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I want to drink your blood: Vampire bat's genetic secrets revealed

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 22:02

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If you want to know how vampire bats can survive on a diet that -- as everyone knows -- consists exclusively of blood, the answer is simple. Scientists on Monday said they have mapped for the first time the complete genome of a vampire bat, finding that this flying mammal boasts numerous genetic traits that help it thrive on an exotic food source that offers nutritional disadvantages and exposes it to blood-borne pathogens. The researchers compared the genome of the common vampire bat, scientific name Desmodus rotundus, to genomes of bat species that eat nectar, fruit, insects and meat.

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A U.S. Postal Worker Has Been Found Fatally Shot Inside a Mail Truck in Texas

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 21:08

Investigators are treating the case as a homicide

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There’s something wrong with NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:21

NASA has had an incredible streak of good luck as of late with spacecraft that have far outlived their expectations. Cassini at Saturn, the Opportunity rover on Mars, and several other pieces of high-tech space hardware have performed for much longer than was initially expected of them. Unfortunately, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in 2005 and has delivered more data on the Red Planet than any other Mars mission, is starting to cause some headaches.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the spacecraft has been put into "precautionary standby status" after it alerted its handlers of low battery voltage. The craft is equipped with solar panels that power its instruments, but when it swings to the dark side of the planet it relies on rechargeable batteries to keep it up and running. Now, NASA has to figure out exactly what is wrong, and do so from over 30 million miles away.

"We're in the diagnostic stage, to better understand the behavior of the batteries and ways to give ourselves more options for managing them in the future," MRO Project Manager Dan Johnston explains. "We will restore MRO's service as a relay for other missions as soon as we can do so with confidence in spacecraft safety, likely in about one week. After that, we will resume science observations."

NASA is optimistic that they can iron out whatever issues are leading to the spacecraft's battery woes, but it's not exactly shocking that the hardware is having problems when you consider its age. Launching in 2005, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbit was slated to have a two-year mission window which it completed with flying colors. Following that success, NASA has issues extended missions five times, allowing the orbiter to continue gathering and relaying a treasure trove of data about the planet. According to NASA, the MRO has delivered over 317 terabits of data thus far, which is more than all other Mars mission combined.

In just a couple of years, NASA is slated to launch its Mars 2020 mission which will feature the delivery of a new rover to the Red Planet. The rover will be a cutting-edge piece of scientific hardware capable of making advanced observations about the composition of the Martian surface.

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Ex-Workers at Russian Troll Factory Say Mueller Indictments Are True

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:20

Despite denial from the Russian government

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More Than 1,500 Attend Funeral for School Shooting Victim Alaina Petty, 14

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:11

She was one of 17 students and staff members killed in the shooting

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Secret Service Denies Reports of Scuffle Over 'Nuclear Football' With Chinese Security

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:48

In a Monday morning Tweet, the U.S. Secret Service called the report "false."

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Once Again, the USA Women's Hockey Team Must Play Canada for Olympic Gold

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:29

For the third straight Olympics

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Experts: Vast underwater archeology site imperiled in Mexico

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 15:24

Mexican experts say the recently mapped Sac Actun cave system "is probably the most important underwater archaeological site in the world," but is threatened by pollution

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Scientists have figured out how to make wood even stronger than steel

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:40

Researchers at the University of Maryland have found a way to make wood more than 10 times stronger than titanium alloys. The results could make it an alternative to steel, but much lighter.

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Study cited for blaming autism on TV cartoon does not exist

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:05

WASHINGTON (AP) — There is no Harvard study that says a British children's television cartoon causes autism, despite what a social media post claims. In fact, there's at least one peer-reviewed study that hints that a children's television show may help autistic kids.

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Rhode Island State Senator Charged With Extorting Sex from Page

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:03

The indictment says GOP Sen. Nick Kettle coerced a male page into sex on two occasions in 2011

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Turmoil shakes up agency in charge of vast US lands

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:38

A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a ...

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France to let wolf packs grow despite angry farmers

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:59

The French government announced Monday it will allow the wolf population to grow 40 percent despite pressure from farmers in mountain regions who are worried about their sheep flocks. A new strategy unveiled by the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron will enable the number of wolves to increase from an estimated 360 now to 500 by 2023. Hunting wiped out the grey wolf in France during the 1930s and they only returned in 1992 via Italy -- currently home to around 2,000 wolves -- before spreading into Switzerland and Germany.

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Picasso mystery: Hidden artwork discovered beneath painting

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:43

Researchers at Northwestern University have revealed a hidden landscape painting beneath Pablo Picasso's famous La Misereuse Accroupie (The Crouching Beggar).

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Couple Who Took in Nikolas Cruz Insist There Were No Warning Signs – and Their Own Son Was at School During Shooting

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:19

'Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know'

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Bizarre Camouflage Skills of the Cuttlefish Have Finally Explained by Science

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:55

Here a cuttlefish can be seen camouflaging itself against the algae-covered rocks that surround it. “The biggest surprise for us was to see that these skin spikes, called papillae, can hold their shape in the extended position for more than an hour, without neural signals controlling them,” Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido, from the University of Cambridge, an author of the study, said in a statement.

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France to grow wolf packs despite farmers' anger

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:39

The French government announced Monday that it will allow the wolf population to grow 40 percent over the next five years, resisting pressure from farmers concerned about their flocks. A new strategy unveiled by the centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron will enable the number of wolves to grow to 500 by 2023 compared with an estimated 360 now. Hunting wiped out the grey wolf in France during the 1930s and they only returned in 1992 via Italy -- currently home to around 2,000 wolves -- before spreading into Switzerland and Germany.

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Anthropocene began in 1965, according to signs left in the world's 'loneliest tree'

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:04

Nuclear bomb tests potentially mark the start of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

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You’re Not Having A Midlife Crisis, But Here’s the Science Anyway

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:55

The midlife crisis guy is an easily recognizable cultural archetype. Maybe he’s got a big stupid Corvette and a small dumb hat to match his crippling self-doubt. Maybe he’s hitting on a waitress. Maybe he’s letting a marriage dissolve. He’s a pathetic sort of villain facing down a long-deferred personal reckoning with failure and feelings. But... View Article The post You’re Not Having A Midlife Crisis, But Here’s the Science Anyway appeared first on Fatherly.

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Alien Life: How Would Humans Really React to ET? Study Reveals Surprising Result

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:49

Humans are fascinated by aliens. Whether they’re chest-bursting assassins or cuddly childhood friends, pop culture is awash with extraterrestrials. Science, too, has been looking for little green men for years with the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and more recently with Breakthrough Listen.

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