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Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as spacecraft watch

By Irene Klotz NEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars where a fleet of robotic science probes were poised for studies. Comet Siding Spring passed just 87,000 miles (140,000 km) from Mars, less than half the distance between Earth and the moon and 10 times closer than any known comet has passed by Earth, NASA said. ...

Greek archaeologists unearth head of sphinx in Macedonian tomb

ATHENS (Reuters) - Archaeologists unearthed the missing head of one of the two sphinxes found guarding the entrance of an ancient tomb in Greece's northeast, as the diggers made their way into the monument's inner chambers, the culture ministry said on Tuesday. The tomb on the Amphipolis site, about 100 km (65 miles) from Greece's second-biggest city Thessaloniki, has been hailed by archaeologists

23andMe, MyHeritage partner to combine DNA and family trees

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Personal genetics company 23andMe and Israel's MyHeritage said on Tuesday they would collaborate to enable people to discover their heritage based on genetic ancestry and documented family history. California-based 23andMe, which is backed by Google, is a pioneer in the sale of home genetic tests and has more than 750,000 clients. It sells a $99 DNA test, from which it provide

Cell transplant helps paralyzed man walk with frame

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - A Bulgarian man who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack can now walk with the aid of a frame after receiving pioneering transplant treatment using cells from his nose. The technique, described as a breakthrough by a study in the journal Cell Transplantation, involved transplanting what are known as olfactory ensheathing cells into the patient's

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for joy of sex

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored fishes, called placoderms, about 385 million years ago in Scotland. In an important discovery in the evolutionary history of sexual reproduction, the scientists found that male fossils of the Microbrachius dicki, which belong t

Nurse Nina Pham's Condition Is Improved

Nina Pham, the first Dallas nurse to contract Ebola, has had her health status upgraded from "fair" to "good," according to a statement released on Tuesday evening by the National Institutes of Health. Pham was transfered last Thursday to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she had contracted the disease. In late September, Pham helped care

How a Liberian Rubber Plant Prevented Ebola Spread

The rate of Ebola cases in one part of Liberia, where a certain rubber tree plantation operates, is far lower than in other parts of the country, suggesting that the strategies the company uses to reduce transmission of the virus could be useful elsewhere, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company, Firestone Liberia, Inc., has operated the planation

Dr. Oz's 'Magic Weight-Loss Cure' Loses Remaining Support

Green coffee bean extract, which Dr. Mehmet Oz promoted on his show as a "magic weight-loss cure," had one scientific study backing up the extract's purported effects. When asked specifically about the green coffee bean extract, Oz cited a study that found people who took the supplements did lose weight. The green coffee bean manufacturer, Applied Food Sciences Inc., agreed to pay a $3.5 million

NASA Mars Probes See Rare Comet Flyby (Photos)

A NASA probe orbiting Mars and a rover on the planet's surface have beamed back some amazing views of a comet that made an extremely close pass by the Red Planet on Sunday (Oct. 19). The space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Opportunity rover took some incredible images of Comet Siding Spring (also called C/2013 A1) as the icy object zoomed past the Red Planet over the weekend. MR

Orionid Meteor Shower: See Halley's Comet Crumbs Online Tonight

Some skywatchers captured incredible views of the Orionid meteor shower earlier this week, but even if you can't catch the peaking shower outside tonight (Oct. 21), you can still see it live online. You can watch the broadcast — which will feature views from telescopes in the Canary Islands and Arizona — live directly through Slooh (http://live.slooh.com/) starting at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 Oct. 22 GM

Hawaii scientists return to ocean for weapon study

University of Hawaii scientists plan to embark on a final expedition to deep waters off Oahu to study how chemical weapons dumped in the ocean decades ago are affecting seawater, marine life and sediment. ...

New apps bring kids' playtime back to real world

By Natasha Baker TORONTO (Reuters) - Parents eager to get their children away from television and video screens can turn to new apps that get youngsters to learn while playing in the real world. New iPad and iPhone apps for children by companies such as Osmo and Tiggly are designed to help children learn spatial, language, counting and physics concepts while playing with tangible objects. Tangra

Incredible Science and Historical Artifacts Up for Auction

A working Apple-1 computer, a window from the Manhattan Project's bomb-development site and a letter from Charles Darwin discussing the details of barnacle sex will go on sale this month at an auction of rare scientific artifacts. A viewing window from the Manhattan Project — valued at around $200,000 — is another big-ticket item at the auction. The Manhattan Project was a secret government oper

Science meets voodoo in a New Orleans festival of water

By Kathy Finn NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Perhaps no other city in the United States is as well-suited as New Orleans to wed a scientific discussion of environment with a celebration of the occult. That's exactly what unfolded on Saturday at "Anba Dlo," an annual New Orleans festival where prominent scientists joined with practitioners of the voodoo religion to look for answers to the challenges of de

Goliath Encounter: Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

Piotr Naskrecki was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small mammal, such as a possum or a rat.

Exclusive: U.S. requests production plans for Ebola drug ZMapp

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials have asked three advanced biology laboratories to submit plans for producing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which ran out after it was given to a handful of medical workers who contracted the disease in West Africa, government and lab officials said on Friday. The "task order" issued on Thursday by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Develo

U.S. requests production plans for Ebola drug ZMapp

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials have asked three advanced biology laboratories to submit plans for producing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which ran out after it was given to a handful of medical workers who contracted the disease in West Africa, government and lab officials said on Friday. The "task order" issued on Thursday by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Deve

Comet's Mars Flyby Sunday Has Scientists Abuzz

A comet's close shave with Mars this weekend could reveal some key insights about the Red Planet and the solar system's early days, researchers say. "On Oct. 19, we're going to observe an event that happens maybe once every million years," Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division, said in a news conference earlier this month. Siding Spring, whose core is 0.5 to 5 miles (0.8 to 8

Are we there yet? Scientists prepare for change of epoch

By Emma Anderson BERLIN (Reuters) - Scientists from around the world met this week to decide whether to call time on the Holocene epoch after 11,700 years and begin a new geological age called the Anthropocene - to reflect humankind's deep impact on the planet. For decades, researchers have asked whether humanity's impact on the Earth's surface and atmosphere mean we have entered the Anthropocen

25 Years After Loma Prieta, Earthquake Science Is Transformed

The Oct. 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake was America's first widely-shared natural disaster. The TV crews at San Francisco's Candlestick Park soon turned their cameras on the ravaged city, and frightening images poured in of people trapped in crumpled freeways, burning buildings and toppled storefronts. The magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, centered below the Santa Cruz Mountains, shook muc

Saturn moon may have 'life-friendly' underground ocean - scientists

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - Saturn’s battered moon Mimas may have a thin global ocean buried miles beneath its icy surface, raising the prospect of another "life-friendly" habitat in the solar system, scientists said on Thursday. An underground ocean is one of two explanations for why the 400-mile (250-km) diameter moon wobbles as it orbits around Saturn, scientists using data f

Female orgasm: battleground of science?

By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hapless lovers are not the only ones who get lost down there: even sexologists can’t agree on what’s what, and where, among women's female parts. At least, that’s according to a father-daughter team of researchers in Italy, Drs. Vincenzo and Giulia Puppo. In a new review October 6 in Clinical Anatomy, Vincenzo, of the Italian Center of Sexology in Bolog

Study: Natural gas surge won't slow global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cheap and plentiful natural gas isn't quite a bridge to a brighter energy future as claimed and won't slow global warming, a new study projects.

New Exotic Particle Could Help Explain What Holds Matter Together

A new exotic particle has been hiding out amidst the gobs of data collected by the world's largest atom smasher, physicists have discovered. The new particle, called Ds3*, is a meson — a type of unstable particle made of one quark and one antiquark. They're held together by the strong interaction, or strong force, that is one of the four fundamental forces in nature. To find the new particle, Ti

New Tech Helps Pilots Navigate Dangerous Volcanic Ash Plumes

New technology to detect volcanic ash that threatens airplanes could help prevent a repeat of the air traffic chaos that followed a 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland. With satellites, scientists can detect tiny ash particles, but predicting where aircraft can safely fly is still a major hurdle. "The key issue for us is to develop an integrated monitoring and response system for future volcanic c

Rattlesnake repertoire boosts snake-like robot's skills

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - How do you make a better snake robot? You study snakes, of course. Researchers on Thursday said they conducted experiments to learn precisely how sidewinder rattlesnakes are able to climb sandy hills, then applied the reptiles' repertoire to an existing snake robot so it could do the same thing. The study, published in the journal Science, is an example of how

Scientists find lung cancer can lie hidden for 20 years

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - Lung cancer can lie dormant for more than 20 years before turning deadly, helping explain why a disease that kills more than 1.5 million a year worldwide is so persistent and difficult to treat, scientists said on Thursday. Two papers detailing the evolution of lung cancer reveal how after an initial disease-causing genetic fault -- often due to smoking -- tumou

Bright Idea: How Blue LEDs Changed the World

This year's Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three Japanese scientists for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), a technology that has touched society in innumerable ways and enabled technologies that Americans take for granted every day. "Blue LEDs made possible the white-light LEDs you can buy in a hardware store and put in your house," said H. Frederick Dylla, executive dir

How to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Cosmic-Ray Detector

It's called the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-Ray Observatory (DECO), and unlike the huge, multimillion-dollar particle detectors housed in labs, DECO allows smartphone owners to turn their phone into a pocket-size cosmic-ray particle detector by downloading two apps and sticking a piece of duct tape over the camera lens to block out light particles. "The apps basically transform the phone into

Scientists see severe coral bleaching near Oahu

KANEOHE, Hawaii (AP) — While people in Hawaii have been sweating out a lack of trade winds, corals underwater are also suffering.


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