By Tom Brown MIAMI (Reuters) - The U.S. National Weather Service is getting a quantum jump in computing power that will significantly improve its forecasting and storm tracking abilities to better protect the country from severe weather. "This is a game changer," Louis Uccellini, who took over as director of the National Weather Service in February, told Reuters in an interview, calling it "the biggest increase in operational capacity that we've ever had. ...
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA's first telescope dispatched to hunt for Earth-like planets that may support life elsewhere in the universe has lost use of its positioning system, threatening its mission, officials said on Wednesday. Launched in 2009, the Kepler space telescope revolutionized the study of so-called exoplanets, with discovery of 130 worlds orbiting distant stars and 2,700 potential planets still awaiting confirmation. ...
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - After more than 15 years of failures by scientists around the world and one outright fraud, biologists have finally created human stem cells by the same technique that produced Dolly the cloned sheep in 1996: They transplanted genetic material from an adult cell into an egg whose own DNA had been removed. The result is a harvest of human embryonic stem cells, the seemingly magic cells capable of morphing into any of the 200-plus kinds that make up a person. ...
Hot on the heels of detecting the two highest-energy neutrinos ever observed, scientists working with a mammoth particle detector buried in ice near the South Pole unveiled preliminary data showing that they also registered the signal of 26 additional high-energy neutrinos. The newfound neutrinos are somewhat less energetic than the two record-setters but nonetheless appear to carry more energy than would be expected if created by cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere--a prodigious source of neutrinos raining down on Earth. The particles thus may point to unknown energetic astrophysical processes deeper in the cosmos .[More]
A portrait of John James Audubon shows the artist and naturalist in a dark wolf-skin cloak, cradling a gun and sporting curly dark hair that was likely smoothed back with bear grease. The picture was painted during Audubon's 1826 trip to England and Scotland, when he was playing up his role as the American woodsman to raise money for his opus, The Birds of America . Once completed, the collection included 435 prints of birds flying , eating, perching and fighting. Audubon is still lauded for his contributions to the fields of ornithology and art.[More]
From Nature magazine[More]
From Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD , by Dieter Hagenbach and Lucius Werthmüller. Copyright © Synergetic Press, May 15, 2013.[More]
On a rooftop in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, two students are collecting soil samples from boxes planted with species from two native plant communities: Hempstead Plains, which are grasses belonging to a prairie community originally found on Long Island, and Rocky Summit grasslands,which grow on the tops of mountains and ridges throughout southern New England and all of New York State. They carefully place the dirt from the soil core into a plastic bag and seal it up to be taken to the lab for analysis.[More]
Out of sight (and smell), natural gas slowly bubbled up into Norma Fiorentino’s private water well near the town of Dimock in northeastern Pennsylvania--in the heart of the new fracking boom in the U.S. Then, on New Year's Day 2009, when a mechanical pump flicked on and provided the spark, Fiorentino's backyard exploded. She and many others blame the blast on fracking --the colloquial name for the natural gas drilling process that combines horizontal drilling and the fracturing of shale deep underground with high-pressure water to create a path for gas to flow back up the well. [More]
4: the number of toes you need on each foot
8 weeks: the time it took a team of nerds to create real-life Mario Kart, complete with bananas, shells, and mushrooms
2016: the launch year of a NASA spacecraft that will land on the asteroid Bennu, scoop up two ounces of its soil, and then fly the sample back to Earth. Scientists hope the soil will offer clues to the birth of the solar system and life on Earth.
11:18 a.m. ET: the time on May 14, 2013, at which the X-47B autonomous warplane became the first unmanned aircraft to ever complete a catapult launch from the deck of an aircraft carrier (video below)
2.64 billion years: the length of time that water discovered in a Canadian mine may have been untouched by Earth?s atmosphere. The stream may be the oldest free-flowing source of isolated water ever known.
500 miles: the distance a robot plane flew over Europe carrying human passengers
2013: the year scientists created the first cloned human embryo
1,500 watts: the power of the metal-halide vapor lamps in the U.S. Army?s brutal weather simulator, the only lab of its kind to use human test subjects (the lamps are so bright, it?s impossible to look directly at them)
$10.7 million: the amount Google has just invested in a drone intelligence company
3,600 degrees Fahrenheit: the temperature on the surface of a distant, massive gas planet, which scientists recently discovered using Einstein?s theory of relativity
40 million miles: the distance from Earth to NASA?s exoplanet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, discoverer of distant worlds large and small. The beloved telescope suffered a critical failure this week, though there might still be a way to save it.
$300: the price of an animatronic robot kit designed to teach anyone robotics, one of the coolest inventions of the year
4,000: the number of teeth an American alligator can regenerate during its life. Dentists are studying the giant reptiles to figure out a way for humans to regrow teeth.
$50,000: the price of a sleek, comfortable space suit for space tourists
13,000: the number of customers the space tourism industry is expected to have by 2021. Scientists are warning that commercial spaceflights could fill the stratosphere with sunlight-absorbing black carbon.
2.2 millionths of a second: the lifespan of a muon, a negatively charged subatomic particle (scientists need a 600-ton, 50-foot-diameter magnet to measure them)
0.05 percent: the blood-alcohol content to which all states should lower their threshold for DUI, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (all states currently have a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent for driving)
5 hours: the time it takes to build your own gene machine, a pipe that copies DNA using the heat of a lightbulb
A water slide for worms, the glorious C. instagram, and more
Is this the era of C. instagram? That's the clever name of a cellphone photo one undergraduate took of a plate crawling with C. elegans (it kind of rhymes). Caenorhabditis elegans are microscopic worms that scientists commonly use to study genetics.
The student, Meredith Wright of Princeton University, initially snapped the picture after seeing the plate in lab and thinking it was "particularly lovely," she wrote in an explanation accompanying her photo.
Later, she submitted her image to Princeton's Art of Science contest. Princeton then picked 43 images, including hers, to display in the Friend Center campus. Click here for a look at some our favorites.
Plus the most beautiful picture of Earth, New York City on Venus, and the world's largest (deflated) rubber duck
Plus the most beautiful image of Earth, New York City on Venus, and the world's largest (deflated) rubber duck.
Pack it up, science, we're done here.
?When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands,? says researcher David Legg, who conducted the research into the fossil as part of his PhD at Imperial College London, in a statement. ?Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ?chela? is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea??
Kooteninchela deppi shares many attributes with Depp, who is a wealthy actor who owns his own island. For instance, Kooteninchela deppi lived off the coast of British Colombia some half a billion years ago and used its scissor-like appendages to scour the seafloor sediment for creatures hiding there. And Depp was in a movie about pirates.
But seriously, Kooteninchela deppi is an important find and an important ancestor in the tree of life. It belongs to a group called the ?great-appendage? arthropods (in reference to the claw-like appendages they share) and are early ancestors to everything from scorpions and centipedes to insects and crabs. So it?s legacy is quite extensive, branching out into everything from crustaceans to spiders. So in terms of its body of work, that?s something even a prolific a thespian as Depp has to respect.
A low-cost, self-driving vehicle; battery alternatives and analyses of galaxy clusters claim top prizes at a global high school science competition
?Smart alert washer? automatically flags when a nut is coming loose, warning of potential danger
The water in urine can be a source of hydrogen for electrical generators
Teen designs device that could almost double the life of airplane tires
New type of material lets light travel across its surface without interruption
This spring and summer, trillions of cicadas will emerge in the eastern United States