Nearly 10 years after a "doomsday" seed vault opened on an Arctic island, some 50,000 new samples from seed collections around the world have been deposited in the world's largest repository built to safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out global food crops. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a gene bank built underground on the isolated island in a permafrost zone some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the North Pole, was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world's other seed banks, in case their deposits are lost. The latest specimens sent to the bank, located on the Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, included more than 15,000 reconstituted samples
NASA's Jupiter-circling spacecraft is stuck making long laps around the gas giant because of sticky valves. It currently takes Juno 53 days to fly around the solar system's biggest planet. That's almost four times longer than the intended 14-day orbit. After repeated delays, NASA decided late last week to forego an engine firing that would have shortened the orbit. Officials say the maneuver poses too much risk. NASA says the quality of science won't be affected. But it will take more time to gather the data, given Juno's longer loops. The mission will have to be extended at tens of millions of extra dollars if scientists are to collect everything under the original plan. It's already a billion-dollar
African nations are gearing up to battle an invasive crop pest called the fall armyworm, which has been rapidly spreading across the continent since its arrival there just over a year ago. The caterpillar has wreaked destruction on staple crops including maize (corn), millet and sorghum. Experts warn that Europe and Asia could be next. Officials gathered for an emergency meeting—organized by the regional Africa office of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations—in Harare, Zimbabwe, earlier this month to coordinate their response. Sixteen countries agreed to urgent plans to boost the region’s capacity to manage crop pests. “The meeting in Harare was basically aimed largely
The term “farmer’s tan” may soon lose all significance, as the ancient art of cultivation moves indoors. A startup called Bowery Farming has caught the attention of investors and food experts alike, and as the urban farming industry grows, so too do these new companies’ wallets. Bowery Farming has just raised $7.5 million to help grow more food inside, even within a city. At the heart of Bowery’s operations is what it calls “post-organic vegetables.” Basically, all of the company’s produce are grown sans pesticides and depend upon a high-tech operating system.
A spectacular "ring of fire" solar eclipse Sunday will regale skygazers in South America and southern Africa, with seafarers in the nearby Atlantic getting a front-row view too, astronomers say. The eclipse -- during which the Sun will all but disappear as the Moon crosses its path -- will be most visible in a 100-kilometre (62-mile) band cutting through Chile, Argentina, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It’s hard to imagine anything more despised than mosquitos. They menacingly buzz about, swoop in to feast on your blood, and often leave behind an annoying, itchy lump. But by far the worst bit is that they spread throngs of pathogens—dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile, malaria… the list goes on. Their bites cause hundreds of millions of infections each year. Dengue alone infects around 390 million people a year globally. Malaria strikes around 214 million. What if there was a vaccine that could, in one fell swoop, prevent all of those infections? As a bonus, what if it could also prevent itchy responses to mosquito bites and even knock back the bug’s populations? It sounds like
Life expectancy is expected to rise in many countries around the world, but in the United States, that increase is predicted to be smaller than in other countries, a new study finds. In the study, published today (Feb. 21) in the journal The Lancet, researchers predicted what the average life expectancies will be in 35 countries for people born in the year 2030. The greatest increases in life expectancies over their present levels were predicted for girls born in South Korea and boys born in Hungary, the researchers found.
The face of a 1,400-year-old murder victim is seeing the light of day, now that scientists have digitally reconstructed his features. Archaeologists found the man’s remains — placed in an odd, cross-legged position with rocks pinning down his arms and legs — during the excavation of a cave in the Black Isle, Ross-shire, in the Scottish Highlands. The archaeologists sent the man’s bones to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee in Australia. The team there, led by forensic anthropologist Sue Black, analyzed the bones and identified the horrific injuries the man had sustained, including five impacts that led to the fracturing of the man’s face and skull.
More than 17,000 ducks will be culled in Spain after a highly contagious bird flu strain that has affected poultry throughout Europe was detected at a farm, authorities said Thursday. The virus found in Catalonia is H5N8, said Meritxell Serret, in charge of agriculture in the northeastern region -- the same one that has seen hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese slaughtered in France's southwest. Up until now, the virus had only been detected in Spain in three wild animals.
CNN's Rosemary Church reports on NASA's announcement that scientists have found a cluster of Earth-like planets orbiting a star 40 light-years away.
Global warming is already shrinking the Colorado River, the most important waterway in the American Southwest, and it could reduce the flow by more than a third by the end of the century, two scientists say. The river's volume has dropped more than 19 percent during a drought gripping the region since 2000, and a shortage of rain and snow can account for only about two-thirds of that decline, according to hydrology researchers Brad Udall of Colorado State University and Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona. In a study published last week in the journal Water Resources Research, they concluded that the rest of the decline is due to a warming atmosphere induced by climate change, which is drawing more moisture out of the Colorado River Basin's waterways, snowbanks, plants and soil by evaporation and other means.
The accuracy of detecting voice biometrics may decrease as we age according to new research from a fraud detection firm. Pindrop presented its findings at the RSA security conference in San Francisco last week, where the firm demonstrated the existence of slight changes to the human voice’s speed and pitch over months and years. The researchers claimed that error rates in voice biometrics can double over a two-year period.
Foam body armor? Even armor-piercing bullets cannot get through this foam. And the foam doesn’t just stop bullets. It destroys them … this foam decimates bullets into dust. North Carolina State University Professor Afsaneh Rabiei led the team that created the amazing foam. This is not ordinary foam like the kind used for shaving, for example. This is a special type of foam called composite metal foams, or CMF. The military and law enforcement could use this kind of foam for advanced, ultra-light body armor to protect personnel. And this research team has other foams up its sleeve that have the potential to keep military and first responders safe from radiation and extreme heat too. Bullet vs.
Some of the nation's biggest scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union, are partnering with grass-roots organizers to plan the March for Science, an Earth Day rally in Washington and cities around the world aimed at defending "robustly funded and publicly communicated science." The news signals that the effort, spawned from social-media musings in the days after President Trump's inauguration, has officially gone mainstream. Such coordinated activism is a big change for scientists and the societies that represent them. Researchers have long been reluctant to dive into political debates out of concern that their
The Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures” is earning raves from Hollywood and from people who can relate to the films’ lead characters. The fact-based movie follows the lives of three black women — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — who, in a white, male-dominated profession in 1962, helped NASA launch the first successful space missions. It showed the value of black women in STEM,” said Tsewone Melaku, a senior in the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering program, about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Uloma Okoro, a senior at the University of Washington who is studying electrical engineering, said it’s sometimes hard to find a place where she feels she belongs in her major.
While truly large animals are not so common on land any more — most of them having been killed off by modern humans — a much bigger number of large species still thrived in the world’s oceans. But gigantism, or growing to really large sizes, was a common trait in the past since size was an obvious advantage. While dinosaurs exemplified that gigantism like nothing before or after them, it was an evolutionary characteristic found across many life forms, including worms. And a newly discovered fossil of a worm that lived in the Devonian period, about 400 million years ago, shows that its body grew in excess of a meter in length, and it had a terrifying large (relatively speaking, of course) mouth
Some analysts cite Hillary Clinton's continued criticism of drug prices as a cause for a slump in biotech during the U.S. presidential campaign, but with the election behind us, many biotech enterprises saw at least a 9% increase due to Donald Trump's victory. Two companies in the biotech space entering the first quarter of 2017 may be in a position for their products, as well as stock prices, to move to greater heights, BioVie Inc. (BIVI) and Organovo Holdings Inc. (ONVO). Warning! GuruFocus has detected 2 Warning Signs with ONVO.
A giant penguin foot-bone discovered in New Zealand shows that the ancestors of everyone's favourite flightless bird waddled Earth during the age of dinosaurs, researchers reported Thursday. Before an asteroid wiped out non-avian dinos some 65.5 million years ago, in other words, super-sized penguins breathed the same air as Triceratops and the flesh-ripping Tyrannosaurus. The new find, unearthed by an amateur fossil hunter near the Waipara River in New Zealand, does not by itself prove penguin-dinosaur cohabitation.
Just 1 percent of participants always said that they wanted to know what the future held for them. "In our study, we've found that people would rather decline the powers that made Cassandra famous, in an effort to forgo the suffering that knowing the future may cause, avoid regret and also maintain the enjoyment of suspense that pleasurable events provide," Gigerenzer said. Participants were asked whether, hypothetically, they would want to know about 10 future events, which ranged from serious to mundane.
A warm blob of water lurking in the Pacific Ocean in 2014 and 2015 led to a spike in ozone levels across the western U.S., new research suggests. The blob of warm water, which sat about 310 miles off the Oregon coast, was linked to a high-pressure system in the atmosphere that resulted in warm, calm air and sunny skies across nearly a quarter of the country, said study co-author Dan Jaffe, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington Bothell. Those atmospheric conditions sped up the formation of ozone in the atmosphere, Jaffe added. (Ozone in the lower atmosphere is harmful to human health, while high in the atmosphere it forms a protective layer that shields the planet from harmful
Boeing's (BA) plant in Charleston, S.C., just had the most dramatic week in its history, a week that made it seem that the sky is the limit for the future of the five-year-old plant. On Feb. 15, plant workers voted overwhelming not to join the International Association of Machinists, seemingly reaffirming right-to-work South Carolina's success in 2009 in luring Boeing here, far from the Washington workers who had built all of its legacy commercial aircraft for decades. On Feb. 17, the first Boeing 787-10 rolled off the assembly line -- marking the debut of the first airplane produced exclusively in Charleston. President Trump showed up for the rollout, a testament to Boeing's diplomacy -- a year ago, Trump said that Boeing would leave South Carolina and make all its planes in China -- and also, it must be said, to Trump's ability to recognize that something worthy of a presidential visit has happened in Charleston.
NASA announced the discovery of the most Earth-size planets found in the habitable zone of a single star. The dwarf star, TRAPPIST-1, was discovered in 2008.
About 40 light years from Earth, there is an intriguing system with a dim red star and seven alien worlds rapidly orbiting it. And what makes the find so exciting is that three of those planets are in the “Goldilocks zone” of the star: the just-right place where liquid water could exist on a planet’s rocky surface. The announcement of the discovery around the star called TRAPPIST-1, made yesterday by NASA, is a reminder of the ultimate question: is there life in the universe besides what we know of on Earth? And could any of these TRAPPIST-1 planets— especially the three in the habitable zone— have the right ingredients for it to develop? “The news is wonderful, and has been since last year,
For the first time a "tipping point" molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer's disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer's. Abnormally high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycaemia, is well-known as a characteristic of diabetes and obesity, but its link to Alzheimer's disease is less familiar. Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared to healthy individuals. In Alzheimer's disease abnormal proteins aggregate to form plaques and tangles in the brain which progressively damage the brain and lead to severe cognitive