Thu, 18 Dec 2014 23:23:48 -0500

Haruko Obokata, a researcher at semi-governmental research institute RIKEN, lowers her eyes during a news conference in OsakaBy Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - A disgraced Japanese researcher has failed to replicate results hailed as a potential breakthrough in stem-cell treatment and efforts to do so will be abandoned, officials at her research institute said on Friday. The scandal involving the research, which detailed simple ways to reprogram mature cells back to an embryonic-like state, eventually led to the retraction of papers published in the influential journal Nature and tarnished the reputation of Japanese scientific research. ...


Fri, 19 Dec 2014 08:08:22 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of the first medicine containing stem cells to treat a rare condition caused by burns to the eye. The European Medicines Agency said on Friday that Holoclar, from privately held Italian company Chiesi, had been given a green light for moderate to severe limbal stem cell deficiency due to physical or chemical burns. Left untreated, the condition can result in blindness. Holoclar is a living tissue product made from a biopsy taken from a small undamaged area of the patient’s cornea and grown in the laboratory using cell culture. ...
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:13:15 -0500

Henry Streby holds a male golden-winged warbler and the geolocator that the bird carried in the Cumberland Mountains of TennesseeBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You might want to be careful about who you call a birdbrain. Some of our feathered friends exhibit powers of perception that put humans to shame. Scientists said on Thursday that little songbirds known as golden-winged warblers fled their nesting grounds in Tennessee up to two days before the arrival of a fierce storm system that unleashed 84 tornadoes in southern U.S. states in April. The researchers said the birds were apparently alerted to the danger by sounds at frequencies below the range of human hearing. ...


Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:07:53 -0500

Falcon 9 rocket is launched by Space Exploration Technologies on its fourth cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in FloridaCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had been planned for 1:22 p.m. EST, but an undisclosed technical issue with the rocket prompted SpaceX, as the company is known, to postpone the flight until Jan 6. The problem surfaced during routine prelaunch test firing of the rocket’s engines, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. ...


Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:12:12 -0500
By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's space agency successfully tested on Thursday its most powerful satellite launch vehicle that can put heavier payloads into space, and, it hopes, win India a bigger slice of the $300 billion global space industry. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also checked the working of an unmanned crew module on the vehicle, which could give the agency the option of manned missions. ...
Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:30:34 -0500
Boulders the size of stretch limousines littered beaches near the city of Tacloban in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan pounded the region in November 2013. The towering stones provided a rare look at the way intense storms can demolish coastal communities, researchers said here on Tuesday (Dec. 16) at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting. The surprising findings: freak waves that were as powerful as tsunamis shoved the enormous limestone rocks. "If we didn't know this occurred from a typhoon, people would have started drawing tsunami maps," said Andrew Kennedy, a coastal engineer at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana who counted hundreds of boulders during a damage survey soon after Haiyan hit.
Sat, 20 Dec 2014 06:30:05 -0500

Fool's Gold Preserves Some of Earth's Oldest FossilsFool's gold helps explain why many fossils of soft-bodied animals that lived more than 540 million years ago still survive, a new study finds.


Sat, 20 Dec 2014 06:28:02 -0500

8,000-Year-Old Olive Oil Found in Ancient Clay PotsAncient people pressed olive oil as far back as 8,000 years ago in Israel, a new study finds. Researchers found residues of the Mediterranean-diet staple on ancient clay pots dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. "This is the earliest evidence of the use of olive oil in the country, and perhaps the entire Mediterranean basin," Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov, excavation directors at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. The team discovered the clay vessels by accident.


Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:04:54 -0500

Active Sun Unleashes Massive Solar FlareThe huge solar flare registered as an X1.8-class event, one of the most powerful types of flares possible, and was captured on camera by NASA's powerful Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare triggered a strong radio blackout for parts of Earth as it peaked Friday at 7:28 p.m. EST (0028 Dec. 20 GMT), according to an alert from the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center overseen by NOAA. The solar flare erupted from a sunspot region classified as Active Region 2242, and more sun storms could occur from the region. Friday's solar flare capped an active week of sun storms.


Sat, 20 Dec 2014 10:56:54 -0500

SpaceX's Next Launch to Space Station Delayed Until New YearThe private spaceflight company SpaceX won't be flying its next delivery mission to the International Space Station until early 2015. SpaceX was originally expected to launch its Falcon 9 rocket carrying an uncrewed Dragon cargo ship to the station for NASA today (Dec. 19), but the launch was delayed partly due to a problem with the rocket. SpaceX is now expected to launch its fifth official mission to the orbiting outpost under a contract with NASA on Jan. 6.


Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:39:09 -0500

Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar SpaceIt turns out that sailing through interstellar space isn't so peaceful. NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft — the only object made by humans to reach interstellar space — might still be caught what scientists have described as a cosmic "tsunami wave," a shock wave that first hit the probe in February, according to new research. You can hear the eerie interstellar vibrations in a video, courtesy of NASA. "Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet," study researcher Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa, and the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement from NASA.


Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:06:15 -0500
By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scientists should "re-wild" food crops by inserting lost genetic properties of ancient, edible plants in order to boost agricultural output for a growing population, a new study said. Important properties of wild plants, including varieties of wheat and rice, have been unintentionally lost during thousands of years of breeding. When humans first domesticated wheat around 7500 BC, farmers chose to use seeds based on a few selected traits, particularly their yields. ...
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:27:34 -0500

NASA Probe Piecing Together How Mars' Atmosphere Escapes to SpaceA NASA spacecraft that recently arrived in orbit around Mars is already helping to solve a Martian mystery. Scientists are using the space agency's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft to gather more data about how Mars' atmosphere bled molecules out into space over time. The agency released early results from the probe today (Dec. 15), showing how the continuous stream of particles emanating from the sun, called the solar wind, bury more deeply into the Martian atmosphere than scientists had previously thought. "Over the course of the full mission, we'll be able to fill in this picture and really understand the processes by which the atmosphere changed over time," Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, said in a statement.


Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:01:23 -0500

Why Birds Don't Have TeethThe common ancestor of all living birds sported a set of pearly whites 116 million years ago, a new study finds. In the study, researchers looked at the mutated remains of tooth genes in modern birds to figure out when birds developed "edentulism" — an absence of teeth. Ancient birds have left only a fragmented fossil record, but studying the genes of modern birds can help clarify how the bird lineage has changed over time. "DNA from the crypt is a powerful tool for unlocking secrets of evolutionary history," Mark Springer, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside and one of the study's lead researchers, said in a statement.


Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:14:38 -0500

Actor Seth Green Designs Mission Patch for Space Station ScienceLooking at the latest mission patch bound for the International Space Station, you would never know it was designed by actor Seth Green.


Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:30:05 -0500

FILE- In this Dec. 5, 2014, photo, the mummified body of Minirdis, a 14-year-old Egyptian boy and his exposed toes lie in his opened coffin after J.P. Brown and his team of curators at the Field Museum opened the coffin for the first time in Chicago. The team opened the coffin of the 2,500-year-old mummy to perform conservation work before it becomes part of a traveling exhibition. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)CHICAGO (AP) — Conservation work has started at Chicago's Field Museum on the 2,500-year-old mummy of a 14-year-old Egyptian boy.


Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:31:47 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have developed an ingredient that makes foods more filling, and say initial tests in overweight people showed that it helped prevent them gaining more weight. The ingredient, developed by researchers at London's Imperial College and at the University of Glasgow, contains propionate, a natural substance that stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger. ...
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:38:39 -0500

Leaders pose for the media during the High Level Segment of the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 20 in LimaBy Valerie Volcovici and Mitra Taj LIMA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no "time for tinkering" and urged a radical shift to greener economies. Ban said there was still a chance of limiting global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to help avert floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels. ...


Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:24:20 -0500

Guiding African Wildlife Through Global WarmingJessica Arriens is a public affairs specialist for the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. The Congo basin is an unruly ribbon of tropical forest, more than a million square miles spanning six countries in Central Africa, running inward along the equator from the continent's western coast. In Central Africa, those forces include deforestation, climate change, hunting and more. The region is "so enriched with life," says Mary "Katy" Gonder, a Drexel University biologist and one of the lead researchers on the Central African Biodiversity Alliance (CABA).


Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:02:22 -0500

In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, keeper Mohamed Doyo walks with female northern white rhino Fatu as she is let out of her pen to graze, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The keepers of three of the last six northern white rhinos on Earth said Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 that it is highly unlikely the three will ever reproduce naturally, with recent medical examinations of them showing the species is doomed to extinction, unless science can help. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)OL PEJETA, Kenya (AP) — The task was never going to be easy: Fly four highly endangered rhinos from a Czech Republic zoo to East Africa, drive them to the savannah grasses of Mount Kenya and hope that the natural environment helps produce a calf, staving off extinction.


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 20:37:09 -0500

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives a speech during the opening of the High Level Segment of the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 20 in LimaBy Valerie Volcovici and Mitra Taj LIMA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing deep concern about slow action to combat climate change, told governments at U.N. talks in Lima on Tuesday there was no "time for tinkering" and urged a radical shift to greener economies. Ban said there was still a chance of limiting global warming to an internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to help avert floods, droughts, desertification and rising sea levels. ...


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 17:16:42 -0500

Math for Drones, Self-Driving Cars Wins Top Student Science AwardMathematical research that could help drones navigate, and computer models for how trees growsnagged top honors at a national student math and science competition, the event's organizers announced today (Dec. 9). Peter Tian, a senior at The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio, took home the $100,000 grand prize in the individual category for mathematical research on pattern avoidance for multidimensional matrices — a subject with applications for how drones or self-driving cars navigate in 3D environments. Eli Echt-Wilson and Albert Zuo, seniors at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will share the $100,000 grand prize in the team category for research on computational models for tree growth.


Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:28:31 -0500
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has removed a retired physics professor's lectures from an online learning platform because the school concluded he had sexually harassed a woman, university officials ...
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:59:07 -0500

What Is Life? It's a Tricky, Confusing QuestionHence the operational definition of "life" in the Viking biology experiments was the ability to metabolize in the conditions of the experiment. There are several problems with this operational definition.


Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:19:12 -0500

A worker pulls a cart in front of the smoking chimneys of a power plant in HefeiLIMA (Reuters) - Projected global warming this century has slowed but is still at a severe rate after promises by China, the United States and the European Union to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a scientific study showed on Monday. The Climate Action Tracker, produced by an independent group of scientists, said temperatures were set to rise by about 3 degrees Celsius (5.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2100, the lowest since the tracker was set up to monitor promises made by governments in 2009. The study, issued during U.N. talks on global warming in Lima, said the rate was 0. ...


Mon, 08 Dec 2014 18:24:47 -0500

President Barack Obama does a "fist bump" with a Adrianna Mitchell during an “Hour of Code” event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, attended by middle-school students from Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON (AP) — Smartphones and laptops have become essential tools for today's teenagers. But finding out how to make computers work has taken a backseat to other priorities in U.S. schools.


Mon, 08 Dec 2014 17:34:10 -0500

This handout photo provided by Svatopluk Civis, taken in 2014, shows the Prague Asterix Laser System in Prague. Scientists in a lab used a powerful laser to re-create what could have been the original spark of life on primordial Earth, possibly ignited by a crashing asteroid. Researchers said they zapped clay and a chemical soup with the laser to simulate the energy of a speeding asteroid smashing into the planet. That cooked up from scratch what can be considered crucial parts of the building blocks of life. They created all four chemical bases that are needed to make RNA, a simpler relative of DNA, the blueprint of life. (AP Photo/Dagmar Civisova)WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists in a lab used a powerful laser to re-create what might have been the original spark of life on Earth.


Mon, 08 Dec 2014 17:25:53 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have found a brain mechanism they think may drive our desire for glucose-rich food and say the discovery could one day lead to better treatments for obesity. In experiments using rats, researchers at Imperial College London found a mechanism that appears to sense how much glucose is reaching the brain and prompts animals to seek more if it detects a shortfall. In people, the scientists said, it may play a role in driving our preference for sweet and starchy foods. Glucose, a component of carbohydrates, is the main energy source used by brain cells. ...
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:54:35 -0500

Who Stood Up for Science in 2014? (Op-Ed)Andrew Whelton is an environmental engineer at Purdue University. When Freedom Industries spilled chemicals into West Virginia's Elk River in January, 300,000 people suddenly found themselves without access to safe tap water. Whelton drove his student and faculty team nearly 900 miles to help, and they did so as volunteers, without the promise of funding for their work.


Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:27:51 -0500
By Vladimir Soldatkin ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia should make a leap in developing its fundamental science after Western powers limited the country's access to modern technology as part of sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine. The West has introduced sanctions against Russia, ranging from visa bans and asset freezes to restricting its access to foreign drilling technologies, key to Russia's development of untapped Arctic oil and gas deposits. ...
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:07:43 -0500

The Blackberry sign is pictured in WaterlooBy Euan Rocha TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd and NantHealth, a healthcare-focused data provider, launched a secure cancer genome browser on Sunday, giving doctors the ability to access patients' genetic data on the BlackBerry Passport smartphone. Earlier this year, BlackBerry bought a minority stake in privately held NantHealth. The mobile technology company sees healthcare as one of the niche sectors in which it has an advantage, due to the heightened focus on patient privacy and BlackBerry's vast networks that can manage and secure data on mobile devices. ...


Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:49:10 -0500
By Ronnie Cohen (Reuters Health) - Given more information about the biology of a mental disorder, doctors and therapists react with less empathy for the patient, a new study finds. The study didn't involve real patients - only short descriptions of fictional cases. Still, it found that psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers expressed less empathy for patients with conditions explained as biological rather than psychological. ...
Fri, 05 Dec 2014 06:36:43 -0500

Puffed-Up Blowfish Aren't Holding Their BreathPufferfish can balloon into a spikey sphere within moments of sensing a nearby threat, and while it may seem like these creatures hold their breath as they inflate, they can actually breathe as they puff up. "We were intrigued by previous studies that suggested the pufferfishes hold their breath while inflated, presumably to keep the ingested water in the stomach," said Georgia McGee, who did the research as a marine biology undergraduate at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. The scientists caught eight black-saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini) in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and placed them in sealed tanks. The researchers stimulated the fish by gently suctioning, which caused them to puff up to about four times their normal size.


Fri, 05 Dec 2014 00:18:50 -0500

A man smokes in front of a "no smoking" sign outside a shopping mall in ShanghaiBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose their Y chromosomes, according to research which may explain why men develop and die from many cancers at disproportionate rates compared to women. In a study in the journal Science, researchers at Sweden's Uppsala University found that Y chromosomes, which are important for sex determination and sperm production, more often disappear from blood cells of smokers than those of men who have never smoked or of men who have kicked the habit. ...


Thu, 04 Dec 2014 01:54:59 -0500
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have made the most comprehensive map yet of African genetic variation and say it should help them learn more about the role genes play in diseases such as malaria, haemorrhagic fever and hypertension in populations there. Publishing the findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday, Deepti Gurdasani of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said that despite Africa being the world's most genetically diverse region, relatively little is known about potential genetic risks for disease among its populations. ...
Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:06:14 -0500
By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than half the carbon in the Amazon region could be released into the atmosphere unless indigenous land rights are protected, a new study said on Tuesday, as a UN climate conference got under way in Peru. Indigenous territories and protected natural areas across nine South American countries account for more than half the carbon stored in the Amazon, the study published in the journal Carbon Management reported. ...
Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:04:44 -0500

FILE - In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda listens during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. Alda has a new challenge for scientists: Explain sleep to an 11-year-old. He started the annual “Flame Challenge” contest in 2011. It asks scientists to explain complex concepts in ways a child can understand. Scientists have until Feb. 13, 2015 to submit their answers about sleep in writing, video or graphics. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Actor-turned-part-time professor Alan Alda has a new challenge for scientists: Explain sleep to an 11-year-old.


Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:28:11 -0500

Actor Alan Alda Challenges Scientists to Explain 'What is Sleep?'The question may seem complex, but actor Alan Alda, renowned for his roles on the hit TV shows "M*A*S*H" and "The West Wing," is asking researchers around the world to make the answer simple and understandable to the children, who will judge the entries. "I think that 11-year-old kids are probably all reaching that point in their lives when they want answers to complicated questions, but they want them with clarity," said Alda, a visiting professor in the school of journalism at Stony Brook University, in New York. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, at Stony Brook University, has called on researchers to demystify tricky scientific concepts in what has been dubbed the "Flame Challenge" (since the inaugural challenge in 2011 sought an answer to the question "What is a flame?").


Tue, 02 Dec 2014 07:10:18 -0500

Invisible Dark Matter May Show Up in GPS SignalsGPS satellites are crucial for navigation, but now researchers think this technology could be used for an unexpected purpose: finding traces of enigmatic dark matter that is thought to lurk throughout the universe. Without the extra force of gravity from dark matter, researchers say, galaxies wouldn't be able to hold themselves together. Physicists don't know what dark matter is made of, but some think it's composed of particles that barely interact with the visible world, which is why dark matter is invisible and has been difficult to detect. However, Andrei Derevianko, a professor of physics at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Maxim Pospelov, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, have proposed that dark matter isn't made of particles at all.


Mon, 01 Dec 2014 07:10:50 -0500
Formulated by Albert Einstein in 1905, the theory of relativity is the notion that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. If you take a loop of wire and move it through a magnetic field, you generate an electric current.