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Published: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:19:55 -0400

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Scientists investigate large number of humpback whale deaths

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:22:50 -0400

(image) Federal officials say humpback whales have been dying in unusually large numbers along the Atlantic Coast

Trump moves to review status of America's nature preserves

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:05:50 -0400

(image) After moving to unstitch climate change rules, US President Donald Trump Wednesday opened the door to undoing the federally protected status of some of America's vast nature preserves. "Today I'm signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power and to give that power back to the states and to the people where it belongs," Trump said at the signing ceremony.

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Neanderthals in California? Maybe so, provocative study says

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:09:04 -0400

(image) A startling new report asserts that the first known Americans arrived much, much earlier than scientists thought _ more than 100,000 years ago

Researchers found the body of a 25-foot-long shark, and it's grim but strangely beautiful

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:16:53 -0400

(image) Last week, the Marine Strandings Network was called in to investigate a dead shark in Cornwall, England. What MSN found was not just any shark: it was the fully intact floating carcass of a 25-foot-long basking shark. SEE ALSO: If footage of this ethereal jellyfish doesn't calm you, nothing will Photographer Matthew Facey also visited the sight to photograph the shark. "My initial thought from a distance was it looked like a great white, but I've never heard of one washing up here," he said. "When we took a closer look he had no teeth, so it was clear he was a basking shark, quite common in Cornwall, and a gentle giant." The 25 foot long basking shark washed up on the coast of Cornwall.Image: Matthew FaceyOver the next few days, volunteers were assembled and the proper organizations were alerted to prepare for the examination that took place yesterday. "Nearly 8 meters long, and over 3 meters in girth, this male shark was in a significant stage of decomposition but never the less useful samples were taken for various research organisations and NGOs," said MSN in a Facebook post. The cause of the shark's death is still unknown, but it's hoped that the results of the investigation will shed some light on how he lived and died. MSN pointed out the upside of the situation, too: "From a sad event comes something positive as we can use these rare opportunities to learn so much more about these breathtaking creatures in our sea." WATCH: Researchers used recycled glass bottles to create super batteries

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Humans Harm Environment Even In Death

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:37:05 -0400

(image) Chemicals are released into the environment after a person dies and the remains are either buried or cremated.

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Spacecraft flies between Saturn and rings in historic 1st

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:50:47 -0400

(image) NASA's Cassini spacecraft has ventured into the never-before-explored region between Saturn and its rings

13 of the world's most luxurious superyachts of the future showcased

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:00:50 -0400

(image) Leading industry media company Boat International has identified 13 of the most desirable and luxurious superyachts to take to the waters.

California says oceans could rise higher than thought

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:20:14 -0400

(image) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — New climate-change findings mean the Pacific Ocean off California may rise higher, and storms and high tides hit harder, than previously thought, officials said.

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El Salvador bans metal mining in world first

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:47:33 -0400

(image) El Salvador on Thursday became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection. The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador," according to the text published Thursday in the official journal. "This is more than just a novelty," the president of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit, Mauricio Sermeno, told AFP.

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NASA spacewalking suits in short supply, report finds

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:36:28 -0400

(image) A new report finds NASA's spacewalking suits are in short supply

These 77,000-year-old stone tools are the oldest, most sophisticated ever discovered in South Africa

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:00:01 -0400

(image) Precisely honed lethal stone tools have been discovered in the Sibudu Cave in South Africa dating back to the Middle Stone Age in the region. Sophisticated methods to hone sharper and more deadly stone weapons is thought to have come much later. The previous earliest stone tools of this kind at the site were 65,000 years old.

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Flying cars aren't real yet, but these supersonic vehicles already exist

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:39:03 -0400

Self-driving vehicles are passé in Silicon Valley. Now it's all about flying transportation. This week, Google co-founder Larry Page unveiled his plans for a Kitty Hawk Flyer that can hover above the water. Sergey Brin, the other Google co-founder, is reportedly building a giant dirigible inside a NASA hangar.  Uber, naturally, has its own plans for flying cars, which it touted earlier this week at its Elevate Summit in Texas. And a German aircraft builder says it's planning to create an Uber-style self-driving system with its own passenger "vehicle," which is really a small, ultra-light jet. SEE ALSO: This personal helicopter is the motorcycle of the sky One major advantage of such designs — should they ever become reality — is the ability to zip from Point A to Point B, unencumbered by bumper-to-bumper traffic or 65-mile-an-hour speed limits. But we don't need such futuristic vehicles to go really, really fast. The Bloodhound SSC vehicle, a supersonic car designed to beat the current land speed record of 763 miles per hour.Image: Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesBack in October 1997, a British jet-propelled car became the first land vehicle to officially break the sound barrier. The car, called ThrustSSC, reached a speed of 763 miles per hour over one mile, earning it the Outright World Land Speed Record, a title the car still holds. Andy Green, the driver, screeched across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, a fact that Silicon Valley's flying car fanatics probably already knew. The semi-arid region is home to the annual Burning Man Festival, the beloved rustic networking event of entrepreneurs.  According to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the global governing body of motor sports, previous well-known holders of the Outright World Land Speed Record include: Thrust II, driven by Richard Noble, a Scottish entrepreneur who was the project director for ThrustSSC. Noble achieved a best speed of 633.468 miles per hour in 1983. He held the top honor until Andy Driver claimed the mantle in 1997. Blue Flame, driven by Gary Gabelich, who was the first to exceed 1,000 kilometers an hour (621.4 miles per hour) in 1970. He achieved 630.388 miles per hour in his rocket-powered vehicle, which raced across the Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah — the world's preferred venue for land-speed record attempts. The original Sunbeam car, which beat the 1925 land speed world record of 150.76 mph.Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Blue Bird, driven by Malcolm Campbell in 1935, back when car racing mainly took place on beaches. The British motorist reached 301.129 miles per hour, his ninth land-speed record since 1924. Golden Arrow, driven by Henry Segrave. This speedy vehicle hit 231.36 miles per hour in 1929. One thing that all of these vehicles have in common is their shape, with the need to reduce aerodynamic drag in order to maximize forward speed.  It remains to be seen how fast the new air transports will be, or if a new air race will supplant the land speed one-upmanship.  Experience 387 MPH in VR Feel what it’s like to set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Click here to download the Within app to watch The Possible. WATCH: Meet the fastest cars on the planet[...]

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Scientists develop fluid-filled artificial womb to help premature babies

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:53:39 -0400

(image) By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - Scientists in the United States have developed a fluid-filled womb-like bag known as an extra-uterine support device that could transform care for extremely premature babies, significantly improving chances of survival. In pre-clinical studies with lambs, the researchers were able to mimic the womb environment and the functions of the placenta, giving premature offspring a crucial opportunity to develop their lungs and other organs. Around 30,000 babies in the United States alone are born critically early - at between 23 and 26 weeks of gestation, the researchers told reporters in a telephone briefing.

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Will vertical farming continue to grow, or has it hit the greenhouse ceiling?

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:15:03 -0400

(image) As the world's population continues to balloon, the growing need for an advanced form of food production is needed now more than ever. But does a system of vertical farms solve this crisis or create a different set of problems?

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Sobering visualizations reveal how sea level rise could transform cities in your lifetime

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:46:08 -0400

Until recently, it seemed that we would be able to manage global warming-induced sea level rise through the end of the century. It would be problematic, of course, but manageable, particularly in industrialized nations like the U.S. However, troubling indications from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets show that melting is taking place faster than previously thought and that entire glaciers — if not portions of the ice sheets themselves — are destabilizing. This has scientists increasingly worried that the consensus sea level rise estimates are too conservative. With sea level rise, as with other climate impacts, the uncertainties tend to skew toward the more severe end of the scale. So, it's time to consider some worst-case scenarios. SEE ALSO: Trump White House reveals it's 'not familiar' with well-studied costs of global warming Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published an extreme high-end sea level rise scenario, showing 10 to 12 feet of sea level rise by 2100 around the U.S., compared to the previously published global average — which is closer to 8 feet — in that time period.  The research and journalism group Climate Central took this projection and plotted out the stark ramifications in painstaking, and  terrifying, detail.  The bottom line finding?  "By the end of the century, oceans could submerge land [that's] home to more than 12 million Americans and $2 trillion in property," according to Ben Strauss, who leads the sea level rise program at Climate Central.  Here's what major cities would look like with so much sea level rise: New York CityImage: CLIMATE CENTRAL New Orleans: Gone.Image: CLIMATE CENTRAL San Francisco International AirportImage: CLIMATE CENTRAL Bienvenido a Miami.Image: CLIMATE CENTRALIn an online report, Climate Central states that the impacts of such a high amount of sea level rise "would be devastating."  For example, Cape Canaveral, which is a crown jewel for NASA and now the private sector space industry, would be swallowed up by the Atlantic. Major universities, including MIT, would be underwater, as would President Trump's "southern White House" of Mar-a-Lago. In the West, San Francisco would be hard-hit, with San Francisco International Airport completely submerged. "More than 99 percent of today’s population in 252 coastal towns and cities would have their homes submerged, and property of more than half the population in 479 additional communities would also be underwater," the analysis, which has not been peer-reviewed, found.  Image: climate centralIn New York City, the average high tide would be a staggering 2 feet higher than the flood level experienced during Hurricane Sandy. More than 800,000 people would be flooded out of New York City alone.  Although the findings pertain to sea level rise through the end of the century, in reality sea levels would keep rising long after that, with a total increase of about 30 feet by 2200 for all coastal states, Climate Central found.  As for how likely this extreme scenario really is, here's what the report says:  "The extreme scenario is considered unlikely, but it is plausible. NOAA’s report and Antarctic research suggest that deep and rapid cuts to heat-trapping pollution would greatly reduce its chances."  More specifically, the NOAA projection says this high-end outlook has just a 0.1 percent chance of occurring under a scenario in which we keep emitting greenhouse gases at about the current rate. While a 1-in-1,000 chance outcome might seem nearly impossible to occur, recent even[...]

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French tourist attacked by shark in New Zealand

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 02:26:02 -0400

(image) A French tourist survived a rare shark attack in New Zealand on Thursday, suffering only moderate injuries, rescuers and locals said. The woman, aged in her 20s, was bodyboarding in the afternoon at Curio Bay in the South Island when the shark attacked her leg, St John Ambulance said. Nick Smart, who runs the Caitlin Surf School, said the woman was in the water with friends when the shark attacked "out of nowhere".

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A Cold War theory for why scientists and the government have become so estranged

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 22:05:22 -0400

(image) Republicans in Congress are harassing climate scientists. Indeed, a big reason why tens of thousands of scientists rallied in cities around the country last weekend was to counter what they see as “anti-science” attitudes taking hold in the United States — particularly in the US government. One of the more compelling responses I’ve seen to this question can be found in this 2008 paper by W. Henry Lambright, a political scientist at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

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Is Google co-founder Sergey Brin building a secret airship?

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:33:06 -0400

(image) Google co-founder Sergey Brin is said to be secretly building an airship inside Hangar 2 at the Nasa Ames Research Center. People familiar with the project told Bloomberg that Brin has been fascinated by airships. Trending: Google Home review: Can Google's smart speaker topple Amazon Echo and Alexa?

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Scientists Carry Out Rat Head Transplant

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:12:32 -0400

(image) Scientists have attached the head of a smaller rat onto a larger one in the latest study by controversial neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero. Images, which can be seen on Motherboard, show how three rats were used for the operation. One was the donor, the other recipient while the third provided the blood supply between the two.

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Rare vaquita porpoise found dead in Mexico

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:25:43 -0400

(image) An endangered vaquita porpoise was found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, the country's environmental protection authority said Wednesday, bringing to four the number of dead vaquitas found in 2017. There are only 30 remaining vaquitas (Phocoena sinus), scientists warned in February. The remains of the vaquita were found Tuesday, 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the town of San Felipe, in the state of Baja California on the Barra del Primer Estero beach, the statement read.

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Sea Creature From 507 Million Years Ago Discovered

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:00:02 -0400

(image) The “exceptionally well-preserved” fossil of the arthropod sheds light on the evolution of mandibulates — a large and diverse group that includes millipedes, crabs and insects, among others.

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A stunning celestial phenomenon now has a name: Steve

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:43:51 -0400

(image) For the past few days, one celestial phenomenon has been a darling of social media, partly because of its beauty, partly because of its unusual name. Whereas most atmospheric optical phenomena are given serious, regal-sounding titles like Rayleigh scattering, crepuscular ray, or lunar corona, this one has a humbler moniker. It’s Steve. Steve looks like…

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Locals stumble across ancient Mayan god monument while clearing debris in Mexico

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:15:19 -0400

(image) Locals accidentally uncovered an ancient Mayan artefact while clearing debris on privately-owned land in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The monument, believed to be the head of the Mayan god of maize and abundance, dates back to the late classical period between 600 and 900 AD. Archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) identified the authenticity and antiquity of the artefact.

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Google is super secretive about its anti-aging research. No one knows why.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:10:01 -0400

(image) Calico’s logo is a labyrinth — fitting for the ultra-secretive company. Researchers are puzzled by Calico’s stealthiness and say it’s not good for science. In 2013, Time magazine ran a cover story titled Google vs. Death about Calico, a then-new Google-run health venture focused on understanding aging — and how to beat it.

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Humans alter Earth's chemistry from beyond the grave

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:24:56 -0400

(image) In death, our decomposing corpses alter the chemistry of precious soil, scientists warned on Wednesday. Furthermore, human bodies also contain more sinister elements, such as mercury from dental fillings. "Chemical traces of decomposed bodies can frequently be very well distinguished in soil," said Ladislav Smejda of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, who took part in the unusual probe.

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NASA’s Cassini survived its first Saturn dive, and delivered some mind-blowing photos

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:39:20 -0400

(image) NASA delivered some fantastic news very early this morning, announcing that the Cassini spacecraft had successfully survived the first of its "Grand Finale" dives. The craft was out of radio contact for many hours as it ventured closer to the surface of Saturn than any earthly equipment had ever gone, and it shot some really stunning photos that show the planet in greater detail than we've ever seen. (image) Cassini's first dive sent it straight through Saturn's rings, shooting for a gap that measures roughly 1,500 miles wide which is light on debris. The craft cruised through its targeted space at speeds around 77,000 miles per hour, relative to the surface of the planet, and NASA notes that even the smallest particles could have spelled utter doom for the hardware if it was hit in the wrong spot. (image) "In the grandest tradition of exploration, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has once again blazed a trail, showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement. (image) The images Cassini delivered are the best photos humanity has ever had of Saturn's atmosphere, showing in detail the unique cloud formations that simply hadn't been seen previously. The photos were shot at a distance of about 1,900 miles from the planet, which might sound big, but is actually quite close when compared to most of Cassini's other photos. Cassini's next dive will take place on May 2nd, and it will be the second of 22 total dives. So buckle up, because there's lots more awesome eye candy in store.

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This fantastic idea for a circular runway is sadly going nowhere

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:55:29 -0400

(image) A round airport would let more flights take off in a smaller space, but the technology is nowhere near ready to make it work.

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3D Printing Moving To Construction Sites

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:46:20 -0400

(image) To put their digital construction platform to the test, researchers built an open dome structure in less than 13 1/2 hours.

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The flight of the honey bee is considerably messed up thanks to a common pesticide

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:00:05 -0400

(image) A key to the epidemic of honey bee colony collapse may be an agricultural pesticide that impairs bees’ ability to fly, according to a paper published Wednesday (April 26) in the journal Scientific Reports. Biologists at the University of California San Diego attached harnesses to the backs of honey bees and flew them in circles…

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Will gene edited-humans lead to a healthy utopia or an obsessive, perfectionist society?

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:05:01 -0400

(image) The potential to edit the human genome to create people with fewer genetic conditions is just around the corner. Unchecked, gene editing could be used to make certain conditions and types of people disappear from society, Stamell wrote in an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. What is gene editing?

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In space, making peanut butter and jelly is a tiny adventure

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:19:43 -0400

(image) Cooking in space presents a special challenge: how do you prepare food with no gravity? Bread crumbs or condiments you’d sprinkle can drift away, potentially damaging or clogging equipment. Even larger items, like utensils or the food itself, may float elsewhere if not properly clamped in place. The recipes an astronaut uses to stay fed resemble the unwritten cookbook of broke college students. Still, it’s a little more complicated that tossing mac and cheese into a microwave-safe bowl. ...

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Your gross human body continues to pollute the Earth even after death

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:51:30 -0400


Humans are messy creatures. We've polluted this planet to the point that it might actually be on an irreversible path towards cataclysm. As if that wasn't enough, scientists are now warning that humans continue to negatively impact the environment even after death thanks to our habit of piling corpses in specifically defined areas. Yes, even your body becomes just another piece of human litter after you push off from this coil.

The new research, which was revealed during a meeting of the European Geosciences Union this week, suggests that civilization's desire to place human remains primarily in cemeteries means the soil in those areas has huge concentrations of certain elements. The disproportionate distribution of decomposing bodies leaves long-lasting effects on the soil in those places, and when graveyards are repurposed many years later it can mean the ground itself is unusable for agriculture or even planting trees.

On top of that, people with dental fillings containing mercury and permanent implants due to bone repairs and other medical needs add even more junk to the soil when they land six feet under. The scientists warn that the problem will only become more and more pronounced as cemeteries continue to grow, and body pollution could become a serious concern before long.

Ideally, the researchers say, human remains would be distributed randomly around the Earth, allowing nature to reuse the nutrients just like it does with animal remains. That's obviously not going to sit very well with most people, but it would certainly be a solution. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hole I need to dig in my back yard.

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Synthetic material replicates photosynthesis to generate energy, clean air

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:52:57 -0400

(image) Scientists have discovered a method for triggering artificial photosynthesis using a synthetic material -- opening up a new way to generate energy and convert greenhouse gases into clean air.

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DNA In Fish And Chips Teaches Us About Human Evolution

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:42:40 -0400

(image) A fish popularly fried for fish and chips is a distant relative of humans, and its DNA works the same way ours does.

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Here's why these mushrooms glow in the dark

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:20:31 -0400

Dozens of glow-in-the-dark mushroom species grow around the world. But details on what makes them shine so bright have long been dim. In a new study, scientists say they can finally explain what makes bioluminescent mushrooms glow. They describe a process of "enzyme promiscuity" that leads to changes in the intensity and colors of mushrooms' light emissions. SEE ALSO: This frog's slime can destroy flu viruses The researchers, who hail from Russia, Brazil, and Japan, published their findings Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. Bioluminescence exists in a wide range of organisms, including deep sea fish, fireflies, and glowworms. In March, another group of scientists found the first solid evidence of fluorescence in amphibians, courtesy of the South American tree frog.  Image: Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, BrazilOf around 100,000 fungal species, about 80 are known to be bioluminescent.  Some of these emit a green light from within to attract beetles, flies, wasps, and ants, which in turn help disperse the mushrooms' spores and spread the fungi across the forest canopy, a 2015 study found. Zinaida Kaskova and her colleagues analyzed the extracts of two such 'shrooms for their study: Neonothopanus gardneri, a fluorescent mushroom native to Brazil, and Neonothopanus nambi, a poisonous mushroom found in the rainforests of southern Vietnam. Neonothopanus gardneri in the light.Image: Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, BrazilIn most cases of bioluminescence, living organisms emit light when a molecule called "luciferin" — from the Latin lucifer, which means light-bringer (also, Satan?) — combines with its enzyme partner "luciferase." When luciferin and luciferase mix together with energy and atmospheric oxygen, it triggers a chemical reaction. The result is a very "excited" oxyluciferin, which releases light energy in order to "calm down" to its lowest energy state, the scientists explained. Previous research has characterized the luciferin-luciferase combination in bioluminescent insects, bacteria, and marine mammals. But Wednesday's study is the first to describe this in fungi. A bucket of Neonothopanus gardneri in the dark.Image: Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, BrazilKaskova, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, said she and her team were able to pinpoint the structure of oxyluciferin in fungi.  They found that fungal luciferase may be "promiscuous," in that it can potentially interact with multiple derivatives of the luciferin molecule in mushrooms. Their findings could pave the way for scientists to harness bioluminescence in mushrooms. Scientists already use fluorescent molecules to track cells and proteins in biological research. This could add another tool for analytical and imaging technologies. WATCH: This Road In The Netherlands Glows In The Dark[...]

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7 Hidden Signs That Someone Is a Psychopath

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:03:00 -0400

(image) Suspect that someone you know might be a psychopath? Here are seven ways to tell.