Scientists are making strides in growing food in space, and their efforts could be critical to eventually supporting a permanent human colony on Mars. "We can grow plants on Mars just by compressing the atmosphere," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday in a long-awaited speech detailing his vision for sending humans to Mars by 2025. NASA has a stated goal for a manned Mars mission in the 2030s.
A controversial technique that uses DNA from three parents has resulted in the first-ever birth of a child, a team of American scientists in Mexico confirmed Tuesday. The technology allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies and, while not approved in the United States, is legal in the United Kingdom. New Scientist reported that the baby, a boy, was born five months ago to Jordanian parents. The child was at risk of inheriting a severe neurological disorder called Leigh syndrome, which typically kills individuals within a few years of birth. In using DNA from three individuals, researchers were able to remove some of the mother’s DNA from an egg and leave out the disease-causing
South Africa's all-female "Black Mambas" anti-poaching team had never lost a rhino since they were formed in 2013, but the killing of two animals earlier this month shattered their proud record. The two rhinos, one of which was pregnant, were shot dead and their horns hacked off by poachers on a full moon night, underlining the crisis that threatens the species. The Black Mambas are made up of 36 unarmed female rangers, aged from 19 to 33, based at the Balule Game Reserve in Limpopo province on the edge of Kruger National Park.
By Heather M. Roff, Ph.D. Best Defense guest columnist While we debate whether or not it is a good idea, weapons are steadily becoming more autonomous, most notably in target identification. That’s the core conclusion from a study I just completed in
A new study of violent behavior in more than 1,000 mammal species found the meerkat is the mammal most likely to be murdered by one of its own kind. The study, led by José María Gómez of the University of Granada in Spain and published Wednesday in the journal Nature, analyzed more than 4 million deaths among 1,024 mammal species and compared them with findings in 600 studies of violence among humans from ancient times until today. The findings tell us two things: Some amount of violence between humans is attributable to our place on the evolutionary tree. Meerkats are surprisingly murderous. To be clear, the study's authors did not set out to prove (or disprove) a theory of meerkat violence;
American farmers say they are facing a severe worker shortage. More than half of U.S. farm workers are undocumented immigrants, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet, that pool of workers is shrinking. A recent Pew Research report found that more Mexican immigrants are now leaving the U.S. than coming into the country, citing tougher enforcement of immigration laws and the slow economic recovery here in the U.S. (The report accounted for both documented and undocumented immigrants). With fewer workers, farm owners say costs are rising and they often must leave unpicked fruit to rot in the fields. Many producers are even opting to leave the U.S. for countries with lower costs and fewer
By Kate Kelland and Alissa de Carbonnel LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's food safety watchdog will release data from some of the scientific studies it reviewed in its assessment of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto's widely used herbicide Roundup and subject of a fierce row over possible cancer risk. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Thursday it had decided to release the raw data as part of its "commitment to open risk assessment". EFSA had received several requests for data in relation to its glyphosate assessment, including from members of the European parliament.
Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind on Wednesday announced a non-profit organization called "Partnership on AI" focused on helping the public understand the technology and practices in the field. The move comes amid concerns that new artificial intelligence efforts could spin out of control and end up being detrimental to society. Academics, non-profit groups, and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join the board of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI).
Land Rover knows how to build up to a new model reveal. While other companies are content with video teasers or social media campaigns, the British SUV brand can always be counted on to go above and beyond. The bricks, a record 5,805,846 to be precise, were needed to build a 13-meter-high replica of London's iconic Bridge, in and around which the new Discovery made its entrance.
Potsdam Police Chief Mark Murray takes us back to the scene of the crime to show Elizabeth Vargas how police think Garrett Phillips' killer escaped. Enter the apartment. Don't always. For Specter here the door was open is on responsive don't show floor
Guadalajara, Mexico After arriving in Mexico for an international conference on space and unveiling the schematics for a low-cost transit system to Mars, SpaceX’s Elon Musk faced a tough question from the audience. “You’re going interplanetary, but you’re not going international,” said a woman named Anastasia, who identified herself as Russian. “When are you going to hire people from other countries than the US?” The question was met with applause from the crowded hall. Musk, a South African who came to the United States by way of Canada and is a backer of increased immigration to the US, doesn’t have a vendetta against the global workforce. But the US government, which already makes it difficult
Scientists coming up with shape-shifting materials is cool, but you know what’s even cooler? Materials that shape-shift on demand. That’s what a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Akron describe
Our corner of the Milky Way galaxy may be a bigger deal than scientists thought. The galaxy is shaped like a disk, with four major arms of stars, dust and gas spiraling out from the center. Our solar system lies at the edge of what's called the Local Arm, which resembles a separate piece of an arm. Historically, the Local Arm "didn't get much respect.... People thought it was just a tiny little thing," says Mark Reid of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But a new paper he co-authored concludes it is bigger than scientists thought. Researchers calculated that it stretches more than 20,000 light-years long, maybe about four times what scientists had thought
For the second time this month, earthlings of the Western Hemisphere will experience a special event involving our moon. Earlier this month, we got our full moon — the Harvest Moon. Basically, a Black Moon is the exact opposite of a Blue Moon, the term used when you get two full moons in one month.
Most hikers would hightail it upon spotting two snakes fighting on a path. Arkansas hiker Dawn Kelly decided to record the snakes on her smartphone instead, creating the kind of video most of us would rather watch from a safe distance. The unusual thing about this snake battle royale, however, isn't that Kelly managed to record it unscathed, but that the two snakes, a copperhead and a cottonmouth, shouldn't have been fighting at all. According to Alabama Auburn University herpetologist David Steen, male snakes often fight in something called a "combat dance" over female snakes. But until now, no one has recorded evidence of two different species of male snakes fighting, according to the BBC.
British sculptor Antony Gormley puts people's relationships with urban construction at the forefront of his latest exhibition "Fit", creating a sort of labyrinth in a London gallery space. "Sleeping Field", one of the installations at the White Cube Bermondsey gallery, is made up of hundreds of iron sculptures, which at first look like small high-rise buildings but on closer inspection resemble resting bodies. "Gormley has configured the gallery space into 15 discrete chambers to create a series of dramatic physiological encounters in the form of a labyrinth," it said.
BURNING through the darkness, the fires would have lit up the cave around where the young child lay. The remains of a series of small fires discovered within a dolomite hillside 93 kilometres north of Madrid, Spain, could be the first firm evidence that Neanderthals held funerals. The blackened hearths surround a spot where the jaw and six teeth of a Neanderthal toddler were found in the stony sediment. Puzzlingly, within each of these hearths was the horn or antler of a herbivore, apparently carefully placed there. In total, there were 30 horns from aurochs and bison as well as red deer antlers, and a rhino skull nearby. Advertisement Archaeologists believe the fires may have been lit as some
College science classes are hostile to women and minorities because they use the scientific method, which assumes people can find reliable truths about the natural world through careful and sustained experimentation, concludes a recent dissertation by a doctoral candidate at the University of North Dakota. Laura Parson, a student in the university’s education department, reviewed eight science class syllabi at a “Midwest public university” and said she discovered in them a hidden hostility to women and minorities: Initial exploration of the STEM syllabi in this study did not reveal overt references to gender, such as through the use of gendered pronouns. However, upon deeper review, language
Watermelons once sprung from this soil, the giant striped fruit dotting the arid landscape like mushrooms after a rain. “It was such a garden,” farmer Hossain Mirakhouri, 45, recalled of his childhood on this sun-scorched plateau east of Tehran. Now nothing remains of his family’s patch of watermelon, a water-hungry crop that Mirakhouri can no longer afford to grow in increasingly dry conditions. He and his brothers, who farm a 2-acre homestead by hand much as their ancestors did, have switched to growing barley and genetically modified cotton, which they say have lower water requirements. “The amount of land that is cultivable shrinks year in, year out,” said Mirakhouri, sweat beading on his
It can be irritating when bread goes stale and chips lose their crunch if you leave them out too long. But instead of throwing them away, you can revive them to their former freshness in a matter of minutes. The video above by the American Chemical Society's Reactions team explains the chemistry behind the staling process. And as you may have guessed, it has a lot – but not all – to do with moisture. The starch in bread, for instance, is made up of two molecules: amylose and amylopectin. After baking bread, the tessellating structures of amylopectin traps moisture. But that structure breaks down slowly over time, releasing the moisture and hardening the bread. When chips are fried, on the other
With each new school year come shiny new behavior management systems decorating the walls of elementary classrooms. From sticker charts to clip charts to color cards, teachers choose bright and engaging systems with the hope that a little incentive might lead to improved student behavior. The thing is, these systems rarely work for any extended period of time. Research shows that kids continue to work toward their personal goals when intrinsic motivation is high. What stickers, clips and color cards have in common is that they rely on extrinsic motivation. You do this (sit, listen and don’t yell out) and you get this (sticker, clip up, green card). For a short time, these systems can be motivating.
“It is described as the ‘afterbirth,’” said Catherine Spong, an obstetrician/gynecologist and the acting director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). To appreciate the placenta, you have to recognize that it’s responsible for sustaining a fetus as it grows into a baby, which is tethered by the umbilical cord to the placenta embedded in a pregnant woman’s uterine wall. Through this arrangement, the placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus, eliminates waste, regulates fetal temperature, produces hormones, and performs other crucial pregnancy tasks.
For SpaceX, it's back to square one -- or more precisely, square zero. A little over three weeks ago, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket undergoing pre-launch testing at Cape Canaveral exploded on its launch pad. Along with the rocket, and an on-board Israeli satellite, the explosion sent SpaceX's year-long streak of successful launches up in smoke, resetting it to zero. Now the question is: How long will it take SpaceX to return to space? How long to get back to square one? A competitor chimes in Last week, a controversial headline from Reuters implied that United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno had predicted SpaceX would be out of commission for between nine and 12 months. Such an apparent assertion
"Discovery" is one of the auto industry's all-time great names, a moniker incredibly well-suited to an SUV with a history of providing legitimatelegendary off-road chops. So it was quite a surprise when Land Rover walked away from the appellation in the mid-2000s in favor of an alphanumeric soup -- LR3 and then LR4, model names that that sounded they belonged to a line of icemakers. Well, the rebranding experts have evidently been put out to pasture in Great Britain, because Land Rover has finally, mercifully restored the Discovery nameplate for this fifth-generation model. And it's not just the name that's new, the Green Oval has reworked the seven-seat SUV from stem to stern for its Paris Motor
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States have successfully treated broken spines and skulls in animals using 3D-printed synthetic bone, opening the possibility of future personalized bone implants for humans to fix dental, spinal other bone injuries. Unlike real bone grafts, the synthetic material - called hyper-elastic bone - is able to regenerate bone without the need for added growth factors, is flexible and strong, and can be easily and rapidly deployed in the operating room. Giving details in a teleconference, the scientists said the results of their animal trials - published on Wednesday in the Science Translational Medicine journal - were "quite astounding".