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.
Associated Press photographers captured sunrises, sunsets and magical moments in between in a selection of 2016’s top feature photos. Some of the stunning images include a launch of a Soyuz spacecraft bringing a new group of astronauts to the International Space Station and another of a Soyuz descending through the clouds with a crew on board making the return trip home. Two of the world’s most famous landmarks are included as the AP shot a surreal image of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer silhouetted by the rising sun in July ahead of the 2016 Olympics. A highlight of 2016’s feature photos may be a picture that captures the delight of a young girl as she watches an owl feed at a London museum in March.
Authorities in Russia's Siberian region of Tuva on Monday were examining several pieces of the Progress cargo spaceship found after it crashed last week having failed to reach orbit. Two pieces, including a large spherical object, were found by herders over the weekend, while another was discovered in the courtyard of a residential house on Monday, said the region's head Sholban Karaa-ool, warning people not to touch any metal debris. Regional sanitation officials "inspected the spot where two pieces of the spacecraft were found in the Ulug-Khem district, on the side of the mountain and near a yurt," Kara-ool said on his official website.
Plans to restore the NASA mission control room that served as the nerve center for the Apollo missions, when man first reached the moon, have been discussed for more than 20 years, but its restoration and preservation remain in limbo with no set date for work to begin. Officials at Johnson Space Center in Houston say the restoration of Mission Operation Control Room 2 is a priority, but note that NASA has other priorities, too — including the space flights managed in the large, active building where the control room is located. The room was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and retired seven years later. The Houston Chronicle ( http://bit.ly/2g87794 ) reports that in the room that
The U.S. patent agency on Tuesday will hear arguments in a heated dispute over who was first to invent a revolutionary gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. Hundreds of millions of dollars may be at stake, as the technology promises commercial applications in treating genetic diseases, engineering crops, and other areas. CRISPR works as a type of molecular scissors that can trim away unwanted parts of the genome, and replace them with new stretches of DNA.
Hunters have headed out across parts of the state for the second half of this year's bear hunt following the apparent death of a bear that walked upright like a human. Hunters killed 562 bears during October's six-day hunt, which was limited to bows and arrows and muzzle-loading guns, and 23 percent of them were previously tagged bears. New Jersey approved resuming the bear hunt in 2003 after more than 30 years.
On November 25, new satellite images revealed that San Francisco's Millennium Tower can be seen sinking from space. Recent data provided by the European Space Agency suggests the building will continue to sink at a rate of two inches per year. The building's developers, Millennium Partners, hired engineers to drill holes around the building in order to test soil samples and figure out why the tower is sinking and what can be done to prevent it from sinking further.
Just when you thought Google Maps couldn’t get any better, up pops imagery specialist DigitalGlobe with the first aerial picture from its recently launched WorldView-4 satellite. Snapped from 617 kilometers (383 miles) above Earth at the end of last month, the pin-sharp picture shows Tokyo’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium, a venue that played a part in the 1964 Olympics and which is set to see more action in the 2020 Games. The WorldView-4 joins four other DigitalGlobe satellites orbiting Earth, each one beaming high-res imagery back to a range of clients in fields that include not only map makers but also defense and intelligence agencies, environmental organizations, and, when required, disaster and emergency responders.
Exhausted shift workers may be safer driving home at night when they're exposed to bright light before they hit the road, a small study suggests. To test the effect of light therapy on driving, researchers did a series of three experiments with 19 adults. In two scenarios, participants spent a night being sleep-deprived in a lab and then spent 45 minutes in dim or bright light before a driving test. For a third test, people got a good nights' sleep at home and then went to the lab for 45 minutes of bright light exposure before a driving test. More on this... After sleep deprivation in the lab, five people exposed to dim light therapy got in car accidents during the driving simulations. None of
Going to space is pretty bad for your health. A day or so won't do you much harm, but for astronauts spending longer periods in microgravity, all sorts of dreadful things start happening to your body, such as bone density loss and muscular atrophy. Another one of those things is vision impairment. Closer examination revealed that astronauts with blurry vision had eyeballs that were flattened at the back, and inflamed optic nerves. This condition is known as visual impairment intracranial pressure, and was thought to have been caused by an increase in vascular fluid in the skull putting pressure on the eyes. As astronauts enter microgravity, the fluid in their bodies usually controlled by gravity
Your family also loves anchovy pizza—growing up, that’s all you ever ordered. You want to celebrate your team’s recent accomplishments, so you order something they’ll surely love: anchovy pizza. The false-consensus effect is a cognitive bias that was coined by researcher Lee Ross and his colleagues in 1976.
Buzz Aldrin had an unexpected bedside visit from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman on Saturday as he continued to recover in a New Zealand hospital from his medical evacuation from the South Pole. Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, posted a picture of himself with Newman on Twitter. Aldrin, who was wearing pajamas and sitting up in bed, was giving a thumbs-up sign, as was Newman.
In 1985, a Soviet submarine undergoing a delicate refueling procedure experienced a freak accident that killed ten naval personnel. The fuel involved was not diesel, but nuclear, and the resulting environmental disaster contaminated the area with dangerous, lasting radiation. The incident, which remained secret until after the demise of the USSR itself, was one of many nuclear accidents the Soviet Navy experienced during the Cold War. The Soviet Union’s nuclear war planners had a difficult time targeting the United States. While the United States virtually encircled the enormous socialist country with nuclear missiles in countries such as Turkey and Japan, the Western Hemisphere offered no refuge
A gigantic, 112-lb. (50 kilograms) catfish was reeled in by a North Carolina man the day before Thanksgiving, according to local news reports. The man, Riahn Brewington, caught the massive fish in the northeast section of Cape Fear River in North Carolina, local ABC affiliate WWAY reported. Brewington said he could tell the catch was big, but he had only a 10-lb. (4.5 kg) line on his fishing rod.
Extreme downpours — like those that flooded Louisiana, Houston and West Virginia earlier this year — will happen nearly three times as often in the United States by the end of the century, and six times more frequently in parts of the Mississippi Delta, according to a new study. Scientists have long pointed out that warmer air holds more moisture, so man-made climate change will increase the frequency of extreme downpours. Study lead author Andreas Prein, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research , said the entire U.S. will average a 180 percent increase in these types of downpours by 2100.
Indonesia has extended legal protection for its wetlands and peat bogs by expanding a ban on the conversion of these carbon-rich swamps into plantations. The move, if properly enforced, could drastically reduce Indonesia's sizeable carbon footprint and prevent a repeat of the annual forest fires that plague the region, conservationists say. A moratorium on new conversions of certain peatland areas has been in place since 2011 in Indonesia.
A brand new satellite orbiting hundreds of miles above Earth's surface has just opened its eyes. The details in the new photo are impressive, especially considering that the image was taken from 617 kilometers, or about 383 miles, above the planet.
Teens who drink heavily are more likely than their peers to have less gray matter, an important brain structure that aids in memory, decisions, and self-control, according to a Finnish study. The study was observational, so it is impossible to say whether heavy drinking caused this stunted brain development. People may have less brain matter due to genetic factors, and this abnormality may make them more likely to abuse alcohol, the researchers write in the journal Addiction. "Substance use has been found to be connected to social exclusion, mental health problems and lower educational attainment," said lead author Noora Heikkinen of the University of Eastern Finland. Having less gray matter
Only 26 percent of computer professionals were women in 2013, according to a recent review by the American Association of University Women. Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but it’s poised to become the most disruptive technology since the Internet. Last year, a Carnegie Mellon University study found that far fewer women than men were shown Google ads for high paying jobs.
OpenAI, the billion-dollar San Francisco artificial intelligence lab backed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, just unveiled a new virtual world. It’s called Universe, and it’s a virtual world like no other. This isn’t a digital playground for humans. It’s a school for artificial intelligence. It’s a place where AI can learn to do just about anything. Other AI labs have built similar worlds where AI agents can learn on their own. Researchers at the University of Alberta offer the Atari Learning Environment, where agents can learn to play old Atari games like Breakout and Space Invaders. Microsoft offers Malmo, based on the game Minecraft. And just today, Google’s DeepMind released an environment called
Home buyers rarely give much thought to what’s right under their feet when touring homes, but they should—particularly if they’re strolling on top of a crawl space. When searching for a home, you might very well see that phrase in the listing features. A crawl space is essentially a hollow area found under some homes between the ground and the first floor. Aside from elevating your home off the ground, a crawl space is a convenient and inconspicuous place to contain the “guts” of the house, such as its air conditioning and heater, duct work, plumbing, and electric wiring.
A graduate student arrested on suspicion of stabbing to death the professor who oversaw his work at the University of Southern California was being held on $1 million bail Saturday as the campus plunged into mourning. David Jonathan Brown, a 28-year-old brain and cognitive science student, was arrested just after the Friday afternoon attack in the heart of the Los Angeles campus. His mentor, Bosco Tjan, was killed inside the Seeley G. Mudd building, where he ran an intensive lab that studies vision loss. Students on campus Saturday expressed sadness about the loss of the professor said to have a deep and abiding interest in his students. A USC memorial tribute is planned for Monday. “It’s a tragedy,”
In addition to the eighth-century-B.C. mummy hand, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, also returned intricately painted ancient sarcophagi in a ceremony at the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday (Dec. 1). "While we recognize that cultural property, art and antiquities are assigned a dollar value in the marketplace, the cultural and symbolic worth of these Egyptian treasures far surpasses any monetary value to the people of Egypt," ICE Director Sarah Saldaña said during her remarks. ICE launched "Operation Mummy's Curse" in 2009 to bust a network of antiquities smugglers bringing illicit artifacts from other countries into the United States.
Vermont farmers are facing new rules to prevent runoff into Lake Champlain, which some call the biggest change to the industry in their lifetime. The new agricultural practices, with took effect Monday, include rules for small farm certification, storing and spreading of manure, planting cover crops to improve soil and prevent erosion, and expanding vegetated buffer zones on fields near water and ditches. The rules are part of Vermont's commitment to reduce phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain, which has been plagued by toxic algae blooms.