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
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and former U.S. senator, has died, according to Ohio State University. "The Ohio State University community deeply mourns the loss of John Glenn, Ohio's consummate public servant and a true American hero. @OhioState: Today, we join the world in mourning the passing of legendary astronaut, senator and Ohioan John Glenn.
SpaceX's first launch since a rocket explosion at the pad has slipped to January. The company said Wednesday it needs more time. So instead of launching in mid-December, SpaceX will try in early January. SpaceX has been grounded three months since the dramatic accident, which originated in the upper stage of the Falcon rocket. The next Falcon to fly will carry 10 satellites for Iridium Communications, and launch from Southern California. The Falcon and its satellite were destroyed in the massive fireball that erupted Sept. 1 as the rocket was being fueled for a test-firing. The pad remains damaged at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX hopes to switch soon to another pad at NASA's Kennedy
Rescue workers, soldiers and police combed through the rubble of a devastated town in Indonesia's Aceh province Thursday, resuming a search for earthquake survivors that was halted at night by rain and blackouts. More than 100 people died in the shallow and powerful quake that struck northeast Sumatra before dawn on Wednesday. The worst damage appears to be in Pidie Jaya district near the epicenter, but assessments of the region are still underway.
As a school student, I awaited the arrival of the end-of-year report with a bracing mix of hope and fear. Now, as Australia’s Chief Scientist, I’m worried once again about school reports. Our proudly first-class country, with a prosperous economy and an egalitarian spirit, must not be fair-to-middling when it comes to science and maths in schools. On the evidence before me, we are. Do I believe that international testing can capture everything of importance in Australian education? No. But do I take these findings seriously? Yes, I do. Be it the international studies Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), or the
In her widely celebrated 1978 book Illness as Metaphor Susan Sontag wrote that when medical experts attribute psychological causality to biological disease, they “assign to the luckless ill the ultimate responsibility both for falling ill and for getting well.” The latest salvo in the ongoing debate over the extent to which psychological factors can explain physiological outcomes comes from a study published today, which finds optimistic women are less likely to die of a variety of illnesses—from cancer to heart failure to infectious disease. Researchers from Harvard University's T. H. Chan School of Public Health turned to a 40-year survey-based study begun in 1976 of American female nurses, most of whom were white, called the “Nurses’ Health Study.” They extracted data on the women's personalities from the 2004 and 2008 surveys and compared it with mortality rates for the same women between 2006 and 2012.
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 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. 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.
Significant research is going into improved ways of storing electricity, including alternatives to the currently dominant lithium-ion battery-cell chemistry in electric cars. A plastic based on the polymer used in soft contact lenses could be the key to better supercapacitors, an advance that could in turn be applied to electric cars, reports Bloomberg. The material borrowed from contact lenses was used to replace the electrolyte in supercapacitors.
Former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn has died in Ohio. Hank Wilson with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs says Glenn died Thursday afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus. Glenn then spent 24 years as a Democrat from Ohio in the Senate and briefly made a run for president in 1984.
But researchers are saying the species' success may be a cautionary tale for many other animal species, including humans. The Atlantic killifish is found in tidal marshes along the East Coast of the United States, many of which have been polluted with industrial chemicals. Killifish are usually sensitive to chemicals and toxins, but the fish populations living in these have a secret weapon that has helped them grow tolerant to chemicals that would otherwise kill them: an extremely high level of genetic diversity, rarely seen in vertebrates, but often seen in other living things such as insects.
(Reuters) President-elect Donald J. Trump reportedly only needs a few hours of sleep every night. While on the campaign trail, he said, "You know, I’m not a big sleeper. I like three hours, four hours, I toss, I turn, I beep-de-beep, I want to find
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a source close to Pruitt said Wednesday. Pruitt, a 48-year-old Republican, has been a reliable booster of the fossil fuel industry and an outspoken critic of what he derides as the EPA's "activist agenda." Pruitt was spotted visiting Trump Tower Wednesday. The person close to Pruitt who provided the information was unauthorized to speak publicly about Trump's pick and did so on condition of anonymity.
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.
Led by paleontologist Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences, the breakthrough discovery includes bones, soft tissue and feathers—all of which have been captured within an amber casing. The semi-translucent sample, which was described as being no bigger than a dried apricot, marks one of the earliest moments of differentiation between the feathers of birds and those of dinosaurs.
This week Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, breaks down why you shouldn’t multitask. Here's practical advice from a neuroscientist: Don't try to multitask.
The active ingredient in the drug ecstasy is set to be studied in large-scale clinical trials as a treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, the New York Times reported on Nov. 29. The ingredient, MDMA, has been shown to be effective in treating people with PTSD in smaller studies, which were sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit organization that advocates for medical research on psychedelic substances. But how does MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) work in the brain?
John Glenn, who became one of the 20th century's greatest explorers as the first American to orbit Earth and later as the world's oldest astronaut, and also had a long career as a U.S. senator, died in Ohio on Thursday at age 95. Glenn, the last surviving member of the original seven American "Right Stuff" Mercury astronauts, died at the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University in Columbus, said Hank Wilson, a spokesman at the university's John Glenn College of Public Affairs, which Glenn helped found. Glenn was credited with reviving U.S. pride after the Soviet Union's early domination of manned space exploration.
Tech Take: Tom's Guide's Mark Spoonauer showcases the iPhone 7 & 7Plus, LG V20, Kiwami 4G LTE Smart Phone, Asus ZenFone 3, Alcatel Idol 4S & VR Headset and the MotoZ & Hasselblad True Zoom Mod
When a snowstorm hit Montana last week, tens of thousands of southbound snow geese were forced to land in the nearest source of open water. Several thousand geese died soon after settling in the pit, which holds about 45 billion gallons of highly acidic water, according to Montana Resources, one of the mining companies responsible for the Berkeley Pit Superfund site. Witnesses described the scene on Nov. 28 as "700 acres of white birds," Mark Thompson, the environmental affairs manager for Montana Resources, told the Associated Press.
Now that a solar-powered plane has successfully made its way around the globe, Swiss engineering firm SolarStratos wants to take things to the next level. Sometime in the next couple years, the company wants to use solar power to take you to the edge of space. Surrounded by a crowd eager to penetrate the stratosphere, Raphael Domjan, SolarStratos pilot and creator of solar powered boat PlanetSolar, unveiled the plane that’s expected to have the environmental footprint of an electric car. “Our goal is to demonstrate that current technology offers us the possibility to achieve above and beyond what fossil fuels offer,” Domjan said in a press release. “Electric and solar vehicles are amongst the
Under deceptively blue skies, the marvels of Paris beckoned. The 38-year-old has lung cancer, putting her in the groups most at risk from the toxic, throat-tickling broth of tiny particles — far smaller than the width of a human hair — blanketing France's capital and other cities. When viewed from the 210-meter (690-feet) tall Montparnasse Tower, Paris' tallest skyscraper, the city's worst episode of winter pollution in a decade was clearly visible, a brown haze punctured by the Eiffel Tower.
The surprise find of smallpox DNA in a child mummy from the 17th century could help scientists start to trace the mysterious history of this notorious virus. Smallpox currently only exists in secure freezers, after a global vaccination campaign eradicated the virus in the late 1970s. Now scientists have the oldest complete set of smallpox genes, after they went hunting for viral DNA in a sample of skin from a mummified young child, probably a boy, that was found in a crypt underneath a Lithuanian church. There's very little viral work," says Ana Duggan, a researcher at McMaster University in Canada, who explains that the original goal of this study was just to see what kind of viruses might be detectable in this centuries-old sample.
The United States needs to invest more in quantum computing, a White House assistant director said Tuesday. While the federal government has been funding quantum research for decades—quantum refers to a computing paradigm that relies on particles known as qubits instead of the traditional ones and zeros in classical computing—its global leadership position is “certainly under siege,” Tim Polk, assistant director of cybersecurity within the Office of Science and Technology Policy, said during an event in Washington. “There are significant quantum programs in Canada, in the U.K., in the Netherlands, the [European Union], China,” Polk said at an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.