04 May 2016

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Governments should study worst-case global warming scenarios, former U.N. official says

By Sebastien Malo PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A United Nations panel of scientists seeking ways for nations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius should not dissuade governments from concentrating on bleaker scenarios of higher temperatures as well, its former chief said on Wednesday. Nations should be considering the potential impact of temperature rises of much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit), said Robert Watson, former head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The U.N. panel was assigned to find ways to limit global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) after a 195-nation climate change summit in Paris in December.

04 May 2016 11:36pm GMT

Best Treatment for Preschoolers with ADHD Is Not Meds, CDC Urges

Best Treatment for Preschoolers with ADHD Is Not Meds, CDC UrgesMany young children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) aren't receiving the top recommended treatment for the condition, a new report suggests. The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at insurance claims for 5 million U.S. children, ages 2 to 5, who were all receiving treatment for ADHD. The researchers said they wanted to see how many of these children received behavioral therapy, now recommended as the first treatment to try for young kids who have the condition.

04 May 2016 5:23pm GMT

Deadly Mistakes: Medical Errors Are 3rd Leading Cause of Death

Deadly Mistakes: Medical Errors Are 3rd Leading Cause of DeathMedical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States, a new review suggests. The next most common cause of death after medical errors was chronic lower respiratory infection, which accounted for nearly 150,000 deaths that year, the researchers found. But because of how deaths are currently reported in the U.S., medical errors are rarely listed as the cause of death, said the review, published today (May 3) in the journal BMJ.

04 May 2016 5:22pm GMT

For first time, scientists grow two-week-old human embryos in lab

By Kate Kelland LONDON(Reuters) - Scientists have for the first time grown human embryos outside of the mother for almost two full weeks into development, giving unique insight into what they say is the most mysterious stage of early human life. Scientists had previously only been able to study human embryos as a culture in a lab dish until the seventh day of development when they had to implant them into the mother's uterus to survive and develop further. "This it the most enigmatic and mysterious stage of human development," said Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a University of Cambridge professor who co-led the work.

04 May 2016 5:12pm GMT

Major Depression Might Be Averted by Online Help: Study

People who may be sliding toward depression might be able to prevent the full-blown disorder by completing some self-help exercises online, a new study suggests. Researchers found that men and women who had some symptoms of depression and used a web-based mental health program that was supported by an online trainer were less likely to experience a major depressive episode during a 1-year follow-up period, compared with people who also had symptoms of depression but were only given online access to educational materials about the signs of depression and its treatment. The results of the study suggest that a web-based, guided self-help intervention could effectively reduce the risk of major depressive disorder or at least delay its onset, said lead study author Claudia Buntrock, a doctoral student in psychology at Leuphana University in Lueneburg, Germany.

04 May 2016 3:08pm GMT

Land titles for farmers help cut Brazil's forest loss: scientist

By Chris Arsenault RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Brazil should speed up its program to grant small farmers formal land ownership to slow down the rate of logging and deforestation, a leading scientist said. Farmers on small holdings are responsible for about 30 percent of the logging and destruction of Brazil's vast forests, up from about 23 percent 10 years ago, said Daniel Nepstad, executive director of the California-based Earth Innovation Institute. "A lack of clear land title pushes small farmers to opt for cattle (rearing) instead of more intensive (food) production" said Nepstad, a specialist with 30 years of experience tracking Amazon deforestation told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

04 May 2016 11:59am GMT

03 May 2016

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Scientists win $3 million for detecting Einstein's waves

File photo of Dr. Thorne of Caltech listening during news conference on detection of gravitational waves, in WashingtonBy Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Researchers who helped detect gravitational waves for the first time, confirming part of Albert Einstein's theory in a landmark moment in scientific history, will share a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize, according to the prize's selection committee. The Breakthrough Prizes for scientific achievements were created by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner along with several technology pioneers, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. In February, a team from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced a pair of giant laser detectors had measured the tiny ripples in space and time first theorized by Einstein a century ago, capping a decades-long quest.

03 May 2016 12:19pm GMT

Solar-powered plane lands in Arizona on round-the-world flight

Pilots Borschberg and Piccard react after landing Solar Impulse 2 on the San Francisco to Phoenix leg of what they hope will be the first round-the-world solar-powered flight, in PhoenixBy Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A solar-powered airplane midway through a historic bid to circle the globe completed the 10th leg of its journey on Monday, landing in Arizona after a 16-hour flight from California, the project team said. The Swiss team flying the aircraft in a campaign to build support for clean energy technologies hopes eventually to complete its circumnavigation in Abu Dhabi, where the journey began in March 2015. The spindly, single-seat experimental aircraft, dubbed Solar Impulse 2, arrived in Phoenix shortly before 9 p.m., following a flight from San Francisco that took it over the Mojave Desert.

03 May 2016 10:18am GMT

02 May 2016

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Newly discovered planets may boost search for life beyond Earth

Handout of an artist's impression of the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and its three planetsBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The discovery of three planets that circle a small, dim star could bolster the chances of finding life beyond Earth, astronomers said on Monday. The Earth-sized planets are orbiting their parent star, located in the constellation Aquarius relatively close to Earth at 40 light years away, at a distance that provides the right amount of heat for there to be liquid water on their surface, a condition scientists believe may be critical for fostering life. The discovery marked the first time that planets were found orbiting a common type of star known as an ultra-cool dwarf, the scientists said.

02 May 2016 9:13pm GMT

Science Explains Why Your Mom Calls You by Your Brother's Name

Such "misnamings," or when a person calls someone else by the wrong name, occur frequently, according to the study. When people call someone by the wrong name, they tend to call that person by the name of someone in the same social group, the researchers found.

02 May 2016 2:42pm GMT

Second European-Russian mission to Mars delayed to 2020

The Proton-M rocket, carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft to Mars, blasts off from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, KazakhstanThe second stage of a joint European-Russian mission to search for signs of life on Mars has been delayed from 2018 to 2020, the European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos said on Monday. The decision to put back the launch was a joint one that took into account delays in European and Russian industrial activities, the European agency said in a statement. Roscosmos was not available for comment on Monday, a public holiday in Russia.

02 May 2016 12:25pm GMT

29 Apr 2016

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Pop went the weasel and down went the Large Hadron Collider

FILE - A May 31, 2007 file photo shows a view of the Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. It's one of the physics world's most complex machines, and it has been immobilized — temporarily — by a weasel. Spokesman Arnaud Marsollier says the world's largest atom smasher, the LHC, at CERN, has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage on Thursday night, April 28, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)GENEVA (AP) - It's one of the physics world's most complex machines, and it has been immobilized - temporarily - by a weasel.

29 Apr 2016 9:39pm GMT

Do Australian Dragons Dream? Sleep Discovery Surprises Scientists

Do Australian Dragons Dream? Sleep Discovery Surprises ScientistsMaybe, according to new research that finds rapid eye movement (REM) and slow-wave sleep in a lizard, the Australian dragon, for the first time. REM sleep is characterized by brain waves that look similar to waking brain activity. In mammals, the large muscles of the body are immobile, but the eyes twitch randomly during REM sleep.

29 Apr 2016 11:18am GMT

28 Apr 2016

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Scientists Find New Way to Tan or Lighten Skin

Scientists have uncovered how human skin cells control pigmentation - a discovery that could lead to safer ways to tan or lighten the skin. Researchers found that skin color can be regulated by estrogen and progesterone, two of the main female sex hormones. Although this much was known to a limited degree, the new research revealed two cellular receptors that appear to control this process in skin cells called melanocytes.

28 Apr 2016 2:55pm GMT

Half Australia's Great Barrier Reef northern coral 'dead or dying': scientists

A tourist boat floats above an area called the 'Coral Gardens' located off Lady Elliot Island and north-east from the town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia(This April 20 story has been corrected in headline and first paragraph to show that 50 percent of northern coral is dead or dying, not entire reef) By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists said on Wednesday that just seven percent of the Great Barrier Reef, which attracts around A$5 billion ($3.90 billion) in tourism every year, has been untouched by mass bleaching that is likely to destroy half of the northern coral. Although the impact has been exacerbated by one of the strongest El Nino weather systems in nearly 20 years, scientists believe climate change is the underlying cause. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it's like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once," said Professor Terry Hughes, conveyor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, which conducted aerial surveys of the World Heritage site.

28 Apr 2016 7:37am GMT

27 Apr 2016

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Scientists say oilfield wastewater spills release toxins

FILE - In this July 10, 2014 file photo a worker builds up a berm against a massive saltwater spill from an underground pipeline on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near Mandaree, N.D. Scientists say wastewater spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins into soils and waterways. In a report published Wednesday, April 27, 2016, Duke University researchers say they detected high levels of lead, ammonium and other contaminants in surface waters affected by recent wastewater spills in the Bakken oilfield region. (AP Photo/Tyler Bell, File)Brine spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins into soils and waterways, sometimes at levels exceeding federal water quality standards, scientists reported Wednesday.

27 Apr 2016 11:45pm GMT