Friday, April 17, 2015 12:57:07 PM CST
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Everyone's body is brimming with bacteria, and these microbes do plenty of good things like building the immune system and helping digestion. A study published on Friday looking at the gut, mouth and skin microbes in people from a small, isolated tribe in southern Venezuela's Amazonian jungles shows just how much modern life may be altering humankind's bodily bacteria. The Yanomami villagers, secluded from the outside world until 2009, possessed the most diverse collection of bacteria ever found in people including some never before detected in humans, said scientists whose research appears in the journal Science Advances. The researchers were surprised to learn the Yanomami's microbes harbored antibiotic-resistant genes including those conferring resistance to manmade antibiotics, considering they never had exposure to commercial antibiotics.
Friday, April 17, 2015 2:40:36 PM CST
By Elly Park New York, NEW YORK - Scientists at Columbia University in New York have successfully built a camera that is capable of producing images using power harvested from the surrounding incident light. The prototype self-powering camera takes an image each second, and in a well-lit scene it can operate indefinitely. The team is led by Shree Nayar, Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, "What we have designed here is an image sensor with pixels, with this new design that can not only capture pictures but also generate power from the pixels, in order to capture the images themselves. In modern cameras photo diodes, tiny devices inside each pixels of the image sensor, measure the amount of light that falls onto it, and Nayar said he noticed that the process is similar to photo diodes used inside solar panels to harvest energy. "It turns out exactly the photo diode is also used in solar cells which are used in solar panels to harvest energy from light, except that they are being used in a slightly different circuit.
Friday, April 17, 2015 2:35:44 PM CST
By Andrea Shalal COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - The United States needs disruptive new technologies, new ways of acquiring equipment and bandwidth, and closer ties with global allies to stay ahead of growing challenges in space from China, Russia and others, the head of U.S. Air Force Space Command told Reuters. General John Hyten said the United States had been bracing for threats to its satellite systems for years, but continued anti-satellite testing by potential foes had fueled a fresh sense of urgency in both industry and government about the need to prepare to win a possible war in space.
Friday, April 17, 2015 12:32:57 PM CST
By Jim Drury Texas, Houston, U.S. - Driving NASA's Modular Robotic Vehicle (MRV) looks out of this world - and the leading space agency say this might one day be a possibility. Developed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas it's a fully electric vehicle which the agency say is well-suited for busy urban environments. Turns of the steering wheel are recorded by sensors and sent to computers at the vehicle's rear where they are interpreted immediately, instructing motors in one or all of its four wheels to turn as commanded. A force feedback system in the steering wheel means the driver will feel the same resistance and sensations as a car.
Friday, April 17, 2015 6:50:33 AM CST
A pioneering stem cell treatment for patients disabled by stroke has continued to show long-term promise in a clinical trial, the British biotech company behind the project said on Friday. News that two-year follow-up data from a small Phase I study showed improvements in limb function with no worrying safety issues lifted shares in ReNeuron 10 percent by 0830 EDT. The clinical results were presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference in Glasgow. The procedure involves injecting ReNeuron's neural stem cells into patients' brains to repair areas damaged by stroke, thereby improving both mental and physical function.
Saturday, April 18, 2015 8:38:57 AM CST
Bronze artifacts discovered in a 1,000-year-old house in Alaska suggest trade was occurring between East Asia and the New World centuries before the voyages of Columbus. Archaeologists found the artifacts at the "Rising Whale" site at Cape Espenberg. "When you're looking at the site from a little ways away, it looks like a bowhead [whale] coming to the surface," said Owen Mason, a research associate at the University of Colorado, who is part of a team excavating the site. The new discoveries, combined with other finds made over the past 100 years, suggest trade items and ideas were reaching Alaska from East Asian civilizations well before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Sea in 1492 archaeologists said.
Saturday, April 18, 2015 4:59:46 AM CST
A man in England went exploring with a metal detector and made the discovery of a lifetime: an exquisitely preserved Roman-era grave filled with artifacts, including bronze jugs, mosaic glassware, coins and hobnails from a pair of shoes, all dating to about A.D. 200. The grave likely belonged to a wealthy individual, said Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the archaeology and outreach officer for the North Hertfordshire District Council. Once Fitzpatrick-Matthews and his colleagues located the grave, they also found evidence of a nearby building, likely a shrine or temple, attached to a villa. The man with the metal detector, Phil Kirk, found the grave in a field in Kelshall, a small village located between London and Cambridge.
Friday, April 17, 2015 2:54:49 PM CST
Friday, April 17, 2015 1:57:00 PM CST
One of the surest signs of spring for stargazers is the constellation Leo high in the evening sky. One of the 12 traditional constellations of the zodiac, Leo is one of the best-known star patterns in the sky.
Friday, April 17, 2015 12:07:34 PM CST
After spending several weeks in the shadow of Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is finally getting a close-up glimpse of the dwarf planet. The photos are the highest-resolution views of the world that Dawn has gotten since entering Ceres' orbit on March 6, NASA officials said. In future weeks, NASA hopes the mission will help scientists better understand a key mystery of Ceres: strange bright spots on its surface that, in some cases, have different temperatures than the terrain surrounding them. Mission scientists still don't know what the spots are made of.
Friday, April 17, 2015 5:34:39 PM CST
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park, which scientists have studied closely for more than half a century along with the moose on which they feed, are on the verge of disappearing as the most recent census showed that only three remain, scientists said Friday.
Friday, April 17, 2015 8:27:02 AM CST
Clamped to the International Space Station, the 7.5-tonne Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) intercepts particles from outer space, looking for evidence of "dark matter", which has never been seen but is thought to be five times as abundant in the universe as visible matter. We are taking 1,000 pictures per second," said Stefan Schael, a professor at RWTH Aachen University. The space camera gives a new perspective on results gathered on earth at the CERN physics research centre's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva. "At the LHC we have found exactly what we were predicting.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 3:49:42 PM CST
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A NASA spacecraft that made surprising discoveries of ice and other materials on Mercury will make a crash landing into the planet around April 30, scientists said on Thursday. The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been circling the innermost planet of the solar system for more than four years, the first close-up studies of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys in the mid-1970s. “The spacecraft will pass behind the planet, out of view from the Earth, and will just not emerge again,” said Daniel O’Shaughnessy, systems engineer with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which operates the spacecraft. The impact at 8,724 miles per hour (14,040 km per hour) will leave a fresh crater, roughly 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter, that should serve as an interesting reference point for a follow-on European spacecraft called BepiColombo, which is due to arrive in 2024.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 3:02:50 PM CST
SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule is hauling a lot of science gear up to the International Space Station, including experiments for the orbiting outpost's first one-year crew. The unmanned Dragon launched into space Tuesday (April 14) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is due to arrive at the space station at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) Friday, April 17. Some of this equipment will help NASA examine the nature of eye problems that have plagued several astronauts on long-term missions.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 12:17:46 PM CST
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - New cancer tests that sequence only a patient's tumor and not normal tissue could result in a significant number of false positive results, potentially leading doctors to prescribe treatments that might not work, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The tests take advantage of new treatments that target changes in the DNA of tumor cells that are important for their survival. The issue is that few of these tests look at DNA from healthy cells to compare which mutations patients were born with and which are unique to the cancer, said Dr. Victor Velculescu of Johns Hopkins and a principal in Personal Genome Diagnostics, a company co-founded by the researchers.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 7:37:44 AM CST
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Having seen off a hostile $118 billion bid launched a year ago by U.S. rival Pfizer, Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca is on the move -- quite literally. Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is making AstraZeneca more nimble as hopes build for its cancer pipeline, but he still has his work cut out to keep 2015 earnings above the floor needed to protect his bonus. Investors must balance the short-term challenges posed by a massive "cliff" of patent expiries for older drugs against AstraZeneca's long-term promise that sales can reach $45 billion in 2023 from $26 billion last year. So far, Frenchman Soriot has played his hand well, given the inevitable disappointment among some shareholders at the rejection of Pfizer's final 55 pound-a-share offer last year.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 1:34:33 PM CST
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) underground ring in Geneva, Switzerland, revved up again last week at double its previous power. The humongous particle collider will now begin searching for elusive subatomic particles at 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV). The first run of the LHC had a single overarching goal: finding the Higgs boson, the particle that explains how other particles get their mass. Scientists know there is more out there than can be explained by the Standard Model, the reigning physics paradigm describing subatomic particles.
Monday, April 13, 2015 6:52:28 AM CST
By Alister, Doyle,, Environment and Correspondent OSLO, April 13 (Reuters) - China is poised to overtake the United States as the main cause of man-made global warming since 1990, the benchmark year for U.N.-led action, in a historic shift that may raise pressure on Beijing to act. China's cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, when governments were becoming aware of climate change, will outstrip those of the United States in 2015 or 2016, according to separate estimates by experts in Norway and the United States. "A few years ago China's per capita emissions were low, its historical responsibility was low.
Sunday, April 12, 2015 9:23:07 AM CST
NASA's Mars-studying MAVEN spacecraft notched a spaceflight milestone this week — its 1,000th orbit of the Red Planet. MAVEN (short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) arrived at the Red Planet in September 2014 and began its yearlong study of the Martian atmosphere on Nov. 16. The 1,000th orbit was completed on Monday (April 6), NASA officials said. "The spacecraft and instruments continue to work well, and we're building up a picture of the structure and composition of the upper atmosphere, of the processes that control its behavior and of how loss of gas to space occurs," MAVEN principal investigator Bruce Jakosky, from the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder, said in a statement.
Sunday, April 12, 2015 9:22:18 AM CST
Many of the chemical ingredients necessary for life as we know it were available on the early Earth, and should be present on exoplanets as well, new research suggests. Researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center in California generated three key components of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in the lab, by exposing commonly occurring ring-shaped molecules of carbon and nitrogen to radiation under spacelike conditions. "Nobody really understands how life got started on Earth," Scott Sandford, a space science researcher at Ames, said in a statement. The rings hold carbon atoms, but the presence of nitrogen makes pyrimidine less stable than other carbon-rich compounds, researchers said.
Friday, April 10, 2015 3:26:47 PM CST
David Gerlach is the Executive Producer of Blank on Blank and he contributed this article and video to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. He proposed the parton model in the field of particle physics. Starting in 1966, science historian Charles Weiner interviewed Richard Feynman as part of an extensive oral history project at the American Institute of Physics. "Richard Feynman on What It Means" is part of The Experimenters series, from the creators of Blank on Blank.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 12:09:58 PM CST
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The most extensive genetic analysis of mountain gorillas ever conducted has found the critically endangered apes burdened with severe inbreeding and at risk of extinction but the researchers still see reasons for optimism about their survival. "We found extremely high levels of inbreeding," said geneticist Chris Tyler-Smith of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The study in the journal Science revealed a substantial loss of genetic diversity from inbreeding caused by mating with close relatives due to small population size, with mountain gorillas inheriting identical segments from both parents in about a third of their genome. "Mountain gorillas are critically endangered and at risk of extinction, and our study reveals that as well as suffering a dramatic collapse in numbers during the last century, they had already experienced a long decline going back many thousands of years," University of Cambridge geneticist Aylwyn Scally said.
Thursday, April 9, 2015 2:24:05 AM CST
DENVER (AP) — Scientists are working to pinpoint the source of a giant mass of methane hanging over the southwestern U.S., which a study found to be the country's largest concentration of the greenhouse gas.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 5:53:15 PM CST
A wide swath of the central United States is at risk of thunderstorms and possible tornadoes over the next couple of days, according to the National Weather Service. Greg Cardin, a warning co-ordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, warned that the complexity of the current forecast means predictions could change quickly. "It's a tough, tough forecast, not just for today but also for tomorrow," Cardin told Live Science.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 5:59:52 AM CST
Humanity is on the verge of discovering alien life, high-ranking NASA scientists say. "I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday (April 7) during a panel discussion that focused on the space agency's efforts to search for habitable worlds and alien life. Former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, shared Stofan's optimism, predicting that signs of life will be found relatively soon both in our own solar system and beyond. "I think we're one generation away in our solar system, whether it's on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star," Grunsfeld said during Tuesday's event.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 1:37:37 PM CST
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paleontologists are restoring the good name of Brontosaurus more than a century after it was deemed scientifically invalid and the famous dinosaur was reclassified as another genus called Apatosaurus. They unveiled on Tuesday an exhaustive analysis of Brontosaurus remains, first unearthed in the 1870s, and those of closely related dinosaurs, determining that the immense, long-necked plant-eater was not an Apatosaurus and deserved its old name back. Paleontologist Emanuel Tschopp of Portugal's Universidade Nova de Lisboa cited important anatomical differences including Apatosaurus possessing a wider neck than Brontosaurus and being even more massively built. "The differences between Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus are numerous enough to revive Brontosaurus as a separate genus from Apatosaurus," Tschopp said.
Sunday, April 5, 2015 8:21:59 AM CST
By Robert Evans GENEVA (Reuters) - Scientists at Europe's physics research centre CERN on Sunday restarted their "Big Bang" Large Hadron Collider (LHC), embarking on a bid to probe into the "dark universe" they believe lies beyond the visible one. CERN reported that particle beams were successfully pushed around the LHC in both directions after a two-year shutdown for a major refit described as a Herculean task that doubled its power -- and its reach into the unknown. Study of many billions of collisions in the LHC's first run from 2010-2013 produced proof by 2012 of the existence of the Higgs boson and its linked force field, a long sought mechanism that gives mass to matter. With its capacity to smash particles together at almost the speed of light and at a collision energy twice that of its first run, scientists hope that the revamped LHC will produce evidence of what has been dubbed "New Physics".
Saturday, April 4, 2015 8:52:35 AM CST
For instance, kiwi eggs take up about 25 percent of the mother's body, making it the largest egg of any bird, relative to its mother's body size, according to researchers at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. "If you try to push one of those eggs, because it's so heavy at one end, it will actually spin in a circle," said Paul Sweet, the ornithology collection manager at AMNH. Eggshells are largely made of calcium carbonate, which looks white to the human eye, according to "The Book of Eggs" (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
Saturday, April 4, 2015 8:49:20 AM CST
It’s a great day for particle physics fans: The world’s largest atom smasher has been cleared to start running again as early as this weekend. After a two-year hiatus, researchers and engineers planned to restart the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) last week, but an electrical short delayed the process. Scientists quickly found the glitch: a small piece of metal lodged in the wiring of one of the LHC’s powerful electromagnets. "It’s a bit like deliberately blowing a fuse," Paul Collier, head of beams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which manages the LHC, told Nature News.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 4:06:16 PM CST
A few years ago, educator Patricia Tribe was cooking spaghetti and contemplating a tough question: How do you keep science in schools while still making enough time for literacy? By 2011, the now-former director of education at Space Center Houston saw her vision realized: Astronaut Alvin Drew read a book by children's space author Jeffrey Bennett on the International Space Station during the STS-133 space shuttle mission. "He read 'Max Goes to the Moon'" (Big Kid Science, 2012), Tribe told Space.com. There are now five books from Bennett on the station, launched on an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares flight in January 2014.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 4:02:32 PM CST
Mercury, the barren planet closest to the sun, may seem like a dead world, but new images taken by a NASA probe nearing the end of its life reveal the planet may still be undergoing geological activity. The new images — taken by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft — show that Mercury has strange features known as "hollows" (irregularly shaped, flat-floored depressions) that are only a few tens of meters deep and no more than a kilometer in diameter, scientists with the mission said. "MESSENGER revealed many surprising things about Mercury," said MESSENGER participating scientist David Blewett, of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Blewett was part of the team that investigated the unusual features on Mercury as part of the low-altitude campaign, which makes up the last six weeks of MESSENGER's orbit around the planet.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 5:51:21 AM CST
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 4:47:40 PM CST
Physicist Jon Butterworth, who works at the world's largest atom smasher, is intimately familiar with the drama that surrounded the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson. Butterworth will recount the trials and tribulations in the hunt for "the most wanted particle," in a lecture tonight (April 1) at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London in the United Kingdom, and a researcher at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which manages the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a ring-shaped particle accelerator located underground near Geneva, Switzerland. In 2012, scientists at the LHC found evidence of the long-sought Higgs boson, an elementary particle that is thought to explain how other particles get their mass.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 1:32:40 PM CST
The blackpoll warbler, a songbird that weighs no more than an AA battery, flies nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean during its southerly fall migration, covering more than 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) in two or three days, a new study confirms. The warbler's longest nonstop flight was recorded as being more than 1,700 miles (2,730 km) in three days, the scientists reported today (March 31) in the journal Biology Letters. Only the northern wheatear has a longer nonstop flight among songbirds, but it is twice as large as a blackpoll warbler, said study co-author Chris Rimmer, an ornithologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies in Norwich, Vermont. "If you account for body scale and size, the blackpoll warbler is the hands-down winner," Rimmer said.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 12:18:31 PM CST
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A group of researchers say polar bears forced off melting sea ice will not find enough food to replace their current diet of fat-laden marine mammals such as seals, a conclusion that contradicts studies indicating that bears may be benefiting from bird eggs, berries and other land food sources.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 11:02:39 AM CST
Many poor souls have been victims of April Fools' Day jokes, and science — with it's reputation for achieving stunning and sometimes fantastic feats — makes for some of the best fodder. From harnessing the energy of thunderstorms to rounding off the number pi, here are some of history's greatest science April Fools' Day pranks to wow your nerdy friends. Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), home of the particle smasher used to discover the Higgs boson particle and other groundbreaking insights into the four fundamental forces (the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity), reported today (April 1) that they had confirmed the existence of the Force — the supernatural power in the fictional "Star Wars" universe. The statement goes on to say that researchers are unsure of what causes the Force but its practical applications include long-distance communication, influencing minds and lifting heavy objects out of swamps.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 5:04:32 PM CST
Known as "geographic tongue," the condition causes red, patchy shapes to appear on the tongue, formed as some areas lose the tiny reddish bumps called papillae that normally cover the tongue's surface. Geographic tongue (GT) affects the tongue's upper layer of tissue, call the epithelium. In people with GT, one type of papillae called filiform papillae becomes inflamed, said study co-author Gabriel Seiden, a physicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who is currently based at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Germany. In the study, Seiden and his colleagues use math equations to explain what happens in geographic tongue.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 9:18:00 AM CST
The researchers also found that levels of several biological markers in people's blood are associated with the markers of aging that appear on people's faces. For instance, women with older-looking faces tend to have higher levels of "bad" cholesterol, the researchers found. "3D facial images can really tell your biological age," said the study's senior researcher Jing-Dong Han, a professor of computational biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Partner Institute in Shanghai. The scientists also collected blood samples from the participants, who ranged in age from 17 to 77 years old.
Monday, March 30, 2015 9:02:14 AM CST
By Alisa Tang BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The world's vegetation has expanded, adding nearly 4 billion tonnes of carbon to plants above ground in the decade since 2003, thanks to tree-planting in China, forest regrowth in former Soviet states and more lush savannas due to higher rainfall. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main climate-changing gas - and stored as carbon in trees. Through photosynthesis, trees convert carbon dioxide into the food they need to grow, locking the carbon in their wood. The 4-billion-tonne increase is minuscule compared to the 60 billion tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and cement production over the same period, said Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales.