Science

  • ABC News

    In Drought, Drones Help California Farmers Save Every Drop

    A drone whirred to life in a cloud of dust, then shot hundreds of feet skyward for a bird's-eye view of a vast tomato field in California's Central Valley, the nation's most productive farming region. Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming Co. near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of

  • OpEd: Billionaires are racing to the stars, but who really owns outer space?
    CNBC

    OpEd: Billionaires are racing to the stars, but who really owns outer space?

    Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Authority announced that Moon Express, a space exploration business owned by private U.S. citizens, had been approved to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon in 2017. Moon Express reportedly aims to land a robotic vehicle (an MX-1 lander) on the moon to maneuver it about the lunar surface and to beam images and data back to Earth. The mission is apparently a first step toward the venture's overall goal of developing and mining mineral resources of the moon .

  • How did Lucy, our early human ancestor, die?
    CNN

    How did Lucy, our early human ancestor, die?

    What happened to Lucy? Lucy was small, about 3½ feet tall and 60 pounds. Analysis of her skeleton and teeth shows she had reached maturity, but not unlike chimpanzees, her species matured young. Kappelman estimates she was 15 or 16 years old. Given her size, predators such as hyenas, jackals and saber-toothed cats would have posed a threat to Lucy. So Lucy most likely turned to the trees, Kappelman said. It's possible she scaled them only from time to time for safety or that she nested in them every night. Based on data on the nesting habits of chimps, an average of 46 feet above the ground makes them feel safe. She stood up straight, with feet, knees and hips that are similar to ours. If you

  • Lightning strike kills more than 300 reindeer in Norway
    Mashable

    Lightning strike kills more than 300 reindeer in Norway

    The incident, while rare, is not without precedent in other parts of the world, where lightning bolts have killed large numbers of cattle, elk and other animals that were clustered together during a thunderstorm. This area is home to about 2,000 reindeer at this time of the year, the agency said. Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen told The Associated Press it's not uncommon for reindeer or other wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes but this was an unusually deadly event.

  • Associated Press

    Good boy! Dogs know what you're saying, study suggests

    Scientists have found evidence to support what many dog owners have long believed: man's best friend really does understand some of what we're saying. "Dog brains care about both what we say and how we say it," said lead researcher Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest.

  • Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site
    CNBC

    Rocket Lab nearing completion of world's first private orbital launch site

    Rocket Lab , whose technology aims to propel small satellites into orbit at a fraction of the current industry prices, has nearly completed construction of the world's first private launch site. Located on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, the site was designed to "enable the highest frequency of space launches in history," according to Rocket Lab, a U.S. company with a New Zealand subsidiary. Ten-year old Rocket Lab will be charging $4.9 million per launch, a significant discount to SpaceX's $62 million price tag, and hopes to conduct weekly operations.

  • 'Strong signal' stirs interest in hunt for alien life
    AFP

    'Strong signal' stirs interest in hunt for alien life

    A "strong signal" detected by a radio telescope in Russia that is scanning the heavens for signs of extraterrestrial life has stirred interest among the scientific community. "No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study," said Paul Gilster, author of the Centauri Dreams website which covers peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration. The observation is being made public now, but was actually detected last year by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, he said.

  • LiveScience.com

    More Parents Are Refusing Vaccinations, But Their Reasons Are Changing

    Parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids are now more likely to say their reason is that they do not see a need for vaccination, the researchers found. Pediatricians should continue to talk to parents who have concerns about vaccines to try to increase immunization rates, said study co-author Dr. Catherine Hough-Telford, a pediatrician at the University of Alabama. In the study, researchers surveyed 627 pediatricians in 2013 and asked them whether their patients' parents had ever refused a vaccination, or had asked to delay a vaccination.

  • We've Been Arguing About Climate Change For Centuries
    Forbes

    We've Been Arguing About Climate Change For Centuries

    While a scientific consensus has emerged around the reality of climate change, the argument continues online and even in the current U.S. campaign for president, where Republican nominee Donald Trump calls it a “total hoax.” Recently, a scientific study found that human-induced climate change has been going on longer than we think, all the way back to the first half of the nineteenth century. Even back then, before the mountains of data, analysis and climate models became overwhelming, we were already arguing about the changes in the climate. Research published last week in the journal Nature found that while few official weather records go back further than the 1880s, natural records observed

  • Boeing’s new 3D-printed tool for making wings is so large it’s set a Guinness World Record
    Digital Trends

    Boeing’s new 3D-printed tool for making wings is so large it’s set a Guinness World Record

    Boeing and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have together landed a new world record for creating the largest solid object 3D-printed in a single piece. The printed product, known as a “trim-and-drill” tool, will help create the wings of Boeing’s next-generation 777X jet. The result of a joint project between Boeing and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, the record-breaking piece is 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide, and 1.5 feet tall, and “comparable in length to a large sport utility vehicle,” the team said in a release.

  • Scientists exit Hawaii dome after yearlong Mars simulation
    ap.org

    Scientists exit Hawaii dome after yearlong Mars simulation

    Six scientists have completed a yearlong Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in a dome in near isolation. For the past year, the group in the dome on a Mauna Loa mountain could go outside only while wearing spacesuits. On Sunday, the simulation ended, and the scientists emerged.

  • French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran
    AFP

    French environment minister announces partnerships in Iran

    France's environment minister signed Sunday a plan for French firms to help tackle Iran's environmental problems, but criticised the refusal of her country's banks to work with the Islamic republic. Segolene Royal met in Tehran with the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and a group of ministers, agreeing to work together on the water shortage, energy efficiency and pollution problems facing Iran.

  • First secret from ancient stone tablet revealed
    CBS News

    First secret from ancient stone tablet revealed

    An ancient tablet recently unearthed in Tuscany has revealed its first secret: the engraved name of a goddess linked to fertility. The 500-pound (227 kilograms) stone slab, or stele, was unearthed earlier this year at Poggio Colla, a sixth century B.C. site built by the Etruscans. The stele bears a long inscription in a language that has not been used for 2,500 years, project archaeologist Gregory Warden, a professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told Live Science in April. Now, translation is underway and archaeologists have discovered that the tablet references the goddess Uni. [Photos: The Tomb of an Etruscan Prince] “We can at this point affirm that this discovery is

  • Did fall from tree kill famous human ancestor Lucy?
    Associated Press

    Did fall from tree kill famous human ancestor Lucy?

    The famous human ancestor known as Lucy walked the Earth, but it was her tree climbing that might have led to her demise, a new study suggests. Lucy likely died quickly, said John Kappelman, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who published the findings Monday in the journal Nature. How Lucy met her end has remained a mystery since her well-preserved fossil remains were unearthed more than four decades ago.

  • Year-long Mars isolation experiment in Hawaii ends
    AFP Videos

    Year-long Mars isolation experiment in Hawaii ends

    Six people who were isolated on a remote site in Hawaii for one year to help NASA plan for a mission to Mars emerge from their dome, happy to breathe fresh air and meet new people.

  • ABC News

    Feds Turn to Space Experts NASA for Small-Drone Traffic Plan

    As the unmanned aircraft industry continues to evolve, the United States is depending on its space agency to help manage small drone traffic close to the Earth. NASA is currently entering the second phase of a four-step plan to draw up rules of the skies for drones that weigh 55 pounds or less and fly no higher than 500 feet. The project is meant to develop performance standards for drones that would be used for commercial purposes by companies such as Amazon and Google. The agency is hoping to present its research to the Federal Aviation Administration before 2020, John Cavolowsky, director of NASA's Airspace Operations and Safety Program, told attendees at a drone summit in North Dakota last week.

  • LiveScience.com

    EpiPen Alternatives Exist, and They May be Cheaper

    The soaring price of the EpiPen has garnered controversy recently, but there are alternatives to this well-known allergy treatment device. The EpiPen belongs to a class of medical devices known as epinephrine auto-injectors, which allow people to quickly inject a precise dose of the drug epinephrine. The devices are used to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can be triggered, in people who have the corresponding allergies, by foods, insect stings, medications and certain other substances.

  • Scientists discover vast reef behind Great Barrier Reef
    Fox News

    Scientists discover vast reef behind Great Barrier Reef

    Researchers working with the Royal Australian Navy have discovered an extensive reef system behind the famous Great Barrier Reef, mapping a huge network of donut-shaped features that measure between 650 and 984 feet across. The formations are called bioherms, and were made by a type of algae called halimeda. Shaped like donuts, the structures can be as deep as 33 feet in their center. “We’ve known about these geological structures in the northern Great Barrier Reef since the 1970s and 80s, but never before has the true nature of their shape, size and vast scale been revealed,” Robin Beaman, a researcher with James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, said in a statement. Beaman is also a

  • Alien Life Found? Extraterrestrials 'Strong Signal' From Russian Telescope Is Detected, Scientists Say
    International Business Times

    Alien Life Found? Extraterrestrials 'Strong Signal' From Russian Telescope Is Detected, Scientists Say

    The theory of life existing in galaxies far, far away may have just taken one giant step toward mankind, if a new report is to be believed. Signs of extraterrestrial alien life were recently sensed by a radio telescope in Russia courtesy of a "strong signal, reported science news website Phys.com. The signal came from a star — HD164595 — that is located around 95 light-years from Earth and which astrologists believe has at least one planet. However, an expert on deep space exploration was quick to warn people not to jump to conclusions. "No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study," said Paul Gilster, who operates the website

  • Poisonous Algae Blooms Threaten People, Ecosystems Across U.S.
    NPR.org

    Poisonous Algae Blooms Threaten People, Ecosystems Across U.S.

    Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. Organisms are shutting down beaches in Florida, sickening swimmers in Utah and threatening ecosystems in California. The blooms are a normal part of summer, but the frequency, size and toxicity this year are worse than ever. And water managers are rattled. "Everyone's on edge with the cyanobacteria," says Bev Anderson, a scientist with the California Water Resources Control Board. Emails reporting outbreaks of cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — fill Anderson's inbox every morning. The algae is showing up in lakes and big reservoirs like Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville. In some places, it looks like someone poured a giant can of

  • The connected cow business is about to jump over the moo-n
    Digital Trends

    The connected cow business is about to jump over the moo-n

    Connected cows are already a thing, but recently the intersection of barnyards and bits has been breeding a whole herd of applications. The current $1.27 billion “Connected Cow and Farm” business is slated to grow eight-fold to $10.75 billion by 2021, says research firm Arcluster, as reported in The Register. Arun Nirmal is Arcluster’s research director.

  • The Quiet Work of a Civil Engineer
    The Atlantic

    The Quiet Work of a Civil Engineer

    Civil engineering is often called the oldest engineering discipline, as humans have been building roads, bridges, and water ducts for thousands of years. The profession is also expected to expand by 8 percent in the next 10 years, as increasing urbanization and an interest in renewable-energy create new projects for civil engineers. Engineering is the STEM sector where the struggle for female representation is the most pronounced: According to statistics compiled by the Society of Women Engineers, only 12 percent of engineers are female.

  • 60% of key S.Asian water basin not usable: study
    AFP

    60% of key S.Asian water basin not usable: study

    Sixty percent of the groundwater in a river basin supporting more than 750 million people in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh is not drinkable or usable for irrigation, researchers said Monday. The biggest threat to groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, named after the Indus and Ganges rivers, is not depletion but contamination, they reported in the journal Nature Geoscience. Up to a depth of 200 metres (650 feet), some 23 percent of the groundwater stored in the basin is too salty, and about 37 percent "is affected by arsenic at toxic concentrations," they said.

  • Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant
    CBS News

    Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant

    While severing someone’s head and attaching it to another person’s body sounds like something straight out of a science fiction or horror movie, some real-life scientists say they are planning to do just that – as early as next year. Italian neuroscientist Dr. Sergio Canavero made headlines last year when he announced his plans to perform the first human head transplant in 2017. Since then, he’s recruited Chinese surgeon Dr. Xiaoping Ren to work with him, and now has found a volunteer patient for the procedure: a Russian man named Valery Spiridonov. In its September issue, The Atlantic profiles Spiridonov and the two scientists who hope to perform the experimental – and highly controversial – procedure.

  • This is what it looks like when society collapses
    Business Insider

    This is what it looks like when society collapses

    Before society collapses, it slows down. A team of researchers examined the archaeological record that Neolithic European — that is, between 3,000 and 10,000 years — societies left in the years before several different collapses. Sean Downey, a University of Maryland anthropologist and a researcher on the study, said that to understand what it means for a society to slow down, you should imagine a rainforest.