Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:05:07 AM CST
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This may be the role reversal to end all role reversals. That's why I was really surprised to see the structure," entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Japan's Hokkaido University said by email. Yoshizawa said that although sex-role reversal has been documented in several different types of animals, these insects are the sole example in which the "intromittent organ" - the male sex organ - is reversed, Yoshizawa said. Yoshizawa said the females of Neotrogla can hold male mates coercively using their gynosome.
Friday, April 18, 2014 11:02:25 AM CST
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A robotic U.S. spacecraft ended a pioneering mission to map dust and gases around the moon with a planned, kamikaze crash into the lunar surface early on Friday, NASA officials said. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, had been flying at increasingly lower altitudes to study how dust is lifted off the lunar surface and what gases comprise the moon's so-called exosphere - the region of space surrounding the airless moon. NASA officials had planned to crash the spacecraft into the moon, after it transmitted its final batch of data. Before hitting the lunar surface, LADEE was traveling at 3,600 mph, three times faster than a high-powered rifle bullet, so the spacecraft not only broke apart upon impact, but pieces of it likely vaporized.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 4:36:20 PM CST
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men. The advance, described online in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first time researchers have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults. Technically called somatic-cell nuclear transfer, therapeutic cloning means producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor, usually for the purpose of using those cells to treat disease. But nuclear transfer is also the first step in reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate of someone - a technique that has sparked controversy since the 1997 announcement that it was used to create Dolly, the clone of a ewe.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:03:19 PM CST
The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star's outermost planet, designated Kepler-186f, receives about one-third the radiation from its parent star as Earth gets from the sun, meaning that high noon on this world would be roughly akin to Earth an hour before sunset, said astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "This planet is an Earth cousin, not an Earth twin," said Barclay, who is among a team of scientists reporting on the discovery in the journal Science this week. NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in 2009 to search about 150,000 target stars for signs of any planets passing by, or transiting, relative to the telescope's point of view.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:02:50 PM CST
Hundreds of Neanderthals' genes were turned off while the identical genes in today's humans are turned on, the international team announced in a paper published online in Science. They also found that hundreds of other genes were turned on in Neanderthals, but are off in people living today. Among the hundreds: genes that control the shape of limbs and the function of the brain, traits where modern humans and Neanderthals differ most. "People are fundamentally interested in what makes us human, in what makes us different from Neanderthals," said Sarah Tishkoff, an expert in human evolution at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the new study.
Friday, April 18, 2014 11:42:47 AM CST
The roaring jet stream, whose swooping winds drove frigid cold in the East and record warmth in the West this winter, first started twisting and turning about 4,000 years ago, according to a new analysis of ancient rainfall records from North America. The study shows the jet stream's plunging pattern is a long-standing natural phenomenon. "The pattern we've observed points to a strong potential for an increase in winter extremes in the future," said Gabe Bowen, a study co-author and paleoclimatologist at the University of Utah. Bowen and his co-authors examined the 8,000-year history of a weather pattern called the Pacific-North America Teleconnection.
Friday, April 18, 2014 7:27:43 AM CST
For some elderly people, apathy may signal that the brain is shrinking a bit faster than normal, a new study suggests. Identifying people with apathy earlier may help doctors find people at risk of brain diseases, the researchers said. Many brain diseases start to develop long before a person shows symptoms, she told Live Science.
Friday, April 18, 2014 7:26:16 AM CST
Intrigued by treating a patient who thought he was a werewolf, Dr. Jan Dirk Blom, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, mined the archives of psychiatry to find out just how common the condition is. Among them, 13 reports met the criteria for clinical lycanthropy, the medical term for having delusions of being able to turn into a wolf. The adjective 'clinical' is used to emphasize that the condition doesn't mean actual lycanthropy, or the ability to metamorphose physically into a wolf, Blom said. "I had expected to find more cases, because in textbooks the condition is mentioned quite often in passing," Blom said.
Friday, April 18, 2014 9:00:16 AM CST
NASA's newest moon probe met its end during a vaporizing crash into the lunar surface last night. The space agency's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (LADEE for short) made its planned crash into the lunar surface between 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 GMT) and 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT) on April 18, after orbiting the moon since October 2013. Scientists expected the impact, predicting that LADEE would hit the far side of the moon on or before April 21 because the probe was running out of fuel — as intended. NASA engineers think that the loveseat-sized probe broke apart as most of it heated up to several hundred degrees.
Friday, April 18, 2014 5:11:26 AM CST
The private spaceflight company SpaceX is once again counting down to launch an unmanned Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station today (April 18) after nearly a month of delays. SpaceX is slated to launch its third official Dragon cargo run to the space station from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida today at 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT). Once it launches atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon capsule is expected to deliver about 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kilograms) of food, supplies and experiments to the six crewmembers living and working on the space station. You can watch the launch live on Space.com beginning at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT) via NASA TV.
Friday, April 18, 2014 4:12:21 AM CST
A NASA probe orbiting the moon will literally bite the lunar dust within the next week or so when it crashes into the moon's far side. LDEX has churned out large amounts of data about the moon's dust exosphere, Kempf said, and deepened insight into the physics of the phenomenon.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:49:01 PM CST
The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star’s outermost planet, designated Kepler-186f, receives about one-third the radiation from its parent star as Earth gets from the sun, meaning that high noon on this world would be roughly akin to Earth an hour before sunset, said astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “This planet is an Earth cousin, not an Earth twin,” said Barclay, who is among a team of scientists reporting on the discovery in the journal Science this week. NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in 2009 to search about 150,000 target stars for signs of any planets passing by, or transiting, relative to the telescope’s point of view.
Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:10:57 PM CST
For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an "Earth cousin" that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. "One of the things we've been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 4:06:04 PM CST
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You've heard of the Model T Ford, the famed early 20th-century automobile that was the forerunner of the modern car. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the impeccably preserved fossilized remains of a shark that lived 325 million years ago in what is now Arkansas, complete with a series of cartilage arches that supported its gills and jaws. Because shark skeletons are made of soft cartilage, not hard bone, finding anything more than scrappy fossilized remains of teeth and vertebrae is rare. Finding a fossil shark in an almost three-dimensional state of preservation, boasting important skeletal structures, is exceptional.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:59:23 PM CST
If you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. Researchers said on Wednesday they have identified a protein on the egg cell's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of a sperm cell, allowing the two cells to join. This protein, dubbed Juno in honor of the ancient Roman goddess of fertility and marriage, and its counterpart in sperm, named Izumo after a Japanese marriage shrine, are essential for reproduction in mammals including people, they said.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:39:22 AM CST
This month, you can fly along the Gulf of Mexico seafloor and explore a strange ecosystem fueled by chemicals instead of sunlight, all from your computer. The journey to the deep sea comes courtesy of a remotely operated vehicle and camera sled that will send back live video to the Okeanos Explorer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's research vessel. Scientists aboard the Okeanos are exploring the Gulf of Mexico's deep underwater habitats, which include mud volcanoes, methane seeps, brine pools, submarine canyons and shipwrecks. On the first dive, which occurred Saturday (April 12), researchers discovered oil and gas bubbles seeping from the seafloor near a large brine pool — very salty water ponded on the seafloor.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:27:22 AM CST
Strong winds brought a forest fire into this port city of 280,000 over the weekend, NASA's Earth Observatory reports. An instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this snapshot of smoke from Valparaiso at 11:10 a.m. local time on Sunday (April 13). "One of the things that keeps coming out of my studies is that fire frequency tends to be highest when there's low to medium housing density and when homes are scattered in isolated clusters of development," Alexandra Syphard, an ecologist at the Conservation Biology Institute in La Mesa, Calif., told Live Science in 2013.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:08:18 AM CST
Four prominent cosmologists say they were misquoted in a documentary trailer promoting a claim debunked more than 450 years ago: that the Earth is in a privileged spot in the universe. Co-producer Robert Sungenis did not respond to multiple interview requests from Live Science. His trailer received universal ridicule among scientists interviewed for this story, including Lawrence Krauss, who was portrayed in the preview. "I'd be more upset, except the idea is so stupid that in the end, it will just reflect badly on them," said Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:00:36 AM CST
The popularity of weird beards and mustaches among young men living in Brooklyn, N.Y., may be more than just a hipster fad. According to a new study, women and men find facial hair most attractive when it is rare. When shown men's faces, men and women study participants consistently rated the faces with beards or stubble as more attractive than clean-shaven faces. But beards were most alluring when facial hair was rare, whereas clean-shaven faces gained in popularity when hairy faces were the norm.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:13:06 AM CST
The existence of exotic hadrons — a type of matter that doesn't fit within the traditional model of particle physics — has now been confirmed, scientists say. Researchers working on the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland — where the elusive Higgs boson particle was discovered in 2012 — announced today (April 14) they had confirmed the existence of a new type of hadron, with an unprecedented degree of statistical certainty. "We've confirmed the unambiguous observation of a very exotic state — something that looks like a particle composed of two quarks and two antiquarks," study co-leader Tomasz Skwarnicki, a high-energy physicist at Syracuse University in New York said in a statement. The Standard Model of particle physics allows for two kinds of hadrons.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:18:20 AM CST
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent BERLIN (Reuters) - A United Nations report said on Sunday that governments must act faster to keep global warming in check and delays until 2030 could force them to use little-tested technologies to extract greenhouse gases from the air. The study, drawing on work by more than 1,000 experts, said a radical shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy such as wind, solar or nuclear power would shave only about 0.06 of a percentage point a year off world economic growth. "It does not cost the world to save the planet," Ottmar Edenhofer, a German scientist who is co-chair of a meeting of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told a news conference in Berlin. The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, led by China's industrial growth.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 7:53:35 AM CST
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent BERLIN (Reuters) - A United Nations report said on Sunday that governments must act faster to slow global warming and delays until 2030 could force reliance on little-tested technologies to extract greenhouse gases from the air. The study, drawing on work by more than 1,000 experts, said a radical shift from conventional fossil fuels to low-carbon energy such as wind, solar or nuclear power would shave only about 0.06 percentage point a year off world economic growth. "It does not cost the world to save the planet," Ottmar Edenhofer, a German scientist who is co-chair of a meeting of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told a news conference in Berlin. The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, led by China's industrial growth.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 3:04:07 AM CST
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent BERLIN (Reuters) - Faster action is needed to keep global warming to agreed limits and delays until 2030 could force reliance on technologies to extract greenhouse gases from the air, a U.N. report said on Sunday. The study, drawing on the work of more than 1,000 experts, said a shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy such as wind, solar or nuclear power was affordable and would shave only about 0.06 percentage point a year off world economic growth. "We have a window of opportunity for the next decade, and maximum the next two decades" to act at moderate costs, said Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of a Berlin meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in world greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs, led by China's industrial growth.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 7:36:04 AM CST
BERLIN (AP) — After racing against the clock in an all-night session, the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change was putting the final touches Saturday on a scientific guide to help governments, industries and regular people take action to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:34:32 PM CST
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Four young women born with abnormal or missing vaginas were implanted with lab-grown versions made from their own cells, the latest success in creating replacement organs that have so far included tracheas, bladders and urethras. Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women's own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured. It is not yet clear whether these women can bear children, but because they are menstruating, it suggests their ovaries are working, so it may be possible, said Dr Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina. The feat, which Atala and colleagues in Mexico describe in the journal the Lancet, is the latest demonstration from the growing field of regenerative medicine, a discipline in which doctors take advantage of the body's power to regrow and replace cells.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:32:47 PM CST
Scientists who examined a controversial fragment of papyrus written in Egyptian Coptic in which Jesus speaks of his wife concluded in papers published on Thursday that the papyrus and ink are probably ancient and not a modern forgery. The existence of the fragment, known as the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," was made public at an academic conference in 2012. It is seen by some as a glimpse of how ancient Christians thought while decried by others, including the Vatican, as an absurd fake. Scientific studies performed over the last two years at various universities suggest both the ink and the papyrus are probably no newer than the 9th century and that the language and writing style are authentic for the period.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:23:11 PM CST
Brian Dyak is president, CEO and co-founder of the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) and executive producer of EICnetwork.tv. While most of us remember his familiar character from our youthful classroom activities and childhood television favorites, Nye, a former mechanical engineer, continues to capture our hearts and minds with his insights into the science and technology world. In his interview, Nye asks us to ponder how "everything you can touch and see, everything, came out of someone's head." Science and technology affects and changes the world every day. His curiosity ultimately led him on a path to become a mechanical engineer for Boeing — before he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest and entered into comedy, to later be followed by his career promoting science and technology.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 5:12:51 AM CST
"We're trying to create some new knowledge," said Sam Avery, an aerospace engineering undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, who is leading a team of flyers to NASA's Johnson Space Center. "[On Earth] the convective flow basically speeds up the combustion process and makes it so that you can't get an actual burning rate for your fuel," Avery told Space.com. In two separate flights as part of NASA's competitive Microgravity University Program, Avery's team is going to be measuring the burn rate of four different biofuels: butanol, ethanol, E85 and kerosene. Avery's supply was donated by a local gas station in California.)
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 5:20:48 AM CST
LONDON (AP) — In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 5:16:07 AM CST
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - British scientists have for the first time used regenerative medicine to fully restore an organ in a living animal, a discovery they say may pave the way for similar techniques to be used in humans in future. The University of Edinburgh team rebuilt the thymus - an organ central to the immune system and found in front of the heart - of very old mice by reactivating a natural mechanism that gets shut down with age. The regenerated thymus was not only similar in structure and genetic detail to one in a young mouse, the scientists said, but was also able to function again, with the treated mice beginning to make more T-cells - a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections. The regenerated thymus was also more than twice the size of the aged organs in the untreated mice.
Monday, April 7, 2014 12:18:02 PM CST
Bringing astrophysics to the masses is difficult at the best of times, but how do you communicate such complex science to students in underserved groups, such as those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing? One research team has developed a unique approach: Use dance and stunning backdrops to teach the mathematics and physics of merging black holes. Manuela Campanelli, is director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (CCRG) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where she and her colleagues study how black holes merge. Through a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Campanelli and her team have built an astrophysics and dance public engagement program, AstroDance, around their original research and a smaller, but popular, demonstration they presented during the Light in Winter Festival in Ithaca, N.Y.
Monday, April 7, 2014 5:23:30 AM CST
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has reached its next study area and is now scoping out rocks that it will take an up-close look at over the next few weeks. The Curiosity rover snapped new photos of Mars after driving 98 feet (30 meters) on Wednesday (April 2) and topping a small hill that affords a good view of the surrounding area, which NASA scientists have dubbed "the Kimberley," officials said. "This is the spot on the map we've been headed for, on a little rise that gives us a great view for context imaging of the outcrops at the Kimberley," Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the science team lead for Curiosity's work at the site, said in a statement. Four different types of rock intersect at the Kimberley, providing Curiosity with a wealth of material to study.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 5:01:18 AM CST
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent OSLO (Reuters) - World powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, a draft U.N. study to be approved this week shows. It says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since 1900 and are set to breach the 2 C ceiling on current trends in coming decades, U.N. reports show. "The window is shutting very rapidly on the 2 degrees target," said Johan Rockstrom, head of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and an expert on risks to the planet from heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas.
Friday, April 4, 2014 6:17:34 AM CST
Millions of fans of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" are girding themselves for the April 6 premiere of the wildly popular show's fourth season. Amid palace intrigue, gruesome assassinations, dark religious rituals, bloody battle scenes, fire-breathing dragons and enough lusty sexual escapades to shame a Roman orgy, there's plenty to keep viewers hooked on the series, based on George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" books. And when that happens in "Game of Thrones," there's usually someone on hand to offer them milk of the poppy, a painkiller that can, in high doses, lead to unconsciousness.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 5:57:51 PM CST
Yellowstone National Park assured guests and the public on Thursday that a super-volcano under the park was not expected to erupt anytime soon, despite an alarmist video that claimed bison had been seen fleeing to avoid such a calamity. Yellowstone officials, who fielded dozens of calls and emails since the video went viral this week following an earthquake in the park, said the video actually shows bison galloping down a paved road that leads deeper into the park. Contrary to online reports, it's a natural occurrence and not the end of the world," park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said. Assurances by Yellowstone officials and government geologists that the ancient super-volcano beneath the park is not due to explode for eons have apparently done little to quell fears among the thousands who have viewed recent video postings of the thundering herd.
Thursday, April 3, 2014 5:53:04 AM CST
the U.S. government agency dedicated to the development of futuristic and cutting-edge technologies for the military — has launched a new division to study the intersection of biology, engineering and computer science, and to investigate how merging these fields could bolster national security. The new division, dubbed the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), will examine diverse natural mechanisms — ranging from the workings of individual cells to complex biological systems — that, when combined with advancements in sensor design, nanotechnology or microsystems, for example, could yield innovative, next-generation tools for national defense. "Biology is nature's ultimate innovator, and any agency that hangs its hat on innovation would be foolish not to look to this master of networked complexity for inspiration and solutions," DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said last week in a testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:33:43 PM CST
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster is unlikely to lead to a rise in the number of people developing cancer like after Chernobyl in 1986, even though the most exposed children may face an increased risk, U.N. scientists said on Wednesday. In a major study, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said it did not expect "significant changes" in future cancer rates that could be attributed to radiation exposure from the reactor meltdowns. However, some children - estimated at fewer than 1,000 - might have received doses that could affect the risk of developing thyroid cancer later in life, UNSCEAR said, making clear that the probability of that happening was still low. UNSCEAR chair Carl-Magnus Larsson said there was a theoretical increased risk among the most exposed children as regards to this type of cancer, which is a rare disease among the young.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:01:42 AM CST
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:00:46 AM CST
By Sharon Begley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A year to the day after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a $100 million "BRAIN Initiative" to accelerate discoveries in how gray matter thinks, feels, remembers, and sometimes succumbs to devastating diseases, scientists on Wednesday said they had achieved a key milestone toward that goal. Writing in the journal Nature, they unveiled the mouse 'connectome,' a map showing the sinuous connections that neurons make throughout the mouse brain as they form functional circuits. The mouse connectome "provides the most detailed analysis of brain circuitry currently available for any mammalian brain," said neuroscientist David Van Essen of Washington University in St. Louis, co-leader of the human connectome project, which aims to do that for Homo sapiens. "It is truly a landmark study." A connectome is essentially a wiring diagram.