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Giants' Mark Melancon: a closer who's open to sports scienceMark Melancon sprints to the mound and his heart starts racing — at precisely 183 beats per minute. It's all by careful design for San Francisco's new closer. "I didn't realize it was that high," ...
Sponges Ruled the World After Second-Largest Mass ExtinctionSponges may be simple creatures, but they basically ruled the world some 445 million years ago, after the Ordovician mass extinction, a new study finds. Roughly 85 percent of all species died in the Ordovician mass extinction, the first of the world's five known mass extinctions. "We think the sponges thrived because they can tolerate changes in temperature and low oxygen levels, while their food source (organic particles in the water) would have been increased enormously by the death and destruction all around them," lead study author Joe Botting, a paleontologist at Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China, said in a statement.
Climate Threat to Wildlife May Have Been Massively UnderreportedMore than 700 of the world's threatened and endangered animal species may be directly affected by climate change, according to a new study — vastly more than the number of animal species scientists initially thought would face risks from global warming. Scientists had previously determined that only 7 percent of mammals and 4 percent of birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "Red List" of threatened species are affected by climate change. In a comprehensive analysis of 130 previous studies on the subject, researchers found that nearly half of the world's threatened and endangered mammals and nearly a quarter of birds are already seriously impacted — more than 700 species total.
A file photo of a DNA double helix in an undated artist's illustration released by the National Human Genome Research Institute to ReutersBy Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Powerful gene editing tools may one day be used on human embryos, eggs and sperm to remove genes that cause inherited diseases, according to a report by U.S. scientists and ethicists released on Tuesday. The report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Medicine said scientific advances make gene editing in human reproductive cells "a realistic possibility that deserves serious consideration.” The statement signals a softening in approach over the use of the technology known as CRISPR-Cas9 that has opened up new frontiers in genetic medicine because of its ability to modify genes quickly and efficiently. In December 2015, scientists and ethicists at an international meeting held at the NAS in Washington said it would be "irresponsible" to use gene editing technology in human embryos for therapeutic purposes, such as to correct genetic diseases, until safety and efficacy issues are resolved.
DinocephalosaurusBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An extraordinary fossil unearthed in southwestern China shows a pregnant long-necked marine reptile that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs with its developing embryo, indicating this creature gave birth to live babies rather than laying eggs. Scientists on Tuesday said the fossil of the unusual fish-eating reptile called Dinocephalosaurus, which lived about 245 million years ago during the Triassic Period, changes the understanding of the evolution of vertebrate reproductive systems. Dinocephalosaurus is the first member of a broad vertebrate group called archosauromorphs that includes birds, crocodilians, dinosaurs and extinct flying reptiles known as pterosaurs known to give birth this way, paleontologist Jun Liu
Sick Beats: Scientists Revive Hearts to Study Erratic RhythmsThe cameras track electrical impulses to identify sources of signal disruptions that can make hearts beat too slowly, too quickly, or out of rhythm. The rhythm is set by synchronized pumping in the heart's two upper chambers, called the atria, and in its two lower chambers, called the ventricles. Disruptions in the heart's electrical system can cause abnormal beating, or arrhythmia.
Magma Power: Scientists Drill into Volcano to Harness its EnergyIt's not every day that scientists can study a volcano up close, but researchers investigating the feasibility of volcano-powered electricity successfully drilled into the core of one in Iceland. Scientists studied the volcanic system at Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, which has been dormant for more than 700 years, according to a hazard assessment by Verkis Consulting Engineers for Invest in Inceland. The depths of Reykjanes' geothermal field — an area with high heat flow — had never been explored, researchers with the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) said in a statement.
1,700-Year-Old Untouched Tomb Yields Elaborate Headdress FigurineEditor's Note: This article was updated at 3 p.m. E.T. A 1,700-year-old untouched tomb bearing the bones of a dozen male adults, as well as pre-Columbian figurines and statues, has been unearthed in Mexico. Archaeologists discovered the ancient tomb, which dates to the Comala Period (between 0 and A.D. 500), during work to remodel a Seventh-day Adventist church in Colima, Mexico.
China plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft in April, state media reported on Tuesday, taking a step toward its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022. President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing China's space program, saying it was needed to enhance national security and defense. Plans for the maiden voyage of the cargo spacecraft were reported on the front page of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.
Can the HPV Vaccine Protect Against Skin Cancer?The HPV vaccine, which protects against several strains of the human papillomavirus, shows potential for preventing new spots of skin cancer from popping up in people who have had skin cancer in the past, a new report of two patients' cases suggests. Previous research has suggested that there's a link between HPV and certain types of skin cancer. However, the study was very small, and more research in larger groups of patients is needed before scientists can determine if the HPV vaccine really does reduce skin cancer risk.
Mom's Antidepressant Use May Increase Baby's Risk of Speech DisordersThe analysis, which looked at women who'd had a prior pregnancy loss and taken part in an earlier study, found that women who benefited from the aspirin regimen had high blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body. Among these women, those who took a daily aspirin were 31 percent more likely to become pregnant, and 35 percent more likely to carry a pregnancy to term, than those who took a placebo. However, it's too soon to officially recommend daily aspirin to prevent pregnancy loss, the researchers said.
Snapshot of Hawaii: Why NASA Is Studying Islands' Volcanoes & ReefsWhether it's the noxious gases rising from the Kilauea volcano, or the lively coral reefs that sprawl across the seafloor around the island chain, Hawaii's ecosystems are under some serious scientific scrutiny this month. Researchers are here gathering data using NASA's high-altitude airplanes, outfitted with cameras that capture visible light as well as infrared radiation. One airplane, the ER-2, can soar to 67,000 feet, or "the edge of space," as NASA systems engineer Michael Mercury put it.
Officials spray maize plants affected by Armyworms in Keembe district, ZambiaBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists tracking a crop-destroying caterpillar known as armyworm say it is now spreading rapidly across mainland Africa and could reach tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, threatening agricultural trade. In research released on Monday, scientists at the Britain-based Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) said the pest, which had not previously been established outside the Americas, is now expected to spread "to the limits of suitable African habitat" within a few years.
Agricultural officials spray maize plants affected by armyworms in Keembe districtBy Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists tracking a crop-destroying caterpillar known as armyworm say it is now spreading rapidly across mainland Africa and could reach tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, threatening agricultural trade. In research released on Monday, scientists at the Britain-based Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) said the pest, which had not previously been established outside the Americas, is now expected to spread "to the limits of suitable African habitat" within a few years.
Hunting or Angry? Scientists Can't Agree on Odd Octopus BehaviorA wild octopus surprised an Australian diver this week by suddenly, and quite dramatically, inflating itself with water, ballooning up like a parachute. Later, when the diver posted a video of the interaction online, she wondered whether the octopus was trying to intimidate her with its grandiose size. That's possible, marine biologists said, but they can't agree on what caused the curious behavior.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) CEO Rush Holt, a former Democratic congressman, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, before the House Science Committee. He rebuffed claims by Republican members that federal climate science had been falsified. (AP Photo/Michael Biesecker)WASHINGTON (AP) — Another round of bickering is boiling over about temperature readings used in a 2015 study to show how the planet is warming.
A Bolivian woman inspects a Quinoa plant, a variety of grain cultivated in high altitudes, during a visit to the area by journalists with the Bolivian government, to promote the International Year of Quinoa in TarmayaBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Quinoa, the sacred "mother grain" of the ancient Inca civilization suppressed by Spanish conquistadors, could become an increasingly important food source in the future thanks to genetic secrets revealed in a new study. Scientists on Wednesday said they have mapped the genome of quinoa and identified a gene that could be manipulated to get rid of the grain's natural bitter taste and pave the way for more widespread commercial use. Quinoa (pronounced KIN-wah) already grows well in harsh conditions such as salty and low-quality soil, high elevations and cool temperatures, meaning it can flourish in locales where common cereal crops like wheat and rice may struggle.
Bill Nye's Back! Netflix's New Science Show Promises Nerdy FunGet ready science fans: Bill Nye is coming back to the small screen.
FILE PHOTO - A man holds quinoa grains at a marketplace for small and medium-sized quinoa growers in Challapata south of La PazBy Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Quinoa, the sacred "mother grain" of the ancient Inca civilization suppressed by Spanish conquistadors, could become an increasingly important food source in the future thanks to genetic secrets revealed in a new study. Scientists on Wednesday said they have mapped the genome of quinoa and identified a gene that could be manipulated to get rid of the grain's natural bitter taste and pave the way for more widespread commercial use. Quinoa (pronounced KIN-wah) already grows well in harsh conditions such as salty and low-quality soil, high elevations and cool temperatures, meaning it can flourish in locales where common cereal crops like wheat and rice may struggle.
'The Space Between Us': The Science Behind the Science Fiction"The Space Between Us" may be a science-fiction film, but the science behind the story is a lot more factual than it may seem. The movie tells the story of the
Dark Science: Total Solar Eclipse Gives Researchers Brief WindowDuring the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse, 11 teams of NASA-sponsored researchers will soak up as much science as they can — in less than 3 minutes. A total solar eclipse is a rare and unique event. When the disc of the moon completely covers the sun, it reveals previously hidden features of the star and casts Earth into a strange, otherworldly twilight in affected areas.
Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in SpaceThanksgiving in space will be a lot like the holiday down here on the ground —
Spaceflight Is Entering a New Golden Age, Says Blue Origin Founder Jeff BezosEarly Monday (Nov. 23), the private spaceflight company Blue Origin made a major stride in the pursuit of fully reusable rockets, when it launched an uncrewed vehicle into space and then soft-landed the rocket booster on the ground. "It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's founder, speaking about the landing in a press briefing yesterday (Nov. 24). "And my teammates here at Blue Origin, I could see felt the same way.
Male Contraceptive 'Hydrogel' Passes Test in Rhesus MonkeysA new type of male contraceptive that blocks the flow of sperm effectively prevented pregnancy in female monkeys, a new study finds. The success of the contraceptive procedure in male monkeys means that human men may be up next in clinical trials, the researchers said in a statement.
Heavy Lifting at Work Linked to Decreased Fertility in WomenHeavy lifting at work may take a toll on women's fertility, a new study suggests. In the study, which involved women undergoing fertility treatment, lifting or moving heavy things at work was linked with a reduction in biological markers of fertility. "Our study suggests that women who are planning pregnancy should be cognizant of the potential negative impacts that non-day shift and heavy lifting could have on their reproductive health," study co-author Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, a research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement.