For years, Republican lawmakers have tried to scrap NASA's climate change research in favor of space exploration, but with President Trump and his cabinet of climate skeptics now in control, the space agency's earth sciences budget could finally be on the chopping block. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the notoriously science-averse chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, told E&E News he wants a "rebalancing" of NASA's mission. "By rebalancing, I'd like for more funds to go into space exploration; we're not going to zero out earth sciences," he said. "Our weather satellites have been an immense help, for example, and that's from NASA, but I'd like for us to remember what
Flu season may have started several months ago, but it isn't going away just yet — U.S. health officials expect flu activity to remain high for at least a few more weeks, according to a new report. The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that flu activity in the U.S. started to increase around mid-December, and remained elevated as of Feb. 4, the most recent date for which flu data is available. And so far, the percentage of doctor's visits for the flu has exceeded the national baseline for eight consecutive weeks, the report said.
It's generally a bad time to be a bee in the United States. Populations of the pollinating insects have been declining for more than a decade, including managed honeybee colonies as well as various species of native wild bees. Of course, this isn't just bad news for bees. Not only do honeybees give us honey and wax, but bees of all stripes play a pivotal role in our food supply. Bees pollinate plants that provide a quarter of the food eaten by Americans, accounting for more than $15 billion in increased crop value per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And along with bees, many butterflies and other insects are also vital crop pollinators. As MNN's Tom Oder wrote in 2013,
Sid Miller, the state's agriculture commissioner, just approved a pesticide — called "Kaput Feral Hog Lure" — for statewide use. "The 'hog apocalypse' may finally be on the horizon," Miller said in a statement on Tuesday. Texas's agriculture commission estimates that feral hogs cause $52 million in damage each year to agricultural businesses by tearing up crops and pastures, knocking down fences and ruining equipment.
An international team of scientists say the way teenagers' brains are wired may help predict whether they will develop drug problems in the future. The team looked at adolescents who were generally more impulsive than their peers - a trait sometimes linked to the misuse of drugs. They found teenagers who had a particular pattern of activity on brain scans were more likely to misuse drugs. The early work appears in the journal Nature Communications. Scientists asked 144 adolescents who had not previously used recreational drugs to fill in questionnaires and take part in behavioural tests to assess how impulsive they were and how attracted they were to trying new things. 'Experimental methods'
South Dakota legislators are weighing whether to let teachers decide how much skepticism to work into lessons on contentious scientific topics such as evolution and climate change. A House committee on Wednesday is set to consider the measure, which would give legal protection to teachers who want to discuss "in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses" of the subjects. South Dakota is one of at least three states, along with Texas and Oklahoma, considering such a bill.
Even as northeastern Brazil suffers a devastating drought, few remember a grim chapter of a past drought when the government forced mass internment of peasants trying to flee dying farms. The first was in 1915 and the last time was between 1932 and 1933 when the authorities set up what they called concentration camps -- a fairly common term in several countries at the time and yet to be associated with the horrors of Nazi Germany. Fearing the peasants would descend in huge numbers from their parched lands into the city of Fortaleza, the government ordered thousands of families incarcerated in camps with little food, unhealthy living conditions and under guard.
On Sunday, Elon Musk 's SpaceX made history, successfully completing the first commercial rocket launch from the NASA launch pad that also sent astronauts to the moon. The win comes after multiple failures for the SpaceX and Tesla (TSLA) CEO, who wants to change the way people travel and send humans to Mars. Since his childhood, books have played a crucial role in fueling Musk's ambitions.
A smartphone today packs more computing power than the computers used by NASA in the Apollo space program. At the same time, the Internet of Things is bringing connectivity to a growing number of devices, from smart TVs to fridges. Now researchers at Finland's University of Helsinki want to harness all these computational resources in a project called Ubispark, which uses smart devices for energy-efficient distributed computing. The aim of Ubispark is to create local computing clusters made up of phones and other smart devices that collectively can run large-scale data-processing tasks. "You have connectivity through mobile networks, which is available more widely than the fixed networks you
February 21, 2017 —If some Members of Parliament lawmakers get their way, satellites will blast off from British soil within three years. A draft “Spaceflight Bill” unveiled Tuesday detailed regulations for a British spaceport that could begin operations as early as 2020. A “Launch UK” conference brought space industry leaders together in London to discuss this possibility. While Britain has sent astronauts and satellites into orbit for decades, it had to partner with the United States, Russia, and other countries for a ride. But as a lucrative new market emerges for satellite launches, some say it’s time for Britain to develop its own launch capability. “We have never launched a spaceflight
Former attorney general hired to investigate claims by former engineer at company
Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A storage closet at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada has yielded a new species. The ancient worm fossil has been hiding the closet since the mid-1990s after it was excavated from the Kwataboahegan Formation, a fossil-rich strata in Ontario representing the Devonian period. Analysis of the rediscovered fossil revealed the massive jawed worm to be one-of-a-kind. The 400 million-year-old specimen boasts the largest jaws of its kind. Based on measurements of the worm's jaw and comparisons to related species, scientists estimate the worm would have grown to lengths in excess of three feet. The jawed worm, Websteroprion armstrongi, would have been big and powerful enough to take
Bacteria live on everyone's skin, and new research shows some friendly germs produce natural antibiotics that ward off their disease-causing cousins. In one early test, those customized creams guarded five patients with a kind of itchy eczema against risky bacteria that were gathering on their cracked skin, researchers reported Wednesday. "It's boosting the body's overall immune defenses," said Dr. Richard Gallo, dermatology chairman at the University of California, San Diego, who is leading the work.
To help us gain a better understanding of air quality around the world, BreezoMeter, an air quality analytics provider, is visually breaking things down with a new interactive air pollution map. The map delivers real-time information on air pollution along with hourly forecasts and helpful weather-related health and fitness recommendations. Its data is drawn from "official air quality sensors" placed across cities that monitor airborne particles and combined with information on wind, weather and traffic conditions.
While most people born in rich countries will live longer by 2030 — with women in South Korea projected to reach nearly 91 — Americans will continue to have one of the lowest life expectancies of any developed country, a new study predicts. Scientists once thought an average life expectancy beyond 90 was impossible but medical advances combined with improved social programs are continuing to break barriers, including in countries where many people already live well into old age, according to the study's lead researcher, Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London. The longevity of South Korean women estimated in 2030 is due largely to investments in universal health care, he said.
Invisible particles washed off products like synthetic clothing and car tyres account for up to a third of the plastic polluting oceans, impacting eco-systems and human health, a top conservationist body warned Wednesday. In its report "Primary Microplastics in the Oceans", IUCN found that in many developed countries in North America and Europe, which have effective waste management, tiny plastic particles are in fact a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste.
Kenneth J. Arrow, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematical theorist who made seminal contributions to social sciences as varied as election theory and health economics and was one of the most influential economists of his generation, died Feb. 21 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 95. His son Andrew Arrow confirmed the death, but he did not know the immediate cause. Dr. Arrow, who spent the majority of his career at Stanford University as an economics professor, was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences. He was 51 when he shared the Nobel with British economist Sir John Hicks in 1972 for their contributions to welfare economics and general equilibrium theory,
Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Scientists at Kyoto University in Japan have identified another chimpanzee with trisomy 22, a Down syndrome-like chromosomal disorder. It's the second case of chimpanzee Down syndrome known to science. Healthy human cells contain a total of 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs. The cells of humans with Down syndrome feature an extra chromosome -- a third copy of chromosome 21, or trisomy 21. Apes have 48 chromosomes, one more pair than humans. When chimpanzees, gorillas or orangutans are born with an extra copy of chromosome 22, they're diagnosed with the disorder known as trisomy 22. The name of the newly diagnosed chimp is Kanako. She was born in captivity in 1992. In 2011, the facility
A software glitch caused a SpaceX cargo spacecraft to abort its rendezvous with the International Space Station early this morning. NASA now plans a second attempt to dock with the space station tomorrow. The unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, which lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, approached the orbiting station around 3 a.m. today but was unable to dock. The spacecraft waved off its planned rendezvous with the station at 3:25 a.m. ET. "Dragon's onboard computers triggered the abort after recognizing an incorrect value in navigational data about the location of Dragon relative to the space station," NASA said in an online post. After tweeting that the Dragon
President Donald Trump has promised to return the U.S. coal sector to its glory days. Experts say that isn't likely to happen, given the nation's shift toward natural gas and renewable energy. But if the coal sector does rebound, it'd be a boon for
Icy, harsh and uninhabitable — looking at Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, this may be your initial expectation from the cosmic satellite. But take a closer look at this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft and you might be surprised. "Over the course of the Cassini mission, observations have shown that Enceladus (313 miles across) not only has watery jets sending icy grains into space; under its icy crust it also has a global ocean, and may have hydrothermal activity as well," NASA officals wrote in an image description. "Since scientists believe liquid water is a key ingredient for life, the implications for future missions searching for life elsewhere in our solar system could be significant."
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Personalized medicine, which involves tailoring health care to each person’s unique genetic makeup, has the potential to transform how we diagnose, prevent and treat disease. After all, no two people are alike. Mapping a person’s unique susceptibility to disease and targeting the right treatment has deservedly been welcomed as a new power to heal. The human genome, a complete set of human DNA, was identified and mapped a decade ago. But genomic science remains in its infancy. According to Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, “It is fair to say that the Human Genome Project has not yet directly affected the
Every year, come winter in the Northern Hemisphere, a large number of British people head south for a holiday break in the warmer surrounds of Portugal and Spain. Research unveiled this week reveals that basking sharks – a fish second in size only to the whale shark – do exactly the same thing. Basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are plankton-eaters that can grow to eight metres in length and weigh as much as two tonnes. They are thought to be relatively common in the seas around Britain and Ireland, but have proved challenging to study because they spend most of their time below the surface in deep water. Little, in particular, was known about their winter habits, which prompted a team led by
India’s space agency ISRO shattered world record last week when it launched a flock of 104 satellites into space with one rocket. SEE ALSO: Fumed Indians continue to troll NYT over 2-year-old cartoon mocking their space agency The space agency has since
This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox. Nature was once a "separate and wild province" from human civilization, as Bill McKibben wrote in his famous 1989 call-to-arms, The