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
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.
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.
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
Historians are to unveil a digitally-reconstructed image of the face of Robert the Bruce nearly 700 years after his death. The image has been produced using casts from what is believed to be the skull of the famous Scottish king. It is the culmination of a two-year research project by researchers at universities in Glasgow and Liverpool. Until now, portraits and statues of the victor of Bannockburn have relied on artists' imaginations. With no contemporary artworks to tell us what King Robert actually looked like, historians at the University of Glasgow teamed up with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to provide an accurate representation. Its Face Lab specialises in recreating likenesses
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 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.
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.
Among bird species under threat is the African grey parrot, a popular pet, which is now classed as "Endangered" on the list because of "unsustainable trapping and habitat loss." Across animals, birds, insects, aquatic life and plants, the list now includes 85,604 species, of which 24,307 -- over a third -- are threatened with extinction. 'Silent extinction' The plunge in the number of wild giraffe prompted the group to move the animals from the "least concern" rating to "vulnerable," in the report. "Whilst giraffes are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people -- including conservationists -- are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction," IUCN co-Chairman
Today, the United Launch Alliance is set to launch one of its Delta IV rockets — the bigger sibling to the company’s more prolific Atlas V. The vehicle is tasked with carrying a communication satellite into a super high orbit for the US Air Force. The Boeing-built satellite is the eighth of the military’s Wideband Global SATCOM constellation — a series of probes that together provide extremely high-bandwidth communication. In order to provide this capability, today’s satellite, called WS-8, is meant to orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth’s equator. Getting to a high orbit requires some extra power, though today’s Delta IV rocket isn’t the most powerful version of the vehicle that ULA has. That
A new type of underwater robot has made it possible to peer deep inside the USS Arizona, the sunken naval battleship that was bombed 75 years ago at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Arizona was hit four times by Japanese bombers on Dec. 7, 1941 and eventually sank. Since then, nobody has seen inside the Arizona below its second deck.
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
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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.
File this under “earth oddity,” perhaps. Buzz Aldrin, the famed former NASA astronaut who was the second man to walk on the moon, had to be evacuated Thursday from a personal expedition to the South Pole after exhibiting signs of altitude sickness. But in a twist that, well, blows our minds, Aldrin landed at a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he was treated by none other than . . . a David Bowie. The physician shares his name, of course, with the famed singer David Bowie, who frequently morphed into space-loving alter egos for his songs and music videos. In July 1969, the musician released “Space Oddity,” a hit song that imagined the haunting journey of fictional astronaut “Major
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.
NASA’s Cassini-Huygens orbiter has been on mission for nearly two decades and it’s still delivering glimpses of Saturn that leave us in awe. The spacecraft, which is approaching its final phase, just sent back some glorious photos of Saturn’s northern pole, and it’s some of the most impressive space photography yet. NASA notes that each side of the hexagon is roughly as wide as the entirety of Earth, just to give you an idea of the scale.
Indonesia has strengthened its moratorium on converting peat swamps to plantations in a move a conservation research group says will help prevent annual fires and substantially cut the country's carbon emissions if properly implemented. Indonesia's move was welcomed by Norway, which in 2010 pledged $1 billion to help the country stop cutting down its prized tropical forests but has released little of it. As a result of the expanded regulation, Norway said it would give $25 million to Indonesia to fund restoration of drained peatlands and another $25 million once an enforcement and monitoring plan is ready.
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.
Freakishly high air and ocean temperatures during November caused sea ice to trail far behind typical levels, with sea ice extent ending the month at a record low. During part of the month, sea ice actually declined when it would normally be growing with the arrival of the polar winter.
If you do not believe in evolution (and a reported 42% of you don’t), well, studies have shown that any amount of evidence I give you will only harden your position, so I’ll just leave it at: I may not be right, but my side has millions of years of tangible evidence while yours has a book translated through several dictionaries whose words may not have initially come from humans, but whose text was handled and taught by them for centuries. Essentially, this is proof of when we began to really walk, which lead to a new home for humans: caves. Thirty million people in China still live in caves, and not in the prehistoric vein that is typically portrayed. For example, we had to warm the cave during the winter, so we discovered fire.
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.
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
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.