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Yahoo! News: Science 

Multi-national crew reaches space station

By Irene Klotz (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan on Sunday to deliver three new crew members to the International Space Station, including Italy's first female astronaut. A Soyuz capsule carrying incoming station commander Terry Virts from U.S. space agency NASA, Soyuz commander Anton Shkaplerov from the Russian Federal Space Agency and fir

Physicists solve mystery of why cats rule, dogs drool

(Reuters) - Popular web videos showing that "cats rule and dogs drool" have new scientific evidence to support that felinophilic sentiment, at least when it comes to drinking. While cats expertly manipulate water to quench thirst neatly, dogs smash, slosh, spill, and splash their way, according to research unveiled on Monday. The latest findings, which focus on dogs and were presented at a meeti

One for every leg: scientists map centipede genome

LONDON (Reuters) - An international team of more than 100 researchers has mapped the genome of the centipede and found that, while it easily outpaces humans on number of legs, it falls short when it comes to genes.     Sequencing the genome of Strigamia maritima, a northern European centipede, the 106-strong team found it has around 15,000 genes - some 7,000 fewer than a human. ...

Cold hard facts: Underwater robot measures Antarctic sea ice

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Measuring the thickness of Antarctic sea ice, an important gauge of environmental conditions in this remote polar region in a time of global climate change, has proven to be a tricky task. But an underwater robot is providing a nice solution. Satellite measurements can be skewed by surface snow, and some ice floes are simply too difficult to reach by ship, e

Deregulation at heart of Japan's new robotics revolution

By Sophie Knight and Kaori Kaneko TOKYO (Reuters) - Neurosurgeon Tetsuya Goto had just begun testing a robot to perform brain surgery when he discovered Japan was moving to tighten regulations that would shut down his seven-year project. Over the next dozen years he watched in frustration as the da Vinci, a rival endoscopic robot that U.S. regulators had already approved, became a commercial suc

How Blu-ray Discs Can Improve Solar Panels

Blu-ray discs could help make the solar cells used in solar panels more efficient, researchers say. Solar cells rely on materials that convert photons of light into electricity. Prior research had revealed that if microscopic structures that are only nanometers (billionths of a meter) high are placed on the surface of solar cells, they can scatter light in ways that increase the cells' efficiency.

How Vultures Can Eat Rotting Flesh Without Getting Sick

Vultures' faces and large intestines are covered with bacteria that is toxic to most other creatures, but these birds of prey have evolved a strong gut that helps them not get sick from feasting on rotting flesh, according to a new study. In the first analysis of bacteria living on vultures, the study's researchers found that these scavengers are laden with flesh-degrading Fusobacteria and poisono

Is Farmed Salmon Good for You?

Eating salmon and other oily fish has been recommended as a way of boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. In the wild, salmon eat a variety of small fish, but increasing demands for farmed salmon has meant exploiting those smaller fish populations. As a more sustainable solution, some farmed salmon are now being fed partly on vegetable oil. "Some of the m

How 3D Printing Could Aid Space Exploration

A new era in human spaceflight and exploration has begun, advocates of 3D printing say. The 3D printer aboard the International Space Station produced its first part Monday (Nov. 24), manufacturing a piece of itself called an extruder plate. The humble part is just the first of many objects that will be created off Earth over the coming years, helping humanity explore far beyond its home planet

Space Station's 3D Printer Makes 1st Part

The International Space Station's 3D printer has produced its first part, ushering in what proponents hope will be a new age of off-Earth manufacturing.

One for every leg: scientists map centipede genome

LONDON (Reuters) - An international team of more than 100 researchers has mapped the genome of the centipede and found that, while it easily outpaces humans on number of legs, it falls short when it comes to genes. Sequencing the genome of Strigamia maritima, a northern European centipede, the 106-strong team found it has around 15,000 genes - some 7,000 fewer than a human. ...

'Interstellar' Science: Is Wormhole Travel Possible?

Wormholes are theoretical tunnels through the fabric of space-time that could potentially allow rapid travel between widely separated points — from one galaxy to another, for example, as depicted in Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," which opened in theaters around the world earlier this month. The novel came out in 1985, while the movie (which also stars Matthew McConaughey, apparently a wormh

Cosmic Case of Missing Stars Baffles Scientists

A massive population of stars is missing, and scientists are stumped as to where it could be. New observations from the Hubble Space Telescope challenge a previous theory for the apparent disappearance of a massive number of stars. Because some star clusters around our Milky Way galaxy have fewer stars than observations suggest they should, astronomers suspected many of these stars were ejected

Nobel Medal for DNA discovery could fetch $3.5 million at auction

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to American scientist Dr. James Watson, a co-discoverer of DNA, is expected to sell for up to $3.5 million at auction next month in New York, Christie's said on Monday. Watson, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, unraveled the double-helix structure and function of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in England in 1953 in a

Small Volcanic Eruptions Slow Global Warming

Small volcanic eruptions account for part of the global warming slowdown since 2000, a new study suggests. Until now, the climate impacts of small volcanic blasts were overlooked because their planet-cooling particles cluster below the reach of satellites, scientists reported Oct. 31 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The stratosphere is the second layer of Earth's atmosphere, above th

Obama plugs science, math education at ceremony

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Thursday that 19 scientists, researchers and innovators who received the country's highest honor for their life-changing work embody the spirit of the nation and its "sense that we push against limits and that we're not afraid to ask questions."

Parallel Worlds Could Explain Wacky Quantum Physics

The idea that an infinite number of parallel worlds could exist alongside our own is hard to wrap the mind around, but a version of this so-called Many Worlds theory could provide an answer to the controversial idea of quantum mechanics and its many different interpretations. Bill Poirier, a professor of physics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, proposed a theory that not only assumes paralle

CERN scientists discover 2 new subatomic particles

GENEVA (AP) — Scientists at the world's largest smasher said Wednesday they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe.

Israeli XPrize Mission Science Twist: Map Lunar Magnetism (Op-Ed)

With the goal of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, nonprofit SpaceIL is competing for the Google Lunar XPrize: a modern race to the moon. First, instead of developing a rover to drive 500 m like most other teams, SpaceIL engineers are pursuing a "hop" — using the spacecraft's propulsion system first to land, and second to take off again and land 500 m away. Second, we are using t

NASA Pluto Probe to Wake From Hibernation Next Month

NASA's New Horizons probe is about to wake up from a long slumber and get ready for its highly anticipated Pluto flyby next summer. New Horizons is scheduled to emerge from a 99-day hibernation on Dec. 6, then gear up for a six-month Pluto encounter that peaks with the first-ever close flyby of the mysterious dwarf planet on July 14, 2015. “New Horizons is healthy and cruising quietly through de

Scientists 'confident' comet lander will wake up

BERLIN (AP) — A burst of sunshine in the spring could be just the wakeup call for Europe's comet lander.

Big Bang's Echo May Reveal Skeleton of the Universe

Scientists may soon get a look at the universe's skeleton by taking a close look at light left over from the Big Bang, which can be used to reveal the presence of matter like stars, galaxies, black holes and even larger structures in the otherwise empty universe. In a similar way, scientists with the international POLARBEAR collaboration want to use a diffuse light that fills every corner of the

Famed Physicist Ernest Rutherford Helped Pioneer Sonar in Secret

Ernest Rutherford is best-known for splitting the atom, but that's not his only claim to fame. The British physicist also helped pave the way for sonar technology. Rutherford produced a secret report during World War I that would form the basis for acoustic technology to detect German U-boats, which were a menace to the British Navy and merchant vessels. Now known as the father of nuclear physic

Comet scientists take break after 4 straight days

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency says that its scientists are taking a bit of a break after working for four days around the clock since the pioneering lander Philae touched down on a comet.

Alien Life Could Thrive on 'Supercritical' CO2 Instead of Water

Alien life might flourish on an exotic kind of carbon dioxide, researchers say. This "supercritical" carbon dioxide, which has features of both liquids and gases, could be key to extraterrestrial organisms much as water is to biology on Earth. Most familiar as a greenhouse gas that traps heat, helping warm the planet, carbon dioxide is exhaled by animals and used by plants in photosynthesis. Whi

Space scientist apologizes for shirt called sexist

BERLIN (AP) — British physicist Matt Taylor brimmed with excitement as the European Space Agency's Philae lander successfully separated from the Rosetta spacecraft, showing off a colorful tattoo on his thigh of both, while proclaiming "we're making history."

'Nature's Fury': NYC Exhibit Explores Science of Natural Disasters

From the eruption that buried Pompeii in A.D. 79 to the superstorm that shut down New York City in 2012, natural disasters are an unavoidable part of life on Earth. A new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) explores the causes and aftermath of the mighty forces that shape the planet, from earthquakes to volcanoes to hurricanes. The interactive exhibit lets visitors build the

Professor sues Caltech over her disclosures to FBI

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A physics professor at the California Institute of Technology sued the school Thursday, claiming she faced a "merciless campaign" of retaliation for telling the FBI that she suspected illegal activities at the university-managed NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Global Warming Will Bring More US Lightning Strikes

A 50 percent increase in the number of lightning strikes within the United States can be expected by 2100 if temperatures continue to rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, a new study claims. Romps and his colleagues discovered a new combination of two factors that they say predicts 77 percent of the geographic and time patterns seen in U.S.

Scientists: US-China pact won't slow warming much

WASHINGTON (AP) — Don't expect the landmark U.S.-China climate change agreement to nudge the world's rising thermostat downward much on its own, scientists say.


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