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Published: Wed, 24 May 2017 21:03:10 -0400

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Bag containing moon dust from Apollo 11 expected to sell for millions at auction

Wed, 24 May 2017 15:53:42 -0400

(image) Nearly 50 years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong famously made his mark on the moon. When Armstrong returned from the Apollo 11 mission, he had a bag containing rock fragments and dust he collected from the moon's surface. Cassandra Hatton, a vice president at Sotheby's, explained that NASA unknowingly lost track of the bag, which protected the Earth and space craft from lunar pathogens, while clearing out items in the Johnson Space Center in Texas.

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Elon Musk told Donald Trump what to do about the Paris Climate Agreement

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:27:58 -0400

(image) The Trump administration may finally be nearing a decision on whether to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.  Now we know that visionary businessman Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX, Tesla, and a new, mysterious tunnel-building firm called the Boring Company, is talking to President Donald Trump about what to do regarding this agreement.   Given his role in alternative energy, it's no surprise that Musk is in favor of the 2016 treaty. SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's Boring Company isn't waiting any longer The Paris agreement was negotiated under former president Barack Obama. And for the first time in decades of climate diplomacy, all nations agreed to take steps to cut emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases based on their own timetables.  If the U.S. were to withdraw from the treaty, it's likely to have global repercussions, potentially encouraging other nations to relax their emissions reduction commitments or leave the pact entirely.  In a tweet on Monday night, Musk said he has spoken with Trump and is urging him to stay in the agreement.  @BigDAK54 I spoke directly with The President three weeks ago about Paris. Many others have too. Cautiously optimistic of a positive decision. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2017 Musk is part of Trump's business advisory council, for which he has received considerable criticism. He says he is remaining on it as a way to ensure that a diversity of views on particular matters, including climate change, make it to Trump's desk. Various advisors have been vying for the president's ear on this landmark climate deal, from the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to chief strategist Steve Bannon. Some observers think the president will announce his decision about the Paris agreement later this week at the Group of 7 major industrialized nations' summit in Sicily. While there, the U.S. will come under pressure from world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Emmanuel Macron to act on global warming, as it is a clear priority for other major industrialized nations.  Trump, for his part, has called climate change a hoax, vowed during the campaign to "cancel" the Paris agreement, and on Tuesday proposed a federal budget that zeroes out funding for international climate change assistance programs. The budget also slashes spending for U.S. climate research at the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Department, and other agencies. WATCH:

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Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent station repairs

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:36:19 -0400

(image) Spacewalking astronauts have successfully completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station

A Company's Plan to Fix Fisheries Has Scientists Feeling Skeptical

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:27:00 -0400

(image) Oceaneos wants to dump iron dust into water to catalyze phytoplankton growth. The effects of "ocean seeding" haven't been proven to work.

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China gasps at airy speech by grad student in US

Tue, 23 May 2017 03:55:46 -0400

(image) A young Chinese woman has drawn criticism on social media after unfavourably comparing her homeland's air and politics to those in the US during her graduation speech at an American university. Speaking at the University of Maryland, Yang Shuping said that coming to the United States had been a breath of "fresh air" after growing up in China. "The moment I inhaled and exhaled outside the airport, I felt free," she continued, drawing a parallel between China's notorious air pollution and its similarly choking restrictions on political speech.

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A solar eclipse will be visible across the entire US for the first time in 99 years, here's how to make the most of it

Tue, 23 May 2017 15:06:53 -0400

(image) A rare solar eclipse is happening across the US on August 21. It will be the first time since...

Four climbers found dead on Everest

Wed, 24 May 2017 09:19:59 -0400

(image) Authorities in Nepal have been unable to confirm the identities of four bodies found on Mount Everest, officials said Wednesday, raising speculation the climbers may have died years ago. The climbers were found at camp four -- at 7,950 metres (26,085 feet) -- on Tuesday by a rescue team who were there to retrieve the body of a Slovak climber who died on the mountain on Sunday. "Our rescuers found bodies of four climbers in a tent at camp four yesterday.

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How the Zika virus stealthily swept the Americas

Wed, 24 May 2017 15:17:42 -0400

Nearly a year since the Zika virus outbreak arrived in Miami, scientists say they've learned new details about how the mosquito-born virus emerged and spread throughout the Americas. Researchers sequenced nearly 200 Zika virus genomes to see how the virus mutated and traveled over time. These genetic blueprints shed new light on a poorly understood epidemic that's affected thousands of people in recent years. "We used [genomes] to investigate the timing and path of how Zika spread in a way that had not yet been possible, until now," Browyn Macinnis, an associate director at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, said this week on a press call. SEE ALSO: This frog's slime can destroy flu viruses Macinnis is the lead author of one of three Zika-related papers published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. All studies found the virus spread unnoticed for many months before transmission was detected. Aedes aegypti mosquito is seen through a microscope in Recife, Brazil.Image: mario tama/Getty ImagesZika is an RNA virus that mutates and evolves at a fairly high rate, which makes its genetic data like a trail of bread crumbs that scientists can follow. For the studies, researchers collected Zika virus genomes from infected patients and Aedes aegypti mosquitos in 10 countries.  The studies detailed where the Zika outbreak began and how it moved across the region. The virus likely began circulating in northeast Brazil around late 2013 or early 2014 – months before it was detected and an outbreak established. Soon, local mosquitos began transmitting the virus to Brazilians, including pregnant women. That likely spurred a rise in newborns with microcephaly, or an unusually small skull. From northeast Brazil, Zika traveled south to major population centers, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and spread throughout South America, Central America, and Caribbean countries. The Caribbean was Zika's main pathway to the continental United States, where the virus also circulated undetected for several months. A woman hugs her 5-month-old son, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil.Image: mario tama/Getty ImagesZika likely arrived in Florida in the spring of 2016, though the first cases of local mosquito-born transmission weren't reported until July, said Kristian Andersen, a lead author on one of the Nature studies and an assistant professor at the Scripps Research Institute.  The leap from Caribbean to continental U.S. likely happened around 30 to 40 times, meaning it wasn't a lone mosquito that sparked the outbreak. "It's not a one-off event. This is something that keeps happening over and over again," Andersen said on the press call. In Florida, 218 cases of Zika were acquired through local mosquito-born transmission last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six additional cases were acquired locally in Brownsville, Texas. Another 4,830 cases were reported across the U.S. last year, but all of those were travel-related infections, meaning people acquired the virus while visiting another country, the CDC reported. Forty-six more cases were acquired through sexual transmission. A Dec. 2, 2016, map of South Florida.Image: CDCAndersen said the Miami and Brownsville areas face the highest risk of a Zika outbreak, while remaining swaths of the continental U.S. are unlikely to see a significant outbreak. That's because southern Florida and parts of southern Texas have a year-round population of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, the main species that transmits Zika and other viruses like dengue and chikungunya. In the rest of the country, the mosquitos only appear during certain months, giving them fewer opportunities to spread the virus. Miami is also a major destination [...]

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How the Net Neutrality Debate Affects Your Internet

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:48:00 -0400

(image) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to start dismantling 2015 rules that regulated internet service providers the same way as utilities. The debate swirls around two related issues: whether the internet is a public utility, and how (or if) to ensure a concept known as net neutrality. Net neutrality is the framework for an internet in which all data is treated equally.

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Alaska aquiver: State hosts plate tectonics research effort

Wed, 24 May 2017 03:06:40 -0400

(image) Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, with more large quakes than the other 49 states combined, and America's shakiest state is about to have its ground examined like never before. A federal agency that supports basic science research is completing installation in Alaska of an array of seismometers as part of its quest to map the Earth's upper crust beneath North America. When the magnitude 9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake ripped through the state in 1964, there were two seismometers in Alaska.

China urges balance on environment, economy in Antarctica

Tue, 23 May 2017 05:23:21 -0400

(image) BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese leader on Tuesday urged international representatives to strike a "proper balance" between environmental and economic interests in Antarctica, as the frozen continent's vulnerability to climate change raises worries that some nations could seek to exploit its natural resources.

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Peru: Ancient pyramid excavation reveals extremely complex society 15,000 years ago

Wed, 24 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400

(image) The ancient civilisation that populated the coasts of Peru some 15,000 years ago was more advanced than archaeologists had previously imagined. Ancient artefacts suggest that these people had developed efficient techniques to extract resources from the sea early on. The site of Huaca Prieta in coastal Peru is home to the earliest pyramid in Latin America.

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Baby bump: China eatery in Japan soars on pregnant panda hopes

Tue, 23 May 2017 05:40:23 -0400

(image) Swelling hopes for a baby panda in Tokyo have bumped up the stock price of a Chinese restaurant chain in the area, with locals setting their sights on a flurry of tourists. Eleven-year-old Shin Shin, who was brought to Ueno Zoo from China, has been showing signs of pregnancy since last week after mating with male Ri Ri in February, according to zoo officials. Giant pandas are notoriously clumsy at mating, with males said to be bad at determining when a female is in the right frame of mind and often befuddled at knowing what to do next.

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World's Largest Aircraft Completes Successful Test Flight

Tue, 23 May 2017 10:31:00 -0400

(image) A massive airship dubbed the Airlander 10 recently completed a successful test flight, bringing the helium-filled behemoth one step closer to commercial use. It is designed to stay aloft at altitudes of up to 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) for up to five days when manned, according to Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company that built the aircraft. On May 10, the Airlander 10 flew for a total of 180 minutes to test the aircraft's handling, improved landing technology and more, according to Hybrid Air Vehicles.

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Plasma Jet Engines: Is Flying At 20Km Per Second Possible?

Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:00 -0400

(image) Plasma engines have long been a staple of sci-fi movies, from Star Wars to The Space Between Us, but a recent breakthrough may soon make them a reality

Learning to Read Can Dramatically Change the Adult Brain

Wed, 24 May 2017 15:50:02 -0400

(image) Speaking multiple languages, accruing new skills or even just quitting a habit can forge new neural pathways. Literacy, it turns out, changes ancient regions of the brain that researchers never suspected played a role in reading. The finding expands not only our understanding of reading but also disorders that impair it, namely dyslexia.

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Nasa 2018 budget highlights: Human spaceflight takes priority as education misses out

Wed, 24 May 2017 07:30:50 -0400

(image) Nasa's budget proposal for 2018 has been released by the space agency revealing what's in store for future missions and what projects could be stalled. In terms of its missions, Nasa has chosen to prioritise human spaceflight and exploration of the solar system over Earth sciences and educational outreach programmes. In simple terms, Nasa is pushing for an aggressive space outreach programme where it wants a successful manned mission to anything beyond what humankind has achieved as soon as possible.

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Beekeepers think AI that targets mites can save us from the ‘beepocalypse’

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:31:28 -0400

(image) A concerned team of beekeepers from Sweden has proposed a plan to save bees. They want to develop an AI-powered app called BeeScanning, which would analyze images of beehives to spot harmful mites.

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Just one glass of wine per day can raise your breast cancer risk

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:01:00 -0400

Cancer experts say they're increasingly confident that at least two lifestyle choices can affect a woman's risk of getting breast cancer: drinking alcohol and exercising.  Just one alcoholic drink each day is enough to boost breast cancer risk, according to a comprehensive new report published Tuesday. Vigorous exercise, by contrast, can decrease the risk in both pre- and postmenopausal women. SEE ALSO: Alcohol's cancer risks outweigh any health benefits, study shows The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund published their joint report, which includes data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer gathered in nearly 120 studies. Image: American Institute for Cancer Research"The evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, and limiting alcohol — these are all steps women can take to lower their risk," said Anne McTiernan, a lead author of the report and a cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The study gives researchers "even greater confidence in the results," McTiernan said in an email. Alcohol increases risks Tuesday's report upholds earlier findings about the links between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. Yet McTiernan said she was surprised to find that just one drink a day on average was enough to raise a woman's risk. In the U.S., a standard drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of a 5-percent alcohol beer. The analysis of premenopausal women included 10 large cohort studies, in which more than 4,000 women developed breast cancer. While the increase in risk for drinking an average of 10 grams of alcohol per day was relatively small — about 5 percent — it is still statistically significant. Image: rob carr/Getty ImagesThe postmenopausal analysis included 22 large cohort studies, in which more than 35,000 women developed breast cancer. Researchers found a 9 percent increase in risk for drinking an average of 10 grams of alcohol per day, which is also statistically significant.  There are still many unknowns about how and why alcohol consumption affects breast cancer risk, Melissa Pilewskie, a surgical breast oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said in an interview.  Pilewskie was not involved in Tuesday's report but said its findings were consistent with a number of other studies. She said it's unclear whether one drink per day is the same as having a few drinks here and there throughout the week. Alcohol consumption may also be a "surrogate" for other lifestyle factors that are the real risk culprits. Image: American institute for cancer researchWhatever the case, our drinking habits are one of the few areas of cancer risk that we can actually control, she said. Genetics, family history, age, breast density — these are much greater risk factors for breast cancer, but we can't change them. "For women who are at increased risk [of breast cancer], this is something we think likely could make a difference, even though it may be only a moderate difference," Pilewskie said. Exercise decreases risks The new report provided stronger evidence that moderate exercise can decrease the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer — the most common type [...]

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Half of World's Languages Could Be Extinct by 2100

Tue, 23 May 2017 16:28:42 -0400

(image) The Irish language, Gaelic, is one of more than 40 percent of the world's 6,000 spoken languages that are endangered, according to UNESCO. Most of the endangered languages have less than 10,000 speakers remaining. "With every language that dies we lose an enormous cultural heritage," write the founders of the Endangered Languages Project, a global collaboration of the linguistic community aimed at strengthening endangered languages.

Nerd Nite meets NASA, sparking memories for an astronaut with deep Northwest roots

Wed, 24 May 2017 16:06:53 -0400

(image) The High Dive is known for drawing crowds into the local music scene, but this week, music wasn’t what drew nearly 200 people to the venue – it was NASA. Nerd Nite Seattle is a monthly gathering at the bar in the city’s Fremont neighborhood, featuring beer, tasty Mexican food, science talks and, of course, nerdy Seattleites. Tuesday night’s event drew in plenty of the regulars, plus an assortment of first-timers. One of the first-timers was NASA astronaut Anne McClain. She mingled with the crowd, and then got on stage to speak about her rigorous astronaut training, share hilarious stories about… Read More

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Siberia: Ancient grave reveals 'dancing' skeleton tied up after death in ritual burial

Wed, 24 May 2017 06:04:54 -0400

(image) In the Russian Far East, in the province of Primorsky Krai, archaeologists have unearthed a strange-looking skeleton, that of a man in his thirties. The team of archaeologists had been working at the site conducting emergency excavations after serious flooding occurred in 2013.

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Meat Mystery in Hong Kong as Apparent Beef Eating Soars: Chart

Tue, 23 May 2017 20:51:36 -0400

(image) If you believe the numbers, Hong Kong is one of the most meat-crazed societies on earth. Beef consumption in 2016 came in at 53.2 kilograms per head -- roughly the equivalent of eating two Big Macs a day, ...

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Our brains predict events in fast-forward

Tue, 23 May 2017 11:00:01 -0400

(image) In a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, Ekman and other scientists focused instead on how the brain predicts motion. The volunteers watched the dot for about five minutes while scientists scanned their brains with ultra-fast fMRI. This way, the researchers know what pattern of brain activity was activated in the visual cortex while they watched the dot.

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Science Channel Experiments With 'Outrageous Acts of Danger' in New Series

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:00:00 -0400

(image) The show finds Todd Sampson, who once completed an unguided ascent to the top of Mount Everest, as he puts himself in death-defying situations to test science.

What Bio-Rad Laboratories Expects from Life Science

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:37:42 -0400

(image) In 1Q17, Bio-Rad Laboratories’ (BIO) Life Science segment reported revenues of ~$174.3 million, which represents a YoY rise of ~5.1%.

Poorly understood Mars landing conditions led to probe’s demise: report

Wed, 24 May 2017 14:28:07 -0400

(image) By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Europe's Schiaparelli spacecraft came very close to a successful landing on Mars last year, but engineers failed to realize how jarring the probe's parachute descent could be, dooming the touchdown, a report released on Wednesday said. Schiaparelli flew to Mars with the Trace Gas Orbiter, which is studying gases in the planet’s atmosphere from orbit. Its parachute worked as designed, but atmospheric forces at supersonic speed were not well understood, the report, commissioned by the European Space Agency, said.

Dinosaurs: 66 million years ago triceratops roamed in Mississippi

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:40:42 -0400

(image) A fossil tooth of the triceratops or a very close relative has been discovered in the eastern US about 66 to 68 million years ago. Horned ceratopsid dinosaurs, which include triceratops, were only thought to have lived in the west of the US. The tooth, from the lower jaw of the dinosaur, was discovered in the Owl Creek Formation in northern Mississippi.

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