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You Should Definitely Catch the Perseid Meteor Shower TonightYou might see a meteor a minute.

12-08-2017 10:54:03 ·

Intelligent Life In The Universe Might Already Be ExtinctIf Earth and humans are completely typical in the universe, then all of the intelligent aliens may have already gone extinct.

12-08-2017 10:34:03 ·

Former FBI agent, daughter charged with the murder of her husband: Part 3Prosecutors believe that the father and daughter didn't act in self-defense when Jason Corbett was killed.

12-08-2017 10:34:03 ·

Amazon is issuing refunds to customers who purchased suspect solar eclipse glassesAmazon is refunding customer purchases for protective solar eclipse glasses that it hasn’t been able to confirm come from a reputable manufacturer, according to a safety notification from the company. Excitement has been building for the upcoming solar eclipse across the United States on August 21st, and would-be eclipse viewers have purchased protective glasses from retailers such as Amazon.com. Amazon appears to have been cracking down on these suspect glasses.

12-08-2017 10:24:02 ·

Meteors Can Be Hard To Spot But These NASA Photos Show Them ClearlyMeteors burn up in the Earth's atmosphere leaving a stream of light behind them making for great photos.

12-08-2017 10:24:02 ·

Jurors explain guilty verdict in Molly Martens Corbett murder case: Part 5Jurors say the evidence, testimony and crime scene photos convinced them on the prosecution's case.

12-08-2017 10:03:03 ·

North Korean Missile Claims a Hoax: AnalystsIndependent analysis in a scholarly journal challenges North Korean missile claims.

12-08-2017 10:03:02 ·

Believe In Science Behind Eclipse? Believe Climate Change Too, Neil deGrasse Tyson SaysNeil deGrasse Tyson tweets that if you believe in the upcoming eclipse you should probably also believe in climate change.

12-08-2017 09:21:02 ·

Evolution gave this ancient beast a weird face because it kept ramming into stuff

Moschops capensis was a weird looking animal. When it roamed the Earth some 260 million years ago its goofy stance and wide body would have caught your eye from a distance, and that's even before you noticed its almost comical face. Scientists have been working hard to determine why its tiny brain was protected by such a thick, flat, elongated skull, and new research seems to point to the answer: Maschops capensis really, really loved slamming its head into stuff.

The prehistoric mammal, whose fossils have been discovered in both South Africa and Russia, was the subject of a new research effort led by Julien Benoit of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Using fossils found over a century ago, the scientists used modern scanning technology to get a better look inside the ancient creature's fossilized skull. What they discovered was an incredibly thick cranial roof, which the team believes is the result of evolution catering to the animal's penchant for head-butting.

"This natural helmet could reach up to 15 centimetres of massive bone, the equivalent of a tank armour," Benoit writes in The Conversation. "Our hypothesis is that the helmet was protecting the brain and sense organs against the brutal shocks of direct head-to-head combat between males to find mates and to defend territory."

The result of that evolutionary progress was an animal with a firm stance, goofy face, and a skull built for hitting things. It wouldn't have been a pleasant creature to run into if you happened to be roaming around South Africa hundreds of millions of years ago, but it might have been worth a chuckle.

12-08-2017 08:59:03 ·

Here's where the clearest skies will be during the total solar eclipseYou won’t see something like this again until 2316 — so you better get a good view.  On Aug. 21, the solar eclipse's path of totality (in which the moon completely eclipses the sun) will exclusively cross the continental United States. Thanks to NASA, you can check which areas of the country will have the clearest skies on that day.  Image: nasaThe locations with the highest likelihood of clear skies are shown in dark blue, while those with the most clouds are shown in white.  The map was developed using satellite observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (trying saying that five times fast) sensor on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. The map was compiled using data collected on Aug. 21 between 2000 and 2016.  NASA also went ahead and created this map, which combines the likelihood of clear skies with the eclipse path of totality. The largest circles show where the total solar eclipse will occur—the darker the circle, the likelier chance the skies will be clear. Image: nasaSo, according to the maps, where are the best places in the United States to view the solar eclipse?  That would be Salem, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Casper, Wyoming. Wherever you're located, happy eclipsing! Just remember to wear safety glasses.  WATCH: 20 questions you're too embarrassed to ask about the solar eclipse  

12-08-2017 08:27:02 ·

Map Shows Ground Movement at Yellowstone SupervolcanoThe map shows changes in the elevation around the caldera between 2015 and 2017.

12-08-2017 08:27:02 ·

Reward offered to catch Nevada lake invasive fish dumperRENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada game wardens who spend most their time hunting down big-game poachers are focusing on a serious threat to nature in a lake: An invasive fish species that eats all the other fish prized by anglers and then turns cannibalistic.

12-08-2017 08:19:02 ·

A Sonic Attack in Cuba? How an Acoustic Weapon Might WorkA supersecret sonic weapon being used to attack diplomats in a foreign country may sound like the start of a sci-fi novel, but that's exactly what several U.S. diplomats in Cuba may have been exposed to, the U.S. State Department recently announced. The physical symptoms, which the State Department would not confirm, but which some news reports have suggested included hearing loss, got so bad that some of these officials had to be recalled from their duties in Havana. "Some U.S. government personnel who were working at our embassy in Havana, Cuba, on official duties — so they were there working on behalf of the U.S. embassy there — they've reported some incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms," Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said in a news briefing Aug. 9.

12-08-2017 07:13:02 ·

Marijuana's Popularity Among US Adults Continues to Grow. Here's WhyMarijuana's popularity among American adults is on the rise — and use of the recreational drug is expected to continue to increase, according to several surveys. Forty-five percent of adults in the U.S. have used marijuana at least once in their lives, according to a Gallup poll released in mid-July — the all-time highest percentage in the 48-year history of Gallup asking Americans this question. Meanwhile, data from two large national surveys done by the federal government also finds increasing rates of marijuana use among adults.

12-08-2017 06:10:03 ·

Nasa to wake up New Horizons spacecraft for voyage into mysterious Third ZoneNasa is to wake up its New Horizons spacecraft next month following a five month hibernation, ahead of a journey deeper into one of the most mysterious regions of the Solar System. New Horizons, which captured incredible images of Pluto in July 2015, was powered down in April to conserve energy as it travelled through the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of icy debris which encircles the Sun and planets, also known as The Third Zone. On September 11, the spacecraft will awaken for its 16 month journey to MU69, an ancient object which is thought to be one of the early building blocks of the Solar System. The space rock had not even been discovered when the craft launched in 2006 and the flyby will be the most distant in the history of space exploration, a billion miles beyond Pluto, and four billion miles from Earth. Recent observations of MU69 from the Hubble Space Telescope show it is probably two ‘binary’ objects or a pair of space rocks ‘stuck-together’ bodies which are each around 12 miles across. An artist's impression of MU69 Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker Alan Stern, Principal Investigator for New Horizons at Nasa, said:“We are very likely going to a primordial binary in the Kuiper Belt, a four-billion-year-old relic of Solar System formation and an exotic building block of the small planets of the Kuiper Belt like Pluto. “It may even be a swarm of smaller bodies left from the time when the planets in our solar system formed.   “New exploration awaits us. It promises a scientific bonanza for the flyby.” The first close up image of Pluto, taken by New Horizons Credit: Nasa New Horizons was the fastest spacecraft to ever launch and is partly powered by nuclear energy. When it launched in January 2006 Pluto was still a planet, but just a few months later it was downgraded to a dwarf-planet or ‘plutoid’ and is now known officially as ‘asteroid number 134340’ After studying objects in The Kuiper Belt, the spacecraft will eventually leave the Solar System, a feat only achieved by Voyager so far. And it is carrying the ashes of the scientist who discovered Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh. Tombaugh died on January 17 1997, nine years and two days before New Horizon’s launch, but one of his final requests was for his ashes to be sent into space. Clyde Tombaugh poses with the telescope through which he discovered the Pluto Credit: Pluto Stowaway   

12-08-2017 05:36:03 ·

US biotech Spark hires UK team as cure for inherited blindness edges closerUS biotech Spark Therapeutics has set up a UK office as it targets a rapid launch of its under-review gene therapy for a form of inherited blindness. The Nasdaq-listed firm, which has a market cap of $2.4bn (£1.8bn), is at the forefront of the emerging global field of gene therapies for serious and rare diseases. Their blindness treatment has found success in clinical trials, improving the sight of children with a rare disease known as Leber congenital amaurosis whose vision would otherwise have worsened or been lost over time. There is currently no available treatment for the condition. Scientists have identified 200 genes where mutations lead to genetic blindness, affecting hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It is hoped Spark’s gene therapy approach can ultimately be applied to find cures for almost all of these diseases. The condition Spark’s treatment addresses arises from the mutation of just one of the 200 genes, known as RPE65. It affects up to 6,000 people worldwide. The treatment works by injecting a normal functioning copy of the affected gene into the back of both of the patient’s eyes. In clinical trials children who were unable to navigate an obstacle course in low light made big improvements just a year later after receiving the therapy. You hear the children talk about being able to do things you and I don’t have to think about on a daily basis. It’s incredibly gratifyingJeff Marazzo, Spark Spark’s treatment has been submitted for approval with US and EU drug regulators. A decision is expected in the US first, where it would be the country’s first available gene therapy. In Europe it is set to be the third to launch, and the first to address inherited blindness. A verdict is expected in the US next January and in the EU later in the year. Jeff Marazzo, Spark chief executive, told The Daily Telegraph the firm was engaged in “pre-launch activity in Europe” and had hired a commercial and medical diagnostic team based in Paddington, west London. Commenting on the firm’s clinical successes to date, Mr Marazzo said: “You hear the children talk about being able to do things you and I don’t have to think about on a daily basis. It’s incredibly gratifying”. The company is already trialing a gene therapy for a second type of inherited blindness, where men in their second or third decade of life experience a deteriorating field of vision reducing down to a pinhole.

12-08-2017 05:36:03 ·

Too many jellyfish in the sea? Blame wind farms and gas platformsIf you are noticing more jellyfish in the sea on your holiday this summer, the blame may lie just over the horizon. Scientists have discovered that offshore wind farms and oil and gas platforms inadvertently provide an ideal habitat in which the gelatinous creatures can thrive. Until now, the explosion in jellyfish numbers in oceans around the world has been largely blamed on over-fishing, which wipes out their natural predators, global warming and nutrient run-off. But now it seems that man-made structures offer an enticing home for polyps – the tiny organisms which eventually grow into jellyfish. “They preferably attach to downward-facing solid surfaces and since the availability of these is scarce in nature, they can be predominantly found on man-made structures,” the team of Slovenian and Portuguese scientists report.  The phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the Adriatic, where populations of a species called moon jellyfish have boomed in recent years. Moon jellyfish – which do not have a strong enough sting to harm humans - were first detected in the Adriatic in the 1830s but their presence was a rarity. These days, huge blooms of the species appear every year. A few jellyfish are highly dangerous - even fatal - if they sting humans, including this irukandji jellyfish from Australia. Credit: AP The researchers believe the explosion in numbers is closely related to the increased number of oil and gas platforms in the Adriatic – from just a handful in 1970 to around 150 now. In a report published in Environmental Research Letters, they used computer simulations to recreate the dynamics of ocean currents and the life-cycle of moon jellyfish.  The results suggested a direct correlation between big jellyfish numbers and man-made structures such as energy platforms and wind farms. The structures “enable the formation of new populations in formerly unpopulated open waters,” the scientists found after a five-year study. Scattered across the Adriatic in deep, open water, they enable isolated populations of jellies to find each other and breed. The profusion of jellyfish was “an aspect that is usually overlooked when evaluating the ecological impact of existing and future wind farms, oil and gas platforms,” the scientists said. Too many jellyfish in the sea not only signal the deterioration of marine ecosystems; they also clog the intake pipes of shore-based power stations and desalination plants, weigh down fishing nets and – in the case of some stinging species – present a danger to humans. The research has implications for British waters, where hundreds of offshore turbines are under construction or planned. Last year, for the first time, wind farms in the UK generated more electricity than coal-powered plants. Across Europe, the power-generating capacity of offshore wind installations more than doubled in three years, from 2012 to 2015. “With the recent push towards renewable energy, the numbers (of wind farms) have skyrocketed, and that is just a fraction of what to expect in the future,” the scientists said. With more wind farms and gas platforms planned, the boom in jellyfish numbers will only continue. What is good for jellyfish is also good for other species of marine life, however. A Dutch study found that offshore wind turbines provide a sanctuary in the open ocean for creatures such as crabs, mussels and anemones. The 2011 study found that wind farms also had a much lower impact than previously thought on sea birds such as cormorants and gannets, contradicting fears that the whirring rotor blades of turbines could prove fatal to bird life. “It turns out that a wind farm provides a new natural habitat for organisms living on the sea bed such as mussels, anemones and crabs, thereby contributing to increased biodiversity," said Prof Han Lindeboom from Wageningen University. "It provides an oasis of calm in a relatively busy coastal area." There could be unexpected benefits to the burgeoning numbers of jellyfish – scientists announced last month that they had invented jellyfish crisps, which they said were healthier than traditional, deep-fried potato crisps. Researchers in Denmark discovered that by soaking jellyfish in alcohol and allowing it to evaporate, the gelatinous creatures turn into paper-thin, crunchy discs.  

12-08-2017 05:02:03 ·

This Week in PioneeringMach’s “Pioneering” franchise covers the latest in scientific breakthroughs. This week: the first successful human embryo editing experiment in the U.S and animating sneakers that let you explore your artistic side.

12-08-2017 04:39:02 ·

How to avoid buying counterfeit solar eclipse glassesExperts are urging Americans watching the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse to buy smart when purchasing the necessary protective eyewear. With counterfeit eclipse glasses hitting the market, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) suggest that consumers purchase off their long list of verified products to ensure safe viewing. Retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer Fred Espenak told ABC News that he has heard rumors of counterfeit glasses being sold online.

12-08-2017 04:39:02 ·

The big loser during the eclipse? Solar power.When the total solar eclipse hits on Aug. 21, it's going to be quite the party. The problem? Solar panels need the sun to generate electricity.  With the sun dimmed, solar energy sources will be affected. More than 100 million solar panels are expected to be affected, which will drop output by 20 percent — or the equivalent of all the energy the city of San Francisco uses in a week.  SEE ALSO: 20 questions you're too embarrassed to ask about the solar eclipse Previous eclipses like the one that blotted out Europe in 2015 can give us a heads up on how much solar power will plummet. In Germany, which leads the world in solar power usage, output dropped from 14 gigawatts (GW) to 7 gigawatts, according to Gizmodo. Here in the states, utility-scale solar production is about 21.25 GW. It helps that the eclipse won't totally black out the sun over California and other states where the most solar energy is generated, so it won't disrupt the power grid. But it'll still mess things up. More than 1 percent of all energy used in the U.S. comes from solar, a figure that is increasing rapidly as the cost of solar panels plunge. A North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) white paper found that the eclipse is unlikely to cause any real issues with the power system, in part because the path of totality does not cut across the biggest solar generating states.  More likely it will show us how to prepare and plan for power disruptions, now and in the future. It's really California, and North Carolina to some extent, that will be the most impacted. California is the top solar generating state in the country, home to about 40 percent of the country's installed solar generating capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which supplies energy for the state electrical grid, estimates that the eclipse will push the grid to find up to 6,000 megawatts (MW) from alternative sources — keep in mind one MW powers about 1,000 homes.  Edison @SCE working with @California_ISO to plan for partial ☀️#SolarEclipse2017 on Monday, August 21.https://t.co/QqGC4tdxQ0 pic.twitter.com/ElxjYWekXL — Haig Kartounian (@SCE_HaigK) August 10, 2017 But along with state energy agencies and utilities, the ISO has been prepping for the eclipse and the loss of solar power for more than a year. In a release about the solar event, CAISO wrote, "While the ISO has enough energy supply to make up for lost solar production during the eclipse, consumers should always use energy wisely." That's where programmable thermostats like Nest are gearing up to help take on the energy disruption. In an effort to keep our power grid from resorting to "dirty" energy from coal, nuclear, natural gas and fossil fuels, the Google-owned company is asking its customers to cut back on its energy usage during the eclipse.  Project Eclipse will offer an opt-in campaign. Ben Bixby, head of energy partnerships at Nest, is realistic about the relatively small loss of solar energy from the eclipse. "There’s no real danger of apocalypse," he said in an interview. Bixby anticipates Nest users' reduced energy use will "make a meaningful difference on the grid on this particular day." For eclipse day, Nest users can voluntarily join the energy-saving effort, similar to the company's ongoing Rush Hour Rewards program that launched in 2013 that pays customers for cutting back on energy at peak times. On the device, an eclipse image will appear and ask if users want to participate in the special solar eclipse rush hour. Energy savers won't be paid this time, however. Here's what customers will see to participate in Project Eclipse.Image: nestThe entire California Public Utilities Commission is collecting pledges from residents to "do your thing for the sun." That means finding ways to reduce electricity usage the day of the eclipse. The state utility, like Nest, wants to burn fewer fossil fuels while the state's solar energy production dips.  Some suggestions include replacing lightbulbs with LEDs, turning off lights, unplugging electronics and appliances, and turning up the thermostat 2 to 5 degrees. Easy stuff, but not always obvious. A state resolution calls for lower energy use during the eclipse — especially during the West Coast portion starting around 9 a.m. PT. Thanks @Holden4Assembly for resolution encouraging lowering #electricity use during the #greatsolareclipse! https://t.co/tBuAd2lFVG pic.twitter.com/RtxwBkSb7n — California PUC (@californiapuc) July 21, 2017 The last eclipse to cross the entire U.S. was in 1918, so our energy demands and technology look a bit different these days. We don't have a lot of experience with the sun out of commission for a few hours in the middle of the day with our current power grids and supply systems.  Phil Mihlmester, an energy expert and executive vice president of the global energy consulting group ICF, called the upcoming eclipse "a test case" to see how power suppliers handle the change in resources. Based on a model looking at the electrical grid, ICF found the solar energy reduction might also be costly, especially in solar-heavy states like California.  How well are your #solar assets performing? We guide you through measuring effectiveness of these systems. https://t.co/sLC1f3Fp1h #energy pic.twitter.com/glTvcRqOsf — ICF Energy (@ICFEnergy) July 14, 2017 The ICF analysis found the average energy price for ratepayers just on eclipse day might go up 7 percent in the Golden State. At the eclipse's peak, that cost could go up as much as 18 percent. The average homeowner won't notice the small blip in cost for one day, but the energy industry will.  "It’s not so much the total loss and needing to make up for lost solar power," Mihlmester explained. It's more ramping up gas energy supplies to compensate for solar energy going down. In California alone gas turbines will need to be fired up to release up to 30 MW per minute to make up the difference. So unplugging everything could really do something to offset that gas need. "It's always helpful," Mihlmester said. "Energy efficiency and steps taken by consumers clearly have an effect." With all this energy saving and practice, we should be more than set for the next eclipse in 2024.  WATCH: Airbnb is giving away an epic experience to watch the solar eclipse

12-08-2017 04:28:03 ·
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