Government scientists launched an investigation Thursday into an unusually large number of humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine, the first such "unusual mortality event" declaration in a decade. Forty-one whales have died in the region in 2016 and so far in 2017, far exceeding the average of about 14 per year, said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries. The investigation will focus on possible common threads like toxins and illness, prey movement that could bring whales into shipping lanes, or other factors, officials said. Humpbacks can grow to 60 feet long and are found in oceans around the world.
Over the past 19 years, the Cassini orbiter has explored Saturn and its complex system of rings and moons. On Sept. 15, 2017, after its final orbit, Cassini will plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, burn up like a meteor, and become part of the planet itself. In order to avoid the unlikely possibility of Cassini someday colliding with one of these moons, NASA has chosen to safely dispose of the spacecraft in the atmosphere of Saturn. The spinning vortex of Saturn's north polar storm resembles a deep red rose of giant proportions surrounded by green foliage in this false-color image.
El Salvador on Thursday became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection. The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador," according to the text published Thursday in the official journal. "This is more than just a novelty," the president of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, Mauricio Sermeno, told AFP.
On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the United States for the first time in more than 20 years. To celebrate, the U.S. Postal Service is creating the best stamp they’ve ever designed — at least in my humble, science-loving, sky-watching opinion. The new Forever stamp will change with the heat of your finger. It’s the first time this thermochromic ink has been used on a stamp. It will change from a dark image of the eclipse — with the sun’s corona still visible — to the moon with the sun’s corona behind it. The photograph itself is of the total solar eclipse over Libya in 2006, taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak. Pretty neat! The big stamp reveal will happen on June 20 — the summer
Scientists in San Diego have made a groundbreaking discovery near a freeway and the findings could rewrite human history.
A British inventor, who built an Iron Man-style flight suit, has flown it at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference in Vancouver. Richard Browning's short flight took place outside the Vancouver Convention Centre in front of a large crowd. Since he posted the video of his maiden flight in the UK, Mr Browning has had huge interest in his flying suit. But he insists the project remains "a bit of fun" and is unlikely to become a mainstream method of transportation. He was inspired by his father, an aeronautical engineer and inventor, who killed himself when Mr Browning was a teenager. He told the BBC that he always had a passion for making things and loved a challenge. "I did
Self-driving vehicles are passé in Silicon Valley. This week, Google co-founder Larry Page unveiled his plans for a Kitty Hawk Flyer that can hover above the water. Uber, naturally, has its own plans for flying cars, which it touted earlier this week at its Elevate Summit in Texas.
Could Edvard Munch's "The Scream" have been inspired by a rare cloud formation? Scientists at the European Geosciences Union annual meeting this month in Vienna think so. A new hypothesis holds that Munch may have been inspired to paint the masterpiece by "mother-of-pearl clouds" (also called nacreous clouds).
With new technologies and cutting-edge materials, the yachting industry is evolving rapidly, but what does the future hold for superyacht design? Leading industry media company Boat International has identified 13 of the most desirable vessels to take to the waters.
New climate-change findings mean the Pacific Ocean off California may rise higher, and storms and high tides hit harder, than previously thought, officials said. The state's Ocean Protection Council on Wednesday revised upward its predictions for how much water off California will rise as the climate warms. The forecast helps agencies in the nation's most populous state plan for climate change as rising water seeps toward low-lying airports, highways and communities, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We have an astonishing new way to study our early human ancestors: looking for their DNA in ancient sediments in places such as caves. A team of researchers has found the DNA of Neanderthals and Denisovans in some of the sites where they are known to have lived. “I think we show convincingly that these sequences are authentic,” says lead author Viviane Slon of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. The approach can now be used to find out whether early humans were present even when no bones have been found – and what kind of humans they were. It might also help resolve the debate about when the Americas were first inhabited by people, for instance. Universe in a gram
The EU warned Poland on Thursday it may take legal action to stop logging in a UNESCO World Heritage forest, risking a new clash with Warsaw's right-wing government. The prospect was hailed by Polish environmental groups, deeply critical of the Law and Justice (PiS)-led government's environmental policy. Brussels gave Poland one month rather than the usual two to address its concerns about the ancient Bialowieza forest or face being summoned by the EU's top court.
A 508-million-year-old critter — one that looks like a weird lobster with 50 legs, two claws and a tent-like shell — is the oldest known arthropod with mandibles on record, a new study finds. Arthropods are a group of invertebrates that includes spiders, insects and crustaceans. Many arthropods, including flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes, have mandibles — appendages that can grasp, crush and cut food. But until now, it wasn't clear when this unique feature evolved. Now, researchers can say that mandibles developed by at least the late Cambrian (the Cambrian period, known for its famous explosion of new, diverse life, lasted from about 543 million to 490 million years ago). [See Images of
TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / April 27, 2017 / Alexandria Minerals Corporation (AZX.V) (ALXDF) (FSE:A9D) ("AZX" or the "Company") is pleased to report on the assay results from 3 recent drill holes at Orenada Zone 4 which enlarge the size of the shallow
AMSilk GmbH, the world's first industrial supplier of synthetic silk biopolymers, today announced a new strategic partnership with the leading yarn producer Gruschwitz Textilwerke AG. This partnership strengthens the companies' already existing 3-year cooperation and enables further innovation in the field of high-performance yarns. "We are very pleased to bring our longstanding cooperation with Gruschwitz to the next level by entering into a strategic partnership," said AMSilk CEO Jens Klein.
The researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Alaska used radio-echo sounding to transmit and receive electrical pulses on the glacier. The study shows that liquid water can persist for long periods of time — perhaps as long as a million years — within frozen glaciers.
Scientists have extracted DNA from the skeletal remains of several 19th-century sailors who died during the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, whose goal was to navigate the fabled Northwest Passage. With a new genetic database of 24 expedition members, researchers hope they'll be able to identify some of the bodies scattered in the Canadian Arctic, 170 years after one of the worst disasters in the history of polar exploration. The results were published April 20 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. A doomed voyage Led by Sir John Franklin, a British Royal Navy captain, the 129-member crew embarked in 1845 in search of a sea route that would link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The
Researchers say a 3D printer may be the answer — and could reduce the cost to boot. Researcher Steven Keating and colleagues write in this week’s Science Robotics a 3D system could reduce construction costs while speeding the process, incorporating different materials and densities as the process moves forward to produce optimal combinations of strength and other properties. To put their platform to the test, the researchers built an open dome structure in less than 13 1/2 hours, using a tracked vehicle with a large, industrial robotic arm equipped with a smaller, precision-motion robotic arm.
A French tourist survived a rare shark attack in New Zealand on Thursday, suffering only moderate injuries, rescuers and locals said. The woman, aged in her 20s, was bodyboarding in the afternoon at Curio Bay in the South Island when the shark attacked her leg, St John Ambulance said. Nick Smart, who runs the Caitlin Surf School, said the woman was in the water with friends when the shark attacked "out of nowhere".
WASHINGTON — Out-of-date regulations, a looming backlog of license applications and a lack of viable destinations in Low Earth Orbit threaten to hamper the nation’s burgeoning commercial space industry. That’s what several commercial space executives this week told a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee panel overseeing the space program. What they want is a government assist when it comes to helping companies develop technologies, handle the growing volume of launches and extend liability and intellectual property protections. What they also want is for government to streamline and simplify regulations they say are already proving cumbersome. For example, the Federal Aviation
An endangered vaquita porpoise was found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, the country's environmental protection authority said Wednesday, bringing to four the number of dead vaquitas found in 2017. There are only 30 remaining vaquitas (Phocoena sinus), scientists warned in February. The remains of the vaquita were found Tuesday, 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the town of San Felipe, in the state of Baja California on the Barra del Primer Estero beach, the statement read.
April 28 (UPI) -- Scientists in Sweden have built the world's fastest camera, capable of snapping 5 trillion images per second -- that's an image every 0.2 trillionths of a second. The camera could be employed to observe super fast processes in chemistry, physics, biology and biomedicine. Researchers used their new record-breaking camera to document photons traversing a distance equivalent to the width of a piece of paper. In reality, the process takes a picosecond -- one trillionth, or one millionth of one millionth of a second. Using the camera, researchers can break the process down into an observable action, slowed down by a factor of one trillion. Instead of capturing one image at a time,
Scientists have attached the head of a smaller rat onto a larger one in the latest study by controversial neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero. Images, which can be seen on Motherboard, show how three rats were used for the operation. One was the donor, the other recipient while the third provided the blood supply between the two.
NASA's spacewalking suits are in short supply, and a replacement is still years away despite the nearly $200 million spent on new technology, the space agency's inspector general reported Wednesday. A next-generation suit for spacewalking astronauts is needed for future space travel, including trips to Mars. But a lack of a formal plan and destinations has complicated suit development, according to the report . At the same time, NASA has reduced funding for suit development, putting more priority instead on space habitats. According to the report, NASA is dealing with a variety of design and health risks associated with the spacewalking suits used by astronauts aboard the International Space
You might look at an overhead power line and see an engineering problem. After all, those transmission towers are impressively huge. But if you’ve ever seen those cables, you probably noticed they seem to hang fairly low. Why they hang low is a great physics question that can be modeled with masses and springs. Basic Model For a Hanging Cable Let’s start by creating a model. Suppose I string a cable between two points so it is supported horizontally from the ends. Obviously the total force on this cable must be the zero vector because the cable is in equilibrium. This means the sum of the forces from the two end points must be equal in magnitude to the gravitational force. Yes, a gravitational