06 Feb 2016

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Could You Stomach the Horrors of 'Halftime' in Ancient Rome?

Could You Stomach the Horrors of 'Halftime' in Ancient Rome?All of Rome came to the Games: rich and poor, men and women, children and the noble elite alike. He triumphed in one match that pitted him against a bear, a lion and a leopard, all of which were released to attack him at once.

06 Feb 2016 2:19pm GMT

Super Bowl Showdown: Would Broncos or Panthers Win a Real-Life Matchup?

Super Bowl Showdown: Would Broncos or Panthers Win a Real-Life Matchup?While people are stocking up on Buffalo wings and potato chips in advance of the Super Bowl this Sunday, fans are split on who has the best chances of winning: the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers. It turns out that the Super Bowl mascots would be a fairly even match out in the wild, too: While a panther is powerful and stealthy, broncos tend to live in herds, and they have strength in numbers, said Don Moore, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, on assignment at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). "I think a panther could probably take a bronco on a good cat day and a tired bronco day," Moore told Live Science.

06 Feb 2016 1:39pm GMT

Seriously? That Ancient Greek Statue Does Not Depict a Laptop

Seriously? That Ancient Greek Statue Does Not Depict a LaptopThere's a new conspiracy theory out there, but instead of invoking big government or aliens, it questions whether there's a laptop carved into an ancient Greek statue. The theory, proposed by the anonymous YouTube user StillSpeakingOut, ventures that the ancient Oracle of Delphi may have foreseen the invention of laptops, and told people about it. "Just so we are clear, I'm not saying that this relief was depicting an ancient laptop computer," StillSpeakingOut said in the 100-second-long video.

06 Feb 2016 1:26pm GMT

Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA's Aerodynamics Lab

Where the Super Bowl Meets Space: NASA's Aerodynamics LabOnly a few miles away is the NASA Ames Research Center, where engineers can use wind tunnels, water channels and other tools to study the aerodynamics of rockets, airplanes - and even footballs. In Ames' Experimental Aero-Physics Branch lab, scientists use a fluid dynamics chamber to recreate the conditions of an object flying through the air. "What we are looking for in the smoke patterns is, at what speed the smoke patterns suddenly change," Rabi Mehta, chief of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at Ames, said in a statement.

06 Feb 2016 1:04pm GMT

05 Feb 2016

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India says no rush on GM food but will not stand in way of science

India's Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar delivers his speech during a meeting at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 at Le BourgetBy Mayank Bhardwaj NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India needs more data before deciding whether to permit commercial growing of its first genetically modified food crop, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday, but indicated it would not stand "in the way of science" despite protests. A committee of government and independent experts is seeking more information from a team of Indian scientists who have spent almost a decade on laboratory and field trials for a GM mustard crop. "We have to feed more than a billion mouths and we have to raise productivity... (but)we will not compromise on people's health." The meeting, the third held to evaluate field trial data on GM mustard this year, had raised hopes among scientists that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is keen to push technology to lift food productivity.

05 Feb 2016 1:20pm GMT

04 Feb 2016

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Italian consortium set to win giant Chile telescope contract

An Italian consortium, including construction company Astaldi Spa, is close to securing a contract to build the world's largest telescope in the Chilean desert, project owner the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said on Thursday. The ESO said its finance committee had agreed to enter into final discussions with the consortium, which was the winning bidder to design, manufacture, transport and build the main dome and structure for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The consortium includes major Italian builder Cimolai and subcontractor the EIE Group, as well as Astaldi.

04 Feb 2016 9:32pm GMT

Inadequate testing thwarts efforts to measure Zika's impact

Municipal health worker shows off a test tube with larvae of Zika virus vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, as part of the city's efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika, in Guatemala CityBy Paulo Prada RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - One major hurdle is thwarting efforts to measure the extent of the Zika epidemic and its suspected links to thousands of birth defects in Brazil: accurate diagnosis of a virus that still confounds blood tests. Genetic tests and clinical symptoms have enabled scientists to partially track Zika, and Brazil guesses up to 1.5 million people have been infected in the country. The World Health Organization says as many as 4 million people could become infected across the Americas and that Zika has already been locally transmitted in at least 30 countries.

04 Feb 2016 9:29pm GMT

Ancient wildebeest cousin boasted bizarre dinosaur-like trait

An artist's interpretation of Rusingoryx atopocranion on the Late Pleistocene plains of what is now Rusinga Island, Lake VictoriaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In an ancient streambed on Kenya's Rusinga Island, scientists have unearthed fossils of a wildebeest-like creature named Rusingoryx that boasted a weird nasal structure more befitting of a dinosaur than a mammal. The hollow structure may have enabled the horned, hoofed grass-eater to produce a low trumpeting sound to communicate over long distances with others in its herd, Ohio University paleontologist Haley O'Brien said. "This structure was incredibly surprising," O'Brien said.

04 Feb 2016 8:14pm GMT

Europe's shift to dark green forests stokes global warming-study

File photo shows people walking along a forest as the sun shines over fog near Albis Pass mountain passBy Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - An expansion of Europe's forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures. Forest changes have nudged Europe's summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colour traps the sun's heat, the scientists said. Overall, the area of Europe's forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750.

04 Feb 2016 7:25pm GMT

Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue

More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. In an article published today (Feb. 4) in the journal Science, four scholars say racial categories are weak proxies for genetic diversity and need to be phased out. They've called on the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to put together a panel of experts across the biological and social sciences to come up with ways for researchers to shift away from the racial concept in genetics research.

04 Feb 2016 7:22pm GMT

Short-legged Oregon arachnid gets 'behemoth' name

By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Researchers have bestowed a grandiose scientific name on a tiny, spider-like cousin of the daddy longlegs, officially dubbing the newly discovered denizen of remote Oregon forests the Cryptomaster behemoth. The diminutive, short-legged arachnid made its published debut late last month in the peer-reviewed scientific journal ZooKeys, where San Diego State University biologists who made the discovery first described it. Like the daddy longlegs, which is commonly but mistakenly referred to as a spider, the Cryptomaster behemoth actually belongs to an order of arachnids called Opiliones, or harvestmen.

04 Feb 2016 2:54am GMT

03 Feb 2016

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Russian cosmonauts breeze through spacewalk outside space station

Final preparations for Soyuz TMA-19M launchBy Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Two veteran Russian cosmonauts returned to the International Space Station on Wednesday after replacing experiment equipment that is testing how materials and biological samples fare in the harsh environment of space. Station flight engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Sergey Volkov left the station's airlock at 7:55 a.m. EST (1255 GMT) for what was expected to be a 5-1/2-hour spacewalk, a live broadcast on NASA Television showed. Malenchenko and Volkov began their spacewalk by casting off a flash drive into space, giving a ceremonial send-off to recorded messages and video from last year's 70th anniversary of Victory Day, said NASA mission commentator Rob Navias.

03 Feb 2016 7:01pm GMT

Scientists in Germany switch on nuclear fusion experiment

German chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to press the start button next to the head of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics Sibylle Guenter , left, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania governor, Erwin Sellering, right at the Wendelstein 7-X' nuclear fusion research center at the Max-Planck-Institut for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016. Scientists flipped the switch on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power. ( Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP)GREIFSWALD, Germany (AP) - Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Wednesday on an experiment they hope will advance the quest for nuclear fusion, considered a clean and safe form of nuclear power.

03 Feb 2016 4:58pm GMT

Meet 'Squishy Fingers': Flexible Robot Advances Undersea Research

Meet 'Squishy Fingers': Flexible Robot Advances Undersea ResearchMeet "Squishy Fingers," a new remotely operated vehicle designed to delicately grab and take samples of coral. The ROV, described in a Jan. 20 study in the journal Soft Robotics, will help researchers collect specimens from deep underwater reefs without damaging the corals' fragile bodies. "If we're going to go down and study these systems, then we should be as gentle as we possibly can," said study co-senior author David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College in New York City and a National Geographic emerging explorer.

03 Feb 2016 3:58pm GMT

Massive Bird Die-Off Puzzles Alaskan Scientists

Massive Bird Die-Off Puzzles Alaskan ScientistsThousands of dead seabirds have washed up on Alaskan shores over the past nine months. Nearly 8,000 common murres (Uria aalge) were found along the shores of Whittier, Alaska, in early January. Over the New Year's holiday, Alaska experienced four days of gale-force winds from the southeast that resulted in dead birds washing ashore, said Robb Kaler, a wildlife biologist for the Alaska branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

03 Feb 2016 2:50pm GMT

Scientists' path to usable Zika vaccine strewn with hurdles

Aedes aegypti mosquito is seen inside Oxitec laboratory in CampinasMaking a shot to generate an immune response against Zika virus, which is sweeping through the Americas, shouldn't be too hard in theory. For a start, scientists around the world know even less about Zika than they did about the Ebola virus that caused an unprecedented epidemic in West Africa last year. Ebola, due to its deadly power, was the subject of bioterrorism research, giving at least a base for speeding up vaccine work.

03 Feb 2016 9:42am GMT