Science

  • AP WAS THERE: John Glenn Blasts off Into Orbit Around Earth
    ABC News

    AP WAS THERE: John Glenn Blasts off Into Orbit Around Earth

    John Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95, was lauded as a hero of the American space program on Feb. 20, 1962, when he became the nation's first astronaut to orbit the earth. The accomplishment galvanized Americans and evened up the space race with the Soviets. In sometimes fanciful language, The Associated Press reported on the liftoff that took Glenn "towards his intended rendezvous with the stars." The AP is republishing excerpts of its original coverage. With a mighty shriek of its engines, an Atlas missile blasted off today to boost astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. into a journey around the Earth. The huge missile spilled a torrent of flame over the launching pad. Ponderously the 125-ton monster

  • ABC News

    SpaceX's 1st Launch Since Rocket Blast Now Bumped to January

    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

  • Aid groups descend on Indonesia quake zone; deaths reach 102
    Associated Press

    Aid groups descend on Indonesia quake zone; deaths reach 102

    Humanitarian organizations descended on Indonesia's Aceh province Thursday as the local disaster agency called for urgent food supplies and officials raced to assess the full extent of damage from an earthquake that killed more than 100 people. Volunteers and nearly 1,500 rescue personnel concentrated their search on the hard-hit town of Meureudu in Pidie Jaya district near the epicenter of the magnitude 6.5 quake that hit before dawn Wednesday. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll had risen to 102 and warned it could increase.

  • Can a Rosy Outlook Ward Off Illness?
    Scientific American

    Can a Rosy Outlook Ward Off Illness?

    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.

  • SPACE.com

    Time Running Out in Congress for NASA Authorization and Other Space Bills

    WASHINGTON — As the 114th Congress winds to a close, several space-related bills seeking passage, including a NASA authorization bill, are in danger of running out of time. The top priority for Congress is passage of a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. The CR currently funding government agencies at fiscal year 2016 levels expires Dec. 9. Appropriators are expected to introduce a new CR Dec. 6 that would continue funding the government into 2017. Originally, the new CR would extend through March, but congressional leaders said Monday it would likely run through April, giving Congress more time to finalize revised spending bills that take into account priorities of the

  • Meet the team making history in Southeast Asia's space race
    CNBC

    Meet the team making history in Southeast Asia's space race

    In Kuala Lumpur, a small team of Malaysian engineers is racing to make history in Southeast Asian space exploration. Independence-X is the sole team from the region to participate in the Google Lunar XPrize, a global competition in which private-sector players must land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, have it travel 500 meters and transmit high-definition (HD) video and images back to Earth, by the end of 2017. It's impossible to have a vision of the future without development in space technology," team leader Izmir Yamin said on the sidelines of the inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Community conference in Kuala Lumpur.

  • Giraffes 'threatened with extinction'
    AFP

    Giraffes 'threatened with extinction'

    Wild giraffe numbers have plummeted by 40 percent in the last three decades, and the species is now "vulnerable" to extinction, a top conservation body warned Thursday. The population of the world's tallest land mammal dropped to below 100,000 in 2015, mainly due to shrinking habitat and illegal hunting, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported. The group added 742 newly-discovered birds to the global species inventory, but said 11 percent were already facing annihilation and 13 previously unknown species have already disappeared in the wild.

  • Trump says he only sleeps a few hours each night — and there could be a scientific reason why
    Business Insider

    Trump says he only sleeps a few hours each night — and there could be a scientific reason why

    (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

  • Black Death 'Plague Pit' with 48 Skeletons Is 'Extremely Rare' Find
    LiveScience.com

    Black Death 'Plague Pit' with 48 Skeletons Is 'Extremely Rare' Find

    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.

  • Mars One just delayed its (highly unlikely) Mars mission — again
    The Verge

    Mars One just delayed its (highly unlikely) Mars mission — again

    The project has been slower to get off the ground than Mars One anticipated, Landsdorp said. Mars One has been constantly shifting its timelines since it was first announced in 2012. In 2014, two MIT graduate students released a report analyzing the plans for the Mars One colony, arguing it will take a significant amount of money and technological innovations for the project to work.

  • Experts Unsure Why US Life Expectancy Down
    Associated Press Videos

    Experts Unsure Why US Life Expectancy Down

    A decades-long trend of rising life expectancy in the U.S. could be ending: It declined last year and it is no better than it was four years ago. Experts aren’t sure why. (Dec. 8)

  • Japan doubles cost estimate for Fukushima cleanup
    Associated Press

    Japan doubles cost estimate for Fukushima cleanup

    The estimated cost of cleaning up Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), with decommissioning expenses expected to continue to increase, a government panel said Friday. Officials say its decommissioning will take several decades. Rising cost estimates mean an increased burden on consumers.

  • Oldest smallpox DNA discovered in 17th century child mummy
    CNN

    Oldest smallpox DNA discovered in 17th century child mummy

    Duggan added that there is a lot of uncertainty around our understanding of smallpox, including how the virus developed or when it began infecting humans. But this study is helping to establish an updated timeline of smallpox at a time when exploration, migration and colonization could have helped to spread the virus. The researchers were also able to use this timeline in conjunction with other data to identify more information about the evolution of smallpox. When Edward Jenner developed his vaccine in the 18th century that would eventually lead to its eradication, the data shows that the variola virus split into two strains. "There is some historical evidence that increasingly widespread inoculation

  • Forbes

    John Glenn, Iconic Kennedy-era Astronaut and Former U.S. Senator, Dies At 95

    John Glenn, the small-town Ohio boy who grew up to be a military aviator, an icon of John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier as the first American to orbit the earth and a four-term U.S. senator, has died at age 95. Glenn died Thursday at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, surrounded by family members, according to the Columbus Dispatch. He’d been admitted to the hospital about a week earlier, according to media reports. Tributes to the man, who’s been celebrated in literature, film and song, included praise from President Barack Obama. “With John’s passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend,” Obama said in a statement released shortly after the

  • 'Star in a Jar' Fusion Reactor Works and Promises Infinite Energy
    SPACE.com

    'Star in a Jar' Fusion Reactor Works and Promises Infinite Energy

    For several decades now, scientists from around the world have been pursuing a ridiculously ambitious goal: They hope to develop a nuclear fusion reactor that would generate energy in the same manner as the sun and other stars, but down here on Earth. Incorporated into terrestrial power plants, this "star in a jar" technology would essentially provide Earth with limitless clean energy, forever. In a study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications, researchers confirmed that Germany's Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device is on track and working as planned. It works like this: Unlike a traditional fission reactor, which splits atoms of heavy elements to generate energy, a fusion reactor works by fusing the nuclei of lighter atoms into heavier atoms.

  • Thousands of snow geese were killed after landing in a toxic lake
    Mashable

    Thousands of snow geese were killed after landing in a toxic lake

    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.

  • Jumping Robots Mimic Adorable Big-Eyed Primates
    LiveScience.com

    Jumping Robots Mimic Adorable Big-Eyed Primates

    A jumping robot — whose design was inspired by small primates known as bush babies — can spring off walls to gain height faster than any previous robot and could one day help rapidly scan urban disaster zones, researchers say. Despite being just 10 inches (26 centimeters) tall and weighing only 0.2 pounds (100 grams), the one-legged robot, named Salto, can leap up more than 3.2 feet (1 meter) high from a standing position. Salto is not the highest-jumping robot out there — some bots can jump to heights of more than 10 feet (3 meters), but those bots have to wind up for several minutes before they leap, whereas Salto can jump again almost immediately, the researchers said.

  • International Asteroid Day will be June 30, UN proclaims
    Fox News

    International Asteroid Day will be June 30, UN proclaims

    Citizens of Earth, get out your calendars: June 30, 2017 will be International Asteroid Day, the United Nations proclaimed on Wednesday. The United Nations said that the point of International Asteroid Day is to “raise public awareness of the asteroid impact hazard”-- in other words, to work towards making sure that we all don’t perish during a cataclysmic space rock impact. In the United States at least, NASA’s Planetary Defence Coordination Office takes the lead on keeping track of objects that could hit Earth as well as helping to figure out what to do if they were to detect such a threat. Part of that is the Near Earth Object Program, which in late October announced that they are now keeping track of a multitude of rocks: over 15,000 near-Earth asteroids.

  • America’s Lead in Quantum Computing Is ‘Under Siege’
    Defense One

    America’s Lead in Quantum Computing Is ‘Under Siege’

    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.

  • Bill Nye’s Curious Connection To The Pearl Harbor Attacks
    The Huffington Post

    Bill Nye’s Curious Connection To The Pearl Harbor Attacks

    In 1941, more than a decade before Nye was born, his father, Edwin Darby “Ned” Nye, was working as a contractor building an airstrip on the remote Pacific atoll of Wake Island.  “He said it was the greatest summer job he ever had,” Nye said of his father during a 2012 TED-Ed video lesson.  But on Dec. 7, Ned Nye’s world was turned upside down. Along with Pearl Harbor and many other Pacific targets, the Japanese bombed Wake Island. For two weeks, he and others fought back, managing to shoot down numerous enemy bombers, Nye explained in the TED-Ed. But on Christmas Eve, Ned and the others were captured. Ned would spend nearly four years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp ― “longer than anyone else

  • Reuters

    Japanese cargo ship blasts off for space station

    By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - An unmanned H-2B rocket blasted off from Tanegashima island in southern Japan on Friday to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station, a NASA TV broadcast showed. The delivery of about 4.5 tons (4,100 kg) of supplies for the six-member station crew took on fresh urgency after a botched Russian cargo run on December 1 and additional delays returning NASA contractor SpaceX to flight following an unrelated accident. The rocket, carrying Japan’s HTV-6 cargo ship, blasted off at 8:26 a.m. EST (1326 GMT), flying over the Pacific Ocean on its way to space.

  • Neural networks? Machine learning? Here's your secret decoder for AI buzzwords
    Digital Trends

    Neural networks? Machine learning? Here's your secret decoder for AI buzzwords

    Right now, artificial intelligence is to Silicon Valley what One Direction is to 13-year-old girls: an omnipresent source of obsession to throw all your cash at, while daydreaming about getting married whenever Harry Styles is finally ready to settle down. — and can terms like “machine learning,” “artificial neural networks,” “artificial intelligence” and “Zayn Malik” (we’re still working on that analogy…) be used interchangeably? To help you make sense of some of the buzzwords and jargon you’ll hear when people talk about AI, we put together this simple guide help you wrap your head around all the different flavors of artificial intelligence — If only so that you don’t make any faux pas when the machines finally take over.

  • Trump Meeting Puts NASA Funding in Question
    Universe Today

    Trump Meeting Puts NASA Funding in Question

    Since the election of Donald Trump, NASA has had its share of concerns about the future. Given the President-elect’s position and past statements on climate science, there has been speculation that his presidency will curtail funding to some of their research efforts, particularly those that are maintained by the Earth Science Directorate. Things took another turn on Monday (Dec. 5th) as Trump met with former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore to discuss his administration’s policy. This meeting was the latest in a series of gestures that suggest that the President-elect might be softening his stances on the environment. However, there is little reason to suspect that this meeting

  • Unruly drivers undermine Paris pollution ban
    AFP

    Unruly drivers undermine Paris pollution ban

    French police struggled to impose anti-pollution measures on motorists around Paris on Thursday as the city remained shrouded in smog during its worst winter pollution in 10 years. Since Tuesday, officials in the Paris region have ordered half of all private cars off the road, alternating between a ban on registration plates ending in odd or even numbers. Traffic jams in the morning rush hour were 415 kilometres (258 miles) around Paris, compared with 300 normally, local road traffic officials reported.

  • Spread by Trade and Climate, Bugs Butcher America's Forests
    ABC News

    Spread by Trade and Climate, Bugs Butcher America's Forests

    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