06 Dec 2013
People who have a less diverse population of bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts may be more likely to get colon cancer, a new study suggests. "For the first time, we found that colorectal cancer patients have a different gut bacteria composition than healthy subjects," said study author Jiyoung Ahn, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York. "This research, although in an early stage, is pointing to the possibility that gut microbes are involved in colon cancer development," Ahn said. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and it claims the lives of more than 50,000 Americans a year, according to the American Cancer Society.
06 Dec 2013 9:06pm GMT
The visitors from the Arctic have shown up as far south as North Carolina, on the island of Bermuda and in unusually large numbers in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. Yesterday (Dec. 5), 15 were counted at Logan Airport in Boston. For reasons no one understands, snowy owl sightings are spiking in eastern North America this winter. "Maybe this is starting to shape up to be an irruption year," said Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute in Montana.
06 Dec 2013 9:06pm GMT
Men with a condition that causes a curvature of the penis now have a drug treatment option that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Today, the agency said it had approved the drug Xiaflex to treat Peyronie's disease, a condition that causes a curvature in the penis, which can make it difficult for men to achieve erections, or make erections painful. It's not clear exactly how many men have Peyronie's disease, but it's estimated to be somewhere around 1 to 3 percent, according to Weill Cornell Medical College. While some drugs have been used to treat Peyronie's disease, these drugs were approved for other conditions.
06 Dec 2013 8:56pm GMT
STOCKHOLM (AP) - One of this year's Nobel Prize laureates says learning how to handle failure is key to becoming a successful scientist.
06 Dec 2013 6:42pm GMT
An enormous alien planet - one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter - was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star. The newfound exoplanet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. "This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona's department of astronomy, said in a statement. In the most commonly accepted theories of planet formation, it is thought that planets that orbit close to their parent star, such as Earth, began as small, asteroid-type bodies that clumped together in the primordial disk of gas and dust around the burgeoning star.
06 Dec 2013 5:17pm GMT
NASA's trigger-happy Curiosity rover has fired its 100,000th laser shot on Mars, a science milestone in its mission to determine what rocks on the Red Planet are made of, NASA announced Thursday (Dec. 5). "#PewPewPew I've fired my ChemCam laser 100,000+ times on Mars for SCIENCE!" Curiosity's team wrote in the voice of the rover in a Twitter post Thursday. Originating from the French-made ChemCam instrument on Curiosity's "head," these beams are used to study the chemical composition of Mars. The 100,000th laser firing came as Curiosity was shooting a target called "Ithaca" in late October, according to NASA.
06 Dec 2013 5:17pm GMT
To find extraterrestrial life, be it microbes or intelligent life, scientists need telescopes capable of detecting Earth-like planets in Earth's neighborhood and ways to detect biological signatures of life or signs of alien technology. "This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today. "Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors," and continued funding is important, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). The Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.
06 Dec 2013 11:09am GMT
05 Dec 2013
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - A Swiss scientist who examined samples from the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said French experts had made weak arguments in concluding that he could not have died of poisoning in 2004. French forensic examiners commissioned by magistrates investigating Arafat's death in a Paris hospital assessed on Tuesday that he had not been killed with radioactive polonium found in abnormally high levels in his body and clothing. The Swiss approach resembled that of the French inquiry but dug deeper into the mystery, said Francois Bochud, director of the institute of radiation physics at University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) who helped exhume Arafat's remains a year ago. Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel but then led an uprising after subsequent talks broke down in 2000, died aged 75 in November 2004.
05 Dec 2013 6:02pm GMT
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - A prominent Jamaican scientist and entrepreneur is launching a company that aims to capitalize on medical marijuana, a growing global industry that he asserted Wednesday could be a boon for the island's chronically limping economy.
05 Dec 2013 12:05am GMT
04 Dec 2013
NEW YORK - Famed climate scientist and activist James Hansen has said it before, and he'll say it again: Two degrees of warming is too much. International climate negotiators agreed in the Copenhagen Accord, a global agreement on climate change that took place at the 2009 United Nations' Climate Change Conference, that warming this century shouldn't increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But in a new paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, Hansen and a cadre of co-authors from a wide array of disciplines argue that even 2 degrees is too much, and would "subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm," Hansen wrote in an accompanying essay distributed to reporters. The new study is a departure from the typical climate science paper, both for the wide variety of fields represented in the list of co-authors, which includes economist Jeffrey Sachs, as well as for the policy implications it raises, something climate scientists tend to shy away from.
04 Dec 2013 10:23pm GMT
04 Dec 2013 3:29pm GMT
And unsurprisingly, the point of these casual relationships is (drumroll, please) … sex. That's why Peter Jonason, a psychologist at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, focused on these relationships in a new study, published Nov. 1 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. The results, he surmised, could explain why people might get involved in a booty-call relationship versus a one-night stand or long-term affair. Each participant was asked to rank how likely booty calls, friends with benefits (people who have casual sex while remaining "just friends"), long-term relationships and one-night stands were to fulfill each of four functions: sexual gratification, social and emotional support, a "trial run" for a serious relationship and a placeholder to stave off boredom or to bide time until something better came along.
04 Dec 2013 2:35pm GMT
The idea started as a joke at Columbia University, thrown around as a pun of climate scientists modeling themselves, not their data, in an effort to engage the public with climate change in a fresh way by humanizing the people behind the research. Science writers Francesco Fiondella of Columbia's International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Rebecca Fowler of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory began throwing around the idea in early 2013 and, after weeks of ongoing chuckles, decided to look for funding and get serious about the project. "There is so much out there in climate research, but we thought a new mechanism was needed for showing people what it all means," Fowler told LiveScience. Fowler and Fiondella hand-picked a group of 13 Columbia climate scientists who represented a balance of males and females and a range of climate-research fields, from hyrdology to physics to marine science.
04 Dec 2013 2:27pm GMT
Dangerous Global Warming Closer Than You Think, Climate Scientists Say
04 Dec 2013 11:01am GMT
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket developed by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, blasted off on Tuesday to put its first commercial satellite into orbit, staking a potentially game-changing claim in a global industry worth nearly $190 billion a year. The 22-story rocket lifted off from its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:41 p.m. EST/2241 GMT. Perched on top of the rocket was a 7,000-pound (3,175 kg) communications satellite owned by Luxembourg-based SES S.A., which operates a 54-satellite fleet, the world's second-largest. "I'd like to thank SES for taking a chance on SpaceX," company founder and chief executive Elon Musk posted on Twitter an hour before the launch.
04 Dec 2013 1:13am GMT
03 Dec 2013
Australia is investigating a suspected espionage case at the country's top scientific organization, with a Chinese national being probed for allegedly accessing sensitive data, Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday. The case may further test relations with China after the Australian foreign minister called in the Chinese ambassador to Canberra last week to ask for an explanation for a new air defence zone unilaterally set up by China in disputed international waters. Australian federal police and security agencies are investigating a Chinese national, who until last week worked at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization, Fairfax reported. "CSIRO became aware of a matter involving an employee suspected of unauthorised use of CSIRO computers," the organization's spokesman Huw Morgan told Reuters in an email.
03 Dec 2013 10:13pm GMT