largest city with freakishly long beaks. Some beaks looked like sprung scissors, unable to come together at the tips. Others curved up or down like crossed sickles. Handel, a U.S. Geological Survey bird specialist, was sure the cause of avian keratin disorder would be found quickly: contaminated birdseed, a poison targeting spruce bark beetles, maybe some sort of bacterium or fungus. Years went by. She found herself losing sleep over a mysterious ailment afflicting 6.5 percent of south-central Alaska's black-capped chickadees and 17 percent
Think autism and an image of an awkward boy typically emerges. The developmental disorder is at least four times more common in boys, but scientists taking a closer look are finding some gender-based surprises: Many girls with autism have social skills that can mask the condition. The gender effect is a hot topic in autism research and one that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating a condition that affects at least 1 in 68 U.S. children.
At engineering schools throughout the world, professors are turning to virtual reality technology in the classroom. The technology provides 3-D visuals that help engineering students improve their designs, alerting them to flaws before the building process starts . Engineering schools are researching technologies that could transform the way people communicate and interact by -- for instance -- allowing people to visit one another in a virtual space if they can't meet in person.
"The color change is thought to be an effect of Saturn's seasons," the US space agency said. What happened? Saturn has four seasons. They last about seven Earth years. The planet has photochemical haze, or particles in its atmosphere. Between November 1995 and August 2009, Saturn underwent a "winter polar darkness," according to Hampton University Assistant Professor Kunio Sayanagi. Well, the northern cloud-like barrier, which scientists call a six-sided jet stream, is affected. During the winter, particles are not produced. There's no sunshine. They can't reach the hexagonic jet stream. And the jet stream itself blocks them. "The hexagon jet acts as a barrier and when when there is nothing produced
The national group last week unveiled a new set of guidelines that allow for certain types of media use by younger children and set broader parameters for older kids to keep them well-rested, physically active and socially engaged. "Parents can set expectations and boundaries to make sure their children's media experience is a positive one," she said. The AAP's recommendations were published online Friday in the journal Pediatrics.
US billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates urged Britain on Wednesday to step up investment in science and research as it prepares to leave the EU. Gates pledged to continue his own investment in British research and innovation, despite economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit, but said government support was vital to fight global pandemics such as the Zika virus. "As the UK seeks to negotiate its exit from the EU, it is critical that the government steps up its investments in science and innovation if we are to meet the challenges of tomorrow -- and grow the UK's economy," he said.
Russia is claiming that the Afghanit active protection system (APS) mounted on Moscow’s powerful new T-14 Armata main battle tanks has been proven effective at intercepting depleted uranium-core armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) cannon shells. If Moscow’s claims are accurate, the new Russian active protection system would be a game-changing development in the realm of mechanized warfare. While active protection systems were thought to be effective mostly against incoming anti-tank missiles and rocket propelled grenades, most industry and defense experts had believed that active protection systems were ineffective against kinetic energy (KE) round such as the U.S. Army’s M829A4 120mm APFSDS.
Christopher Tkaczyk is the Senior News Editor at Travel + Leisure. Sci-fi fans are totally geeking out at the idea of becoming a spacefaring civilization. On Sunday, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk answered questions from Reddit users in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) titled I am Elon Musk, ask me anything about becoming a spacefaring civ!, further revealing his vision for how humans will live on Mars.
This event will feature more than 40 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policymakers, government officials, and students will come together for interactive panels, networking, and delicious food, followed by a day of hands-on activities and opportunities for attendees. Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Fred Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, who will be speaking at the summit.
On current trends, stocks of global wildlife could plunge two-thirds by 2020, an annual decline of two percent, conservation group WWF and the Zoological Society of London warned in their joint biennial Living Planet report. "This should be a wake-up call to marshal efforts to promote the recovery of these populations," said Ken Norris, director of science at the Zoological Society of London.
Assuming you don’t get caught, taking the first step toward dishonesty can cause you to be more and more dishonest when similar opportunities present themselves in the future. In an experiment we carried out with colleagues Stephanie Lazzaro and Dan Ariely—published in Nature Neuroscience—we gave 80 people the opportunity to lie again and again on a financial task in order to gain money at another person’s expense. This escalation of dishonesty was observed only when participants lied for their own benefit, not when they did so solely for the benefit of others. Outside the laboratory, there are many reasons for why dishonesty may escalate—incentives may become larger or past lies might need to be covered up.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is called The Nation's Report Card for good reason; the tests are administered the same way year after year, using the same kind of test booklets, to students across the country. That allows researchers and educators to compare student progress over time. NAEP tests serve as a big research project to benchmark academic achievement in subjects like science, math, reading, writing, civics, economics, geography and U.S. history. Science results were out Thursday for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders. Among seniors, achievement was flat, and performance gaps by race, ethnicity and gender persisted. But fourth- and eighth-graders showed modest progress:
Much attention has been focused on intervertebral discs, the spongy shock absorbers that sit between our vertebrae, as the culprit for the back issues that astronauts face. But the new study runs counter to that thinking. In this research, funded by NASA, Chang's team observed little to no changes in the discs, their height or swelling. What they did observe in six astronauts who spent four to seven months on the ISS was a tremendous degeneration and atrophying of the supporting musculature in the lumbar (lower) spine, Chang said. These muscles are the ones that help us stay upright, walk and move our upper extremities in an environment like Earth, while protecting discs and ligaments from strain
The United States and China appear to be keeping an unusually low profile as they push for more dialogue and cooperation on space exploration. The State Department hosted a new round of space cooperation talks in Washington last week with a delegation led by China’s National Space Administration (CNSA), but U.S. officials didn’t publicly announce the meeting until Monday, via a tersely worded press release that said a third round of civil space dialogue would be held in China next year. CNSA has yet to make any public mention of the talks, which included Pentagon officials and representatives from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and
A subversive influx of mild, dense salt water is undermining the vast ice shelves of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and threatening to destabilize the entire region, thereby raising sea levels worldwide by at least four, and possibly as much as 15 feet.
Tabby’s star has provoked so much excitement over the past year, with speculation that it hosts a highly advanced civilization capable of building orbiting megastructures to capture the star’s energy, that UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project is devoting hours of time on the Green Bank radio telescope to see if it can detect any signals from intelligent extraterrestrials “The Breakthrough Listen program has the most powerful SETI equipment on the planet, and access to the largest telescopes on the planet,” said Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and co-director of Breakthrough Listen. “We can look at it with greater sensitivity and for a wider range of signal types
Observing a pianist at a recital—converting musical notations into precisely timed finger movements on a piano—can be a powerful emotional experience. As a researcher of neuroscience and a pianist myself, I understand that the mastering of this skill not only takes practice, but also requires complex coordination of many different brain regions. Brain regions that are responsible for our hearing, sight, and movement abilities engage in an amazing symphony to produce music. It takes coordinating both hands and communicating emotionally with other players and listeners to produce the magical effect. The combination of such demands is likely to influence brain structures and their functions. In
It’s almost Halloween and not only kids, but also scientists, need to have fun. This is a possible explanation of an experiment the MIT Media Lab is currently carrying out, dubbed the Nightmare Machine. Deep learning algorithms are used to turn normal, everyday images, into scary, sinister pictures. These include pictures of popular landmarks, like Rome’s Coliseum and Washington DC’s Capitol Hill, but also faces of politicians like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Another section hosts “haunted faces” to which a hint of scariness has been added. Visitors of a dedicated website are asked to choose which are the most terrifying. Unfortunately, far from being a joke, the test is actually very
More corals are dying and others are succumbing to disease and predators after the worst-ever bleaching on Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef, scientists said Wednesday. A swathe of corals bleached in the northern third of the 2,300-kilometre (1,429-mile) long biodiverse site off the Queensland state coast died after an unprecedented bleaching earlier this year as sea temperatures rose. "In March, we measured a lot of heavily bleached branching corals that were still alive, but we didn't see many survivors this week," Andrew Hoey of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University said in a statement.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Biologist Colleen Handel saw her first black-capped chickadee with the heartrending disorder in 1998.The tiny birds showed up at birdfeeders in Alaska's largest city with freakishly long beaks. Some beaks looked like sprung scissors
Four4Four Tech: How hackers disrupted the Internet; Apple set for MacBook refresh, 'Skunklock' makes bike thieves vomit, U.S. Army tests self-driving trucks
The genetic codes of people living in a region of the Pacific called Melanesia have given researchers a clue: their DNA suggests the presence of an extinct hominid ancestor. On Oct. 20, Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, presented findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics that took a deep dive into the genes of the people of Melanesia, according to Science News. Members of the population, which hails from the South Pacific, and encompasses Papua New Guinea and its surrounding islands, carry genetic evidence that does not come from “typical” Neanderthal or Denisovan ancestry. Instead, it comes
About 100 demonstrators protested on the steps of New York's City Hall on Nov. 15, 1985, as a City Council committee considered legislation to bar pupils and teachers with the AIDS virus from public schools.
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler," said Albert Einstein, who managed to distill the relationship between mass, energy, and light into an equation so brief it could be text slang. CRISPR (Nature has a great overview here) builds ever-so-slightly off a strategy used by bacteria to fend off repeat attacks from viruses. In the human version, scientists use an RNA guide to direct an enzyme, Cas-9, to a specific point in any organism's DNA--where, like an eagle-eyed copy editor, the enzyme snips out an errant letter or sequence as if it were expunging a typo.