In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it's easy to miss one of the tree's nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually killing the tree. The bug is one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States. Scientists say they already are driving some tree species toward extinction and are causing billions of dollars a year in damage — and the situation is expected to worsen. "They
When scientists are trying to figure out how to live in near-isolation in a dome to simulate a Mars mission, the last thing they'll need is an ill-fitting space suit. So one of the nation's top design schools has come to the rescue. Staff members and students at the Rhode Island School of Design have come up with a new, adjustable suit that closely resembles an actual space suit. Real space suits are designed to work in zero gravity, meaning they're too expensive and too heavy to use at the NASA-funded Mars simulation mission in Hawaii. The simulated space suits that are used instead wear out quickly and aren't all that comfortable. They're small and provide poor ventilation. The new suit, unveiled
Seventy-five years after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403 Americans, a group of forensic scientists in Hawaii is still working to identify the remains of the dead. A jumble of skulls, bones and teeth deemed unidentifiable in the years following the devastating attack are now being linked to missing sailors and Marines, thanks to advances in DNA testing. The Pentagon last year ordered the exhumation of remains belonging to 388 Americans who were killed aboard the USS Oklahoma, an enormous battleship that took multiple torpedo hits and keeled over in her Pearl Harbor berth, trapping hundreds of men inside.
Search and rescue efforts after Indonesia's earthquake are being hampered by power blackouts and rain, but officials hope they can continue at night to some extent. Aiyub Abbas, chief of Pidie Jaya district which took the brunt of the earthquake, says efforts are focusing on locations where victims are believed to be trapped. The army chief in Aceh province has said the quake killed 97 people and only four have been pulled from the rubble alive.
There is an upside to aging: Older Americans tend to be happier, according to a new poll. In the poll, from Gallup-Healthways, older adults in the United States scored higher on a survey of well-being than did their younger counterparts. On average, adults ages 55 and older scored 63.6 out of 100 on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2015, which is 3 points higher than the average score of adults younger than 55, Gallup-Healthways said.
EXPOSITION PARK – Academic colleagues of Bosco Tjan, a USC professor of psychology stabbed to death last week allegedly by a graduate student, pondered Monday what they can do to identify troubled students and to protect themselves. Their concerns arose as hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered on the campus to remember the slain educator. “We are facing uncertainty each and every day,” said Ming Huang, 60, a professor of computer science. “Students come from all walks of life. And you never know.” Huang recommended engaging students prone to isolating themselves. “I would pay more attention to not only knowing the students,” he said, “but making sure that the student is in good connection
On July 4, 2014, Shawnnon Hale sat in a Denver area bar, drinking with a group of friends. Little did he know that day would lead him to file a lawsuit against two crime lab investigators two years later. At one point that Independence Day, one of his friends, accompanied by a woman, joined the group. Hale had never met the woman before; none of them had. Nonetheless, she invited the whole group to the rooftop of her apartment complex to watch fireworks explode over the Denver skyline. There, everyone milled around, smoking cigarettes, drinking and talking. “I had never met her,” Hale said. “We went there; everyone was talking and drinking; everyone was having a good time watching the fireworks.”
A Russian surface-to-air missile crashed back to Earth when its rocket motor failed to ignite, starting a fire that damaged the launcher system. The incident was caught on video by a Russian Army missile crewman. According to the video description, the incident took place at the Ashuluk Firing Range, a missile base in southwestern Russia. The S-300 transporter/erector/launcher vehicle is parked behind a berm, and the cameraman appears to be filming from a nearby vehicle, possibly a MAZ-543 8x8 tractor. The missile is expelled from the launch tube, but the solid rocket fuel engine fails to ignite. The S-300 missile falls back to Earth and crashes to the ground, whereupon the rocket fuel begin
The next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket is expected to occur in early January. SpaceX says it expects to finish its investigation of September’s fiery loss of a Falcon 9 rocket and its payload in time for a return to flight in early January. Over the past few weeks, officials at SpaceX and Iridium had been hinting that the launch might occur in mid-December, but today’s update extends the postponement a few more weeks.
Some rain fell in southern Madagascar last week, a rare piece of good news for a drought-hit region where nearly 1 million people face severe hunger because of failed harvests. Farmers in the south started some seed-planting because of the recent rainfall, but those seeds could be wasted if there is no more rain to help crops grow, Joshua Poole, the Madagascar representative for Catholic Relief Services, said Tuesday. Many households in southern Madagascar are begging and selling land and belongings to survive, according to the U.N. World Food Programme.
Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to team-up to form joint database of 'digital fingerprints' of terrorists
An agile jumping robot that was inspired by some of the animal world's best leapers could one day help in rescue efforts after earthquakes or building collapses, US scientists said Tuesday. Known as Salto, the 10-inch (26-centimeter) tall robot can jump higher than a bullfrog and almost as high as a galago, or bush baby, a small primate found in Africa. Salto does hold the crown in vertical-jumping agility, which researchers define as the ratio of the maximum jump height to the time it takes to complete one jump.
Indonesia has extended legal protection for its wetlands and peat bogs by expanding a ban on the conversion of these carbon-rich swamps into plantations. The move, if properly enforced, could drastically reduce Indonesia's sizeable carbon footprint and prevent a repeat of the annual forest fires that plague the region, conservationists say. A moratorium on new conversions of certain peatland areas has been in place since 2011 in Indonesia.
A 14th-century mass burial pit full of victims of the Black Death has been discovered at the site of a medieval monastery hospital, according to archaeologists. Researchers uncovered 48 skeletons — 27 of which were children — at an “extremely rare” Black Death burial site in Lincolnshire, in the United Kingdom, they said. DNA testing of teeth that were uncovered at the site revealed the existence of plague bacteria, the scientists said. The presence of such a large burial site suggests that the community was overwhelmed by the number of victims of the Black Death, said lead archaeologist Hugh Willmott, a senior lecturer in European historical archaeology at the University of Sheffield. A mass
Hundreds of millions of dollars may be at stake, as the technology promises commercial applications in treating genetic diseases, engineering crops, and other areas. CRISPR works as a type of molecular scissors that can trim away unwanted parts of the genome, and replace them with new stretches of DNA. It will pit one group of researchers associated with the Broad Institute, affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, against another group linked to the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Vienna in Austria.
DST Global founder Yuri Milner joins Bloomberg's Emily Chang from the fifth annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony in Silicon Valley. More from Bloomberg.comTrump Slams Boeing Air Force One With
Technology and modern medicine has brought us a long way in the last hundred years. Women’s health has come leaps and bounds as well. In fact, according to scientists, Cesarian births are affecting human evolution.
The Cassini spacecraft has sent back the first views from its new orbit around Saturn. Last month, the Nasa probe began a new phase of its mission - one that involves making a series of daredevil manoeuvres over the next nine months. The phase will end with Cassini being destroyed in the atmosphere of a planet it has been studying for 12 years. The new photos show the hexagon-shaped storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere. Cassini began what are known as its ring-grazing orbits on 30 November. Each of these week-long orbits - 20 in all - lifts the spacecraft high above Saturn's northern hemisphere before sending it hurtling past the outer edges of the planet's main rings. Nasa said that it would
The giraffe, the tallest land animal, is now at risk of extinction, biologists say. Because the giraffe population has shrunk nearly 40 percent in just 30 years, scientists put it on the official watch list of threatened and endangered species worldwide, calling it "vulnerable." That's two steps up the danger ladder from its previous designation of being a species of least concern. In 1985, there were between 151,000 and 163,000 giraffes but in 2015 the number was down to 97,562, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
A sense of victory swept through the camp of #NoDAPL protesters late Sunday and Monday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it wouldn't grant an easement needed to finish the the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation
Asian countries dominated the top places in a key survey released Tuesday of high-school skills, but the report criticised science teaching in many countries. The PISA survey of 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies found that the quality of science lessons was more important than equipment or even staffing levels. Singapore came top of the table for its teaching of science, reading and mathematics.
Reaching even the closest star to the sun would take tens of thousands of years using conventional propulsion — but an antimatter engine could cut that trip down to just 40 years, according to the company Positron Dynamics. In a new video by Speculative Films, scientists talk about the challenges of visiting Earth's neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri, and the way antimatter could power such a journey. "We're working on a propulsion system based on antimatter that should be able to get us to Alpha Centauri in about 40 years," Ryan Weed, a physicist and CEO of Positron Dynamics, said in the video. "When you're talking about an antimatter drive, it's about 1,000 times more efficient. You can
Sorry, fake news fans. Last month was easily the hottest November on record globally, according to satellite data sets. In fact, satellite data, ground-based weather stations, sea-based buoys, and even weather balloons all reveal a steady long-term warming trend. Here is the latest data from the RSS satellites. (These are the satellites some climate deniers love to quote, because their data contain errors that low-ball total warming.) This chart looks at every 12-month period ending in November. It starts with December 1979 to November 1980 and ends with December 2015 to November 2016. These data show that not only is November 2016 the hottest on record, but there is an ongoing, annual trend.
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By Andrew Mambondiyani MPUDZI, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After a year of paralyzing El Nino-induced drought, Zimbabwe’s farmers have been relieved to receive substantial rain in recent weeks, with normal to above-normal rainfall predicted for the new growing season. “My cattle survived the drought but they do not have the strength to pull a plough. In this part of Zimbabwe farmers have five-hectare (12-acre) plots, but without animals to draw the ploughs, many have reduced the area under crops this season.