Biologist Colleen Handel saw her first black-capped chickadee with the heartrending disorder in 1998. The tiny birds showed up at birdfeeders in Alaska's largest city with freakishly long beaks. Some beaks looked like sprung scissors, unable to come together at the tips. Others curved up or down like crossed sickles. Handel, a U.S. Geological Survey bird specialist, was sure the cause of avian keratin disorder would be found quickly: contaminated birdseed, a poison targeting spruce bark beetles, maybe some sort of bacterium or fungus. Years went by. She found herself losing sleep over a mysterious ailment afflicting 6.5 percent of south-central Alaska's black-capped chickadees and 17 percent
On Sunday evening, Elon Musk, the billionaire tech mogul and nerd hero behind Tesla Motors, hosted a special two-hour Q&A session on Reddit. The AMA, which lasted roughly two hours, was intended as a supplement to the presentation he gave on during last month’s International Astronautical Congress. Which, in turn, meant questions were limited to the fledgling commercial rocket program, and Interplanetary Transport System, not Musk's electric car company or recently consolidated renewable energy firm, SolarCity.
Gordon Hamilton, a prominent climate scientist who studied Earth's melting ice sheets, died Saturday, when his snowmobile went into a crevasse in Antarctica, according to the National Science Foundation. He was 50 years old. Hamilton was a researcher with the NSF-managed U.S. Antarctic Program studying the stability of the ice shelves near McMurdo Station, a research center on Ross Island, 2,500 miles south of New Zealand. He and his team were camped in a heavily-crevassed area known as the McMurdo shear zone, where the Ross and McMurdo ice shelves meet. Three miles wide and more than 125 miles long, this perilous zone bisects the compacted snow road to the station. The ice there is hundreds
Telling little fibs leads down a slippery slope to bigger lies — and our brains adapt to escalating dishonesty, which makes deceit easier, a new study shows. Neuroscientists at the University College London's Affective Brain Lab put 80 people in scenarios where they could repeatedly lie and get paid more based on the magnitude of their lies. The researchers then used brain scans to show that our mind's emotional hot spot — the amygdala — becomes desensitized or used to the growing dishonesty, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Think autism and an image of an awkward boy typically emerges. The developmental disorder is at least four times more common in boys, but scientists taking a closer look are finding some gender-based surprises: Many girls with autism have social skills that can mask the condition. The gender effect is a hot topic in autism research and one that could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating a condition that affects at least 1 in 68 U.S. children.
The United States and China appear to be keeping an unusually low profile as they push for more dialogue and cooperation on space exploration. The State Department hosted a new round of space cooperation talks in Washington last week with a delegation led by China’s National Space Administration (CNSA), but U.S. officials didn’t publicly announce the meeting until Monday, via a tersely worded press release that said a third round of civil space dialogue would be held in China next year. CNSA has yet to make any public mention of the talks, which included Pentagon officials and representatives from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and
Russia is claiming that the Afghanit active protection system (APS) mounted on Moscow’s powerful new T-14 Armata main battle tanks has been proven effective at intercepting depleted uranium-core armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) cannon shells. If Moscow’s claims are accurate, the new Russian active protection system would be a game-changing development in the realm of mechanized warfare. While active protection systems were thought to be effective mostly against incoming anti-tank missiles and rocket propelled grenades, most industry and defense experts had believed that active protection systems were ineffective against kinetic energy (KE) round such as the U.S. Army’s M829A4 120mm APFSDS.
Few regions of the world are as unstable in the face of advancing climate change as frozen West Antarctica, where rapidly melting glaciers have scientists on edge about the potential for huge amounts of future sea-level rise. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the most rapid ice losses observed in the region in the past 15 years - and it supports a growing scientific belief that warm ocean water is behind the melting. "[The study] seems to provide a strong piece of evidence to support a general hypothesis about what's happening in the Amundsen Sea," said Ala Khazendar , a polar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the new paper's lead author. Much of the focus on West Antarctica
New research shows that the part of the brain that is activated during dishonesty responds less and less as we “get used” to cheating — and that could make us lie even more. Brain scans of the participants confirmed that lying can be a slippery slope: people did lie more over time. When we deceive someone, the part of the brain that regulates emotion — called the amygdala — is activated, and we often feel shame or guilt.
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has passed an ominous milestone, ushering the planet into "a new era" of climate change, the UN said Monday. For the first time on record, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere averaged 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. CO2, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, has previously passed the 400 ppm threshold on certain months in specific locations but never on a globally averaged basis, WMO said.
If you were trying to catch up on the latest news or check out what was trending on Twitter this morning, you might have received a message that said that your browser couldn't connect to the server. Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and even news sites such as CNN experienced a widespread outage early today due to a so-called DDoS cyberattack that affected many users on the East Coast of the United States, according to several news outlets. The culprit behind the outage is what's known as a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, which was mounted against a company called Dyn DNS.
"The color change is thought to be an effect of Saturn's seasons," the US space agency said. What happened? Saturn has four seasons. They last about seven Earth years. The planet has photochemical haze, or particles in its atmosphere. Between November 1995 and August 2009, Saturn underwent a "winter polar darkness," according to Hampton University Assistant Professor Kunio Sayanagi. Well, the northern cloud-like barrier, which scientists call a six-sided jet stream, is affected. During the winter, particles are not produced. There's no sunshine. They can't reach the hexagonic jet stream. And the jet stream itself blocks them. "The hexagon jet acts as a barrier and when when there is nothing produced
The national group last week unveiled a new set of guidelines that allow for certain types of media use by younger children and set broader parameters for older kids to keep them well-rested, physically active and socially engaged. "Parents can set expectations and boundaries to make sure their children's media experience is a positive one," she said. The AAP's recommendations were published online Friday in the journal Pediatrics.
"The Terranauts" (Ecco), by T.C. BoyleEight scientists living under glass for two years in a self-sustaining, closed ecosystem constructed in the Arizona desert.Sound familiar?T.C. Boyle's latest novel was inspired by history, taking readers inside the
Post written byVincent Ialenti and Annie Tomlinson The authors are National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellows and PhD students at Cornell University. Nuclear technologies have long evoked grand images—from billowing mushroom clouds to massive concrete cooling towers looming above nuclear power plants. This bigness has been engrained in our very language. A person can, for example, take the “nuclear option” – the most extreme course of action – when making a difficult decision. In anger, a person might “go nuclear,” exploding into rage. In many ways, nuclear technologies earned their reputations for their huge scale. Since the 1950s, the size of nuclear power reactors has grown from
Famed billionaire and wannabe space cadet Elon Musk took to Reddit to do a surprise AMA yesterday. It was supposed to be a follow-up to SpaceX's recent announcement about how it plans to return Elon Musk to his place of birth, and also create a permanent Mars colony along the way. Given that Musk insisted questions stick on the topic of SpaceX and its recent announcement, much of the conversation was centered around highly technical details.
The third-largest earthquake in Oklahoma was likely triggered by underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production, the U.S. Geological Survey found in a report issued Monday. The magnitude 5.1 quake that struck northwest of Fairview in February was likely induced by distant disposal wells, the agency said. The USGS report indicated that in the area around where the Fairview quake occurred, the volume of fluid injected had increased sevenfold over three years.
There are more than 30 million research papers out there, and more than 3,000 papers are published every day. Put simply, you haven’t a chance in hell to read all of them. So what’s a poor researcher to do when set a challenge in a brand new field of research? Once the wave of blind panic and urge to drink copious amounts of gin has dissipated, you reach for a technology solution. Iris believes it has just the thing. The company launched a public beta to show off its technology this week. “We’re of course really excited with the first results,” says Anita Schjøll Brede, the company’s CEO. “But to be honest we’re running a marathon here. Our ultimate goal is an AI Scientist and we’re not done
Pro- and anti-whaling nations clashed at a key meeting Monday where Japan sought to ease a 30-year-old moratorium on commercial hunts while others pushed for an Atlantic whale sanctuary. Host Slovenia urged compromise the sake of the marine mammals -- some species of which were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th century -- but member states of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) soon split into familiar factions. Japan, which conducts a yearly whale hunt in the name of science, which its detractors say is for meat, insisted that stocks of some species have recovered sufficiently to make them fair game.
The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project had intended to find out how quickly water levels rose in the Black Sea after the last Ice Age, but the team ended up discovering a whole lot more than they had bargained for, Quartz reports. While examining the seabeds, the scientists found dozens and dozens of previously undiscovered shipwrecks — 41 in all. "The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys," the project's principal investigator, Jon Adams, said in a statement. Many of the shipwrecks were in spectacular condition due to the low oxygen levels that exist nearly 500 feet below the surface. "Certainly no one has achieved
The ancestors of today's slithery snakes once sported full-fledged arms and legs, but genetic mutations caused the reptiles to lose all four of their limbs about 150 million years ago, according to two new studies. The findings are welcome news to herpetologists, who have long wondered what genetic changes caused snakes to lose their arms and legs, the researchers said. Both studies showed that mutations in a stretch of snake DNA called ZRS (the Zone of Polarizing Activity Regulatory Sequence) were responsible for the limb-altering change.
By Andrew M. Seaman (Reuters Health) - Children's brains undergo noticeable changes after just one season of football, even if they were never diagnosed with a concussion, according to a new imaging study. While there is no way to know whether the changes may lead to health problems down the road, the researchers found that the degree of change seen in the brain's white matter tracts was tied to the amount of exposure a child had to head impacts during play. "It’s really another study that suggests there are changes in the brain associated with all of these head impacts," said lead author Dr. Christopher Whitlow, of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In a land where centaurs thunder around enchanted forests, giant deer have magic trees growing out their heads and the preferred mode of travel involves hopping on the back of an undead flying horse, it is surprising (and unfortunate) that they have still not invented David Attenborough. Deprived of his dulcet tones, the world of Harry Potter got Newt Scamander. A nervous, twitchy fellow who unleashes chaos upon New York after accidentally releasing a zoo’s worth of magical creatures out of his suitcase. In honour of this travesty, we’ve rounded up 17 of the most fantastic beasts we could find from the Harry Potter books, its movies, and the texts of Newt Scamander himself. Check them out below
Within the fields of history and journalism, the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) has greatly changed the way we visualize, understand, and analyze racial bias within the United States and the globe. Below are just a few of the projects working to use spatial analysis in order to reveal the historical and current prejudices that people of color face every day. 5. Lynching Maps and the Equal Justice Initiative: In 2015, the New York Times profiled the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) collection of data on historical lynchings from 1877 to 1950 within 12 Southern states. 4. Urban Wire’s School Segregation Map: Beginning in 2014, non-white students outnumbered the number of white students within our nation’s public schools.
An appeals court panel on Monday ruled that a federal agency acted reasonably in proposing to list a certain population of bearded seals threatened by sea ice loss. The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reverses a lower court ruling that found the decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service was improper. At issue was whether the fisheries service can protect species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act when it determines that a currently non-endangered species will lose habitat due to climate change in coming decades.