A recent fire has put a national laboratory's ability to operate safely into question. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board announced Friday that it will hold a hearing next month to discuss the future of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported (http://bit.ly/2qmP0CY). The board is an independent panel that advises the U.S. Department of Energy and the president.
May 28 (UPI) -- A 79-foot blue whale that washed up dead on a beach in California was struck by a boat, scientists said. The adult, female whale was found at Agate Beach in Bolinas along the Marin County Coast, about 10 miles north of San Francisco early Friday. She sustained broken ribs, a fractured spine and trauma to her skull, according to the Marine Mammal Center after conducting a necropsy. The injuries are "indicative of significant blunt force trauma that is consistent with ship strikes," the scientists said. "The whole left side of her body was damaged," Barbie Halaska told the Mercury News. "We found 10 broken ribs and 10 fractured vertebrae near the tail and mid-body." A leading cause
Fear of earthquakes is part of life in California. But people experience this anxiety in different ways. For some, the fear prompts them to take steps to protect themselves: strapping down heavy furniture, securing kitchen cabinets and retrofitting homes and apartments. For others, the fear prompts denial — a willful ignorance of the dangers until the ground starts shaking. Seismologist Lucy Jones has spent her career trying to understand public attitudes about earthquakes, with a focus on moving people past paralysis and denial. Jones said the way experts like her used to talk about earthquakes wasn’t very effective. They tended to focus on the probability of a major earthquake striking in the
Saturday evening stargazers were treated to one of the trippiest natural phenomenons Earth has to offer: a naked eye-visible aurora borealis. The "northern lights," as they are often called, originate with our sun. Solar storms that occur there emit streams
There’s a reason why people living in isolated Greek villages can eat saturated fats and still live long, healthy lives — they have special genes that protect their tickers, according to a new study. Residents of Mylopotamos — a municipality in northern Crete comprised of several villages — are known for their long lives, despite their fondness for local cheese and lamb, but they don’t generally succumb to the strokes and heart attacks that plague much of the Western world. To find out why, researchers drew blood from 250 villagers, examined their DNA and found a genetic variant — which appears to shield the villagers’ hearts by decreasing levels of “bad” fats and cholesterol, according to research published by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The variant is unique among the villagers of Zoniana and Anogia.
Since the 1950s, life expectancy has been increasing rapidly. On average, it has been increasing by one year, every five years. Babies born today in 2017 can expect to live to over 100, or in other words, they will live to see the year 2117. The normally quoted life expectancy numbers are based upon the ages of people who are dying now aka people who were born 75-85 years ago. This is used as an estimate for the life expectancy of all people in spite of the trends towards longer lives. This does not even account for extreme longevity advances using SENS and gene therapy. The increase will be needed, as the number of people over 65 will more than triple to 2.1 billion by 2050. By then, the number
Airline's computer systems down worldwide
According to Hawking, “with climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious”. You first have to appreciate that this is mainly a population issue. While estimates of the carrying capacity of Earth vary widely, most people would accept we are causing serious damage.
"The town is unrecognisable, the streets are empty and most shops are closed," says Antonella Calopardo, a local resident. Italian authorities are taking no chances to protect the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, who have gathered in Taormina to discuss the thorny issues of climate change, trade and worldwide security threats. Locals going in and out of the jet-set town that once played host to the likes of Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway and Elizabeth Taylor are forced to wait at airport-style checkpoints to be scanned, their cars and scooters methodically searched.
Let’s hear it for the written word. Learning to read can have profound effects on the wiring of the adult brain, even in regions that aren’t usually associated with reading and writing. That’s what researchers found when they taught a group of illiterate adults in rural India to read and write. Michael Skeide and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science in Leipzig, Germany, wanted to study how culture changes the brain, so they focused on reading and writing. These cultural inventions have appeared only recently in our evolutionary history, so we haven’t had a chance to evolve specific genes for such skills. The team recruited 30 people whose average age was
To say that David Biello’s new book, The Unnatural World (Amazon US / Amazon UK), is not uplifting would be an understatement. Its upshot is that we have seriously f—ed up this planet, along with all of the organisms and ecosystems residing on it, and the situation is likely to get much, much worse. But that's hardly news at this point. Biello knows that something must be done to keep ourselves from putting yet more CO2 into the atmosphere and to counter or adapt to the effects of all the CO2 we’ve spewed thus far. His book is an attempt to explore our options for doing so. But the resulting book is rambling, disorganized, and disjointed, filled with belabored, needlessly complicated sentences
Over 2,600 years ago this Sunday, on May 28, 585 B.C., the sight of a total solar eclipse is said to have suddenly stopped a battle between the Medes and the Lydians in what is now Turkey. This year the anniversary comes as Americans prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch as the same phenomenon roll across the skies of the contiguous United States on August 21. The ancient interpretation was sure fortunate for those soldiers fighting in what's come to be known as "The Battle of the Eclipse." When the eclipse passed over the battlefield, the warring kings took it as a sign from the gods that they should knock it off. Ancient Greek historians say the eclipse was actually the first such event to be predicted in advance, in this case by the philosopher Thales.
Almost 20 years ago, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) vice-chairman Charlie Munger gave a talk called "The psychology of human misjudgment" at Harvard. He's given dozens of talks since, but I don't think any match its wisdom and usefulness. I recently came found the talk on video. You can listen to the whole thing here, and I highly encourage you to if you have an hour to spare. For the impatient, the talk discusses about 18 separate biases that cause people to fool themselves make bad decisions. I've summarized them here, along with a few comments from Munger. 1. Under-recognition of the power incentives. "I think I've been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power
There's a new space race and it's not between the U.S. and Russia. It's between private companies and it's attracted multimillionaires and billionaires, like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. A less likely player is Las Vegas real-estate tycoon, Robert Bigelow, who, at 73, is making the biggest gamble of his life -- not on rockets -- but on expandable spacecraft, large, lightweight structures that inflate in space, a technology that could dramatically change how humans live and work in zero gravity. NASA has partnered with Robert Bigelow, who's an unconventional figure in the aerospace world. He's more at home on the Vegas strip than at America's space agency, and he's obsessed with aliens and UFOs.
When was the last time you looked up at the night sky and glimpsed the Milky Way? Last night? A year ago? Never? Some 80% of North Americans can no longer see the galaxy due to light pollution, or skyglow. Light pollution causes a profound ecological disruption that affects human health, alters animal migratory patterns and obstructs astronomical research. Recent findings even suggest higher breast cancer rates may result from artificial day conditions created by over-lighted cities and the consequent suppression of nocturnal melatonin production. It’s estimated that one third of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies, a situation worsening dramatically with aggressive urban
There has been a lot of excitement recently about developments in brain-computer interfacing. According to the team at Facebook, pretty soon we will be able to type using our minds and hear through our skin. And according to Elon Musk, one day soon we may be able to upload and download thoughts. Ideas such as the ability to type 100 words per minute with your mind, or learning kung fu a la The Matrix have been flung around as near-future technologies. But really these are still wild tales of science fiction. Even the neuroscience community — which rarely agrees on anything — agrees on this. A great story A great story about being able to reprogram our brain or hear with our skin makes gets the
It's planting time in America. Farmers are spending long days on their tractors, pulling massive planters across millions of acres of farmland, dropping corn and soybean seeds into the ground. Most of those seeds have been coated with pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics for short. And despite attempts by pesticide makers to reduce this, some of that coating is getting rubbed off the seeds and blown into the air. That dust is settling on the ground, on ponds, and on vegetation nearby. Honeybees and wild bees, looking for food, will encounter traces of the pesticides, and some will be harmed. They may become disoriented and bring less food back to their colony. Many may die. Several
Your skin is about to get a lot more useful. That’s because research from a team led by University of Minnesota professor Michael McAlpine has produced a silicone pressure sensor that can be printed directly onto a person’s hand. The results are likely to change the world of wearable technology, making it a household commodity in the near future. “What if you could 3D print electronics directly on your body?” McAlpine asks. “It’s a simple idea, but for some reason nobody has demonstrated it.” His work was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials. The results could provide breakthroughs for anything from surgical techniques to military strategy to how we get tattoos. “For surgical
Summer soon arrives, and the big planets Jupiter and Saturn will entertain evening onlookers, Venus will distract morning dog walkers and Mars starts a season-long hiatus. Catch a fattening, waxing moon as it approaches the bright Jupiter (-2.2 magnitude) in the southern sky on the evening of June 2 and then scooting past the planet June 3. Our lunar neighbor sails over the star Spica on June 4. The large, gaseous planet — appearing to float through the constellation Virgo now — rises in the midafternoon throughout June and hits due south soon after nightfall early in the month. Saturn reaches opposition June 15, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory, when the ringed planet is opposite the
Greenland’s Rink Glacier is not just melting faster than usual: The hot summers of 2010 and 2012 saw the interior of the glacier sliding like a popsicle coming out of its wrapper, a NASA study found. The study found the ice wave lasted four months, with mass from upstream replacing whatever was lost at the bottom due to warming. NASA said this solitary wave has implications for the future rate of sea level rise.
If you can't get to one of the 14 U.S. states that will be able to see the solar eclipse in totality on Aug. 21, Michael Narlock, head of astronomy for the Cranbrook Institute of Science, said there's no need to despair. As long as the skies aren't too cloudy, Michiganders should still have a good view of the eclipse that day. Narlock estimates the Detroit area will see about 80% of the sun obscured by the moon during the celestial event. Narlock, who oversees the Cranbrook observatory, the planetarium and astronomy programming, talked to the Free Press about the eclipse. Here's what he had to say: QUESTION: What time on Aug. 21 will we see the eclipse in Michigan, and how long will it last?
Canadian researchers have discovered a new species of meat-eating sponge in the North Atlantic Ocean. Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t eat human meat — it feeds on zooplankton, tiny animals that drift in sea water.
Humans have excellent olfaction and can smell more than a trillion odors. “People are sometimes taught that because humans developed such a good visual system, we lost a sense of smell as a trade-off,” Rutgers University neurobiologist John McGann says. The myth of poor human olfaction is centuries old.
Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing? Israel’s answer to Silicon Valley is Silicon Wadi, an area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain with a heavy concentration of high-tech industries that rivals the San Francisco Bay-area’s cluster of innovative firms. There are about 4,300 startups operating in Israel, with about 2,900 of these located within a 10-mile radius, a rate of development second in intensity to only Silicon Valley itself. Even as President Trump was meeting with the Israeli political elite on the Jerusalem leg of his first foreign trip, a huge slice of that country’s brain trust was gathered in Midtown Manhattan to explore
Few franchises embody this better than Star Wars, existing in a universe where magic, laser swords, and faster-than-light travel are considered run-of-the-mill. All the stories that exist within the Star Wars canon are really best enjoyed with minimal thought or concern paid to realism. Screenwriters can’t fill every gap in logic within Star Wars, so we’re going to attempt to do that for them.