Science

  • Mexico launches drones to protect endangered porpoise
    AFP

    Mexico launches drones to protect endangered porpoise

    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.

  • Associated Press

    GMO wheat found in Washington state could affect US trade

    Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. On Friday, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that will require labeling of genetically modified ingredients for the first time.

  • The Daily Beast

    Does This Rock Explain Why Egyptians Are Biblical Villains?

    When it comes to the prototypical villains of ancient literature, the Egyptians are right up there. Nobody, it seemed, really liked the ancient superpower. Ancient Greek romance novels routinely portray them as cunning and duplicitous. The Romans found Cleopatra to be equal parts captivating and conniving and, in the Bible, the Israelites were enslaved by the Pharaohs for centuries.  A new at Tel Hazor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Biblical-era archaeological sites in Israel, may change how we think about the Egyptians. During excavations last week, archeologists discovered a four-thousand-year-old fragment of a large limestone statue of an Egyptian official. Only the lower

  • It turns out the United States has just one true species of wolf
    Washington Post

    It turns out the United States has just one true species of wolf

    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

  • Cosmos Magazine

    English bulldogs' shallow gene pool lands them in deep trouble

    Breeders may try to save the English Bulldog's health – but it will be for nought, according to new research. English bulldogs are among the world’s favourite dogs, but centuries of inbreeding has cursed the pooches with poor health and a shorter life expectancy – and now, new research shows their gene pool is so small only procreation with other breeds can save them. A trio of researchers at the University of California set about revealing just how much genetic diversity is evident in among bulldog populations, and whether there’s enough variety to curb changes that have damaged the breed. "These changes have occurred over hundreds of years but have become particularly rapid over the last few decades,” explains lead researcher Niels Pedersen.

  • Space Standoff: The next Cold War is already playing out right above our heads
    Digital Trends

    Space Standoff: The next Cold War is already playing out right above our heads

    Right now, miles above your head, there are fleets of robotic, weaponized satellites poised to do battle as the world’s superpowers await the opening salvo in a very real cosmic chess match. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has enjoyed a quarter century of dominance in satellite technology. This advanced web of GPS satellites has given the U.S. military a great advantage on the battlefield.

  • How low-cost tech can help India monitor the air it breathes
    Mashable

    How low-cost tech can help India monitor the air it breathes

    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.

  • ABC News Videos

    Young Boy Claims His Father Confessed to Killing His Mom: Part 4

    Billy Vail told police his dad Felix Vail confessed to Sharon Hensley that he killed his first wife Mary Horton Vail.

  • Associated Press

    Thousands rush to see Kilauea lava flow reach ocean

    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.

  • Australia moving up in the world... literally
    AFP

    Australia moving up in the world... literally

    Australia will adjust its latitude and longitude, a government science body says, to put the vast country into alignment with global navigation satellite systems. The nation's coordinates are currently out by more than a metre, Geoscience Australia says, and the discrepancy could cause major headaches for possible new technologies such as driverless cars which require precise location data. "We have to adjust our lines of latitude and longitude... so that the satellite navigation systems that we all use on our smartphones these days can align with all the digital map information," Geoscience's Dan Jaksa told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this week.

  • LiveScience.com

    Fungal Disease 'Valley Fever' Is Often Misdiagnosed

    A fungal infection called valley fever, which can cause mild to severe lung problems (including holes in the lungs), is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms can resemble those of the flu or other illness, experts say. The misdiagnoses can lead to unnecessary medications that don't treat the fungal infection, according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The guidelines stress that primary care doctors should consider the possibility of valley fever in patients who have pneumonia or continuing flu-like symptoms if they live in or have visited the western or southwestern United States, where the fungus is found naturally in the soil.

  • Fox News

    'Game of Thrones' ant has dragon-like spikes

    A dragon from "Game of Thrones" has come to life — sort of. A new ant species' dragon-like appearance inspired scientists to name it for the fire-breathing star of the popular fantasy series. The Pheidole drogon's large and distinctive spine reminded researchers of Drogon, one of the dragons on the "Game of Thrones" TV show, adapted from the novels written by George R. R. Martin. The ant's spiny characteristics were captured in detail using 3D-imaging technology, which the researchers employed to help identify and document several new ant species. Their findings were published in two different papers  in the journal PLOS ONE. [StarStruck: Species Named After Celebrities] "This is one of the first

  • 1.7 million-year-old cancer found, the oldest yet
    Washington Post

    1.7 million-year-old cancer found, the oldest yet

    Scientists’ conventional opinion about cancer was that it’s a relatively recent phenomenon caused by the stresses of modern life. Dietary changes, behavioral changes and man-made changes to our environment have subjected humans to toxins that contribute to cancers. But new findings from researchers at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand published in the South African Journal of Science challenges that assumption. Paleontologists found a benign tumor in a specimen from a 12- or 13-year-old boy that dates back almost 2 million years. More significantly, they also found a malignant tumor on a little toe bone of a left foot that’s 1.7 million years old. Previously, the oldest discovered

  • Stephen Hawking has a stark warning for what Brexit could mean for the human species
    Mashable

    Stephen Hawking has a stark warning for what Brexit could mean for the human species

    Stephen Hawking has penned a thoughtful appeal for post-Brexit Britain to reconsider the role that wealth plays in society, warning that isolationism and envy could even lead to the end of the human species.  In a Guardian essay, the world-renowned physicist made the case for a more comprehensive and generous definition of wealth "to include knowledge, natural resources and human capacity."  Noticing that we're living in "perilous times," Hawking lists all the multiple challenges that the planet and human race face: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, and acidification of the ocean. "Such pressing issues will require us to collaborate,

  • Happy 58th Birthday, NASA!
    National Constitution Center

    Happy 58th Birthday, NASA!

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is such a part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine it not existing. It’s also hard to imagine in today’s world of partisan gridlock that the executive and legislative branches created by the Founders could create a major government agency in little less than one year’s time. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the act to “provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes.” Congress had already passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which became a priority after one shocking event in 1957.

  • Navy funds study of underwater glue made with protein extracted from mussels
    Digital Trends

    Navy funds study of underwater glue made with protein extracted from mussels

    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.

  • Putrid-Smelling Corpse Flower Finally Blooms: Watch It Live
    LiveScience.com

    Putrid-Smelling Corpse Flower Finally Blooms: Watch It Live

    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.

  • Lake Tahoe warming 15 times faster than long-term average
    Associated Press

    Lake Tahoe warming 15 times faster than long-term average

    The average surface temperature of Lake Tahoe has risen faster over the last four years than any time on record — 15 times faster than the long-term warming rate over the past half century, scientists say. Continued warm and dry conditions contributed to several record-breaking measurements at Lake Tahoe in 2015, raising concerns about the ecological impacts of climate change on the second deepest lake in the United States, according to an annual report issued Thursday by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. "Lake Tahoe experienced a year like no other," according to the research center, which started keeping water temperature records in 1970 when it averaged 50.3 degrees.

  • Humans are finally starting to understand the octopus, and it’s mind-boggling
    Business Insider

    Humans are finally starting to understand the octopus, and it’s mind-boggling

    With their eight arms and giant egg-shaped head, octopuses are one of the most alien-looking creatures on the planet. We read Katherine Courage's book "Octopus!" and discovered that the octopus is even weirder than it looks. A special thanks to NOAA and professor of marine biology at the Alaska Pacific University, David Scheel, for the amazing footage they contributed to this video. Produced by Jessica Orwig

  • Here are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2016, according to the WEF
    Digital Trends

    Here are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2016, according to the WEF

    The World Economic Forum (WEF) and Scientific American recently tackled that question, releasing a list of the top ten emerging technologies of 2016. To compile the list, the Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies considered criteria that examined the technologies’ potential to improve lives, revolutionize industries, and protect the planet, while recognizing the likelihood that 2016 is a turning point in the development of these technologies. Below are the WEF’s top ten, from first to last.

  • Head of Rio lab: Security paramount for Olympic doping tests
    Reuters

    Head of Rio lab: Security paramount for Olympic doping tests

    By Paulo Prada and Pedro Fonseca RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Security is the top focus for the laboratory that will conduct doping exams at the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the lab's director said Friday, amid global scrutiny following the recent scandal surrounding Russian athletes. Citing major breaches that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) described at a Russian laboratory, chemist Francisco Radler said the lab must ensure that cheating, through infiltration by outsiders or other efforts to manipulate testing, is "impossible." In an interview with Reuters outside the new laboratory, a remote five-story building on the island campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Radler said a security force of about 50 people, including military police and private guards, will guard the nearly 200 local and international scientists and technicians who will conduct Olympic testing.

  • Silk Road Transported Goods--And Disease
    Scientific American

    Silk Road Transported Goods--And Disease

    For thousands of years, what’s called the Silk Road was a group of land and sea trade routes that connected the Far East with South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe. Of course, when humans travel they carry their pathogens with them. So scientists and historians have wondered if the Silk Road was a transmission route not just for goods, but for infectious disease.   Now we have the first hard evidence of ancient Silk Road travelers spreading their infections. The find comes from a 2,000-year-old latrine that had first been excavated in 1992. The report is in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. [Hui-Yuan Yeh et al, Early evidence for travel with infectious diseases

  • Reuters

    Non-celiac 'wheat sensitivity' is an immune disorder, too

    By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) - People who feel ill after eating wheat but who don't have celiac disease may finally have a biological explanation for their symptoms, a new study suggests. Researchers from the U.S. and Italy found that people who claim to have "wheat sensitivity" do have biological reactions to gluten proteins in wheat, rye and barley. It's just that the reactions are different from what's seen in people with celiac disease, which is also triggered by gluten.

  • NASA’s new space plane is getting ready to take flight
    Washington Post

    NASA’s new space plane is getting ready to take flight

    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.

  • Record-setting dinosaur footprint discovered in Bolivia
    CNN

    Record-setting dinosaur footprint discovered in Bolivia

    (CNN)- There's a good chance that if flesh-eating dinosaurs were still around today, we wouldn't just have to worry about their sharp teeth. Scientists recently uncovered a record-setting footprint in Bolivia. It is the biggest print from a carnivorous dinosaur to be discovered worldwide. Until now, the largest track from a meat-eating dinosaur measured at 110 centimeters and was discovered in New Mexico, according to paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia. Grover Marquina, a tour guide, was trekking through the Maragua Crater about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the capital Sucre when he stumbled upon the fossilized footprint on July 19. The indentation exceeds 115 centimeters -- nearly 4 feet wide