Genetic tests confirm that a mysterious, unnamed species of beaked whale only rarely seen alive by Japanese fishermen roams the northern Pacific Ocean, according to research published this week. The testing shows the black whales, with bulbous heads and beaks like porpoises, are not dwarf varieties of more common Baird's beaked whales, a slate-gray animal. Japanese researchers sampled three black beaked whales that washed up on the north coast of Hokkaido, the country's most northern island, and wrote about them in a 2013 paper. The challenge to confirm the existence of the new animal was finding enough specimens from a wider area for testing and matching genetic samples, said Phillip Morin, a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration research molecular biologist.
Mexico's government has launched drones to back last-ditch efforts to prevent illegal fishing activities that have led to the near extinction of the vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise. The navy and the environment ministry on Thursday unveiled three Arcturus T-20 unmanned aerial vehicles, armed with high-resolution cameras to police the upper Gulf of California day and night. It is the latest step taken by the government to save the vaquita, a species found only in a small area of Mexico's northwest gulf.
A Chinese rocket body streaking across the night sky over the Western United States lit up social media as people shared photos and video of the bright object. The Chinese CZ-7 re-entered the atmosphere Wednesday night, U.S. Strategic Command spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn confirmed. That's when people in Nevada, Utah and California took to social media to report a small fireball streaking across the sky. Photographer Ian Norman was taking pictures of the night sky with friends in Alabama Hills, California, near the eastern Sierra Nevada, when he saw the light and started recording, thinking the flash was a meteor. "It was really strange to see something that bright," he said Thursday. "I thought
By Susan Kelly CHICAGO (Reuters) - Even though many doctors see need for improvement, surgical robots are poised for big gains in operating rooms around the world. Robotic surgery has been long dominated by pioneer Intuitive Surgical Inc, which has more than 3,600 of its da Vinci machines in hospitals worldwide and said last week the number of procedures that used them jumped by 16 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier. The anticipated future growth - and perceived weaknesses of the current generation of robots - is attracting deep-pocketed rivals, including Medtronic Inc and a startup backed by Johnson & Johnson and Google.
(CNN)Scientists have discovered what's being described as the world's deepest underwater sinkhole in the South China Sea, China's state broadcaster CCTV reported. Called the "Dragon Hole" by locals, it's 987 feet (300 meters) deep, according to researchers who have spent the past year exploring the site. Scientists from the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection used an underwater robot with a depth sensor to determine the size of the sinkhole. Researchers found more than 20 species of fish in the upper part of the sinkhole, which is also known as a blue hole. But below 100 meters, it is largely oxygen-free, meaning life is unlikely to survive there. A "blue hole" is a large
Astronomers say a massive hurricane on Jupiter could be heating up parts of the gas giant's upper atmosphere. The storm — known as the Great Red Spot — is more than twice the size of Earth and has been churning for over a century. Scientists from the United States and Britain say heat from the sun doesn't explain why parts of Jupiter's atmosphere are hundreds of degrees hotter than elsewhere on the planet. The phenomenon was discovered more than 40 years ago and dubbed the giant-planet "energy crisis." In a paper published online Wednesday by the journal Nature, the researchers concluded that the upper atmosphere is probably being blasted from below with sound or gravity waves. The study relied
An ancient potters' workshop dating back to Roman times has been discovered in Galilee, in northern Israel. The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that excavations in Shlomi, a town near the Lebanon border, have revealed a ceramic factory where storage jars and vessels for wine and oil would have been made 1,600 years ago. Archaeologists working at the site said this workshop is notable for its carefully constructed rock-cut kiln.
NASA’s next cargo delivery vehicle—a spunky little space plane that looks like it could be an offspring of the space shuttle—is getting ready to fly. The svelte and snub nosed Dream Chaser will soon be shipped to the Mojave desert in California where it would begin a series of ground tests that would eventually culminate with a flight from an altitude of 2.5 miles high. To get to this point, however, has been a long road for its manufacturer, the Sierra Nevada Corp. The company had originally pursued a NASA contract to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA engineers in Hampton, Va., used a wind tunnel to evaluate the design of Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft.
It turns out the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought in more than just views on the internet. “Global collaboration among scientists, which was really made possible by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations led to this important discovery,” John Landers, the University of Massachusetts Medical School professor who led the research said in a statement. Next month, the ALS Association is launching a new campaign, Every Drop Adds Up, in an effort to recreate the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
According to research published Thursday in Science, red wolves and eastern wolves aren't truly wolves at all – they're coyote-wolf hybrids. That confirms something scientists had long debated: Canis lupus, the gray wolf, is actually the only wolf species in the United States. Neither the red nor the eastern wolf has any DNA that can't be tied to gray wolf or coyote origins. All three "species" are actually just gray wolf descendants with varying levels of coyote DNA. The red wolf is actually mostly coyote, according to the study, with just around a quarter of its genes coming from the gray wolf. The eastern wolf is 25 to 50 percent coyote, and even gray wolves carry some small traces of coyote
Divers searching the wreck of a 17th-century Swedish warship on the bed of the Baltic say they have found de Brie. Sifting through the ancient timbers of the Kronan, a ship that sank in 1676 off the Swedish coast, they found not diamonds as they had hoped... but a cheese. Inside a watertight pot was a semi-firm 340-year-old "dairy product" smelling of yeast and Roquefort cheese, expedition leader Lars Einarsson told AFP on Thursday.
A new study has found that Apollo astronauts who reached the Moon die more often from heart disease than astronauts who never made it to space or who only reached low-earth orbit. WSJ's Monika Auger reports. Photo: NASA
China’s Defense Ministry confirmed today that it was pressing ahead with anti-missile system tests after pictures appeared on state television, depicting a successful missile intercept test conducted in 2010. According to Yang Yujun, spokesman of the People’s Republic of China’s Defence Ministry, the development of missile defense capabilities is an essential part of the country’s national security strategy. “It will improve the self-defense capability of China and is not targeting any particular country and will not affect international strategic stability,” Yujun said, adding that China would consider taking unspecified measures to maintain strategic balance in the region. China is unimpressed by Washington claims that the introduction of THAAD poses no threat to China.
Over the next two years, reports on its air quality remained grim. The country's air pollution levels reached their highest levels in 2015, after being on rise for the last decade. For the first time, India's air was also found to be more polluted than China's. This year, WHO revealed that the country was home to half of the world's most polluted cities.
The lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano vent has attracted thousands of visitors since it began oozing down in May and finally reached the ocean this week. Keaka Hunter, a security guard patrolling the area, said about 2,000 people came to see the flow Monday night, hours before the lava entered the ocean for the first time in nearly three years. The U.S. Geological Survey is cautioning visitors about safety risks, which include flying debris and acidic plume containing fine volcanic particles that can irritate the eyes, skin and lungs.
Just this week, 14 dogs were found dead in a truck in Ohio after the vehicle's air conditioning unit failed, according to the South Bend Tribune. The incident underscores the need for owners to pay careful attention to their pets during hot weather, said Genny Carlson, executive director of the Humane Society of St. Joseph County, which is investigating the case. "This serves as a reminder for people with pets, children and elderly relatives that being in a car without proper ventilation or a working air conditioner can be dangerous, and to take the proper precautions," Carlson told the news outlet cleveland.com.
Stephen Hawking, the celebrated physicist, argues that money was a key factor in the outcome of the EU referendum in The Guardian. The 74-year-old, who argued for Britain’s continued membership of the EU in the run-up to the vote, insists that human’s attitude towards wealth —“the way we understand it and the way we share it”—plays a central role in society, and big political decisions are no exception. He also expresses concern surrounding the significant reduction in funding for scientific research in post-Brexit Britain. “One of the reasons I believed it would be wrong to leave the EU was related to grants. British science needs all the money it can get, and one important source of such
(NEWSER) – When researchers grew concerned about underground anomalies detected near the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico, they began a dig to figure out whether the pyramid was in danger of collapse. This week, researchers announced that what they found was no anomaly but rather a small canal system, reports the AP. They now think the tomb of the ancient ruler Pakal was built atop a natural spring about 700 AD, with tunnels that directed water to the esplanade in front of the temple in the hope of giving Pakal's spirit a way into the underworld. In fact, an engraving at the site reads that the dead gain entrance to the underworld in such a manner via the god Chaac, who will "will guide the
Past earthquakes that damaged ancient temples perched high in the Himalayas could be harbingers of dangerous quakes to come, new research suggests. "The supporting pillars and temple structures are tilted with respect to their original positions. The rooftop portion shows tilting or displacement. The bricks of the wall are cracked. The floor stone shows up-warping," said study co-author Mayank Joshi, a geologist with the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in India. The area, a picturesque, tourist mountain town in Himachal Pradesh, is sandwiched between two regions where catastrophic earthquakes have killed tens of thousands of people. But researchers didn't think this area was at high risk
This will warm your heart.
The latest El Nino weather phenomenon, which was one of the most powerful on record, has ended but could be replaced by its stormy sister La Nina in the coming months, the UN meteorological agency said Thursday. "Atmospheric indicators that had shown strong El Nino patterns early in 2016 returned to near-average in June and July," the World Meteorological Organization said. El Nino affects rainfall patterns and causes both drought and flooding.
When James Irwin suffered his first heart attack at age 43 — just two years after walking on the moon — NASA doctors dismissed any connection with his trip to space, during which he had experienced short spells of irregular heart rhythm. "They noted that pre-flight testing had shown Mr. Irwin to be prone to slight uneven heartbeats on occasion after exercise," according to the New York Times. But then Irwin died of a heart attack in 1991, when he was just 61. A year earlier, fellow Apollo astronaut Ron Evans died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 56. And Neil Armstrong died after complications from cardiovascular surgery in 2012. He was 82. This wouldn't be at all surprising — some 600,000
A legal saga involving five Native American tribes and a group of scientists—which may now be drawing to a close—began on July 28, 1996. On that day, exactly 20 years ago, their differences of perspective were thrown into dramatic relief with the discovery of a skull on the bottom of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Wash. The coroner called in a forensic anthropologist, Jim Chatters, and the two returned to the site where the skull was found, where they unearthed a nearly complete skeleton.
Normally, the smell of putrefying, decaying flesh wouldn't be cause for celebration, but it is today, with the blooming of the rare but stinky corpse flower at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Corpse flowers bloom only once every seven to 10 years, and this is the first time that this particular plant has blossomed since the NYBG acquired it in 2007, they said. As soon as the bud began to open last night (July 28), NYBG representatives took to Twitter to announce the good news, saying, "Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.
The Wall Street Journal reports that by changing the DNA make-up of tomatoes, researchers were able to target the gene responsible for pectate lyase, the enzyme at fault for softening your ruby red tomatoes by breaking down cell walls. After said enzyme was toyed with, the tomatoes showed no signs of wrinkling after two weeks.
Anyone who has ever made the mistake of wearing a Band-Aid in the shower knows all too well that adhesives which appear to be secure when dry quickly peel off when they get wet. The challenge of creating glue that works underwater is the focus of Bruce Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University. To help him crack this conundrum, Lee has just been awarded three years of funding from the Office of Naval Research as part of its Young Investigator Program award.