22 October 2014

Americans' Trust in Doctors Is Falling

Americans' trust in the medical profession has plummeted in recent years, and lags well behind public attitudes toward doctors in many other countries, according to a new report. That lack of trust comes from how Americans' perceive doctors' motivations, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and co-author of the new report. While physician leaders elsewhere in the world often take public stands on key health and medical issues, Americans perceive the medical profession as looking out for itself, not advocating for public health, he said. And a survey of people in 29 countries found the United States ranked 24th in public trust of doctors.

22 October 2014

Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun Explosions

Huge Magnetic 'Ropes' Drive Powerful Sun ExplosionsKnown as magnetic flux ropes, coronal loops and solar prominences, these structures possess spiraling magnetic field lines, as if a huge bar magnet had been twisted into a corkscrew. Scientists have long thought magnetic flux ropes drive powerful solar explosions such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which can spawn geomagnetic storms that damage satellites in space and disrupt power grids on Earth. Two models for how magnetic flux ropes are involved have emerged. In the first model, a magnetic flux rope exists before the eruption.


22 October 2014

Cosmonauts Breeze Through Speedy Spacewalk at Space Station

Cosmonauts Breeze Through Speedy Spacewalk at Space StationTwo Russian cosmonauts breezed through a spacewalk outside the International Space Station Wednesday (Oct. 22) on a mission to collect old experiments and inspect their orbital home. Clad in bulky Orlan spacesuits, cosmonauts Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev planned to spend about six hours performing maintenance on the station, work that included tossing obsolete gear out into space. The instrument, which was installed on the Russian Zvezda service module in 2011, was no longer in operation, and the cosmonauts jettisoned the device toward the rear of the space station.


22 October 2014

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. ...


22 October 2014

Wacky Humpbacked Dinosaur Looked Like 'Star Wars' Creature

Wacky Humpbacked Dinosaur Looked Like 'Star Wars' CreatureAbout 70 million years ago, a humpbacked, duck-billed dinosaur with monstrous front limbs and "mudding hooves" tramped through rivers hunting fish. Though the odd-looking creature, named Deinocheirus mirificus, was discovered nearly 50 years ago, almost nothing was known about the mysterious creature until two new skeletons were unearthed in Mongolia recently. "Deinocheirus was a peculiar humpbacked form with a duckbill-like skull," that could grow to the size of a T. rex, said study lead author Yuong-Nam Lee, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in South Korea. In 1965, paleontologists unearthed the giant, 7.8-foot-long (2.4 meters) forelimbs of a terrifying dinosaur in Mongolia's Gobi Desert.


22 October 2014

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. ...


22 October 2014

Neanderthals and Humans First Mated 50,000 Years Ago, DNA Reveals

Neanderthals and Humans First Mated 50,000 Years Ago, DNA RevealsThe DNA from the 45,000-year-old bone of a man from Siberia is helping to pinpoint when modern humans and Neanderthals first interbred, researchers say. Although modern humans are the only surviving human lineage, others once lived on Earth. The closest extinct relatives of modern humans were the Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and Asia until they went extinct about 40,000 years ago. Recent findings revealed that Neanderthals interbred with ancestors of modern humans when modern humans began spreading out of Africa — 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone living outside Africa today is Neanderthal in origin.


21 October 2014

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. ...

21 October 2014

Greek archaeologists unearth head of sphinx in Macedonian tomb

ATHENS (Reuters) - Archaeologists unearthed the missing head of one of the two sphinxes found guarding the entrance of an ancient tomb in Greece's northeast, as the diggers made their way into the monument's inner chambers, the culture ministry said on Tuesday. The tomb on the Amphipolis site, about 100 km (65 miles) from Greece's second-biggest city Thessaloniki, has been hailed by archaeologists as a major discovery from the era of Alexander the Great. They say it appears to be the largest ancient tomb to have been discovered in Greece. ...

21 October 2014

23andMe, MyHeritage partner to combine DNA and family trees

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Personal genetics company 23andMe and Israel's MyHeritage said on Tuesday they would collaborate to enable people to discover their heritage based on genetic ancestry and documented family history. California-based 23andMe, which is backed by Google, is a pioneer in the sale of home genetic tests and has more than 750,000 clients. It sells a $99 DNA test, from which it provides its customers ancestry-related genetic reports. MyHeritage helps families find their history with family tree tools and a library of more than 5.5 billion historical records. ...

20 October 2014

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. ...


20 October 2014

Incredible Science and Historical Artifacts Up for Auction

Incredible Science and Historical Artifacts Up for AuctionA 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.


19 October 2014

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. ...

19 October 2014

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as spacecraft watch

Comet C/2013 A1, also known as Siding Spring, is seen as captured by Wide Field Camera 3 on NASA's Hubble Space TelescopeBy Irene Klotz NEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars where a fleet of robotic science probes were poised for studies. Comet Siding Spring passed just 87,000 miles (140,000 km) from Mars, less than half the distance between Earth and the moon and 10 times closer than any known comet has passed by Earth, NASA said. ...


18 October 2014

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.


17 October 2014

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. ...

17 October 2014

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. ...


17 October 2014

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.


17 October 2014

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. ...


17 October 2014

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.