Scientists in Tennessee have accidentally discovered a method to convert carbon dioxide, one of the most serious causes of climate change, into ethanol for use as a fuel for internal-combustion motors. “We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked,” said Adam Rondinone, an author on the research group's study journal, in a press release. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that by putting copper and carbon together to create nanospikes on silicon, exposing the matter to carbon dioxide dissolved in water, and electrifying it, the solution was transformed into a surprisingly-highly-concentrated blend of ethanol.
Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the White House's "moonshot" to find a cure for cancer has been making real progress in the past year, but more needs to be done as the nation prepares to elect a new president. Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of health care professionals and researchers gathered in Boston, the 73-year-old Democrat touched on a range of initiatives the "Cancer Moonshot" task force he chairs has been working on since President Barack Obama announced the effort in his final State of the Union in January. Biden, who lost his son, Beau, a former Delaware attorney general, to cancer last year, said the administration is trying to speed up the federal drug approval process and make it easier for cancer patients to take part in clinical trials.
Scientists working at MIT's Alcator C-Mod experimental fusion reactor have broken the world record for fusion pressure. Nuclear fusion power has long been sought as an alternative to current energy sources, but the extreme conditions required for it to work have made efficient fusion power impossible to obtain. Fusion reactions are the power source that fuels the Sun, and the only way fusion power can reliably work is in high-pressure and high-temperature environments like the Sun's core.
Scientists said Wednesday they had linked mutations in a specific gene with an increased risk of recurrent miscarriages, offering hopes of better diagnosis and treatment for affected women. The gene, dubbed FOXD1, was first pinpointed in lab mice, a team of international researchers wrote in the Royal Society Journal Open Biology. RSA is defined as a woman suffering three or more miscarriages within the first five weeks of pregnancy.
A study of 1,000 UK drivers by Hyundai Motor UK with an expert from Goldsmiths University London found that women are, on average, 12% angrier than men when they’re behind the wheel. Patrick Fagan, behavioural psychologist from Goldsmiths, ‘sense tested’ the 1,000 drivers to see how sound, sight, smell, touch and taste provoke emotional responses in different driving scenarios. The study found that in all test scenarios, women were more likely to respond with anger.
California regulators asked the public Wednesday to critique proposed regulations that would — eventually — allow self-driving cars that lack a steering wheel or pedals on public roads. The message: The regulations still need a lot of work. In a workshop at the Capitol, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles heard criticism from companies developing the cars of the future, as well as skeptics who worry the government is being pushed into a hasty embrace of imperfect technology.
Two years ago Stephen Hawking told the BBC that the development of full artificial intelligence, could spell the end of the human race. His was not the only voice warning of the dangers of AI - Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak also expressed their concerns about where the technology was heading - though Professor Hawking's was the most apocalyptic vision of a world where robots decide they don't need us any more. What all of these prophets of AI doom wanted to do was to get the world thinking about where the science was heading - and make sure other voices joined the scientists in that debate. That they have achieved that aim was evident on Wednesday night at an event in Cambridge marking
A case of the low-risk bird flu strain H7N3 has been found in two pheasants in a park in Mannheim, Germany, the city's council said on Wednesday. Six pheasants, 26 ducks and two peacocks have been culled as a precautionary measure, the council said. Checks on further birds in the park are being carried out.
Following the news of yet another “warmest month ever,” NASA has basically called it: This year will be the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880. Last month was the warmest September ever recorded, narrowly beating the previous 2014 record by 0.004 degrees Celsius, according to NASA. September’s global average surface temperature was about 0.91 degrees Celsius above average, NASA said.
LOS ANGELES – The most dangerous earthquake fault in the San Francisco Bay Area is connected to another, which means both could rupture simultaneously and unleash major devastation, a new study finds. The Hayward Fault has long been considered a threat because it runs under densely populated neighborhoods east of San Francisco. The new work found that beneath San Pablo Bay, it joins with a second, less active underground fracture to the north. Scientists had already considered the possibility of both faults rupturing at once, whether they are connected or not. So the discovery doesn't change the estimated earthquake hazard much, although it confirms suspicions that the stage is set for what
Veterinarians hope an innovative type of CT scan can advance medical care for horses and possibly be adapted for humans, eliminating the need for people to lie still inside a tube. Robotic CT at the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary school allows a horse to remain awake and standing as scanners on two mechanical arms move around it. Robotic CT "is much less stressful," said Dr. Barbara Dallap Schaer, medical director of Penn Vet's New Bolton Center.
Unlike regular gliding, which gradually results in a bird losing altitude, soaring represents a special type of gliding in which birds fly on rising air currents, known as thermals. Dr. Dan Edwards of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is also familiar with this type of energy-efficient locomotion. “I was studying autopilots and was hanging out with some of my friends from the robotics club,” Edwards told Digital Trends.
Naomi McClure-Griffiths from the Australian National University (ANU) said the study revealed for the first time the fine details of structures between stars in the Milky Way. "Very small gas clouds appear to have helped form stars in the Milky Way over billions of years," she said in a statement. She said the map would be used to answer the big questions about the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies. "How does the Milky Way get the new gas it requires to continue forming stars? And where are all of the small dwarf galaxies that must surround our Milky Way? The next steps will be exciting," she said. Stellar task Staveley-Smith said the project took thousands of hours of telescope time over several
The United Nations has urged Bangladesh to halt construction of a huge coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans, warning of a serious threat to the delicate ecosystem of the world's largest mangrove forest. The UN's culture and science agency UNESCO said there was a high chance pollution from the plant would "irreversibly damage" the Sundarbans, which straddles the border of India and Bangladesh and is home to endangered Bengal tigers and rare dolphins. It also provides a barrier against storm surges and cyclones that have killed thousands of people in impoverished coastal villages and islands in recent years, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
A ship involved with the deep-sea sonar search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is being fitted with a drone that will examine several sonar contacts of interest on the remote seabed west of Australia, officials said Wednesday. None of the sonar contacts exhibit the characteristics of a typical aircraft debris field, said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is heading up the hunt for the Boeing 777 in a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean. Poor weather during the southern hemisphere winter has, until now, prevented the ships from deploying the drone.
Spiders can control the tension and stiffness of their webs to optimize their sensory powers, helping them locate and identify prey as well as partners, according to researchers at Oxford University. "Spiders use vibrations not only from prey which is caught in their web, where obviously it's important that they know ...where it is and what it might be," researcher Beth Mortimer told Reuters. "But vibrations are also important in courtship ... A lot of males will actually generate a very specific kind of musical pattern which the females can use to determine not only that they're a male but they're the right species and whether she might want to mate with them as well." Spiders can also use the information to assess their web's condition, she said.
It's been a banner year for China's spacefaring ambitions. The country launched satellites to test quantum communications and search for dark matter, built the world's largest radio telescope, and launched a new space station into orbit (though its old one is about to come crashing back to Earth). After half a century of watching Russia and the US go from deadly space rivals to reluctant space partners, China saw its emergence as a global superpower written in the stars.
Hurricane Matthew left a trail of devastation across Haiti earlier this month after the Category 4 storm flattened houses, flooded streets and killed hundreds of people. New satellite images from NASA's Earth Observatory and DigitalGlobe show the extent
A $1.4 billion project to build one of the world's largest telescopes is up against intense protests by Native Hawaiians and others who say building it on the Big Island's Mauna Kea mountain will desecrate sacred land. This time, numerous parties are participating, including a group of Native Hawaiians who support the telescope, and dozens of witnesses are expected to testify. A group of universities in California and Canada plan to build the telescope with partners from China, India and Japan.
Two cave divers died over the weekend while exploring the Florida underwater system known as Eagle’s Nest, located about an hour north of Tampa, stunning their families and prompting calls for the closure of a notoriously perilous system. Chris Rittenmeyer, a Dallas-born digital technology specialist for the Boston Consulting Group, and his friend Patrick Peacock, an adjunct professor of history and philosophy at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and operator of a non-profit dive group, were found at about 260 feet down, in a particularly labyrinthine section of the system, according to the Sun Sentinel. Exactly what went wrong during the dive is unclear, but family described them as experienced
Is Common Core math an advance for math education or a setback? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. Answer by Keith Devlin, executive director at H-STAR Institute; co-founder and chief scientist at BrainQuake, on Quora. I know someone on the Common Core math development team, and am aware of their goal: namely, to recognize that in an era where we have devices in our pockets that can carry out any computation and solve any problem in algebra, trigonometry, calculus, you name it, that the kind of mathematical ability required for a productive life is very different from the skill set that has served
Australia on Thursday admitted more needs to be done to protect the Great Barrier Reef from pollution after a government-backed report painted a bleak picture of the natural wonder. Canberra insists it is doing more than ever before to protect the reef, but its annual report into water quality, seagrass and coral gave it a "D" -- which represents "poor" -- for the fifth year in a row. The reef receives run-off from 35 major catchments in an area larger than Japan, with sediment in the water reducing the light available to seagrass ecosystems and coral reefs, affecting coral settlement, growth and reproduction.
The first thing I noticed about my daughter is that she has my nose. It’s a babyfied version, a tiny replica in its snubby asymmetry. When I was born, my mother’s first thought was that I “looked familiar,” because I so strongly resembled her sister. “She looks like us!” I crowed when I shared a photo of my newborn with my aunt, who was equally delighted to see our genes being passed down. When I entered the world of in vitro fertilization, I wasn’t thinking about what my daughter would look like. I was only focused on getting pregnant, and I was willing to pour practically my whole self — physically, emotionally and financially — into making it happen. The process of IVF is exactly that: a process.
New images from recent exploration voyages show how weird and wild it is under the sea. "We're continually surprised by the variety of life that we find and what we're seeing," said Nicole Raineault, science operations director at the Ocean Exploration Trust.