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Updated: 51 min 18 sec ago

Watch the first all-female spacewalking team fix faulty power unit on space station

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 21:14

Friday's first all-female spacewalk is coming later than expected, and also earlier than expected. It's later, because the original plan for the first scheduled pairing of two spacewalking women had to be called off in March when NASA decided they couldn't get two medium-size spacesuit torsos ready on schedule. Instead, the spacewalk lineup was shuffled to have the women working alongside male crewmates. From a different perspective, the team-up of spacewalkers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir is coming nearly a week earlier than planned, due to an urgent problem on the International Space Station. The space station's crew is in… Read More

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California unveils early warning earthquake app

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 19:41

The app, created by the University of California, Berkeley, and unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta quake, uses ground motion sensors located across the state to detect the start of earthquakes before humans can feel them. "Nothing can replace families having a plan for earthquakes and other emergencies," Governor Gavin Newsom said in unveiling the warning system.

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SpaceX may want to launch 42,000 internet satellites — about 5 times more spacecraft than humanity has ever flown

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 15:58

Elon Musk wants to cover Earth in high-speed Starlink web access. But crushing SpaceX's competition may require tens of thousands more satellites.

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Space station's 2 women prep for 1st all-female spacewalk

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:49

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will make "HERstory," as NASA is calling it, with the first all-female spacewalk. All four men aboard the International Space Station will remain inside, as Koch and Meir go out to replace a broken battery charger.

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Meet 'le blob' Paris zoo's new star attraction

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:00

The Paris zoo's latest attraction is a brainless, eyeless, single-celled organism with no limbs or stomach but more than 700 genders. From Saturday, members of the public can become better acquainted with "le blob", which has taken up residence in a large tank at the zoo in Paris' Bois de Vincennes park. Named after the 1958 sci-fi horror movie "The Blob" about an alien creature that crashes to Earth and devours residents of Pennsylvania, the real-life blob consists of a single cell, sometimes with many nuclei that can replicate their DNA and divide.

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The 21st Century Space Race Is Here

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:00

If the international community were to seek a meaningful arms control agreement or behavior-restricting treaty for space, it would need to consider what on the spectrum of offensive tactics constitutes an “attack” or “weapon,” which are the most likely to occur and which can be reasonably constrained.

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Queuing for eternity: Fossils show lining up is primal urge

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:55

Scientists say fossils found in Morocco suggest the practice of forming orderly lines may date back 480 million years and could have had evolutionary advantages. The researchers from France, Switzerland and Morocco analyzed the fossils and concluded that the tiny trilobites, which look similar to modern horseshoe crabs, probably intentionally formed a queue as they swarmed along the prehistoric sea floor. Jean Vannier, a researcher at the University of Lyon, France, who co-authored the study, said possible reasons for this group behavior include environmental stresses or reproduction.

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Air pollution could be damaging your memory, finds new study

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 05:30

The researchers collected information on air quality for each district, including levels of both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10), which are particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller. Both are produced by burning fossil fuels from car and other vehicle exhausts, power plants and industrial emissions. The researchers say that although caution is always needed when interpreting a causal relationship, they describe the results as "concerning," and add that they are consistent with those produced by animal studies, although this is one of the first studies to confirm the results in humans.

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Virgin Galactic unveils commercial space suits

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 01:10

The date for the world's first commercial space flight is not even confirmed yet, but future passengers' Star Trek-like outfits are ready and waiting. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson on Wednesday introduced the custom suits that will be worn by the first private astronauts. US sportswear designer Under Armour "worked day and night for about two years on this project" said Branson, who himself served as a model at the presentation at a skydiving simulator near New York.

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Antarctica Is Still Releasing Radiation from Cold War Nuclear Tests

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 15:02

There's 10 times as much chlorine as normal in some regions.

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Study This Picture: F-35s Launching en Masse Terrifies North Korea

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 15:00

It is called an "Elephant Walk."

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Hubble Telescope zooms in on interstellar visitor

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 14:15

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the best pictures yet of our newest interstellar visitor. This comet from outside our solar system is zooming by us at a blistering 110,000 mph (177,000 kph). Hubble caught some glam shots over the weekend from a distance of 260 million miles (420 million kilometers).

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Strong storms can generate 'stormquakes,' scientists say

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 13:53

Scientists discovered a phenomenon that occurs when a strong storm sparks seismic events in the seafloor.

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NASA's Hubble space telescope just took incredible photos of a visiting comet from another star system

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 13:21

NASA also released a time-lapse video of the comet, 2I/Borisov, hurtling past the sun. The images show a halo of dust surrounding the alien object.

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Virgin Galactic and Under Armour reveal spacewear clothing line for suborbital trips

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 12:06

It's a bit of a stretch to call them spacesuits, but the "spacewear" clothing line unveiled today by Virgin Galactic and Under Armour looks comfortable enough to wear even if you're not rocketing to the edge of space. The Under Armour clothing line — which includes a base layer, a spacesuit that's really a beefed-up flight suit, and zippered flight boots — made its debut at a New York runway show, and will get its space premiere during test flights for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. Next year, Virgin Galactic's customers are due to wear the custom-made space duds when… Read More

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If you want your kids to be more resilient, encourage them to do sport says new study

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 11:07

New US research has found that participating in sports can help high school students develop the resilience needed to get through the difficult phase of adolescence and tackle challenges they encounter later in life. For the new study, carried out by Brigham Young University, researchers surveyed the parents of 276 high school students, including 214 students who participated in sports and 62 who did not. The parents were asked about their child's sports participation and their levels of resilience, social competence, and empathy.

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Fido's raw meat pet food may be loaded with harmful bacteria: study

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 10:58

Increasingly popular raw meat meals for dogs and cats may be full of multi-drug resistant bacteria, posing a serious risk to animals and humans, scientists reported Wednesday. "It is really worrying that we found EBSL-producing bacteria in over 60 percent of samples," said first author Magdalena Nuesch-Inderbinen, a researcher at the University of Zurich, referring to an enzyme that renders some antibiotics ineffective. Sales of raw pet food -- sometimes called "biologically appropriate raw food", or BARF -- have soared in recent years, especially for dogs.

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This Fungus Mutates. That's Good News if You Like Cheese.

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 08:20

The legend of Camembert is one of daring escape and dairy espionage.The cheese was invented in 1791 when a priest from Brie (yes, like the cheese), took shelter with a dairymaid, Marie Harel, as he fled France's anti-clerical government. He taught her to make cheese with an edible rind, as local lore tells it. But the lesser known character in Harel's story is a mysterious mold that resided in Normandy.Penicillium appears in the wild as a toxic blue fungus, but in Camembert, Brie and other French regional cheeses, it is white and edible. For centuries, cheesemakers didn't know how it evolved from its untamed to its domesticated forms. In a study published Tuesday in mBio that could be good news for American cheese lovers, researchers offer the first detailed view of how a fungus transforms into a mold safe for food production in as few as four weeks."We saw in real time how the fungi could change their metabolism in a way that would be advantageous for cheesemakers," said Benjamin Wolfe, an assistant professor of microbiology at Tufts University and the study's principal investigator. He said the research could ultimately lead to "a diverse new approach to making cheese in the United States."The name Camembert isn't restricted to cheese produced in Normandy, in contrast to Champagne, which comes from only one region of France. But a special designation is reserved for cheeses produced with unpasteurized milk from French cows. And the specialness of that cheese is derived in part from the fungus that naturally evolves into mold in cheese caves across northern France.Wolfe wanted to see if he could mimic that evolutionary process. Over the course of a summer, his team planted wild blue penicillium on the surface of freshly rendered cow's milk cheese curd while simulating the conditions of French cheese caves.After a week, the researchers mixed the fungi together with the cheese and transferred the blend to a new cheese surface. This process was repeated eight times. Each week, they observed changes in the mold's color, spore count and toxin levels. By week four, the fungus had evolved to its domesticated form.The mold displayed a number of telltale signs of transformation. It turned from greenish-blue to white. Its aroma changed from musty and basement-like to buttery. The rate at which it produced the toxins that made the original fungus inedible was substantially reduced.Wolfe recalled the excitement in the lab when they first observed its color change. "It was like, 'Here come the mutants,' " Wolfe said. The undergraduates in his lab "fell in love with these fungi, watching them change right before our eyes," he said.The team's findings could lead to the development of new kinds of cheese in the United States. Wolfe has been approached by American cheesemakers who want to know if his team could collect wild blue fungi in their local cheese caves and transform them into edible molds, creating new regional varieties of cheese."You could imagine going down different flavor paths," said Antonis Rokas, a professor of evolutionary biology at Vanderbilt University and a co-author of the study. "You could start enhancing or diminishing the mold flavor of the cheese by directing the evolutionary process."The researchers did not find any specific mutations that caused the fungus to transform, so they hope to learn more about the genetic mechanisms controlling the mold's evolution.John Gibbons, an assistant professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said the study shows how a favorite food item historically evolved and how a fungus used in food production can be manipulated without genetic engineering."We've been producing cheese for thousands of years and alcohol for tens of thousands," Gibbons said. "Now we have a window into history in terms of what early humans wanted out of microbes."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

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A Coffee Crisis Is Brewing And It Could Make Your Morning Joe Less Tasty

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 05:45

Climate change, disease and poverty threaten the global coffee industry.

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Hitler's Secret Weapon: Meet Nazi Germany's Me 163 (A Rocket-Powered Fighter)

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 05:16

Nazi Germany pursued numerous ambitious and impractical weapon programs over the course of World War II. One of the few that saw action was the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, the only rocket-powered fighter to enter operational service. The stubby rocket planes were blindingly fast by the standards of World War II fighters—but were in as much danger of blowing up from their volatile rocket fuel as they were of being shot down by enemy fire.

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