19 September 2014

Experts: Science class can dazzle with less danger

DENVER (AP) — A dazzling show of fire and color can make science come alive for young students, but it can also inflict serious and painful injuries, as flash fires in Nevada and Colorado showed this month.

19 September 2014

Breast Pump 'Hackathon' Seeks Better Tech for Busy Moms

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are on a mission to make the breast-feeding experience better for moms. This weekend, the school's Media Lab is hosting a hackathon to come up with new designs for breast pumps, which are machines used by nursing moms to extract milk when they're away from their little ones. The event, aptly named the "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck" Hackathon, will be held Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 20-21) at MIT's Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For many mothers with young children, particularly those who work outside the home, a breast pump is an essential tool.

19 September 2014

Eye-popping 'Interstellar' Movie App Puts Universe at Your Control

Eye-popping 'Interstellar' Movie App Puts Universe at Your ControlChristopher Nolan's mysterious, highly anticipated film "Interstellar" won't be released until November, but a new app lets you get a taste of the movie's themes and thrust right now. Today (Sept. 18), Paramount Pictures released "The Interstellar Experience," a free game that lets players create their own solar systems, explore systems created by other users, travel through wormholes and fly past black holes in the Endurance, the spaceship featured in the upcoming film. You can play "The Interstellar Experience" online at game.interstellarmovie.com or download the app for free at the Google Play Store. The game should build even more buzz around "Interstellar," which already has sci-fi fans crossing off the days left on the calendar until Nov. 7.


19 September 2014

Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote

MSF health workers prepare at ELWA's isolation camp during the visit of Senior U.N. System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro, at the camp in MonroviaBy Kate Kelland LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The Ebola virus raging through West Africa is mutating rapidly as it tears a deadly path through cities, towns and villages, but the genetic changes are for now not giving it the ability to spread more easily. Concern that the virus could gain capability to transmit through the air - creating a nightmare scenario of the disease being able to spread like a flu pandemic, killing millions - was fueled by a top infectious disease expert in the United States. ...


18 September 2014

Ig Nobel Prizes 2014: Jesus Toast, Dog Poop and Raucous Science

Ig Nobel Prizes 2014: Jesus Toast, Dog Poop and Raucous ScienceThe brilliant minds behind research studies about how Earth's magnetic field affects pooping dogs and why people see Jesus in toast were honored tonight (Sept. 18) during one of the most purposefully ridiculous ceremonies in all of science: the Ig Nobel Prizes. Each year, the Ig Nobel Prizes (a parody of the somewhat more famous Nobel Prizes) are awarded to scientists whose research "makes people laugh and then think." Improbable Research, the organization that awards the prizes, runs the annual ceremony here at Harvard University's Sanders Theater. "The achievements speak for themselves all too eloquently," Master of Ceremonies Marc Abrahams said during tonight's Ig Nobel presentations. For example, this year's prize in Arctic science went to a group of researchers who dressed up like polar bears to see how reindeer in Norway would react compared with their reactions to humans.


18 September 2014

U.S. government warns Oregon researchers about monkey care

By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has warned a major research hospital that it provides inadequate veterinary care to monkeys at its primate research center, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) said on Thursday. The Aug. 6 warning letter, the lowest-level penalty issued by the USDA, followed an inspection that found that more than half of the rhesus macaques at Oregon National Primate Research Center were experiencing hair loss, and that 15 monkeys had been injured in a fight that left six of the animals dead, OHSU said. ...

18 September 2014

Florida scientists urge state leaders to join climate summit

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE (Reuters) - A group of 42 scientists from Florida universities submitted a joint letter on Thursday urging Governor Rick Scott and other state leaders to participate in a summit this fall to seek solutions for climate change. The group plans to host a conference of state and national policymakers and scientists Oct. 6 in Tampa, along with engineers and entrepreneurs who have "job-creating solutions." Scott, who is a Republican, has come under fire from environmentalists for not taking stronger action over sea level rise and climate change. ...

18 September 2014

SpaceX Dragon to Launch Space Mice, 3D Printer and More for NASA

SpaceX Dragon to Launch Space Mice, 3D Printer and More for NASACAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ­— SpaceX might be a few years away from launching human astronauts into orbit, but this weekend, the company is sending a miniature crew of live passengers into space.


18 September 2014

Nearly 600 Years of Tree Rings Show Altered Ocean Habitat

Nearly 600 Years of Tree Rings Show Altered Ocean HabitatOcean currents that deliver important nutrients to shallow, coastal waters have become weaker and more variable over the last half-century, which could affect fish and other marine animals that nourish themselves in these nutrient-rich waters, according to a new study.


18 September 2014

It's not a small world after all: world population will soar

File photo of people visiting the beach on New Year's Day in DurbanBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contrary to some earlier projections, the world's population will soar through the end of the 21st century thanks largely to sub-Saharan Africa's higher-than-expected birth rates, United Nations and other population experts said on Thursday. There is an 80 percent likelihood that the number of people on the planet, currently 7.2 billion, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion by 2100, the researchers said. They also saw an 80 percent probability that Africa's population will rise to between 3.5 billion and 5. ...


18 September 2014

Celebrating Silly Science at the Ig Nobels: How to Watch Live Tonight

Celebrating Silly Science at the Ig Nobels: How to Watch Live TonightScience lovers with a sense of humor take note: it's time for the annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.


17 September 2014

India's Mars mission enters last lap; faces crucial test on September 24

By Aditya Kalra NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's first mission to Mars will attempt to put a spacecraft in orbit around the red planet next week, in a crucial test of a low-cost project carrying the country's hopes to join the leaders of a global space race. A successful outcome for the $74-million mission would stiffen Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resolve to build new space launch facilities capable of handling heavier satellites, to make India a stronger player in the space technology market. ...

17 September 2014

Boeing's 'space taxi' includes seat for a tourist

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft for a fit check evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support CenterBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - Boeing Co's proposal to develop a so-called space taxi for NASA astronauts includes a seat for paying tourists to fly to the International Space Station, the company's program manager said on Wednesday, a first for a U.S. space program. The $4.2 billion, five-year contract allows Boeing to sell rides to tourists, Boeing Commercial Crew Program Manager John Mulholland told Reuters, adding that the price would be competitive with what the Russian space agency now charges to fly tourists to the orbital outpost. ...


17 September 2014

Ig Nobels to Honor the Hilarious Side of Science on Thursday

Celebrating Silly Science at the Ig Nobels: How to Watch Live TonightYou can see for yourself on Thursday (Sept. 18) at the 24th annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, an event that honors the hilarious (and sometimes ridiculous) side of scientific research and discovery. Much like its slightly more famous counterpart, the Nobel Prize, the Ig Nobel Prize is bestowed upon those who have recently made significant contributions in such fields as chemistry, physics and biology. "The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think," according to a statement from Improbable Research, the organization behind the award ceremony. Ten Ig Nobels are awarded each year at Harvard's Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and this year's ceremony will be webcast live on Live Science.


17 September 2014

Scientists locate 'ghost' ship wrecks in San Francisco waters

By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - U.S. government researchers working with divers and sonar equipment have located the wrecks of what they dubbed "forgotten ghost ships" in waters just outside San Francisco's Golden Gate strait. The discoveries by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists follow a two-year project to find, identify and better understand some of the estimated 300 wrecks in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area. ...

17 September 2014

Asteroid Science: How 'Armageddon' Got It Wrong

In the 1998 movie "Armageddon," an asteroid the size of Texas threatens to collide with Earth in 18 days. To save the planet from destruction, a ragtag team of deep-sea oil drillers volunteers to divert the massive space rock by burying a nuclear bomb beneath its surface and blasting it into two pieces that will fly past Earth. But despite its entertainment value, the film is fantastically inaccurate, said astronomer Phil Plait, who writes the "Bad Astronomy" blog on Slate.com. During his talk, Plait showed a clip from "Armageddon" in which Bruce Willis' character struggles to detonate the bomb, by hand, before the asteroid smacks into Earth and destroys all life.

17 September 2014

Climate Change Affects Shark Swimming in Strange Way

Climate Change Affects Shark Swimming in Strange WaySharks exposed to ocean water acidified by too much carbon dioxide alter their behavior, swimming in longer spurts than sharks in typical ocean water, particularly during their nighttime wanderings. The new findings, published today (Sept. 16) in the journal Biology Letters, are troubling, given that one effect of the human consumption of fossil fuels is to make ocean water more acidic. "Usually when you expose a fish to some kind of environmental stressor, they usually acclimate to that stressor, and that makes them less vulnerable to that stressor," said study researcher Fredrik Jutfelt, an animal physiologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. "But here, it seemed like this high CO2 [carbon dioxide] continued to be a stressor to these sharks for quite a long time." [On the Brink: A Gallery of Wild Sharks (Photos)]


16 September 2014

Scientists' colossal squid exam a kraken good show

colossal squidWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — It was a calm morning in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea, during the season when the sun never sets, when Capt. John Bennett and his crew hauled up a creature with tentacles like fire hoses and eyes like dinner plates from a mile below the surface.


16 September 2014

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have agreed to pay nearly $146,000 to settle civil claims that they misused money from a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, federal officials said Tuesday.

16 September 2014

Astronomy Detectives Reveal Origin of Monet's 'Impression' Painting

Astronomy Detectives Reveal Origin of Monet's 'Impression' PaintingAstronomical clues could pinpoint the day Claude Monet painted "Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise)," the art piece that lent its name to the Impressionist art movement. Based on the celestial detective work of Donald Olson, a Texas State University astronomer and physics professor, curators think they've identified the moment that Monet attempted to capture from his hotel room in the city of Le Havre, France: Nov. 13, 1872, 7:35 a.m.