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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everybody loves a good mystery. Researchers with the Exploration Vessel Nautilus peered down through a camera at the ocean floor in mid-July and found something very odd there. A bright-purple sphere glowed in the camera's light. Scientific curiosity kicked in and the researchers suctioned up the strange creature for a closer look. Now they're sharing the latest information on the discovery. The Nautilus team initially thought the critter might be a nudibranch, a type of soft-bodied marine mollusk. Current thinking is that it could actually be a close relation called a pleurobranch. "Pleurobranchs have rhinophores (ear-like structures) in a particular location and a gill under the emantle on
Uber Technologies Inc. is expanding its road-mapping effort to Mexico, as part of a larger strategy to build up its map data for its ride-hailing service and to rely less on potential competitors like Google. Uber says the map imagery its specialized cars are collecting in Mexico will help run its current service by finding the best pick-up and drop-off spots for drivers and riders to meet, for example. But Uber also needs detailed maps -- preferably its own -- if it wants to continue growing its autonomous car network. The company is already testing self-driving cars on the roads in Pittsburgh, and started driving mapping cars in parts of the U.S. last year. A year ago, Uber hired former Google
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
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.
Twenty-two unapproved genetically modified (GMO) wheat plants have been found growing in Washington state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday but the strain, developed by Monsanto, has not been traced in commercial supplies. There are currently no commercially approved genetically modified wheat varieties and incidences of rogue plants are rare. The first case was in 2013 in Oregon, which prompted buyers including South Korea and Japan to stop buying U.S. wheat. More unapproved wheat was found in Montana in 2014. South Korea said earlier on Friday that the country will step up quarantine measures for U.S. milling and feed wheat shipments. "We plan to strictly inspect imports of
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.
Researchers from Britain have taught an 11-year-old orangutan named Rocky at the Indianapolis Zoo to imitate human speech in a conversational context. This is the first time an ape has demonstrated such ability, and the scientists involved say Rocky's skills could offer important insight into the development of human language. "This opens up the potential for us to learn more about the vocal capacities of early hominids that lived before the split between the orangutan and human lineages," said lead researcher Adriano Lameria. While it was previously assumed great apes could not intentionally modulate their sounds, Lameria said, this "research proves that orangutans have the potential capacity
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,
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.
Scientists didn’t think a white dwarf and a red dwarf star system could have such a violent relationship. Video courtesy of NASA, ESO/L. Calçada/University of Warwick, and ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/N, Risinger. Follow TI: On Facebook
Felix Vail is awaiting trial on charges of murder for Mary Horton Vail's death, and he pleaded not guilty. Maria: The search for the stranger who broke in. Maria: Uber under fire but claim a claim it makes about its service that may not be true.
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.
(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
How well do you know your brain? Maybe not as well as you think. According to a new piece on the science and health site Vox, many of the commonly accepted "facts" about the human brain are pure hokum. These are three of them; You can find the full piece here. 1. Listening to Mozart makes babies smarter. I was one of the many people who gave Baby Einstein CDs to my friends with newborns. While the gift may inspire early appreciation for Mozart's genius, it definitely won't help those kids with their SAT scores. The Mozart-makes-you-smarter myth got started in 1993 when a study showed that college students who listened to his music for 10 minutes subsequently did better on a spatial test. But
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.
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.
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.
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.