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Fixing 'Ebolanomics' in pursuit of vaccines and drugs

Scientists at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg prepare an experimental Ebola vaccine for shipment to the World Health OrganizationBy Kate Kelland and Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - As researchers from Africa to China to America race to develop vaccines and treatments to fight Ebola, health experts are grappling with the economics of a disease that until this year had been off the drug industry's radar. Whether or not effective drugs come in time to turn around the world's worst epidemic of the virus ravaging three West African countries, the world will want stockpiles to protect against inevitable future outbreaks, experts say. ...


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Old, cold and bold: Ice Age people dwelled high in Peru's Andes

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a bleak, treeless landscape high in the southern Peruvian Andes, bands of intrepid Ice Age people hunkered down in rudimentary dwellings and withstood frigid weather, thin air and other hardships. Scientists on Thursday described the world's highest known Ice Age settlements, two archaeological sites about 2.8 miles (4.5 km) above sea level and about 12,000 years old packed with artifacts including a rock shelter, stone tools, animal bones, food remnants and primitive artwork. ...

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French entrepreneurs launch test to detect pork in food

An illustration picture shows a kit to test for the presence of pork in food for use by Muslims at the company Capital Biotech offices in Asnieres sur SeineBy Lucien Libert ASNIERES France (Reuters) - Two French entrepreneurs have launched a portable device to test for the presence of pork in food for use by Muslims who abide by dietary laws. With France's five million Muslims making up about eight percent of the overall population, the test, similar in size to a pregnancy test, aims to help consumers detect traces of pork not just in food, but also in cosmetics or medicines. The kit comes with a small test tube in which a food sample is mixed with warm water. ...


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The beast with the behemoth arms: A dinosaur mystery is solved

Illustration of Deinocheirus mirificus the largest known member of a group of bird-like dinosaursBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In July 1965, two gigantic fossilized dinosaur arms replete with menacing claws were unearthed in the remote southern Gobi desert of Mongolia. Measuring 8 feet (2.4 meters), they were the longest arms of any known bipedal creature in Earth's history. But nearly everything else was missing, leaving experts baffled about the nature of this beast with the behemoth arms. Half a century later, the mystery has been solved. ...


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Cosmonauts breeze through spacewalk outside space station

NASA photo of Solar array panels on the Russian segment of the International Space Station and a blue and white part of EarthBy Irene Klotz (Reuters) - Two Russian cosmonauts wrapped up a speedy, 3 -1/2-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Wednesday to replace science experiments and jettison two unneeded antennas. Station commander Maxim Suraev and flight engineer Alexander Samokutyaev quickly completed the first task on their to-do list, removing and jettisoning a defunct science experiment known as Radiometriya. The device, which was installed in 2011, was used to track seismic activity on earth, NASA mission commentator Rob Navias said during a live broadcast of the spacewalk on NASA TV. ...


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Incredible Photo of Lazing Lions Wins Wildlife Photography Contest

Incredible Photo of Lazing Lions Wins Wildlife Photography ContestA stunning black-and-white photo of five lionesses relaxing with their cubs in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park has taken the top prize at the 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, held this week at London's Natural History Museum. The image, snapped by American photographer Michael Nichols, shows the Vumbi pride resting on a kopje, or rocky formation, as the late afternoon sun beams on the expansive plains of the Serengeti.


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Oldest High-Altitude Human Settlement Discovered in Andes

Oldest High-Altitude Human Settlement Discovered in AndesThe oldest-known evidence of humans living at extremely high altitudes has been unearthed in the Peruvian Andes, archaeologists say. The sites — a rock shelter with traces of Ice Age campfires and rock art, and an open-air workshop with stone tools and fragments — are located nearly 14,700 feet (4,500 meters) above sea level and were occupied roughly 12,000 years ago. "Either they genetically adapted really, really fast — within 2,000 years — to be able to settle this area, or genetic adaptation isn't necessary at all," said lead study author Kurt Rademaker, who was a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology when he conducted the study. At that time, Rademaker and his colleagues were studying a 13,000-year-old Paleoindian fishing settlement on the coast of Peru called Quebrada Jaguay.


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Record Bid! Early Apple Computer Sells for Nearly $1 Million

Record Bid! Early Apple Computer Sells for Nearly $1 MillionA rare Apple-1 computer built in Steve Jobs' garage in the summer of 1976 sold at auction this week for a record-breaking $905,000. The high price tag — almost double the original estimated value — makes this particular Apple-1 model the world's most valuable computer relic and the most expensive Apple computer ever sold, according to Bonhams Auction House, which handled the sale yesterday (Oct. 22) in New York. The Apple artifact now belongs to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


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First Private Moon Mission to Launch on Chinese Rocket Today

First Private Moon Mission to Launch on Chinese Rocket TodayThe 4M mission, a project developed by Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace, will piggyback on a Chinese moon flyby unofficially dubbed Chang'e 5-T1, which aims to test out technology for a future lunar sample-return mission. "We also want to promote our way to do space missions in general — the microsatellite approach."


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Partial Solar Eclipse Today: A Weather Forecast

Partial Solar Eclipse Today: A Weather ForecastViewers throughout most of the United States are in position to see a partial solar eclipse Thursday afternoon (Oct. 23). One of those regions is the northeastern United States, including all of New England. You can watch the solar eclipse webcast at Space.com beginning at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), with live feeds available from the Slooh Community Observatory, Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the University of Arizona's SkyCenter at Mount Lemmon.


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Swiss scientists determine comet's 'perfume'

Rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar and a hint of sweet ether.

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The Science Behind Renée Zellweger's New Face

Photographs of actress Renée Zellweger at the Elle magazine's Women in Hollywood awards this week, showing her dramatically different appearance, have sparked the Internet's interest. The 45-year-old actress looked almost unrecognizable to fans who know her best from her earlier movies such as "Jerry Maguire" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." But two cosmetic surgeons told Live Science that Zellweger's transformation could be the result of relatively minor procedures, as well as weight loss and normal aging. Zellweger looks so different because her most distinctive features are the ones that changed dramatically, said both Dr. Michael C. Edwards, the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and Dr. Stuart Linder, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. "That's what made her Renee Zellweger," Edwards told Live Science.

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Hawaii scientists return to ocean for weapon study

University of Hawaii scientists plan to embark on a final expedition to deep waters off Oahu to study how chemical weapons dumped in the ocean decades ago are affecting seawater, marine life and sediment. ...

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New apps bring kids' playtime back to real world

Woman walks past icons for Apple Apps at San Francisco retail storeBy Natasha Baker TORONTO (Reuters) - Parents eager to get their children away from television and video screens can turn to new apps that get youngsters to learn while playing in the real world. New iPad and iPhone apps for children by companies such as Osmo and Tiggly are designed to help children learn spatial, language, counting and physics concepts while playing with tangible objects. Tangram, Words and Newton from California-based Osmo let children manipulate objects in the real world and to interact with games on the screen. ...


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Incredible Science and Historical Artifacts Up for Auction

Record Bid! Early Apple Computer Sells for Nearly $1 MillionA working Apple-1 computer, a window from the Manhattan Project's bomb-development site and a letter from Charles Darwin discussing the details of barnacle sex will go on sale this month at an auction of rare scientific artifacts. A viewing window from the Manhattan Project — valued at around $200,000 — is another big-ticket item at the auction. The Manhattan Project was a secret government operation during World War II designed to develop the world's first atomic bomb, and included many famous scientists like J. Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. A collection of astronomer George Willis Ritchey's deep-space photographs, books and telescope blueprints is also on sale.


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Science meets voodoo in a New Orleans festival of water

By Kathy Finn NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Perhaps no other city in the United States is as well-suited as New Orleans to wed a scientific discussion of environment with a celebration of the occult. That's exactly what unfolded on Saturday at "Anba Dlo," an annual New Orleans festival where prominent scientists joined with practitioners of the voodoo religion to look for answers to the challenges of dealing with water. In "The Big Easy," a low-lying Louisiana city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and threatened by the BP oil spill of 2010, water is a subject nearly impossible to ignore. ...

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Goliath Encounter: Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

Goliath Encounter: Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in RainforestPiotr Naskrecki was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small mammal, such as a possum or a rat.


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Exclusive: U.S. requests production plans for Ebola drug ZMapp

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials have asked three advanced biology laboratories to submit plans for producing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which ran out after it was given to a handful of medical workers who contracted the disease in West Africa, government and lab officials said on Friday. The "task order" issued on Thursday by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) asks that detailed plans, including budgets and timetables, be submitted by Nov. 10. ...

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U.S. requests production plans for Ebola drug ZMapp

Long holds up a copy of a magazine with an Ebola headline as public health officials testify before a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, in WashingtonBy Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials have asked three advanced biology laboratories to submit plans for producing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which ran out after it was given to a handful of medical workers who contracted the disease in West Africa, government and lab officials said on Friday. The "task order" issued on Thursday by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) asks that detailed plans, including budgets and timetables, be submitted by Nov. 10. ...


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Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz

Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists AbuzzA comet's close shave with Mars this weekend could reveal some key insights about the Red Planet and the solar system's early days, researchers say. "On Oct. 19, we're going to observe an event that happens maybe once every million years," Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division, said in a news conference earlier this month. Siding Spring, whose core is 0.5 to 5 miles (0.8 to 8 km) wide, likely formed somewhere between Jupiter and Neptune about 4.6 billion years ago — just a few million years after the solar system began coming together. Many of the objects in the region where the comet was born were incorporated into newly forming planets, but a different fate awaited Siding Spring, researchers said: It apparently had a close encounter with one of these planets and was booted out into the Oort Cloud, a frigid comet repository at the very outer reaches of the solar system.


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Are we there yet? Scientists prepare for change of epoch

Undated NASA handout picture of North Korea (the dark area) and South Korea as seen from the International Space StationBy Emma Anderson BERLIN (Reuters) - Scientists from around the world met this week to decide whether to call time on the Holocene epoch after 11,700 years and begin a new geological age called the Anthropocene - to reflect humankind's deep impact on the planet. For decades, researchers have asked whether humanity's impact on the Earth's surface and atmosphere mean we have entered the Anthropocene - or new human era. ...


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25 Years After Loma Prieta, Earthquake Science Is Transformed

25 Years After Loma Prieta, Earthquake Science Is TransformedThe Oct. 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake was America's first widely-shared natural disaster. The TV crews at San Francisco's Candlestick Park soon turned their cameras on the ravaged city, and frightening images poured in of people trapped in crumpled freeways, burning buildings and toppled storefronts. The magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, centered below the Santa Cruz Mountains, shook much of central California. The resulting damage ultimately revitalized San Francisco, with a new waterfront replacing the demolished Embarcadero Freeway and a $30 billion investment from public and private organizations for redevelopment and seismic upgrades.


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Saturn moon may have 'life-friendly' underground ocean - scientists

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - Saturn’s battered moon Mimas may have a thin global ocean buried miles beneath its icy surface, raising the prospect of another "life-friendly" habitat in the solar system, scientists said on Thursday. An underground ocean is one of two explanations for why the 400-mile (250-km) diameter moon wobbles as it orbits around Saturn, scientists using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft said. The other possibility is that Mimas has an oblong or rugby ball-shaped core. Follow-up measurements should provide more answers, the scientists said. ...

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Female orgasm: battleground of science?

By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hapless lovers are not the only ones who get lost down there: even sexologists can’t agree on what’s what, and where, among women's female parts. At least, that’s according to a father-daughter team of researchers in Italy, Drs. Vincenzo and Giulia Puppo. In a new review October 6 in Clinical Anatomy, Vincenzo, of the Italian Center of Sexology in Bologna, and Giulia, a biologist at the University of Florence, point out some problems with some of newer anatomical and physiological terms researchers have been using since the mid-1990s. ...

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Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2011 file photo, a natural gas well operated by Northeast Natural Energy is seen in Morgantown, W.Va. Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn’t quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won’t slow global warming, a new study projects. Abundant natural gas in the United States has been displacing coal, which produces more of the chief global warming gas carbon dioxide. But the new international study says an expansion of natural gas use by 2050 would also keep other energy-producing technologies like wind, solar and nuclear, from being used more. And those technologies are even better than natural gas for avoiding global warming. (AP Photo/David Smith)WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn't quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won't slow global warming, a new study projects.


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New Exotic Particle Could Help Explain What Holds Matter Together

New Exotic Particle Could Help Explain What Holds Matter TogetherA new exotic particle has been hiding out amidst the gobs of data collected by the world's largest atom smasher, physicists have discovered. The new particle, called Ds3*, is a meson — a type of unstable particle  made of one quark and one antiquark. They're held together by the strong interaction, or strong force, that is one of the four fundamental forces in nature. To find the new particle, Tim Gershon, a professor of physics at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, and his team used the Dalitz plot analysis.


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New Tech Helps Pilots Navigate Dangerous Volcanic Ash Plumes

New Tech Helps Pilots Navigate Dangerous Volcanic Ash PlumesNew technology to detect volcanic ash that threatens airplanes could help prevent a repeat of the air traffic chaos that followed a 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland. With satellites, scientists can detect tiny ash particles, but predicting where aircraft can safely fly is still a major hurdle. "The key issue for us is to develop an integrated monitoring and response system for future volcanic crises that can be used to respond quickly in the event of the formation of an ash cloud from Iceland," Hans Schlager, head of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Center, said in a statement. Ash particles are jagged and sharp.


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Rattlesnake repertoire boosts snake-like robot's skills

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - How do you make a better snake robot? You study snakes, of course. Researchers on Thursday said they conducted experiments to learn precisely how sidewinder rattlesnakes are able to climb sandy hills, then applied the reptiles' repertoire to an existing snake robot so it could do the same thing. The study, published in the journal Science, is an example of how scientists are applying knowledge of biology to improve technology. ...

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Scientists find lung cancer can lie hidden for 20 years

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Lung cancer can lie dormant for more than 20 years before turning deadly, helping explain why a disease that kills more than 1.5 million a year worldwide is so persistent and difficult to treat, scientists said on Thursday. Two papers detailing the evolution of lung cancer reveal how after an initial disease-causing genetic fault -- often due to smoking -- tumour cells quietly develop numerous new mutations, making different parts of the same tumour genetically unique. ...

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Bright Idea: How Blue LEDs Changed the World

Bright Idea: How Blue LEDs Changed the WorldThis year's Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three Japanese scientists for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), a technology that has touched society in innumerable ways and enabled technologies that Americans take for granted every day. "Blue LEDs made possible the white-light LEDs you can buy in a hardware store and put in your house," said H. Frederick Dylla, executive director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland. Without blue LEDs, the world wouldn't have backlit smartphones, TV and computer LCD screens, Blu-ray players, many forms of lighting and countless other technological marvels. Blue LEDs, in combination with red and green LEDs (which had been discovered previously), make it possible to produce white light.


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How to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Cosmic-Ray Detector

How to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Cosmic-Ray DetectorIt's called the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-Ray Observatory (DECO), and unlike the huge, multimillion-dollar particle detectors housed in labs, DECO allows smartphone owners to turn their phone into a pocket-size cosmic-ray particle detector by downloading two apps and sticking a piece of duct tape over the camera lens to block out light particles. "The apps basically transform the phone into a high-energy particle detector," Justin Vandenbroucke, a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and creator of the apps, said in a statement. Cosmic rays are still a mystery to astrophysicists. Waves of cosmic rays are constantly breaking against the Earth's atmosphere.


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Scientists see severe coral bleaching near Oahu

Anne Rosinski, of the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources, center, shows reporters survey results of coral bleaching at a news conference at Heeia Small Boat Harbor in Kaneohe, Hawaii on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, while Frazer McGilvray, left, administrator of the division, and Kim Hum, right, of The Nature Conservancy, watch. Scientists say they’re seeing evidence of coral bleaching caused by higher-than-normal temperatures. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)KANEOHE, Hawaii (AP) — While people in Hawaii have been sweating out a lack of trade winds, corals underwater are also suffering.


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Light bulb moment: Low-energy LED wins Nobel prize

Meijo University professor Akasaki is presented with a bouquet of flowers during a news conference at Meijo University in NagoyaBy Niklas Pollard and Ben Hirschler STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - An American and two Japanese scientists won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for inventing a new energy-efficient and environment-friendly light source, leading to the creation of modern LED light bulbs. Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura won the prize for developing the blue light-emitting diode (LED) -- the missing piece that now allows manufacturers to produce white-light lamps. ...


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Japanese winners of Nobel Prizes

Meijo University professor Isamu Akasaki speaks during a news conference at Meijo University in NagoyaBy Antoni Slodkowski TOKYO (Reuters) - Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for inventing a new energy-efficient and environment-friendly light source. Here is a list of previous Japanese-born Nobel laureates.     PHYSICS: 1949 - Hideki Yukawa – for his prediction of the existence of mesons - subatomic particles intermediate in mass between electron and proton.      1965 - Shinichiro Tomonaga - for fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics. ...


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Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Energy-Saving Light Invention

Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue light-emitting diode, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today (Oct. 7). The invention led to a new way to create white light. To get white light, three colors (red, green and blue) are needed. "The invention of the blue LED is just twenty years old, but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all," according to a statement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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Factbox: Japanese winners of Nobel Prizes

By Antoni Slodkowski TOKYO (Reuters) - Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Japanese-born U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for inventing a new energy-efficient and environment-friendly light source. Here is a list of previous Japanese-born Nobel laureates.     PHYSICS: 1949 - Hideki Yukawa – for his prediction of the existence of mesons - subatomic particles intermediate in mass between electron and proton.      1965 - Shinichiro Tomonaga - for fundamental work in quantum electrodynamics. ...

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Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Scientists for Discovering Brain's 'GPS'

Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Scientists for Discovering Brain's 'GPS'A trio of scientists has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work related to nerve cells that create spatial maps in the brain to help us navigate through our environments.


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High risk Ebola could reach France and UK by end-October, scientists calculate

Pallets of supplies wait to be loaded on a 747 aircraft at New York's JFK International AirportBy Kate Kelland Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75 percent chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50 percent chance it could hit Britain by that date. Those numbers are based on air traffic remaining at full capacity. Assuming an 80 percent reduction in travel to reflect that many airlines are halting flights to affected regions, France's risk is still 25 percent, and Britain's is 15 percent. ...


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Nobel Prizes Announced This Week: How to Watch Live

Continuing a 113-year-old tradition, the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm will award the 2014 Nobel Prizes beginning Monday (Oct. 6) to the best and brightest minds in their fields — or, as the prizes' founder, Alfred Nobel, described it, those who have bestowed the "greatest benefit on mankind." You can watch a live webcast on Live Science of the Nobel Prize announcements beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT (11:30 a.m. local time in Sweden), when Göran Hansson, secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, will announce the Nobel Prize in medicine. Each day will bring new Nobel Prize recipients. Staffan Normark, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, will announce the Nobel Prize in physics at 5:45 a.m. EDT at the earliest (11:45 a.m. Swedish time) on Tuesday (Oct. 7).

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Tall tale: scientists unravel the genetics of human height

File photo of a visitor posing with Gattaiah, who claims to be the tallest man in India, at the arts and crafts centre in the southern Indian city of HyderabadBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It's no secret that if your dad is tall and your mother is tall, you are probably going to be tall. But fully understanding the genetics of height has been a big order for scientists. Researchers on Sunday unveiled what they called the biggest such study to date, analyzing genome data from more than a quarter million people to identify nearly 700 genetic variants and more than 400 genome regions relating to height. ...






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