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NASA puts out call for satellite communication services – on Mars

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - In what may be the ultimate in long-distance telephone service, NASA on Wednesday put out a call for a commercially owned and operated satellite network on Mars. The robotic probes, however, are useless if they cannot relay their results, and the two communication satellites currently in orbit are getting old. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter followed in

U.S. scientists to map interior of Mount St. Helens volcano

By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A series of explosions set off by a team of scientists were expected to rattle Washington state's Mount St. Helens on Wednesday as researchers map the interior of the volcano, whose 1980 eruption was the deadliest in U.S. history. Mount St. Helens, about 95 miles (150 km) south of Seattle and 50 miles (80 km) north of Portland, erupted in an explosion of

Paracetamol no better than placebo for low back pain, study finds

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Paracetamol, a painkiller universally recommended to treat people with acute low back pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain from the condition, according to the results of a large trial published on Thursday. A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that the popular pain medicine was no better than placebo, or dummy, pills for hastening recove

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy: U.S. study

Dogs are capable of feeling a basic form of jealousy, according to a study published in the PLOS ONE scientific journal. The research, said to be the first experiment on canine jealousy, could redefine the view that the complex emotion of envy is a human construct, said Christine Harris, University of California, San Diego psychologist and an author of the study.

Hacking experts build device to protect cars from cyber attacks

By Jim Finkle (This July 22 story is refiled to include omitted title for Chris Valasek, paragraph 3) BOSTON (Reuters) - Two security experts who a year ago exposed methods for hacking the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape say they have developed technology that would keep automobiles safe from cyber attacks. At last summer's Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, the two researchers, Chris Valasek a

Acetaminophen Doesn't Reduce Lower-Back Pain, Study Suggests

Acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol, works no better than a dummy pill at reducing lower-back pain in some people, nor does it help these patients get better any faster, a new study finds. The study involved more than 1,600 people in Australia who experienced sudden (acute) lower-back pain, and were randomly assigned to either take acetaminophen tablets regularly three times a day, to take

Happy Birthday, Landsat: Space Science Project Turns 42

The Landsat 1 satellite, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, flew into orbit on July 23, 1972, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The camera was designed to be the primary observation instrument, according to NASA, but scientists soon discovered that the scanner was sending back far better data. In 1976, scientists combing through Landsat images found a tiny scrap

That's My Owner! Dogs Get Jealous, Too

The first experimental test of jealousy in dogs shows that canines nip even at stuffed pooches when these fakes take away the attention of the dogs' owners. The results also show that jealousy does not require especially complex minds, the scientists said. "Jealousy is the third-leading cause of non-accidental homicide across cultures," said lead study author Christine Harris, an emotion researc

Home, Sweet, Moon Cave: Astronauts Could Live in 'Lunar Pits' (Video)

Scientists have found hundreds of pits on the lunar surface that could provide shelter to astronauts exploring the moon. Some of the pits, which are primarily located inside larger craters on the moon, are nearly 3,000 feet (900 meters) wide, researchers said. "Pits would be useful in a support role for human activity on the lunar surface," Robert Wagner, of Arizona State University, said in a s

New Space Race? US Eyes Asteroids as Other Nations Shoot for the Moon

NASA has sent lunar probes, but today, the agency is focused more on a potential human asteroid visit and putting boots on Mars. "NASA is not currently considering a human return to the moon and remains focused on the asteroid-retrieval mission," James Clay Moltz, a professor in the department of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, wrote in an emai

String Theory: The Physics of Master Guitar Playing

How do great guitarists bend a string like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix? "Very good guitarists will manipulate the strings to make the instrument sing," David Robert Grimes, a physicist at Oxford University, in England, who plays guitar and was a member of a band in Dublin, Ireland, said in a statement. The physics of string instruments is fairly well understood, but "I wanted to understand what

U.S. scientists urge 'national vision' to curb coastal risks in report

(Reuters) - A group of top scientists has called for a fundamental change to how the United States deals with risks to its Atlantic and Gulf coasts from storms and climate change in a National Research Council report released Wednesday. Urging a "national vision" toward addressing coastal risks, the report comes on the heels of a Reuters analysis published earlier this month showing that coastal f

Elephants Can Outsniff Rats and Dogs

Elephants are known for their impressively long trunks, but perhaps less well known is the large number of genes that code for their sense smell. "Rats had the record for the largest number of [these] genes," said the study's lead researcher Yoshiihito Niimura, a researcher of molecular evolution at The University of Tokyo in Japan. The findings support other research on the pachyderm's superior

Schizophrenia has many genetic links, study says

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK - More than 100 locations on the human genome may play a role in a person’s risk of developing schizophrenia, according to a new study. While the results do not have an immediate effect on those living with the psychiatric disorder, one of the study’s authors said they open areas of research that had not seen advances in recent years. "The exciting thing about having l

Only Zoo Keepers Get to Feed the Penguins (Op-Ed)

Nora Beirne, a senior keeper at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. When I went to The College of New Jersey, I was an English major, but I took several pre-med classes. Then, in my senior year, Pat Thomas — associate director of the Bronx Zoo and vice president and general curator for the Wildlife Conservation Soci

Homer Hickam: The Science Behind 'Crater Trueblood' (Op-Ed)

Homer Hickam is The New York Times No. 1 best-selling author of "Rocket Boys" — also known as "October Sky" (Dell Publishing, 2000) following the book's adaptation to film — and the "Helium-3" novels "Crater" (Thomas Nelson, 2012), "Crescent" (Thomas Nelson, 2013) "Crater Trueblood and The Lunar Rescue Company" (Thomas Nelson, 2014), as well as a retired NASA engineer. There, a ghost town awaits

Taller, Fatter, Older: How Humans Have Changed in 100 Years

Humans are getting taller; Most of the transformations that occur within such a short time period "are simply the developmental responses of organisms to changed conditions," such as differences in nutrition, food distribution, health care and hygiene practices, said Stephen Stearns, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University. But the origin of these changes may be much d

New Schizophrenia Gene Links Uncovered

A new genetic analysis of people with schizophrenia — and the largest study investigating the genetic basis of any psychiatric disorder to date — provides hints that the disease may sometimes be connected with infections as some researchers have long suggested. There have been few innovative drug treatments for schizophrenia over the last 60 years. "In the past, people thought schizophrenia must h

Full Moon Looms Large Over Your Sleep

Some folk stories and superstitions hold that a full moon affects people's sleep, and new research lends support to this idea. In the study, researchers found that people slept for 20 to 25 minutes less on average on nights with a full moon, compared with how long they slept on nights with a quarter moon. The people in the study also said they had more trouble falling asleep during the full moon t

Genetic blueprint unveiled for vital food crop wheat

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As far as agricultural genome research goes, this may be the best thing since sliced bread - wheat bread, that is. An international team of scientists on Thursday unveiled a genetic blueprint of wheat in an accomplishment that may help guide the breeding of varieties of the vitally important food crop that are more productive and more hardy. Researchers who

Stay Up Late? How It Could Hurt Your Fertility

Darkness is important for optimum reproductive health in women, and for protecting the developing fetus, said study researcher Russel J. Reiter, a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. In a review of studies published online July 1 in the journal Fertility and Sterility, Reiter and his colleagues evaluated previously published research, and

4 Conditions Probiotics Are Likely to Treat

So it's no surprise that probiotics, and foods or supplements containing live organisms that can help maintain a normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, have also gained more attention. "There's been a tremendous increase in interest in probiotics among practicing physicians and the general public," said Dr. Allan Walker, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an inves

4 Conditions Probiotics Have Been Proven to Treat

So it's no surprise that probiotics, and foods or supplements containing live organisms that can help maintain a normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, have also gained more attention. "There's been a tremendous increase in interest in probiotics among practicing physicians and the general public," said Dr. Allan Walker, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an inves

Secrets of Sun's 'Coronal Rain' Revealed (Video)

Earth's nearest star has bad weather, too. The mechanisms driving coronal rain are similar to the way rain forms on Earth, according to a statement released by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in the United Kingdom. Scientists found that clouds of plasma in the corona cool, condense and fall back to the sun's surface in a waterfall-like arch if solar conditions are just right. "Showers of 'r

Surfin' Birds Just Wanna Have Fun (Video)

A group of "surfing" black swans were caught catching some waves at a beach on Australia's Gold Coast, in a video posted on YouTube. "There're good biological reasons to think that animals have fun," said Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "Probably as few as five years ago, scientists wondered, do animals have fun or make

Citizen scientists out of options to rescue old NASA satellite

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - A valiant effort to put a defunct NASA science satellite back to work came to a disappointing end this week after the 36-year-old spacecraft’s propulsion system failed, project organizers said. An ad hoc team of engineers and scientists won permission from NASA to try to take control of the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, or ISEE-3. As ISEE-3 near

Why Some Chimps Are Smarter Than Others

Chimpanzees don't just get their smarts by aping others — chimps, like humans, inherit a significant amount of their intelligence from their parents, new research reveals. Researchers measured how well 99 captive chimpanzees performed on a series of cognitive tests, finding that genes determined as much as 50 percent of the animals' performance. "Genes matter," said William Hopkins, a neuroscien

Research shows Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused lesions in fish: scientists

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - Oil that matches the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been found in the bodies of sickened fish, according to a team of Florida scientists who studied the oil's chemical composition. "We matched up the oil in the livers and flesh with Deepwater Horizon like a fingerprint," lead researcher Steven Murawski, a professor at the Universit

Science As Art: Soundscapes, Light Boxes and Microscopes (Op-Ed)

These questions lie at the heart of the work of visual artist Patricia Olynyk. I had some interest in science, but I didn't really have access to labs or to teaching art and science until I got a full-time position at the University of Michigan in 1999.

The Three Policies That Can Counter Global Warming (Op-Ed)

For example, one such policy is to convert heavy-duty trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) rather than diesel fuel. Ramón Alvarez and his colleagues at the Environmental Defense Fund, Princeton University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Duke University studied this option and found that it is "not a viable mitigation strategy for climate change," as it would be nearly 300 years a


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