23 May 2016

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Cuttlefish, Squid and Relatives Thrive in Warming Oceans

Cuttlefish, Squid and Relatives Thrive in Warming OceansWarming oceans are bad news for a number of marine species, but cephalopods - the many-armed mollusk group that includes octopus, squid and cuttlefish - are doing just fine. Scientists gathered data from cephalopod fisheries around the world, examining how catch rates - the number of cephalopods captured or sampled at one time - changed for 35 species between 1953 and 2013. The researchers found steady increases in diverse cephalopod populations living in a variety of ocean depths and environments, suggesting that changing ocean conditions may actually be beneficial to cephalopods worldwide.

23 May 2016 6:28pm GMT

Yes, It Is Rocket Science: Middle School Team Wins Rocket Competition

Yes, It Is Rocket Science: Middle School Team Wins Rocket CompetitionA team of middle-school students from Washington state will represent the United States at an international rocketry contest in Europe, after taking home the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on May 16. Hailing from Bellevue, Washington, the Space Potatoes rocketry team from Odle Middle School beat out 789 other groups of students from all over the United States. Students Mikaela Ikeda, Larry Jing, Karl Deerkop, Srivatshan Sakthinarayanan and Stephanie Han will share more than $20,000 in scholarships and funds for their school.

23 May 2016 6:20pm GMT

Mysterious Mass Graves Hold Prisoners of Bloody 17th-Century Battle

Mysterious Mass Graves Hold Prisoners of Bloody 17th-Century BattleThree years ago, archaeologists at Durham University began excavating a site on campus for a proposed addition to the school's library, but work was unexpectedly halted when the researchers uncovered remnants of two mass graves. The estimated 1,700 skeletons, found underground at the southern tip of Durham University's Palace Green Library, were likely Scottish soldiers who had been taken prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, the archaeologists said. The prisoners were captured by Oliver Cromwell, the controversial English leader who waged a successful military campaign against the Royalists in a 17th-century civil war, toppling the monarchy and culminating in the execution of King Charles I in 1649.

23 May 2016 3:15pm GMT

VR at Cannes: How Will Virtual Reality Change Film?

VR at Cannes: How Will Virtual Reality Change Film?The 2016 Cannes Film Festival, which began May 11 and runs until May 22 in Cannes, France, featured a festival first: screenings of virtual reality (VR) short films and presentations in a pavilion dedicated exclusively to VR. Famed director Steven Spielberg said he's skeptical about VR's effectiveness as a storytelling tool, and questioned whether it should be seriously considered as a means for developing and presenting visual narratives.

23 May 2016 3:14pm GMT

Calling All Kids! President Obama Wants Your Science and Tech Ideas

Inspired by the recommendation of a 9-year-old inventor during the White House Science Fair in April, President Barack Obama has put out a call to kids across the United States to share their thoughts on science, technology and innovation. Both in and out of classrooms, kids know firsthand how to inspire students in the STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and math. "Whether you care about tackling climate change, finding a cure to cancer, using technology to help make people's lives better or getting a human to Mars, we can't wait to get your input!" John Holdren, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in a White House blog post yesterday (May 19) to announce the initiative.

23 May 2016 3:12pm GMT

The Science of Intuition: How to Measure 'Hunches' and 'Gut Feelings'

Whether you call it a "gut feeling," an "inner voice" or a "sixth sense," intuition can play a real part in people's decision making, a new study suggests. For the first time, researchers devised a technique to measure intuition. After using this method, they found evidence that people can use their intuition to make faster, more accurate and more confident decisions, according to the findings, published online in April in the journal Psychological Science.

23 May 2016 2:55pm GMT

Stung for Science: Meet the Man Who Measures Pain

Been stung by a bug? Well, Justin Schmidt feels your pain. No, seriously - no matter what type of insect stung you, Schmidt surely has been stung by it, too, and has documented that pain.

23 May 2016 2:54pm GMT

Slimy hagfish inspire 'super hydrogels'

By Matthew Stock The unusual secretions of the Atlantic hagfish are being studied by scientists who want to harness the viscous and elastic properties of the creature's slime for human use. When attacked or threatened by a predator the marine creature defends itself by secreting a milky-white substance from its glands. This instantly reacts with the seawater around it to form a mass of slime that clogs the mouth and gills of the would-be attacker. But this slime has special properties that could benefit mankind, according to scientists from ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal institute of Technology). Hagfish slime is an extremely diluted hydrogel, consisting of over 99.99 percent water.

23 May 2016 2:50pm GMT

Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center

Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science CenterLOS ANGELES - The space shuttle Endeavour now has its external tank. The massive orange-brown fuel tank, NASA's last remaining example of its type, built for flight but never used, arrived at the California Science Centeron Saturday evening (May 21), completing a nearly one-day road trip through the streets of Los Angeles. The external tank, together with the orbiter Endeavour - which was delivered to the Science Center in a similar, but longer parade in October 2012 - and a pair of solid rocket boosters still to come, will form the world's only vertical display of a fully-authentic space shuttle launch vehicle.

23 May 2016 11:27am GMT

22 May 2016

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Solar plane lands in Dayton, Ohio on latest leg of round-the-world flight

Swiss adventurer Andre Borschberg (C) is welcomed by his wife Yasemin and alternate pilot Bertrand Piccard after landing Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) at Dayton International AirportAn experimental airplane powered solely by energy from the sun landed in Ohio on Saturday night on the latest leg of its historic bid by pilots and developers to fly around the globe without a drop of fuel. "People told the Wright Brothers & us what we wanted to achieve was impossible," said Bertrand Piccard after landing. "They were wrong!" The locale was of special significance to the pilots, as the home base to aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright.

22 May 2016 7:25am GMT

'ET Comes Home' for NASA fuel tank's ride to LA site

Eddye Chapman takes a picture of herself as the space shuttle Endeavour's external fuel tank ET-94 makes its way to the California Science Center in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, CaliforniaA giant NASA fuel tank completed its final journey on Saturday, with crowds cheering on its parade along Los Angeles streets to a science center where it will go on display with the U.S. space shuttle Endeavour. The orange tank, weighing 65,000 lb (29,500 kg) and 154 feet (47 meters) in length, is the only one of its kind. The California Science Center called the parade of the fuel tank, which stands about three stories tall when towed on its side by a truck, "ET Comes Home," in a play on the "external tank" name and the 1982 movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." The tank, ET-94, arrived at the center after a 16-mile (26-km) journey, the center said on Twitter.

22 May 2016 2:05am GMT

20 May 2016

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Developers look to widen repertoire of Pepper, Japan's laughing robot

Board Director of Product Division for SoftBank Robotics Hasumi performs with SoftBank's emotion-reading robot Pepper during a demonstration in TokyoJapanese developers of a robot are asking the public to come up with ideas for what their waist-high humanoid can do and they are offering a software development kit for programmers to get creative. The fast-selling robot, known as Pepper, can already laugh and serve coffee and is being used as a waiter, salesman and customer service representative in about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle, Mizuho Bank and Nissan. Now its creators, SoftBank Corp, have started offering a kit, Pepper SDK for Android Studio, that will allow programmers to develop new tasks.

20 May 2016 3:09am GMT

19 May 2016

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Skywatchers can see close, bright Mars looming large this month

The planet Mars taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope when the planet was 50 million miles from EarthBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in a decade this month, providing sky-watchers with a celestial show from dusk to dawn starting this week, NASA said on Thursday. On Thursday, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a photograph of Mars taken by the Hubble Space Telescope as the planet neared Earth last week. On May 30, Mars and Earth will come closer than they have been in a decade, NASA said.

19 May 2016 10:51pm GMT

Do Fetuses Feel Pain? What the Science Says

Utah recently passed a law that requires doctors to give anesthesia to a fetus prior to performing an abortion that occurs at 20 weeks of gestation or later. Indeed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage in development. "The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester," said Kate Connors, a spokesperson for ACOG.

19 May 2016 2:40pm GMT

18 May 2016

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Send Astronauts to Mars to Find Evidence of Life, NASA's Top Scientist Says

Send Astronauts to Mars to Find Evidence of Life, NASA's Top Scientist SaysThe chances are good that microbial life existed on Mars long ago, and sending astronauts to the Red Planet is the best way to find the evidence, NASA's chief scientist said. Though Mars is cold and dry today, the planet hosted liquid water on its surface for extended periods more than 3 billion years ago, Ellen Stofan pointed out during a talk Tuesday (May 17) at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, D.C.

18 May 2016 9:52pm GMT

Over a third of North American bird species in danger: scientists

Sandhill cranes land in flooded fields to roost for the night at the Sandhill Crane Reserve near Thornton, California.More than a third of all North American bird species are at risk of becoming extinct unless significant action is taken, scientists who are part of a tri-nation initiative said on Wednesday, adding that ocean and tropical birds were in particular danger. The study, compiled by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and the first of its kind to look at the vulnerability of bird populations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, said 37 percent of all 1,154 species on the continent needed urgent conservation action. The governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico created the North American Bird Conservation Initiative in 1999.

18 May 2016 8:39pm GMT